I just had one of those weeks when you are reminded of how short life is. It catches you off guard and knocks the wind out of your chest. And if you are like me, it lights a fire under your rump to do what you can to better not only your own lifestyles, but your loved ones.
I’m sure you have heard Hippocrates’ “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” I recently read an article in IDEA Fitness Journal titled “Epigenetics and Food DNA does not determine our fate: Why diet and daily activities influence how genes do their jobs.” Epigenetics is the process of genes transmitting instructions to molecules that make up all living things. We now know genes do not turn themselves on or off. There must be an environmental signal to trigger gene expression.
Ideas like ‘well, it’s in my genes…’ or ‘my mom suffered from heart disease’ don’t necessarily have to be truths.
We have the same number of genes as a rodent – 25,000. Just one thousand more than a worm!
That’s when scientists realized that the complexity of the human being does not come directly from genes. Scientists are looking beyond mutations and trying to understand our thoughts, emotions, nutrition, stress management, and lifestyle choices. According to Dean Ornish, improving nutrition and lifestyle can cause 500 genes to alter expression. Preach it to me! I find this so empowering!
I love the saying:
Start where you are. Do what you can. Use what you got.
What does that mean to you? Go eat a rainbow of foods! (not just for Skittles) Phytonutrients are plant based, health promoting compounds that affect our well-being all the way to our transcription level of our genes. Many are found in plant pigments. Teri Mosey, the author of the article, explains “Each phytonutrient contributes to a bigger process – and without the presence of other nutrients would not function efficiently and effectively. Most physical responses to our food intake take years to surface. The body, working as a holistic system with multiple overlapping functions, compensates to adjust for nutrient deficiencies, with some processes overworking and others under functioning.”
That’s why it’s important to eat your rainbow and try new things! She suggests each week picking out a seasonal recipe that will add one or two new plant-based food choices to your diet. Before you know it, you will have a diverse arsenal of recipes! I think I can handle that. Check out this chart for inspo:
I am not saying this is going to cure you or stop something from happening. What I am saying is that we have some power. In a world where we don’t know what is going to happen, we do have some control of what goes in our bodies, from food to thoughts, and how we move our bodies. I hope this inspires you as much as it has re-lit a fire under my own rump.
*Watch for Mantra Mondays on Instagram in the future!*
Steeping in the Journey,