Do you worry about your health?
Do you have a family history of cancer . . . heart disease . . . diabetes? (Who doesn’t ? ? ? )
And do you wonder when it’s going to be your turn?
These fears are part of life for most of us. After all, half of all men and a third of women get cancer these days. Heart disease is still the leading cause of death. And diabetes is so rampant that 1 of 3 children born since 2000 are expected to develop diabetes.
With these horrible statistics, it’s natural to feel powerless over what seems inevitable.
But I have really, really good news!
We are NOT powerless!
And DNA is NOT your destiny!
Science is now clear — there is something more powerful than our DNA in determining our health.
Another way to look at is like this:
When we plant a broccoli seed in the soil, the seed contains the genes that make the seed grow into a broccoli plant instead of a rose bush. That’s important information!
But the condition of the soil, the amount of water and light, the amount of fertilizer and minerals, and any toxins that may be present in
the environment all affect how well the broccoli will grow. If the broccoli leaves start turning yellow, you’d consider whether the plant
needs more water, more light, or more fertilizer. You probably wouldn’t think, “This broccoli plant just has bad genes. It’s parents
probably had yellow leaves, too!” No — We know that to have healthy plants, we need to provide a healthy environment for them to grow.
We’re not any different. In order for us to be healthy, we need to provide a healthy environment, inside and out, for our body to thrive. In other words, it’s about epigenetics.
So you’re not worried about your leaves turning yellow, but you may be concerned about the fact that cancer “runs in your family.”
What does epigenetics have to teach us about cancer?
Our bodies are actually designed to be healthy. We have an amazing immune system that recognizes and gets rid of things that don’t belong. This can be a virus, a bacteria, or even a cancer cell. But in order for our immune system to work optimally, we need to provide a healthy environment.
The same is true of other health issues, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Our body has self-regulating and self-healing capacities that boggle the mind. But we need to provide the right environment for them to do their magic.
How can we create a healthy environment so that our genes turn on and turn off appropriately so we can experience health?
The reason is that each of these diseases is a symptom of problems in our inner environment. Just like the yellow leaves on our broccoli plant. When we correct these problems, our self-healing and self-regulating body is able to heal itself. So when we stop eating the foods that harm us, and replace them with healthy, nutritious foods, our body transforms itself.
Food is not the only important part of our epigenetics, of course.
Stress is another huge factor in our health. Why is that?
The stress response floods our bodies with hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline that are only meant to be short-term responses to help us run from a lion. (Fight or flight response.) But in our modern culture, we have a shortage of lions to run from so we create all kinds of other stressful situations that keep our bodies bathed in these stress hormones. This chronic stress is right up there with the SAD in terms of creating a disease-promoting environment in our bodies.
The good news is . . . drum roll please . . .
We can CHOOSE to learn about and eat healthy foods!
We can CHOOSE to learn how to manage our emotions so that we aren’t living with chronic stress.
And when we make these healthy lifestyle choices, our grateful body begins to transform into it’s naturally healthy, vibrant self.
So even if you have a genetic predisposition to get heart disease, cancer, diabetes, etc., if you choose a really healthy lifestyle, you are providing the environment that will help your healthy genes turn on and your unhealthy genes turn off.
If you’d like to learn how to eat a health-promoting diet, I invite you to my Slim & Healthy Nutrition & Cooking Course-Part1, which starts in Anchorage on April 5. If you don’t live nearby, you can learn from my online course.
If you’d like to learn how to manage your emotions better, my Dissolve Your Stress for Health & Happiness class starts in May.
Delisa is a plant-based nutrition and cooking instructor in Alaska. She believes that we are designed to be slim and healthy.