Wellness And Awareness
The purpose of this blog is to explore modern trends in health science and investigate how you and I can benefit from them. Which physical, mental, and spiritual habits lead to suffering and disease? Which ones will help us gain bodily vigor, a peaceful mind, and a warm spirit?
We can approach optimal health, wellness, and ultimately greater cognitive and emotional well-being by reintegrating some principles from our ancient ancestors’ lifestyles. When looking at Paleolithic nutrition, movement, mental and spiritual practices, we should adapt a modernized version if there’s substantial evidence of an advantage over the status quo.
The greatest challenge in my quest to understand and share this information has been the application of it in my own personal life. My path to health and mindfulness has been marked by significant difficulty in my physical, emotional and spiritual bodies. Injuries, overindulgence, laziness, self-pity and mindlessness are my baneful traveling partners. The very presence of these difficulties should provoke a compulsion to convert them into wellness and awareness, but they frequently beget themselves. There are moments of pure clarity, where I surrender to a kind, wise voice inside, and I’m guided through this conversion. I hope to increase the frequency at which I enjoy states of wellness and awareness, and avoid states of disease and aggravation. My intent is to not only cultivate knowledge about how to reach these states, but to share my process of applying it.
When I was 9 years old, I experienced, for the first time, the heartache and mental upheaval brought by the death of a loved one. I still remember my grandfather as a colossal and sturdy, but sweet and gentle man. Tragically, he encountered something so ferocious that it, without hesitation, transformed all of his blue-collar brawn to an infant-like frailty. Ravaged by cancer and chemo, and living with one lung, the whole 6’4″ of him withered to a sticklike 95 pounds. “Big Baba’s,” disintegration was, perhaps, the most impactful lesson he gave me. Nearly 25 years ago, I began to puzzle over why we must suffer the pain and grief brought on by illness. Diseases of affluence have relentlessly ravaged my family during my lifetime. I’m not speaking solely of my direct line. I mean to say, our whole human family.
I have, since, adopted an attitude shared by many, if not most, folks of my mindset:
In many cases, prevention is the cure.
Another influential experience appeared during my involvement in romantic love. My college darling, an unusually gifted pianist, mentioned some abnormal peripheral nerve symptoms. I remember my sensation of dread as she listed her seemingly minor, but clearly indicative symptoms. Her fingertips, tingling and a little bit numb after a warm shower, could have suggested any number of problems, but the demonstration of, “Lhermitte’s Sign,” a sudden sensation of electricity down the posterior body, while touching the chin to the chest, verged on diagnosis, in itself. My 19 year-old sweetheart and dearest friend would begin IV treatments shortly after MRIs and lumbar puncture confirmed she had Multiple Sclerosis, as we feared. Much of my attention, as a result, went to studying autoimmune disorders, their causes, and their prevention. Close to 15 years later, she shows almost no signs of the disease, and is considered to have achieved a neurological repair that’s seldom seen.
She owes her healing to a strict protocol of avoiding processed foods, using organic whole foods, and adding certain others. Evening Primrose oil is the first and most important addition. Evening Primrose oil contains gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), an essential fatty acid (EFA). Interestingly, this omega-6 fatty acid has anti-inflammatory properties, whereas most omega-6 are pro-inflammatory. Inflammation is at the root of many autoimmune disorders, as well as most other modern diseases. She also uses flax seed, avocado, and walnuts to supplement her intake of EFAs. Like me, she is an avid green juice/smoothie enthusiast, and gets mega doses of nutritious plant compounds, which are desperately lacking in the typical modern diet. She avoids saturated fats, immunosuppressants, corticosteroids, all dairy, alcohol, refined flour and sugar.
Beyond nutrition, she cares for her mind/body/spirit by aiming to practice yoga every day and prioritizing sleep. Most of these lifestyle changes are congruent with prehistoric behavior/lifestyle. Where she has succeeded in putting herself into a healing state, many of us often fail. Our bodies aren’t as quick to show such obvious signs of illness, but over time, they arise, as in the example of my grandfather.
There’s little debate that obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, autoimmune disorders and cancer can be alleviated or avoided with proper nutrition, fitness, and psychological/spiritual practice. Many experts believe that some of these diseases are coded for by our DNA, and that we are born, predisposed to them. This is partly true, however, findings in the field of epigenetics are showing us that we can tilt the scales in our favor by swaying the expression of our genes. By applying certain principles and practices, we can change our genetic future. Not surprisingly, many of these practices share congruence with those typical of humans and earlier hominins living during the vast Paleolithic era.
Human evolution is not yet complete, and we have the ability and duty to consciously steer toward a well and aware future. Let’s, together, raise our level of consciousness by inviting balance into our lives, and into this world. An old African proverb says, “It takes a village to raise a child.” We are the children of the global village. There is no way to attain true wellness and awareness, unless we encourage one another to walk a nourishing and mindful path.