We have lost about 50% of the human capacity to reproduce in the past 30 years only and are likely just decades away from complete extinction of human fertility. This story of extinction is not just a human issue, we’ve wiped out about 50% of the other species. We lose one species forever every 20 min currently. We’re well on track for the 6th mass extinction history of our planet (the 5th mass extinction was 50 million years ago and we humans have only been on the planet 200 000 years). The intent of this blog is to show you where the opportunity to heal ourselves, and our planet, to survive reside.
A big cause of our inability to reproduce and gradual extinction is the impact of the food system on human health and the greater biology of the planet. As I have learned from attending amazing lectures with Zach Bush MD, Pamelan Yee MD, Daphne Miller MD, Ben Greenfield, Yael Joffe, PhD, RD, FACN at the Institute for Integrated Nutrition where I am a double graduate, nutrition begins at the state of our relationship to nature.
We need to change our understanding of what it means to be human. When we sit in front of a plate of food, we’re not feeding ourselves, the human. We’re feeding the microbiome, a vast ecosystem of bacteria, fungi, yeast, protozoan, parasites. And in a symbiotic relationship with the gut lining, and to the human organism at large, that microbiome decides to feed us. Let that sink for a minute… The more connected we are to the earth around us and the more diverse our microbiome becomes, the more we thrive.
What does it mean therefore to feed ourselves for a more diverse microbiome? The scientific world of genomics has just started to look into this for us so we need to be humble and really learn to LISTEN IN to ourselves and our bio-individuality.
Every human body has 70 trillion human cells that are then supported by a vast ecosystem around us. There is so much intelligence in our ecosystem for us to grasp in simple nutrition recommendations or blood tests. The only way to get the complete picture is to listen in.
So often my clients come to me for help because they do not feel right, they cannot procreate, sleep, digest, are fatigued but their blood tests are “normal” so their doctors send them home. But I believe them and with this new knowledge it empowers us to understand what may be going on in there.
LISTEN IN. It begins with understanding what your journey on earth has been. What was your birth experience like? What was your early childhood like? Your patterns if infection and thriving. What brought you to this point in your health now? And now, armed with this information, let’s tap into your deep instincts, your intuitive knowledge of how to get back into health. As a integrative nutrition health coach, my job is to encourage you to feel empowered to listen within, to help you find your truth within, understand how you got here and how you can find yourself in a completely different state of biology, emotional psychology and spiritual wellness. You have a beautiful mission ahead to find yourself and your purpose.
Disease does not occur until you start destroying the soil of the cells. And it starts at the mitochondria level (14 quadrillion small bacteria soil to our 70 trillion cells and, even 2 weeks before conception of the first cell of you, the garden in which the ovum will be fertilized by the head of a sperm). The mitochondria was the garden in which the growth of a human cell could happen!!! No bacteria no human DNA!
Children’s rate of autism was 1 in 5000 in 1970s. Today it’s 1 in 35 and we’re on track for 1 in 3 by 2035!
What does it mean in terms of productivity? in terms of health care costs? (and that it just 1 health issue, think of cancer, autoimmune disease, diabetes, heart attacks strains on healthcare!). Our society will collapse…
1 in 8 kids has asthma. We’re growing intolerant to the world we live in. We can’t tolerate even this breath and we’re also losing our ability to eat on planet earth with growing food allergies and sensitivities.
We’re not the pinnacle of life on earth. We’re the RESULT of life on earth. This is an essential concept that make us rethink nutrition. We’re alive because the ecosystem inside and outside of us gives us life.
Every disease is rooted in our gut epicenter. In addition of the gut, we need to consider the microbiome in the cells (mitochondria). We’re no different than plants growing in a healthy soil. (Right now, every client who comes to me with chronic fatigue issues, I look at the mitochondria as #1 issue. If cell energy is down, look at the soil in the cell and work on THAT first!).
If we root ourselves deep in real soil, in the soil of the earth around us, as well as take care and root ourselves in the deep soil of our gut and that microbiome within our cells (mitochondria), we’ll thrive at such a state that there will be no disease. It is the soil that allows the flower to grow. If the soil is depleted, wrong levels of carbon, light, humidity, etc. the plant will weaken and will be eaten by pests. Strong plants are not suffering pest issues and they thrive. Gardeners nourish the soil, not the flower. If you want to grow healthy, care for your soil. Not the symptoms of your illness, like conventional farmers spreaying the plant with herbicides and pesticides instead of caring for the soil in the traditional rejuvenating way (rotation of crops, resting the land, etc.) to grow a healthy organic plant, 4 times more nutritious…
Whatever nutrition framework you follow (vegan, pescatorian, keto, etc.), the important part is to stay connected with nature. Not approaching nutrition from a mindset of scarcity (I need to eat only a small amount of this food or I’ll gain weight, or this is bad/good food mentality) because this creates stress in the body, disconnects you from source and puts you in fat storage mode (even if you starve yourself).
Just like when we discovered that the earth was not the center of the universe. The HUGE discovery in science now is that human cell is not at the center of our health. The microbiome is at the center of human health. And deep within that are the viruses that make us possible. We have so dishumanized viruses. Without these viruses we would not have existed and without these viruses we will not adapt to learn how to live in the toxic environment we created, we will not find a pathway out of extinction without the intelligence of the virum (more on this topic next week).
So we have a lot of re-orientation to do as far as who are we and what are we here to do and what are we going to do…
Our DNA wraps around the earth 2 million times. Only 1.5% of that is coding for a gene!!! At first we believed that the DNA’s whole point was to make genes that would make a body. It turns out than only 1.5% of genome is coding for a gene. The rest of it, we decided just a decade ago, must be waste, debris. But we then noticed that that junk DNA was passed on even more carefully than the gene DNA from generation to generation. Biology doesn’t make mistake; there is no waste. There is no junk in the DNA.The 98.5% is given away to an extraordinary new discovery of the past few years called microRNA. microRNA is the name of a family of molecules that helps cells control the kinds and amounts of proteins they make. That is, cells use microRNA to help control gene expression. Molecules of microRNA are found in cells and in the bloodstream. They communicate which genes are turned on and off, what stimuli is happening.
MicroRNA don’t just stay in the body, they also travel outside the body through sweat, breath, etc. They tell the bodies around us what to prepare for. If I am stressed out I can stress the bodies around me GENETICALLY! We can reprogram the genome of other bodies with our own!!! I almost fell off my chair when I heard that.
We are a community. We are more connected at the genome level than we ever could imagine. If someone is trying to lose weight and is doing everything right and not succeeding, look at the people around them, parents, sibling, children. If they all eat junk food, are sick, sedentary, then the task for this person is mighty difficult because every time they fall asleep they’re being programmed with stress response by the people in their household (or toxic furniture, paint, chemicals, etc.). They’re picking up on the stress of family and environment.
But it gets even more bizarre, it turns out that the microRNA within us and within everything around us is not specific to the species. It goes trans-species and it’s why the microbiome speaks directly to my biology. Trans-species means that we exchange microRNA with every species on the planet, not just humans, but also plants, animals and viruses! How wild is that? It explains the calming effects of a walk in nature amidst trees or on a beach.
One of the powerful ways that it is done is that the microbiome transfer their microRNA into my bloodstream so that I can know what they’re experiencing. If I feel stressed or anxious, it’s because my microbiome is feeling stressed or anxious!!! Hear this: when we take antibiotics and decimate the microbes within us we have created a stress response within that ecosystem that we pick up on. It’s now understood that 30% of the microRNA in my blood stream in this moment is from either the bacteria or fungi in the gut. 30% of the genetic coding that determines what you should become today is coming out of your microbiome! So perhaps not surprisingly we realize that the downstream effect of a single course of antibiotics will result in 25% risk of major depression in the next year; 2 rounds of antibiotics in one year? 54% risk of depression and anxiety disorders. That is stunning! If you stress the system within you, you will become stressed.
90% of serotonin in body is made in the gut lining. 50% of dopamine is made in the gut lining and 40% in the kidney tubules. 90% of serotonin and dopamine not made in your brain!! The way you feel is determined by your microbiome health!
What you think in a day, the mood you have in a day is far more co-dependent on the microbiome than any of us could have guessed a decade.
Now, let’s broaden our understanding. Your health right now is the result of an extensive series of stressors happening planet-wide right now. It’s not your fault, but there’s a huge opportunity for you. Once you free yourself from guilt or shame (am out of control, I lack will power, etc.) you find new footing to say « Oh! All I have to do is change my ecosystem, change my environment and I will build a new body”. What body will that be? I don’t know but as long as it is more diverse, it will be more adaptive, resilient in the face of stressors that hit you in a day and you’ll grow to become what you are born to be.
The starting point is reducing the stressors around you. The diet alone cannot solve the issue if the body is under attack. You’ll feel the diet has failed and feel more hopeless. What I have learned in my years of coaching, is that it’s a great disservice to tell people that food equals health. Food is an element within it. It’s just a small bit of the amount of information the body takes in in a day.
Nutrition is such a beautiful and eloquent system in the body. So intelligent that we don’t understand it! This latest advance of research into “what we really are” revamps COMPLETELY what nutrition is. I am not feeding the human. I am feeding the soil in which the human grows, and this soil needs more than food to thrive. This is why my nutrition coaching practice is “integrative”, multi-dimensional and bio-individual.
LISTEN IN really is what it’s about and when it should start and you’re the Expert of yourself.
Listen and be willing to learn something new. Your journey should take you them back into the soil.
Just to illustrate how minuscule we are in the context of the ecosystem:
We have 20,000 human genes. A fruit fly has 13.000 genes. A flea has 30, 000 genes. So a human is between a fruit fly and a flea but closer to the fly!
If we were just as complicated as the fruit fly, how do we have the intelligence we have? As we lose the ecosystem our brain stops working (remember course of antibiotics and depression correlation?) so when we start to think about consciousness and our intelligence as a whole it’s all from the microbiome.
The first brain (the gut system and its ecosystem) is actually the intelligence within us; it sends information back to our second nervous system, the brain, gives us the ability to think. The nervous system is just a semblance of the bigger genetic picture.
We have 20 000 human genes.
We have discovered recently that we have 40 000 species of bacteria. We used to say they’re located in the colon but through genetics and sequencing the genetics of the liver, kidneys, the eye ball and the brain we discovered that we have bacteria everywhere. We have bacteria, fungi and yeast in every single organ of the body. These are not sterile vessels! That is very disruptive to our whole concept of infections, germ theory and all of that (a different convo all together!). We’re not sterile and yet we sterilize everything around us, on us and even our food…
Every single organ system has a genomic pool and activity for the microbiome itself. What is this microbiome telling us? That we have a genetic history of intelligence at the fabric level. A gene will become a protein. One gene can make hundreds of proteins. But how does it do that? We have an army helping us. The bacteria and fungi within us have over 2 million genes. There are two million genes in the bacterium of your body! We have 300 000 species of parasites in our human experience living in balance with us, and they have over 2 billion genes! Fungi now, 3.5 million species living inside us! If you go to the grocery store and find 4-6 species of mushrooms you know you’re in an expensive store! You find a lion’s mane mushroom you know you’re in a fancy place right? 6 species of mushrooms vs. 3.5 million species of fungi! These 3.5 million species of fungi have 125 trillion genes. MIND-BLOWING! This is a sea of intelligent information and each of them will go on making many proteins.
So in the field of nutrition we’re just scratching the surface. What’s the potential of nutrition really like out there with this incredible new perspective about our human experience?
So when I plan a cleanse with my clients and say, bring on parsley and cilantro, two powerful detox compounds, I humble myself and remember that there are 125 trillions of other fungi genes that are building antioxidants and proteins we don’t even know about yet that are responsible for the prevention and the cleanup of a toxic events. My leafy greens don’t carry the lion share of the load (but they feed the soil!). Let the microbiome clean up the mess (like it has in the most toxic superfund sites! Did you know that? That we’re cleaning superfund sites into pristine real estate developments thanks to fungi and bacteria?).
It’s the ecosystem that’s gonna heal you. The road to restoring fertility, reversing autism, depression, anxiety, cancer, auto-immune disorders, obesity, diabetes, is by caring for the soil of our planet and within us.