Wellness guide is a firsthand collection of data from the research & analysis of several global studies of individuals & groups from reputable Nutrional & Health Sciences Organization. In this Synopsis covering Wellness, Nutrition & Nature, I have made an attempt to capture all the fundamental principles of nature & evolution from these studies & present a holistic dimension of it very briefly – How we can leverage these natural resources and ways, which God has bestowed on us for ours & our children’s advantage, is something worth exploring.
The Function of Insulin Hormone:
– Man as we all know was a hunter gatherer and his food model was that of long fasting and feasting rather than continuous supply of food intake as we see now with most of us.
– The hormone Insulin’s function was for the hunter gathers advantage i.e. Insulin as we all know converts energy into fat and stores in the body and the during times of fasting, our ancestors were able to utilize the fat that was stored.
– The other by product of Insulin is it normalizes blood sugar but primary function is fat storage.
– Hence this biological switch worked to the advantage of our ancestors.
– Today after Industrial revolution and greater access to food, man has made the biological switch work to his disadvantage with constant supply of processed & refined food our bodies are continuously storing fat and using sugar/glucose as primary source of fuel and not fat.
– The change in the switch is making us fatter and obese and high levels of Insulin in the blood are causing metabolic disorders which include diabetes & other chronic disease like Cancer etc.
– Diabetes is basically a malfunction of faulty Insulin and leptin signaling i.e. our cells are getting insensitive to utilizing this crucial hormone.
Ground Realities as we see today:
– Young men & women are falling prey to lifestyle disease like Diabetes, hypertension, Cancer etc.
– Majority of the Chronic Renal failure cases are almost always below the age of 30 years without any significant history of Diabetes or Hypertension both conditions that can potentially lead to chronic failure.
– A majority of non-tobacco consuming young men & women are falling prey to Cancer.
– Metabolic disorder in children on the rise.
– Increasing cases of pre-term births (< 8 months) resulting in malnourished babies, we see neo natal units of some hospitals with babies weighing 500 – 600 gms.
– Malnourished weaning mothers unable to suckle their young.
Food, Nutrition Equation:
– Where do we start? Yes our dietary habits are the single most significant reason for the rise in disease.
– So what is wrong in the food we consume?
– Today almost all food that we consume is unwholesome, refined and processed making it devoid of essential nutrients which are vital for our body.
– To add to this most of the food we consume is contaminated by pesticides, chemicals, preservatives, making it unhealthy for consumption as it builds up unwanted toxins.
– The adulteration process is so matured & institutionalized that it is difficult for a common man to make out the difference.
Understanding our Metabolism Better:
– The Gut is our second brain and the human gut is full of good bacteria/microorganism or Gut Flora as you may call it – The Gut Flora is responsible for various functions and our wellbeing right from establishing mental balance, enhancing immunity in our body to many more.
– Therefore it is central to keep our Gut Flora nourished adequately at any given time.
– The best nourishment for the Gut Flora comes from fermented food or traditionally fermented foods which were integral part of our ancestor’s diet.
– A few examples of Fermented Foods are Curds, Cultured vegetables, Sprouts etc. Again all from organic sources for ex: Curds from pasteurized packet milk will not give the same benefits as the curds made from Organic pastured cow milk.
– Put your focus on WHOLE organic foods — foods that have not been processed or altered from their original state — food that has been grown or raised as nature intended, without the use of chemical additives, drugs, hormones, pesticides and fertilizers. This is the answer to a vast majority of our current health crises.
– Research has conclusively shown that Sugar /Fructose consumed directly or indirectly is the major culprit rather than Fat as we typically believe.
– Fat from refined Oils (Trans Fat) is the most dangerous Fat we consume – All Refined Oils position they product as Cholesterol Free but it is not the Cholesterol but the Trans Fat that possess the danger to our health.
– We all must have heard of different diet programs viz: The Atkins Diet, South Beach Diet, Ornish Diet etc.
– However research has shown that the longest living human beings who lived a healthy life even in the centenary years all had native diets which were native to the area they live in.
– For ex: the Abhakyasians of Caucass or the Hunzans of Pakistan the people from these areas and many more like this have all lived healthy disease free life and the key to the health was their diet and physical activity. All their diets where whole some, natural foods, native to their areas.
– Hence a good mix of whole organic foods comprising of Complex Carbs, vegetables, Fruits, good Fats, Fermented Foods, and Tree Nuts are a good.
– Some examples of gluten free complex Carbs are: Millets like Ragi, Bajra, Sorghum, Fox Tail etc. and whole Pulses and Legumes like Green Gram, red Gram, Bengal Gram, Hoarse Gram etc.
– Having said this Junk Food, Processed Food and Refined Food cooked or un cooked are a strict no for all.
Stipulated Eating or Intermittent Fasting:
– The key to good health as again research is pointing out is to firstly eat in moderation
– 5 days of regular healthy food and 2 day of fasting for 8 and more hrs. a day is also considered very well.
– Alternatively 2 meals a day program instead of regulating every meal is also a recommended approach.
– Intermittent Fasting as cited above increases your responses to insulin and makes you insulin sensitive – when your body utilizes insulin well then it gets in a fat burning mode and you don’t accumulate fat easily and remain healthy and lean.
– Lastly eating at fixed hours in the day say 11am in the morning and 7 pm in the evening is even better for a 2 meal regime.
– Apart from healthy whole some organic diet it is equally critical to be physically active.
– Performing it correctly will produce positive biochemical changes in your body and even help prevent certain chronic diseases.
– Communities who have least suffered from disease like the ones mentioned above all have a common thread they physical hard work is ingrained into their daily schedule of work.
– Physical activity like brisk walking, Jogging, Cycling, Swimming all aerobic forms are good and improve your insulin sensitivity.
– If you combine aerobic workout regimes with strength training preferably using your own body weight like doing pull ups /chin ups or push-ups is even better.
– Toning, Stretching, Squats, Lunges and skipping also should be part of your work out regime
– Continuous physical activity even in moderation thru the day is better than daily bursts of 40 to 60 mins work outs in Gyms.
– Sitting for long hours is now proven to cause premature death in even healthy active individuals so it is important not to sit for long and instead get up every 10 mins and stretch.
Benefits of engaging with nature:
– It is now conclusively proven globally about 30% of the world population is deficient on Vitamin D a hormone that is made in our body by utilizing Sun light.
– Vitamin D deficiency is pandemic now but this is largely neglected aspect of health in most of us
– Research has further proved that adequate levels of Serum Vitamin D in the blood that comes from Sunlight can prevent Cancer, Diabetes, and Hypertension & also cure most of these diseases if taken in the right proportion.
– In short the human body has many receptors of Vitamin D placed right from our head to toe which perform various functions including maintaining Bone health – each of these receptors get activated when we get proper exposure to Sun light.
– To ensure adequate and safe exposure to Sunlight the best recommend time is from 10 am to 1pm in the day and not early morning – early morning sun light is not good for the skin
– Vitamin D lastly influences the gene expression and is critical for our good health.
– It has now been proven that 60 – 80 mins exposure to ground i.e. bare foot walking helps you absorb negative charge from mother earth.
– When the negative ions are absorbed by our body it works directly on your sympathetic nervous system which is responsible for regulating your blood viscosity, blood pressure and fat metabolism.
– Therefore 2 to 3 days of grounding can be highly advantageous for you.
Other Wellness Concepts:
– Good Sleep is key to your health – 7 to 8 hrs. of sleep is highly recommended
– Sleeping at fixed timing sets your circadian clock.
– Staying connected with people family, relatives and friends rather living in chronic loneness is highly recommended
– Communities who have lived long and health have these common threads of compassion, caring, connecting with people.
– Health relationship with your wife and children is also very important for your well-being.
Every time anyone challenges the culture of fast food and modern consumerism that is running amok in the world, a ripple of hope goes forth. As these ripples come together from a million different locations they create a powerful current. When you ask that your food be natural, nourishing & consistent with the wellness of your body and wholeness of your soul, you are taking an important step towards a healthy and long life for you and your family but you are doing something more . In rebelling against the Mcdonalization of the world, you are helping to create a healthier future for all who are yet to come – John Robin’s author of Healthy @ 100.
(Compiled by Mujtaba Hasan Askari, Social Worker & Wellness Consultant)