Everybody Isn’t Different.

BruceAndFruit A general understanding of how choices regarding nutrition, can impact upon physiology and health (including mental state or mood), can be enlightening, empowering, and liberating.

If I got a dollar every time someone said, ‘everybody is different’, I’d be very rich, and less frustrated. I get where they’re coming from, and in lots of ways, it’s true. But there is plenty of biology and nutrition information that can be very useful, no matter how different a person (and their health issues) are.

It’s true, physiological issues are complex, and often develop over long periods of exposure to stress (and hereditary influences) of various kinds. It’s also true that you usually can’t pinpoint a single factor origin for a health problem. Luckily, that isn’t necessary. Some things will help more than others, regardless of the original cause or causes of existing metabolic circumstances.

Stress promoted illness involves a long list of overlapping biochemical conditions. Thyroid dysfunction, systemic inflammation, bacterial overgrowth, excessive exposure to inflammatory stress substances (like endotoxin, serotonin, estrogen, nitric oxide, cortisol, lactate and histamine), vitamin deficiencies and mineral imbalances, cholesterol issues, iron dysregulation and oxidative stress. These are some of the most common. All often exist at the same time, and one can promote the others.

As stress rises and metabolism is inhibited, the biological changes that occur, impact upon each other, and can interfere with the overall system, creating greater susceptibility to disease. But the same is true in reverse, and you don’t always need to know every detail to improve metabolic function.

One thing it helps to know however, is how to go about lowering biochemical stress, and improving overall energy system metabolism and stress resilience. And if you succeed with one of these two things, you will basically be doing a bit of both.

This might be an oversimplification, but keeping things simple is a valuable approach, as long as you’re on the right general track. It’s a powerful stress protective mindset. When it comes to actually fixing metabolism, it often only takes a small number of things to start moving in an improved direction, for the whole system to start working better.

So where’s best to start? There is more than one right answer to this question, but I think digestion is as good a place as any. The beauty of metabolism, is that there isn’t really any separation between systems. Your brain and nervous system are as much a part of your digestive system, as your digestive system is part of your brain and nervous system. Regardless, whether or not it’s noticeable, if you have metabolic issues, they are almost always going to be connected to sub-optimal digestive function.

Every kind of biochemical stress (and its impact) can be reduced by improvements in digestion. Interference with digestion promotes intestinal stress and inflammation. When the inflammatory stress substances such as bacterial endotoxin, serotonin, estrogen, and nitric oxide, rise in response to intestinal distress, the liver has to work harder, and eventually inflammation and stress will systemically rise.

Systemic stress (and inflammation), increases exposure to free fatty acids and inhibits thyroid energy production. Thyroid dysfunction, and rising circulation of PUFAs, promotes cholesterol and iron dysregulation, and all of this can encourage oxidative stress and more inflammation. When energy systems are suppressed, lactate and histamine tend to rise, promoting further metabolic interference. This is just one way of looking at stress and metabolism.

If instead, you approach a problem by attempting to reduce systemic inflammation, or to support thyroid energy system production, you can then create the conditions which allow for digestive and liver function to improve. This then helps reduce exposure to the stress related substances (including the PUFAs), which promote inflammatory disease. It doesn’t have to be extremely complicated, and you don’t necessarily need to know why it’s working.

Some of the things that help reduce inflammation, can also be used to help improve digestion, or improve thyroid function, or lower exposure to nitric oxide and serotonin. But if something you are doing to try to fix a health issue, improves one area of metabolism, and worsens another area, it may not be the way.

And when information relied upon to make decisions regarding how to improve digestion (for instance), comes from misleading or invalid ‘science’, everything gets confusing. And that’s when the ‘everybody is different’ mantra becomes an excuse. But don’t be fooled. It’s just an easy way to try to make sense of what isn’t making sense, and a good way to sell things, that aren’t really good for you.

Yes, everybody does have a different history. And as a result, everybody does develop uniquely, and everybody has issues which express themselves in an individual manner. But, everyone is in essence not different.

Even though some people can handle sub-optimal nutrition better than others, some foods can still be said to be better for humans, than other foods. And food is not the only thing impacting upon metabolic health. Metabolism can be complicated, even when information used is good, but it’s still possible to work out effective solutions to metabolic problems, if you know the main variables.

Some think they simply aren’t sugar burners, or that coffee will always keep them up at night. Some believe they’re destined to react badly to milk or cheese, or that potatoes are forever going to make them bloated. Some think they can handle lots of PUFAs, and that they aren’t harming them.

I’m not saying everyone does just as well or badly, on exactly the same foods, or that people should like what doesn’t make them feel good, or vice versa. But the right nutrition information plays a major role in protecting against the effects of long term metabolic interference.

When you discover logical, honest, nutritional and biological science, using it to figure out how to repair damage from inflammatory stress, and improve metabolic function, becomes a real possibility. And then a large variety of different foods can be used to maintain metabolism and protect against stress issues and disease.

Why is digestion such a good place to start? For one thing, there are lots of harmful substances commonly added into the ingredients lists of food items today. They are often completely unnecessary from a nutritional standpoint, and once you figure out how to choose foods that (largely) do not include these ingredients, you’re already half way there. Avoiding the PUFAs alone, can lead to a significant decrease in stress and inflammation.

When most of the PUFAs and other harmful ingredients have been removed (things like gums, heavy metals, flavor enhancers, and other inflammatory chemicals), it’s easier to work out which actual foods are interfering with digestion, and start experimenting with easier to digest, nutritionally dense, high energy foods to get results.

Digestive function can change a great deal over time, once many of the interfering substances are removed, and healing begins. As soon as digestion is more effective, liver issues are reduced, and then inflammatory stress can start to resolve throughout the main system, allowing for other organ systems to function better. The benefits can be exponential.

Tracking pulse and temperature and watching symptoms like bowel regularity, sleep quality, and mood stability, makes it easier to see if you are on the right track, and to make adjustments. Over time you might find that you are feeling better, that you are more energetic, and that you have vastly increased resilience to stress. Eventually you can reintroduce previously hard to digest foods, and see how you handle them.

Improving energy system metabolism can help every system fall into place, but ongoing adjustments are necessary as a more optimal metabolism can create different requirements. It’s not possible to know in advance, how much will be needed of various minerals (for example sodium or magnesium) or vitamins (for example vitamin A) in order to repair metabolic function, or to maintain it over time. It can vary a lot from person to person.

You might say we are all different expressions of the same biology. No two mountain climbers ascend or descend on the exact same path, but they are climbing the same mountain, and the same laws of gravity apply equally to all of them.

In a similar sense, removing sugar from your diet, leads to the depletion of glycogen stores, a rise in stress substance exposure (including cortisol and adrenaline), and increased tissue breakdown and fat release, in order to provide fuel. This is true no matter who you are, but how much depends on a lot of factors.

Everyone responds to stress differently, depending on many things, not just diet. But everybody is not different, just like changing weather is not the result of a new version of chemistry or physics.

But the promotion of contradictory interpretations of biology and nutrition science, makes saying ‘everybody is different’, a great way to explain away the failure of health approaches to achieve consistent results.

A diet avoiding the PUFAs (and other harmful unnecessary ingredients), and limiting difficult to digest grains, seed, nuts and legumes, and under cooked vegetables, and including enough protein from milk, cheese, and gelatinous meats, and plenty of sugar from sweet ripe fruits, fruit juice, white sugar and honey, is one way to lower stress and improve metabolism, reducing exposure to inflammatory conditions that promote degeneration and disease.

I’m not a doctor or a nutritionist, but from what I have seen, I believe that before anybody decides that it just won’t work for them, because they’re different, they need to keep in mind that the right kind of approach, won’t bear fruit until what’s in the way is dealt with.

It’s difficult to see how much sugar and other good things help, in the face of continued exposure to anti-metabolic, inflammatory conditions and substances. Even once most harmful things have been removed, it takes time and experimentation to figure out individual requirements, and it can take time to start seeing the benefits.

Yes, we are all unique and beautiful snowflakes. But no, at the heart of it, that does not mean everybody is different.


Image: Froot.nl
“Bruce Lee die je ontbijt klaarmaakt”

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