Fitness instructors and life style counselors often stumble upon these fossilized statements: “I was born like this”; “this is what I am”. I find it hard to accept these avowals. Who are you? Burgeoning evidences from epigenetic (over genetics) studies show what you do with your life (what you eat, how you think and react) determine how you look, present and perform. Life practices control your nature and “culture trumps everything”.
Genes are not our destiny. This modern rhetoric consoles millions living with the fear of genetic inheritance of maladies from Alzheimer’s to cancer. Paradigm shifting results have emerged from scientific studies too: Mediterranean food extends life span. Identical twins do not have the same genetically controlled diseases. And you’re not the one you are born to be. These all have one common theme: our culture and practices override everything. “Fixed gene” model is changing to a more fluid expression of genes. Random mutations may change to mindful or “self-directed biological transformation”. Inheritance of a gene for depression does not mean we are destined to it. It depends on how we process trauma and how we face them when life changing events occur. It is about teaching your brain (specifically, amygdala) to process flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety.
This means, whether you develop a disease, or you do not, is largely determined by how your genome is being directed to express itself. The abnormal gene (genotype) isn’t necessarily a player in forming the phenotype (the characteristics of an individual resulting from the interaction of the genotype with the environment). These changes in gene activity do not involve alterations to the genetic code but are in great part determined by the choices we make.
So, what choices are these that can help us switch our genes ‘on’ or ‘off’?
I have followed the fads, fashion, rhetoric and science of health and wellness and the biochemical explanations on alleviating various conditions. It has always been to challenge the symptoms, naturally. Why did those symptoms occur in the first place? It appears that the food we eat, the exercise we do, and our life practices act as switches and dials for the 25,000 human genes that control our destiny.
If food controls our life, does every food control every aspect of our lives? I have followed the rainbow foods and other food for healing initiatives that have become Good Life Style Practices (including those from two of my good friends- Christy Kabbani of World Fusion Cuisine and Vade Sankar of BeCafe in Downers Grove, IL.
It is a good practice to fill your plate with various colors from fruits and vegetables. I have aligned, in the past, all colors as bridging the gap to support antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticancer and immune support systems. These colors seem to go beyond these common nutraceutical (a food containing health-giving additives and having medicinal benefit) buzz words. They seem to control your intuition, the ability to express your emotions, compassion, gut feeling, addiction, sensuality, relationship and balance. Sounds familiar? Yes, these foods sensitize your chakras – the energy centers in your body.
Yoga philosophy reiterates how the practice of yoga is strongly connected to what we take in. It also depends on how we take them in. Our foods need to be polychromatic. It is time for us to embrace the ancient wisdom in culinary art; it is time for us to adopt the time-tested life style practices from our traditions.
We are what we do with our life. It is not a legacy; it is not the lineage.
Curious, and want to follow a holistic approach to the emerging field of epigenetics that holds great promise for complex diseases including cancer, Alzheimer’s, cardiovascular disease, and autoimmune, reproductive, and neuro-behavioral illnesses? Read our wonderful articles on Cancer Prevention using Lifestyle Choices, Tips on Getting a Good Night’s Sleep, and How to Live in the Moment. Feel free to browse through our Lifestyle Blogs.
Do you wish to start an epigenetic reprogramming inside you, by using whole foods and botanicals rich in a diversity of molecular health-promoting compounds, to rewrite the instructions to your cells, activating desirable genes while deactivating undesirable genes? Want to try eating the rainbow? Check out some of our delicious, wholesome, easy and healthy recipes on our website:
- Colorfully-Crunchy Strawberry Grape Kale Salad
- Spicy Bell Pepper Potato Medley
- Zesty Carrot Garbanzo Usli
- Ridge Gourd Curry
- Red Raw Bell Pepper Soup
- Summery Quinoa Salad
- Tomato Fenugreek Dal
Author Bio: Dr. Jay Alappat is a trained biochemist with over a decade of experience in biotechnology and food supplement research. His passion for holistic approach to health and fitness; and faith in curative powers of alternative and complementary healing systems guided him to yoga. Jay is a certified yoga teacher and is also certified by American Council on Exercises in Group Fitness Instruction. You may follow Jay on http://twinheartyoga.blogspot.com/