The decade I spent disabled with arthritis -- it turns out-- might have been a blessing in disguise. Modern medicine gave me (finally) four titanium joints that enable be to get around fairly well. My abiding goals have always been to feel good and to be able to raise livestock and garden. Function. But with my new joints, then I got busy with research. I started with a premise. Whether I subscribe to evolution or a creative deity, my premise is the same:
It's not right to be disabled at such a 'young' age. It's neither divine nor adaptive to survival. What did I do wrong to get there!
That research has been the impetus for this blog, for the website and for the booklets I wrote. It turns out that I may be quite out in left field (though I have good company) because I do NOT think poor health, function and feeling crappy jumps out and gets me. I think I did things that got me there. The human birthright is feeling good and being disease free. Any deviation from that is self inflicted. My research set out to discover why I spent that decade as a virtual cripple.
Whether I believe in divine creation or in an evolving survival of species adapted to environment--or both, my conclusion is the same. The human is a perfectly self healing, adaptive organism with mechanisms to stay healthy and functional—commonly called homeostasis. But humans also have certain biological requirements. Ignoring those results in departure from homeostasis and the body kicks in its one notr mechanism for righting things—the inflammatory response. Philosophically, I think it would be more adaptive if there was more than one healing mechanism—but there is just one. So, injury, toxins, deficiencies, all get treated the same and the body inflames in response.
Cool. Except that it turns out modern humans are insulting their biology 24/7, often without knowledge of it. I learned to pay attention to the old adage, “follow the money" for the money interests are touting those insults as healthy and totally ignoring biology.
What happens when the inflammatory response is initiated and never stops? It ceases to heal and instead damages. The fact that the damage takes decades to make an arthritic cripple, to initiate cancers or other diseases, indicates how really remarkable the human biology is. But the bottom line is this. Chronic inflammation starts the disease process—all of them. Including things we’ve been told are just part of getting older. Untrue. Disease is not part of getting older. It’s part of chronic inflammation.
So what I discovered for me is that even with new joints my skeleton was riddled with painful arthritis. And I fixed it by getting very serious about stopping the chronic inflammation. No more arthritis pain. Along the way, my blood pressure got better. I have more energy. My brain got sharper. My moods got universally up. I just bought a small farm in the way outback of Oregon and am raising livestock and gardening and homesteading again. At 68. And I’m planning on another 30 years of it, too.
I think any amount of effort on diet and nutrition is worth those results. My experience in talking to people is that I must be very different than most folks because they don’t want to hear that their diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, anxiety, schizophrenia etc has anything to do with what they put in their mouths. There seems to be huge emotional attachment to eating for disease and death: "My doctor said…” “The TV tells me…” “How could what I eat have anything to do with my body?”
It tires me. It discourages me. It’s sad. And I get it that most relish or at least tolerate feeling bad. I don’t and the information is available to anyone with a library and a computer. I have so much to do in the next 30 years! And joy to experience. I wish everyone that joy and function, but I recognize I can’t change others and must just take care of me.
By way of saying I’m opting out of the crusade to convince anyone to eliminate chronic inflammation and let it go back to its real job of healing insults once in a while. Not to eat sugars and the things that convert to sugar (grains). Not to use vegetable oils. To eat enough cold water fish or take fish oil. To take plenty of extra vitamins and minerals because unless they are growing their own, there is precious little nutrition in grocery stores. To get plenty of sleep, eat plenty of animal products (preferably not factory farmed). To exercise intensely once in a while and move a lot the rest of the time. To hug the ones they love. That’s what it takes. Basically to live like our hunter/gatherer ancestors who didn’t eat crap and got real food.
I’m good with that. My garden and goats and chickens are my reward. At 68 and beyond.
What I've found out is what I put in the e-books at http://mindingthemiddleagedmiddle.com/ That's about the most I can do to condense several years of research into an explanation and overview on what we REALLY know about human health. The health information you hear on TV and even from doctors and nutritionists is about money and misinformation. Sometimes with the best of intentions. Be careful who you believe (including me) and see what is actually real in research and nutrition.