It was once said, either by a comedian, or by a philosopher (I don’t know which, and I’m too lazy to look it up right now), that there are only two things in life that are absolutely certain, and that’s death and taxes. Maybe it was a politician…. but they’re basically comedians too sometimes. Regardless, the statement is very true. I don’t care who you are, from the moment you reach adulthood you technically begin the (hopefully) long process of dying. Life is a terminal disease. There’s no escaping it, no matter what you do, you can’t stop the inevitable, you can only postpone it…..and in the meantime, the government is going to tax the hell out of you.
Recently, on Robb Wolf’s blog, Chris Espinosa wrote an article entitled “”. The article basically listed a number of the possible environmental influences on our hormones, which for me, served to illustrate the futility of trying to avoid them all.
During a recent conversation with my father over the movie “Tree of Life” I noted that life is really just 1,000 near death experiences. We are aware that an eventual end is coming. Whether it be by Mayan prediction, Solar Flares, Economic catastrophe, or Justin Bieber (bleak I know). Eventually, there will be an “end cause.” In the mean time we keep moving forward as best we can. In the meantime what we care about most is how we look, because if we do go out – dammit we are going to look fugging good doing it.
It seems, however, that if one thing won’t kill us something else will. Ever since moving forward with the idea of eating Paleo, I have come across almost way too much information that anything non-Paleo is somehow leeching a chemical into my physiological system that is causing or will cause horrendous damage. I learned a long time ago that there are people out there in charge of major companies who will cut corners, fund [biased] studies and sacrifice the health of everyone using their product to make their company a buck. Or worse, the poor bastards in charge don’t even know the product is dangerous. Cheaper, easier, more convenient…that’s the American way…even if it kills you.”
What a great opening to the article, and how true it is. Life IS a terminal disease, and according to all of the “experts” everything we do, eat, breath, or place on our bodies will probably kill us in some horrific way eventually.
So I hit the books and searched to find out what else could be causing this failure to communicate which results in health problems and prevents not only myself but my family, friends and clients from reaching the goals of looking, performing and feeling awesome. Health problems in association with products can really be slumped into 3 categories: (1.) poisons (2.) carcinogens, and (3.) hormone disruptors. Either the product will kill you immediately or slowly or it will cause you to eventually contract a disease.
New research has pointed me to the fact that there isn’t much out there that won’t cause hormonal disruption and a consequent tirade of related health problems. For some people this is nothing new; for others, though, it’s Earth shattering.”
“What we know for fact is that for males, Testosterone levels over the past 50+ years have been steadily dropping – with or without steroids. Charles Poliquin supports that, “Strength coaches around the world are finding that it’s harder today for their athletes to pack on mass than it was 30 years ago.” We also know that estrogen, for mostly everyone, is on the rise. This has caused a hormone disruption in a good amount of the population. The disruption itself mainly comes from estrogen being spiked too high or just high enough which results in problems to the body systems. Most disturbances and disruptive chemicals cause estrogen mimicking or an increase in estrogen itself in estrogen receptor sites. “Estrogenic chemicals exist in both synthetic and natural forms. The synthetic forms, called xenoestrogens are industrial derivative, whereas the natural forms called phytoestrogens, naturally occur in certain foods, herbs and extracts” (Hofmekler, p. 3). Some of the top offenders include but are not limited to:”
After that, Chris lists some of the major “disruptors” in his article, and goes into detail for each. I’m going to list them for you below, but I suggest you read the for all of the details:
- Parabens and Phthalates
- Heavy Metals
- Dirty Electricity
Other BullS**t that causes hormonal disruptions:
- Alcohol consumption
- Damaged or fatty livers
- Serious knocks to the head which result in pituitary gland damage
- Over the counter/ prescription drugs
- Damage to testicle(s)
- Adrenal fatigue
- Digestive disorders
- Insulin/ metabolic derangement
- Vitamin/ mineral deficiencies
- A whole host of other buggers
So what the hell to do now?!?!?!?:
Well, I think the obvious is the best: Break into small groups, have Robb teach us how to use an atlatl, move out into the wilderness of Colorado, and iCaveman it the f**k up!
Occupy the White House and Congress demanding they change everything and make the world healthier!
No, I don’t really see those things happening either, fun as they may be, though.”
I think that it’s important to keep sight of the big picture, and not harp on every minute detail in our quest for health and longevity. It’s so easy to get lost in the details when one trusted authority says that a certain thing is “healthy”, and yet another says that the same thing is not. Remember that life is a terminal disease, and maybe we shouldn’t worry so much. After all, stressing about this stuff causes high levels of cortisol, and cortisol causes weight gain, right?!
Keeping things in perspective tends to help me quite a lot. For example, people who eat the Standard American Diet (S.A.D.), composed of high amounts of refined carbohydrates, lots of polyunsaturated fats, and low intake saturated fat are generally in the worst possible position. Couple such a poor diet with all of the other environmental nasties that Chris covered in his article, and you’ve got a decent probability of developing a chronic disease or two. Now, compare that to a person that eats your typical low-carb diet. This would probably consist of significantly fewer amounts of refined carbohydrates, and possibly even the elimination of gluten containing grains. It’s obvious that such a person would potentially have a significantly reduced risk of developing chronic disease, purely thanks to the eliminated items and reduced “sugar” intake. Moving further down the line from these two, we encounter the average Paleo diet practitioner who by comparison eats a very clean diet, devoid of many of the elements that have been identified as the modern agents of disease. It’s easy to see that once again, the possibility of developing chronic diseases is greatly decreased, even more than in the standard low-carb instance. This effect is the essence of why even people who convert to vegetarianism or veganism generally experience some weight loss, and “better health” (at least initially). It’s because when you compare even the nutritionally deficient vegan diet, to a S.A.D diet, the vegan diet will usually consist of higher quality foods, and less of the toxins that we’re talking about. That doesn’t make it the best diet, or even a GOOD diet, but it does still place it firmly ahead of the S.A.D diet!
How detailed to get with this whole deal, is a very individual and personal decision that depends upon multiple factors. A person’s current weight, genetics, occupation, and a myriad of other contributing factors can all play in to a person’s mindset and the amount of toxins they are exposed to, and therefore feel it necessary to avoid. For example, a person who has survived cancer, or has a family history of cancer, might find it personally necessary to avoid virtually ALL carbohydrate, so as to minimize their cancer risk as much as possible.
There are so many different levels of risk and risk avoidance. We hear frequently about the largely hunter-gatherer people known as the Kitavans. The Kitavans eat local, whole real foods, of which the majority happens to be starchy carbohydrate matter. They are lean and healthy, with well-formed teeth. They have little or no instance of cancer and heart disease throughout their population, and yet the vast majority of the Kitavans smoke heavily! Because of this, it could be said that their overall environmental toxin exposure is SO low, that the damage that smoking potentially does to the human body is not enough to negatively affect the health of the Kitavan people. However, smoking in combination with a S.A.D. diet, and the other typical environmental toxins that we find in America tends be a complete disaster for the American people….. maybe not because smoking by itself is such a dangerous thing, but because inhaling cigarette smoke, along with all of the other crap we inhale on a daily basis in America, adds up to a whole lot of ill health possibilities.
The take home is that when it comes to nutrition, there is not really any ONE particular element that we can blame for all of the obesity and ill health in the country today. Most people are sick because of multiple contributing factors that just happened to work together and formulate a chronic disease of some kind. The crazy thing is that the same process might not even equate to the same ill health in someone else, even in the same environment. So why worry so much? People could drive themselves crazy, just trying to follow all of the available information on what to eat and what to avoid. If we just follow a basic Paleo diet Template, and just eat real, whole, natural foods, we’re already WAY ahead of the curve. I don’t know about you, but that fact alone helps me sleep like a baby at night. Maybe life is a terminal disease, but there’s no use worrying yourself to death before your time.
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Barry Cripps is a Paleo-based Nutrition and Wellness Consultant, who operates out of Bowling Green, Kentucky.
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