Like everyone else, I’m trying to keep up with events as they unfold. Seems everyone wants to point a finger at someone else; in reality, unless you’ve lived on a deserted island for the past twenty years, everyone is to blame.
We’ve hatched an entire generation on a diet of no-pain-only-gain.
The Dow Jones only goes up, housing prices only appreciate. People at the lower rungs of the economic spectrum are given credit (of a largely predatory type -credit cards) but no guidance about how to manage their finances. Credit can be a fine servant but makes for a terrible master.
All in the name of ‘living the life.’
I’m old enough to remember being mildly uncomfortable in the presence of greedy people. They used to be called ‘materialistic’ if I remember. Back at John Bastyr Naturopathic College in the 1970’s one of my fellow students was planning on going into the wilds of Idaho and doing an entire barter based practice. During breaks he would wax enthusiastic: “I’ll grow herbs in my own garden and when someone can’t pay, they’ll just give me a basket of vegetables or a chicken.”
Last I heard he was practicing in a white lab coat, in downtown Seattle, in a conventional medical office.
When product consumerism stops producing happiness, then it’s time to switch to its psychic counterpart. Feel depressed, worthless and ugly? No problem! We can teach you to think your way to happiness. But first we have to get you to buy into the idea that zits, belly fat and baldness actually do determine your true value in life.
Every once in a while we would get a patient in the clinic who seemed to think that we had the power to make them permanently content and happy. Carolyn, my curmudgeonly RN of twenty years, would look up me from the chart and say, “Now I don’t feel wonderful all the time, do you?”
And in truth I don’t.
Eventually I got to the point where I would explain to the patients that cures often represented the fact that a person could be returned to a level of wretchedness merely similar to that of others. From there on you were on your own.
Most great things are developed or uncovered by people who are mildly uncomfortable in their own bodies. Perhaps that discomfort is even mandatory. Expression is that great intangible that says to the Universe "I’m here." However unlike a pizza, expression can't be delivered to your doorstep. It often arrives during moments of great pain and suffering, and not for nothing, most creative people have had great times of pain and suffering. Sometimes it is the pain that moves us from the comfortable to the unknown; from the secure to the insecure. When we insulate ourselves from the painful consequence of our actions, when we plaster over our failures with 'feel good technologies' like drugs or mindless 'prosperity thinking' we strip away the spiritual basis of that pain and failure, the part of the cycle that gives us the benefits of 'lessons-learned."
We think 'age' is chronological and to a certain functional degree this is true. However age is also a mindset. What is the final mechanism that tells the tree in autumn that it is time to release the leaf? I’m sure that there are all sorts of hormones and cell factors involved, but the simple truth is that the leaf is no longer relevant. Winter is coming, it's time to close down and leaves on a tree trap ice and may bring the whole thing down. So it is time to go.
When are we released from the tree of life? I think it occurs when the Universe inside our self finally just gets bored to death. "You can't teach an old dog new tricks." As the saying goes.
Many pursuits, such as sailing or golf, are characterized by an 'awkward stage' which we could also describe and a sort of 'student mindset'. Kids spend days, months and years in this mode before they enter adulthood, but once they are done with schooling most of us actually become rather adverse to reentering awkward learning situations, perhaps out of insecurity. Nobody wants to look silly or incapable.
Yet this is precisely most creativity and expression occurs. It’s been said that the most common utterance upon the discovery of an important new fact or concept is not "Eureka!" [Greek heurēka I have found (it)] but rather "Now… that’s interesting…"
Sadly, I see more and more 'Old-Young People' these days."There is no fool like and old fool" goes the saying. That is true, but I think young fools are more menacing.
Finally, there is faith. I am also old enough to remember feeling mildly uncomfortable when people would bring up their religious beliefs in conversation. Not that I have anything against faith per se --I just think that it is a matter of personal choice and best kept out of most forms of public dialogue. I think one of the truly brilliant acts of the Founding Fathers was to acknowledge religious behavior and separate it from matters of state. That said I would like to be somewhat certain that my elected officials are not using their personal faith and morals to guide government policy.
Faith can do many great things. My Spanish grandmother was a loyal daughter of the Catholic Church and in her great simplicity there was a warmth and acceptance of life and all its foibles that belied years of hardship and suffering. Think this credit crisis is bad? She brought up a family during the 1936-39 Spanish Civil War, when the fighting literally rolled over her village not once, but three times. Concerned about food prices? She once walked seven miles with a piece of furniture on her head to trade it for a dozen potatoes.
Just before she passed away (well in her nineties) she visited the United States. One afternoon I grabbed my forehead after a stressful day.
"What’s wrong?" she asked.
"Oh, just a headache."
"What does that feel like?"
It was at that point I realized that she had never had a headache in her entire life.
Faith can do that.
I had a chance to visit T. Boone Pickens website, where he has unveiled a plan to develop contingency energy policies involving a blend of natural gas, wind and solar as a sort of 'stop-gap' measure to halt the increasing importation of foreign oil.
Whereas I think he is onto something, his plan may actually not be big enough to really make a difference. I quickly did some simple calculations on the energy generating capacity of solar cell technology (per total surface area) given its placement in any environment sufficiently 'sunny' enough to power the solar cells for a minimum of five hours per day.
Based upon published data it is possible power the entire electrical grid of the United States at almost twice its current level by simply creating a 'National Solar Farm' approximately 100 miles by 100 miles (10,000 square miles) in size.
The total land space required is symbolized by the blue rectangle on the above map. Placing this solar farm anywhere in the light blue area guarantees a minimum of 5 hours of sunlight in winter, 6 in summer --very ample amounts.
Fortuitously, the majority of this area is some of the most hostile territory to be found in the continental US, so there would not be any significant displacement of people or fauna.
Solar panels are not inexpensive, and one would think that a 100 by 100 mile wide area would be prohibitively expensive. But the raw materials of solar panels (silicon and cadmium) are themselves quite inexpensive and abundant and a government effort on par with the Manhattan Project should be able to use economies of scale to drop the production costs.
This would have added ecological advantages. A lot of electricity is generated locally, which brings many known carcinogens into densely populated areas.
Opponents might be argue that by generating electricity from a singular, highly centralized location a lot of the juice would be lost due to overall 'low conductivity' of the majority of the national electrical grid. However, this might also be an opportunity to develop the next level of superconducting devices alongside of a National Solar Farm and reform the National Electrical Grid while we're fixing things anyway.
Many common folk also have a decidedly deterministic, perhaps fatalistic opinion of genetics. “It’s in the genes. There’s not much that you can do about it.” Nothing could be further from the truth; and although I can easily genuflect at the altar of genetics, I do not worship there. Your genes are just a reasonable plan for a particular way things can happen. Genes are just cogs in the wheel of life. They’re not here to cause disease; they are part of the structure of life.
For something so important to life, it’s quite surprising that there are so few of them; we humans have somewhere in the vicinity of 35,000 genes. Indeed when the human genome was first published scientists were incredulous to find that the number was so low (prior estimates were that there were at least 100,000.) And as if to prove that numbers aren’t everything, we humans don’t even measure up in this department as well; the average rice plant has around 40,000 genes. But then again, it’s not what you’ve got; it’s what you do with it.
It’s true, you can’t change your genes, but we are beginning to discover that Nature and Nurture do need each other. You can affect the way that your genes function. Matter of fact you do it all the time. For example, it may turn out that that dirty door knob your mother touched while she was pregnant with you may have had more influence in certain areas than all your DNA and RNA combined. As we move further into the meat and bones of this book, you will see how and why.
Genetics is typically thought of as being very complicated and difficult for the average person to understand, and this may well be true. However, the goal of this book is not to turn you into a geneticist, but rather give the advantages of conducting your life in such a way as to benefit from the knowledge of genetics.
Car showrooms can cast an interesting light on human behavior. While waiting my turn in a local dealership to buy a car, I had the chance to observe the interaction between the salesman and the young couple that he was attending to. Diligently he spouted out facts and details about the engine torque and horsepower, the suspension, and steering as the husband stood by obviously not understanding an iota of it all, but duly shaking his head and feigning great interest.
At the end of the soliloquy, our salesman of course asks if there are any questions. Not wanting to be seen as unintelligent, the young husband say no, he doesn’t have any. The young wife, on the other hand, had a burning question:
Where were the cup holders?
This simple interaction not only changed the way that I chose to write books, but changed my way of communicating in my medical practice. Most people who buy cars don’t want to repair them; they want to drive them. Yes, there is probably a very nice motor under the hood, but most intelligent people do not need convincing that there is a squirrel on a treadmill instead. For them the car is a means to an end; a way to get someplace. So, if you are willing sometimes to suspend disbelief that I am making this all up, I will repay the favor by spending the majority of our short time together teaching you how to get someplace with The Genotype Diet, rather than bludgeoning you with details that you could have easily gotten someplace else.
However, facts do make for the best stories, and I fancy myself a bit of a storyteller. However I do promise to try and keep the terminology down to a reasonable minimum, while keeping the nomenclature at the level where the names of things could at least serve as an interesting name for a pet.
“Here, Allele! Sit! Good doggy! That’s a good Allele!”
Gillian Roberts sent along this link to an interesting article about how the human genome changes with age. Sound like it is right out of The GenoType Diet if you ask me.
Review of The GenoType Diet from Publisher's Weekly:
The GenoType Diet: Change Your Genetic Destiny to Live the Longest, Fullest and Healthiest Life Possible
Peter J. D'Adamo with Catherine Whitney. Broadway, $24.95 (272p) ISBN 978-0-7679-2524-2
Broadening his approach to diet and health beyond the four blood types, naturopathic physician D'Adamo (Eat Right 4 Your Type) profiles six GenoTypes and explains how readers can reprogram gene responses to lose and maintain weight, repair cells, avoid illness and age well. D'Adamo draws on epigenetics, the study of the interaction between genes and environment, to argue that tailoring diet and lifestyle to "GenoTypesâ€? (genetic survival strategies that predate ethnicity and race and correspond to such external traits as body type, jaw shape and teeth patterns) is the most effective means to achieve optimum health.
While conditions in the prenatal environment--our own and our ancestors--have profound effects on our genes, D'Adamo contends, readers can take control of their inheritance by turning on positive genes and silencing negative ones through methylation, histone acetylation and other biological processes. He provides methods for readers to determine their types; these include body measurements, fingerprints, and personal and family history. D'Adamo's dietary recommendations are flexible and consist of lists of foods that enhance each GenoType and foods to limit or avoid, but readers can find meal plans and recipes on the author's Web site.
D'Adamo's engaging writing style, enthusiasm for his subject and personalized advice will appeal to those who enjoy taking a hands-on approach to their health and exploring new theories. (Jan.)
The GenoType Diet website has a splash page up. You may want to have a look around. I think it goes 'live' sometime late this month.
Waterfront Media, the folks doing the website, have really impressed me with their dedication to maintaining the highest quality standards. Coming from someone who (until very recently; see #3) has personally programmed every single line of code on this website, that probably says something. Some of the specialized software that will be on the site (such as their diet tracker) are unique widgets that they have developed over the years, so I'm interested in seeing how these tools will work with The GenoType System.
I'd like to take a moment of your time to tell you about a wonderful man who helps me on this website. Don St. John has helped countless confused and wide-eyed newcomers successfully navigate around thiswww.dadamo.com</em> site. He has clocked in countless hours selflessly administering the BTD Forums, pruning, guiding and tweaking so that these bulletin boards remain family friendly, supportive, and reliable. An IfHI Fellow, Don has recently dusted off a few of his old programming neurons and jumped into directly coding the site.
Not just HTML mind you, but Perl and PHP (the real stuff).
There are so many people who contribute on a daily basis to making this site wonderful.
Hopefully, you know who you are and know that as I celebrate one of your own, I thank you all as well.