Healing Our Individual and Collective Health Crises

I recently talked with seven times New York Times bestselling author, Marianne Williamson about my new book, Nourish Your Self Whole: A Guide to Core Dietary Pillars, with Achievable Steps for Vibrant Health. It was very fun to talk with her and I’ve gotten lots of good feedback. You can watch the recording on YouTube.

In the meantime, Marianne and others have asked me why I decided to write this book. Here is some of what I’ve been sharing:

For so many years in my adult life, my physical health and vitality were devolving to various degrees. In ways I was not enjoying. Over the years I tried so many approaches to try and change the course: supplements, medicines, all kinds of alternative health practitioners, etc. I would sometimes make improvements, but nothing that really allowed me to physically feel the way I wanted to.

But when I finally started to make serious dietary changes back in 2015, much to my surprise, I felt better than I had really in my whole life. In ways I didn’t anticipate or even really think were possible from diet alone. And my physiology is not that unique.

That’s in large part why I wrote this book, because I want others to feel the kinds of positive benefits to their health and vitality that I have from making these changes. It feels good to feel so good!

A collective health crises

And the truth is, millions of people are in various states of health crises. Today 60 percent of Americans have one chronic disease and 40 percent have two or more chronic diseases. In ten years at the current trajectory, if nothing changes, 83 million Americans will have three or more chronic diseases, compared to 30 million in 2015. And 70% of Americans are either overweight or obese! 40% are obese, up from 3.4 percent in 1962. And yet many of the health challenges that people are experiencing can be improved, or even overcome, simply by dietary changes.

Another big motivation is that I discovered that healthy eating doesn’t have to hurt. You can feed your body the nutrients it needs to thrive without sacrificing your taste for scrumptious flavors, rich and varied textures and portions that allow you to feel satisfied and full. If you feel like you are constantly hungry or unsatisfied by what you are eating, you are not really doing it right. I don’t think people really GET that. So many have this erroneous idea that it’s just carrot and celery sticks. I eat a rich diversity of flavors and have a really robust and delicious diet.

A more accessible book

I also wanted to create a more accessible book than a lot of books out there, that meets people where they are. So many books target a very purist, ideal approach. I wanted to help people see that they can enter this at the level they are at, and make meaningful changes that can improve the quality of life significantly.

I think for too many people, the 100% ideal diet feels so out of reach. So I wanted to write this to offer guidance and support, a blueprint really for those that feel they may not be able to achieve a perfect diet, but that can change their diet in meaningful ways and improve health and even have a dramatic and transformative outcome.

That being said, the information outlined in the book will prove very useful to just about anyone. Whether you are only ready for baby steps or are ready to dive deep, there is more than enough information within to be a powerful guide. I really homed in on the most core nutritional pillars that are particularly highly leveraged to help create improved health while maximizing time and energy.

And finally, and maybe even the biggest motivator to write the book, I was thinking of my loved ones: friends, family, etc. whom I love and want to have long, healthy happy lives with. They weighed heavily on my mind, as I want to keep us all healthy so we can keep on enjoying this life’s journey together.

There are a lot of other reasons, but in a nutshell, this sums up the key highlights.

Again, the book is called Nourish Your Self Whole: A Guide to Core Dietary Pillars, with Achievable Steps for Vibrant Health. I hope you will check it out!

You are what you eat, for better or for worse

Book Excerpt

From my new book Nourish Your Self Whole: A Guide to Core Dietary Pillars, with Achievable Steps for Vibrant Health

Book coverFood is one of the most important influences on your overall health. Many of us erroneously chalk our health trajectory up to our genes, which is the biological equivalent of the luck of the draw. However, scientific research shows that about eighty-four percent of disease is actually determined by our epigenetics.

Among other things, epigenetics can be heavily determined by nutritional, environmental, and lifestyle factors, with food being a top driver. This means that our health is not simply impacted by our innate or hereditary genes acting out. These epigenetic influences help decide which genes “express” themselves, that is, which ones are active or dormant, and ultimately impact our health. So for someone that eats fried fast food every day, they may have genes that are not ideal turned on and active, while another person eating a healthy diet may have those same dangerous genes remain in the “off” position. To sum it up, it’s not just the genes you have in your DNA makeup, it’s also how they are influenced and triggered by outside factors like food that influence your overall health.

As a culture, many of our health indicators are declining because of the impact of these negative epigenetic factors. Chronic disease rates are skyrocketing, and experts believe that changes in our collective food choices and culture-wide eating habits are some of the primary causes. This does not simply impact adults. Chronic disease rates among children between 1994 and 2006 doubled! This is a disturbing trend that cuts across the age spectrum, but especially seems to be growing with each new generation of children.

Why is this? Where food is concerned, diets high in sugar, refined carbs, and highly processed vegetable oils are not compatible with healthy genetic expression. That’s right, genes don’t function well on the heavy doses of these substances that most of us consume. The bad genes that we hear about in the news, such as Alzheimer’s & breast cancer genes, don’t necessarily cause their damage unless specific conditions activate them. When negative gene expressions are triggered, this in turn can cause many diseases and negative health conditions.

In other words, our genes aren’t necessarily our destiny. The choices we make have a powerful influence, but the good news is that bad gene expressions have the potential to be reversed when controllable factors like food consumption are improved.

The bottom line for most of us is that there are too many irritants and toxins and not enough nutrients coming into the body. Nutrients can powerfully counteract the negative stimuli we are pummeled with each day, from air pollution to stress and poor food choices, among others.

One of the most powerful antidotes comes in the form of vegetables and fruits, as they can help clean up and shuffle out many toxins, but all the steps within this book are critical. I will of course be discussing many tips on improving your diet in the bulk of this book. Additionally, the last quarter of the book will highlight other lifestyle and environmental factors that you can improve for maximal health results and more ideal epigenetic expression.

The Proper Fuel for Our Bodies

It’s so important to give your body what it needs to function properly. You wouldn’t put diesel fuel in a premium unleaded engine. It would break down. And yet so many of us do just that to our own bodies by filling them with poor-quality foods.

You’ve also likely heard by now that consistently high levels of inflammation are unhealthy for the body. In fact, rampant inflammation is thought to be a primary factor behind heart disease, cancers, and other serious chronic health issues. (There is a strong correlation between excessive inflammation and negative gene expression as well.) The dietary tips within this book are largely anti-inflammatory. They will help you balance out your immune system, too, restoring your body’s capacity to do what it is supposed to at an optimal level of performance.

All that being said, every body is unique. You will discover for yourself which combination of foods and nutrients help your body perform at its best. There is no “expert” out there who can replace your own innate wisdom when you are tuned into what you really need. When you clean up your diet, your senses and awareness of how your body feels when you eat particular things that either work for or against it will become more astute. You’ll be better able to gauge what you most need. These pillars should be a solid starting point, but listen closely for what works best for you. This does not mean what your current taste buds or emotions want, but what your body systems want and need. Their signals are trying to communicate with you all the time, but the SAD diet (standard American diet) triggers so many disruptive signals that it’s much harder to figure out what is really going on until you give them more priority by cleaning up your health.

You can learn more or buy the book here!