Happy Spring Greetings!
It’s a time for growth and new beginnings.
The greenhouse at Pleroma Farm in Hudson is seeing some activity, speaking of fresh starts. Plans are underway for a couple of different garden projects with an eye on contributing to food social justice projects. Look for ways to be involved! We are building this to be community-supported. More to come on this!
We live in a new time. This new millennium has just been born. It’s a huge turning point. To that end, old thoughts won’t do. Yesterday’s solutions are today’s errors.
The emphasis is to learn to observe deeply and discriminate intensely. This is a path of your own sovereignty. This is a path of thinking for oneself.
Recognize that you can be the source of unbiased, clear thinking if you train it. If you use other people’s thoughts you are being manipulated away from your source, by definition.
A concrete example of the massive change in the last generation can be seen in the lessons of the human microbiome project, started in 2007 and spanned the better part of a decade.
The microbiome is the “100 trillion bacteria on our skin and in our mouths, noses, genitalia, and guts. These bacterial communities, collectively known as the human microbiome, can synthesize vitamins, bolster our immune systems, help us digest our food, and even boost our brain function.”
There are many lessons that come with viewing our health through the lens of the microbiome. I’ve selected a few.
Acute inflammations (sore throat, for example) are not determined by the presence of infectious disease agents.
We still live with the simple idea that the presence of a particular microbe is the causative agent of disease. It’s not that simple. The microbes are everywhere. We need more sophisticated understanding. We need an approach that includes pleomorphism, which is “the ability of some microorganisms to alter their morphology, biological functions or reproductive modes in response to environmental conditions.”
An imbalance in the internal environment incites the bugs to become disease-causing. It’s not the bugs in and of themselves. They are markers of the imbalance, co-conspirators at best. If we start to look for the imbalances themselves we can learn to heal more completely than what comes when we only battle the bugs and are ignorant of the cause.
Recent attention is being given to the microbiome’s involvement in brain health.
Many people are aware that our own gut microbes may exert a powerful influence on our health, but the evidence keeps growing. It’s not a leap to suspect gastrointestinal issues (IBS and IBD), certain cancers (colorectal), and obesity as having patterns that emerge in the microbiome. Gut health and brain health may not be so intuitive, but it is more on the radar these days.
Both psychological disorders (depression and anxiety) and neurological disorders (Parkinson’s, ALS, and others) are seen differently when they are viewed in this whole body context.
Scientists are investigating drugs that can alter the microbiome in beneficial ways, beyond what probiotics or prebiotics can do.
The major take-away from what we know so far is that diet has a collosal impact on the microbiome. Dietary standards are shifting as it’s being shown how compromises for taste or economics are triggering disease (more to follow).
We can know an agent’s effect on us more fully by knowing its effect on the microbiome.
Objective: Learn to assess something’s effect on the microbiome. Rethink everything in these terms.
Antimicrobials, pesticides, and artificial sweeteners are a few of the common products of our time that are being viewed differently in the light of the microbiome. Bottom line: they compromise our health. Accessing their true cost has been hidden until now.
We have learned that flame retardants, air pollution, chronic stress, and elements of infant health (birth mode, by C-section or natural birth, and what is eaten, formula or breast milk, during the first six weeks of life) leave lasting effects on the microbiome.
Literally, any non-natural chemical should be subject to this evaluation: perfumes, food additives, preservatives, pharmaceutical agents, over the counter drugs, vaccines, cleaning products, and more. It’ll help determine/predict long term effects of an intervention. The microbiome can provide a pathway for optimal choices.
There’s also the exciting side of seeing what can benefit the microbiome. What does outdoor exposure do to the microbiome? Is outdoor exercise better than indoor exercise? What about the effect of music on the microbiome? Wouldn’t you like to see the microbiome profile of different professions? What does a forester’s gut microbiome look like? A cello player’s?
Modern life is a compromise. The point is not to avoid all stress or disruption, but the true conversation starts when we know true costs.
Any good discussion needs a few suggestions. There are universal steps to consider:
- “Fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, yogurt, as well as colorful vegetables and nuts rich in polyphenols, have been shown to be beneficial to the microbiome.
- Try to remove as much processed food as you can because a lot of it contains sweeteners, artificial emulsifiers and other things that we know are not good for our microbiome.
- Diversity of your diet leads to diversity in your gut.”
From another perspective it’s as easy as A-B-C.
A: apples and asparagus
B: broccoli and cruciferous vegetables, blueberries, brussel sprouts
C: carrots, cauliflower, cherries