Saturday, January 30, 2016

Believe Series: Family Disease and Lifestyle


I am claiming Saturdays on GHT for any subject I wish to discuss that has to do with the power of belief. This might be about new scientific finds and evidence, or it could be about your own personal journey and how to obtain goals. It might involve growing your own food and eating organically, or it could be about how to handle investigating. It might or might not have to do with para subjects, but life coaching, healthy living, lifestyle change, the importance of humor, how to comport yourself in your field of study, living the dream, going on adventures....

You won't know what each Saturday will bring, but be assured they will all be written from my heart and soul, as they will be subjects I am passionate about.

Today's first installment - 


Family disease and lifestyle

We were not meant to sit for most of our waking hours, though between breakfast, commute, work, and watching TV, hanging around on the computer, playing video games, up to 90% of our day can be sitting or lying (sleep). That's just one way that lifestyle can bring out the worst in your genes. 

If you write down your family history, you can probably see how lifestyle killed off some folks sooner than they should have left this world. You know what diseases you are vulnerable to because of your genes, but that does not mean those diseases are your future, only if you continue that family member's lifestyle.

Here's my family - 

Dad - Died at 59 of heart disease, super high cholesterol, stressful job, no exercise, ate mostly meat and root veggies.

Mom - Died at 74 of emphysema, also had rheumatoid arthritis (smoker).

Oldest sister - Died at 50 of complications of stomach stapling (obesity, high cholesterol, gout, high blood pressure).

Second brother - Died at 43 of alcoholic cirrhosis, also had gout, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol.

Other sister - Rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, gout, high blood pressure, high cholesterol (smoker).

So, I can look at my family and learn a few things. One is that, no matter how much cholesterol I eat, my highest cholesterol has ever been was 150. I get that low cholesterol from mom. That's an example of having a happy gene. The sad genes include rheumatoid arthritis which is a definite if I smoked, truncal obesity/diabetes is a definite outcome if I were obese, and gout if I drank a lot/ate a lot of meat.

Every one of these family members that passed on, passed on due to lifestyle-induced disease. 

As the baby of the family, I can learn a lot about why I should never smoke or gain too much weight, drink in excess, or be sedentary. But what good things can I learn about my genes?

My aunt lived to 93, drove almost to the very end of her life. She was Jewish and led a healthy lifestyle, stayed trim, and avoided the vices. When you have relative with exceptionally long lives, that's not a guarantee for you, but a goal, as it's still in your hands. I am from a huge family and yet cancer has not been an issue for those under 80.

I know a lot of people who say "my dad died at 55, so it's my fate." That's ridiculous!

My brother died at 43, my sister at 50, and I surpassed their ages, at 53. 

It's not a fate unless you follow their example and do the things they did. Even then, siblings share different genes from each parent - just as I was A+ blood and my siblings O+.  

And, you are not all one parent either. You are partly the other parent. Heart disease is not something I really fear because of my eating style and exercise and my very low cholesterol with great ratios and almost indiscernible inflammatory markers in my body (CRP of 0.5).  But my dad died of heart disease. Yet, my mom had low cholesterol and that is what I have gotten from her as a baseline. 

So, no, you are not fated to one parent's death/age. In fact, my father died at 59 of heart disease, his mother did at 55 of a blood clot follow surgery (didn't take her blood thinners) and his father died at 72 of pneumonia. However, father was a recovered alcoholic and nearly all his family members were alcoholics and my oldest brother died of alcohol-related disease. I can drink alcohol and I have no desire to have more than 2 drinks and that's usually every month or two max. I just never took to alcohol the way dad and my brother did - which means they may have had a genetic component between them that I did not get.

We spend a lot of time looking at the bad things that happen in our family, given our genes, but it wasn't the genes that caused the disease process, it was the lifestyle that activated that genetic weakness, such as eating tons of beef and having high cholesterol. 

Sometimes, we have familial cholesterol issues where your genes simply say you are going to have high cholesterol, no matter how much you modify your diet. In such cases, a preemptive dose of cholesterol-lowering medicine is the way to negate that and consider that part of your "lifestyle" control of your genes. 

You are not the destiny of any family member. It's apples and oranges really. You could have a propensity to develop emphysema if you smoke (such as runs in my family) but even then some members will, some won't have that weakness. You don't know until you lead the bad lifestyle. 

One of the benefits I have as the baby of the family is to see what the elders did to know what NOT to do and if I had some healthy examples, what TO do. I know the parameters of my lineage when it comes to bad genes and lifestyle combos, but what I am seeking now is what good genes do we have for longevity, resilience, warding off aging markers and deterioration, being muscular and lean in latter years... 

Let's quit cursing the bad genes (looking at the negative) and let's celebrate the good genes. What is your potential - what kind of health might you have if you live right? 

I am beating the family genes, and celebrating the good ones - like my family's youthful appearance. I only feed my skin coconut oil, not lotion, and I use Amara lotion for my face (jojoba oil, vitamin c and coconut oil) - no procedures, no injections, no dermal work, simply exercise, high-nutrient diet, and only apply to my skin things without chemicals. That is good gene potential and lifestyle optimization. And, it's cheaper!

A huge tub of organic coconut oil is super cheap and you use it for hair conditioner, in your coffee, to fry foods with, on your skin, mixed with baking soda and peppermint oil for toothpaste. Exercise and eating your greens - cheap. And, bad lifestyle, activation of bad genes - health care/medicines/debility/procedures/expensive wrinkle creams...




I believe in the power of one person to make a difference. It is up to me to be that difference.

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