Want good health? Eat local, organic, fresh whole food

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Our bodies are literally a walking, talking rainforest. The “ecology” of our trillion or so human cells, and the ten-fold greater number of bacteria (and 100-fold greater number of viruses) that co-exist within us all is deeply informed by our local surroundings – our geography.  The soil in SE Alaska was built up over thousands of years.  It is perfectly adapted to this environment.  When we eat food that was grown in local soil we too become better adapted to our local environment.  Eating locally grown produce or locally harvested sea creatures harmonizes our gut microbiome with our geographical environment.  The gut microbiome is the quadrillions of bugs that co-exist within us, in our intestinal tract and on all our surfaces.  When we eat local, fresh produce our environment is less likely to make us sick – in fact it is more likely to keep us healthy.  Local geography informs our microbiome, which basically controls our gene expression.  We used to think that our genes were the top dogs: DNA makes RNA and RNA codes for proteins, and this is a one-way information pathway.  Wrong.  We now know (as ancient and not-so-ancient cultures have always known) that when you live close to the land, and allow your children to play in the dirt, and walk barefoot, and get exposed to the soil and the local water, your immune system becomes more resilient.  Why?  Because the “information” from our environment and our food informs our genes and alters their expression.  Your genetic code is not manifest destiny.  It’s a blueprint, and a blueprint that can change (epigenetics).  Food choices are the most profound way you can improve your gene expression.  For example, when you over-eat, or eat toxic (chemical-laden) food, inflammatory molecules are produced (reactive oxygen species, or ROS).  ROS production makes the gut microbes signal to your gut wall cells (enterocytes) to REDUCE nutrient absorption, to limit the damage.  Pay attention to your gut.  Healthy fresh organic food is infinitely more satisfying than any food wrapped in plastic because it feeds the hugely diverse and inter-communicative “rainforest” that is your body, mind and spirit.  The entire biosphere (all life as we know it) is interconnected.  We are all one.  Eating local, organic fresh whole food is a huge part of making a positive commitment to this fundamental fact.  Eat healthy, think healthy, save the humans.