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Get to back to (your ancestral) basics!

Despite being intelligent beings, we humans have lost touch with how we naturally thrive. Like bees, our human ancestors evolved to know instinctively what to do every second of every day.

And let’s face it, humans are really sophisticated biocomputers!

The problem is we’ve both got out of balance with how our evolutionary history has programmed us to live life with health, vitality, and without chronic disease.

Bees are under attack from their environment – from environmental toxins (like neonicotinoids and other pesticides commonplace in intensive farming methods), habitat loss, extremes of climate, and disease [1].

And just as the environment for bees is changing, we have altered – in a short scintilla of time within human evolution – the environment in which humans thrive.

What’s our environment?

Well, it’s everything around us, all the choices we make every day about diet, behaviours and lifestyle. They determine whether or not we create the conditions for being our best:

  • the food we eat – or more usually, the food-like products
  • the air we breathe
  • the water we drink
  • our use of digital devices
  • the cosmetics we use
  • the prescription and over-the-counter medicines that we over-use
  • the sedentary lifestyle that comes from hours spent hunched over a desk, in an all-day meeting, driving to see a client, or sitting on a plane
  • buying into the well-funded marketing of products and services that prioritise convenience over nourishment.

What’s changed?

For 66,000 generations, humans primarily ate meat and fish, and we moved in sync with the rhythms of day and night. We had close knit communities and our main stresses were surviving against our natural predators and worrying about where our next meal might be coming from.

Of course, our daily lives have evolved since then – instead of being chased by a lion, we now worry about whether our stakeholders are expecting us to perform more with less. We are alert in bed, ruminating over and over and over about meeting the next work deadline.

We are alert in bed, ruminating over and over and over about meeting the next work deadline.

What can you do? Look at your health and wellbeing from a different perspective!

So what can you do to wake up in the morning feeling good, and to weather life’s ups and downs with joy, self-compassion, and good humour, and avoid chronic disease?

Build a solid foundation for good health, so that you can thrive!

It sounds obvious, doesn’t it?

But as humans we find it difficult to make change, even obvious changes that we know will bring about positive health outcomes.

What do you do if your doctor tells you that you have to give up smoking?

What do you do if your partner tells you that you should exercise more?

We’re more inclined more towards the quick fix, towards a mindset that thinks that if something goes wrong with me, there’ll be a pill for it.

If I have a headache, I’ll pop a paracetamol / ibuprofen!

But Conventional Medicine – which usually resorts to prescribing a drug, or swallowing a tablet you bought from the pharmacy – is not great for dealing with the chronic diseases we see in our modern, industrialised world, like cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, autoimmunity, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), hypertension, and heart disease.

If you are in an accident, and you need to be put back together, Conventional Medicine can truly be life saving.

But with chronic disease, the treatment happens after a health issue has taken root. And often the treatment is almost entirely focused on suppressing symptoms, usually with drugs that have powerful, long-term, negative side effects.

If you get a headache, have you paused – before reaching for the paracetamol or ibuprofen – why you have a headache? Sure, it’ll relieve your symptoms, but it won’t deal with WHY you have a headache in the first place.

The Functional Medicine approach [2], on the other hand, takes a leaf out of the philosophy of Chinese medicine and takes a different perspective. It looks at the root cause of the problem, and eliminates symptoms by addressing that root cause. It is an evidence-based field of health care that views the body as an interconnected whole, and recognises the importance of these connections in health and disease.

Functional Medicine practitioners are like gardeners. They help establish a strong foundation by cultivating a healthy soil so that pests and weeds cannot flourish. In the human body, those pests and weeds are the chronic diseases we are too familiar with in our modern world, like cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, hypertension, and heart disease.

Add that to an ancestral approach that minimises the genetic mismatch between the environment you were designed to live in and the environment that you find yourself in now, and it helps steer you towards a balance that humans were designed for.

And what are the key components of that environment that create a strong foundation for you to be healthy and thrive?

  • Food
  • Movement
  • Stress
  • Sleep

By cultivating a strong foundation in all those areas, you’re minimising the likelihood that a Conventional Medicine practitioner needs to come along and spray some weedkiller.

Where can you start?

It’s simple: create a strong foundation by nourishing your mind, body & soul.

How?

Eat foods we were designed to eat, and hydrate well.

Move frequently, be playful, spend time outdoors in the sunshine.

Minimise your exposure to environmental toxins.

Get good quality sleep, consistently.

Manage your stress and time spent with technology.

Do you notice that there’s no prescription or over-the-counter drugs involved in this template? Are some of those areas obvious, or are they new to you?

What this template does is to create a strong foundation for good health by:

  • minimising inflammation in your body – one of the key causes for disease
  • creating the conditions for a diverse microbiota in your gut allowing your super biocomputer to operate in the way they were designed to

How I cured my own chronic disease

I cured my own autoimmune condition, psoriasis, a skin condition that started in my early 20s. I was applying hydrocortisone cream, which worked for about a year. I then became really frustrated and anxious as the cream stopped working, and my symptoms started worsening.

I changed tack and adopted a Functional Medicine approach, addressing the root cause of my symptoms.

For me, removing gluten from my diet and managing my stress levels allowed me to reverse my psoriasis completely and stop my hayfever symptoms.

Don’t take my word for it!

There are plenty of examples from the world of Functional Medicine where people with chronic diseases have been cured or have found significant relief.

Chris Kresser cured himself of a complex illness [3] picked up from travelling in Southeast Asia in his early 20s. Terry Wahl’s reversed her multiple sclerosis [4]. Dr Sarah Ballantyne mitigated and reversed a laundry list of conditions [5].

Continue your journey to being a healthier and more successful professional!

It’s early days at Bumblebee Wellbeing, but over time you’ll find more and more resources to help you nourish your mind, your body and soul, so you can thrive, and avoid burnout.

Be wise, be healthy and be well!

Eric


Footnotes

  1. https://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/interactive_pages/bees/BeesUnderAttack#conclusion
  2. https://www.ifm.org/functional-medicine/what-is-functional-medicine/
  3. https://chriskresser.com/about/
  4. https://terrywahls.com/about/about-terry-wahls/
  5. https://www.thepaleomom.com/about/about-sarah/