Those of you whom have seen me recently know that my next book has been picked up for publication by
HarperCollins. I just returned from another meeting with my Editors in New York, and am excited to tell you that things are going great! That being said, much of my writing time is understandably given over to the book and the countless editing and rewriting that go along with releasing a major title. So, please accept my apologies that the Newsletters aren't as frequent as usual.
That being said, one of the topics that keeps coming up in our discussions at HarperCollins is the fact that we humans, and particularly, Westerners, have become out of synch with our ancestral foods, our ancestral habitats, and perhaps most importantly, our sense of time of day, and sense of season. Most of you can almost recite by heart the "Good Foods" and "Bad Foods" lists from The Matrix Protocol (curse might be a better choice of words than recite). These lists have slowly evolved over the past 15 years as I've studied how our immune system and the "Bugs" that make up over 90% of the cells within us, have interacted with plants that clearly have no interest in our survival. The Protocol expands or contracts as new blood tests arrive that show characteristic patterns of inflammation (or Air Raid Sirens going off, to use my expression), or your personal reports of how a new group of foods are affecting you. Yes, you will notice that Uncle Ben's Converted Rice is now off the approved foods list! Several of you "Canaries" noticed a reaction almost immediately, while those of you that didn't notice, I noticed in your blood work. Sorry about that, but it's gone from the list.
These experiments have only convinced me further that our Bugs and we have evolved together over an extended period of time to take advantage of the foods, Plants, Animals, and Fungi that we eat by nature of our proximity to them. In other words, if you are eating leaves from a tree or trees consistently over millions of years, the bugs that inhabit your gut, evolve to take advantage of those leaves; to get the maximum energy extraction from them (calories), while at the same time evolving defense mechanisms to counter the effect of plant defense systems (yes, lectins, among others). Further, our immune system (think white blood cells) is educated by our gut buddies as to whether we should get all riled up and worried about particular plants and their proteins or whether we should give them a mere shrug of the shoulder and go about our business. In other words, become tolerant of them, in synch with them.
One of the hardest concepts to grasp when thinking about food, is that the longer that we have been exposed to a food, the more likely it is that our Bugs and our immune system have a chance to understand, accept, and become tolerant to that food. Think of it this way: as each successive new immigrant group arrived in the United States, such as The Irish, The Italians, The Chinese, Africans; choose a group, these humans were marginalized, viciously attacked, murdered, addressed as subhuman, given derogatory names, all because they didn't look, talk, or act like "us", whoever "we" were. Think of our immune system and our bugs as the "we" in this scenario. We viciously attack any newcomers into our digestive tract that we don't recognize, pummel them, and genuinely beat the "crap" out of them (pardon the pun). But the longer they stick around, start acting non-threatening, the more our bugs and our immune system settles down and tolerates them. Just as common, maybe some bugs that know how to handle them better than others settle down in our intestines. Now we are in synch again.
So, how long does this take? Millions of years, 100,000 years, 500 years? It's not clear. But remember two factors that we can be sure of. There is no evidence that humans ate grains or beans until very recently, probably no earlier than 8-10,000 years ago. There is no sighting to this date of great apes eating grains or beans. The second factor is even more telling. All Americans (you too Canadians) are of European, Asian, or African origin. That means than none of our ancestors were ever exposed to or ate a plant from North or South America until 500 years ago, when Columbian trade began. As most of us have heard me say, 500 years is speed dating in evolution! Not only has our immune system not adapted, but also perhaps more importantly, our Bugs haven't either. Most of us remain out of synch with American origin plants.
Finally, those of us who have read my first book know my problem with Thomas Edison, perhaps the greatest contributor to our current problem of being out of Synch. Before the advent of the light bulb, all humans worked in synch with daylight. Daylight has many spectrums of light within it, as anyone looking at a rainbow can discern. But the fraction of daylight that sets our circadian clocks, both the 24 hour clock, but also the seasonal clock, is the blue light part of the spectrum. It is blue light that tells our clock what time of day it is and what season it is; more blue light equals longer days, summer, time to grow, reproduce, store fat for the winter. Less blue light, winter, time to rest, time to reset, time to clean house internally. All of this information, this Synching with a day or season, all driven by blue light.
But, it wasn't Edison, you say! We've had fire for maybe 50,000 years. We had light in the darkness. Indeed we did! But not blue light. Check out a fire or a candle. See any blue light? Nope, it's almost all red/yellow spectrums, the part that incites sleep, not wakefulness. Yes, it was Edison, but it got worse! Fluorescents have even more blue light than incandescent bulbs! TV's, Movies and Computers, yes, you guessed it: monster blue light generators. So, now, you go from your fluorescent lit office in January, go home to your big screen TV, then read on your I pad or Kindle before turning off the compact fluorescent bulb on your night stand, and you want to know why I wont renew your sleeping pill prescription that you've taken for twenty years? Blame Edison, not me.
Here's a start: Get rid of all fluorescent bulbs. Go back to incandescent or full spectrum LED's. Better yet, get dial able LED's where you can lower the blue spectrum and up the red spectrum in the evening. If you have to watch TV or use your computer, buy a pair of Blue Blocker sunglasses (like the ones you saw on TV years ago) and wear them in synch when the sun sets.
Go to bed when your dog says its time; get up when your dog(s) says it time. Our big Labradoodle, Pearl, is on her spot on the bed at about 7 pm, up at 4:50 am. We are a little behind her to get to bed, but not by much. Arising? Hard to argue with an 85 lb female.
The more you live in Synch with food and light, the more likely you will Die Young, at a very Old Age!