Are you happy to settle for mediocre health through fearful control of nature - or do you want to discover and embrace a balanced perspective of what optimal health really looks like?
I have spoken with thousands of people over the years mainly about their health, about food production, farming, soil and in the last decade, increasingly I find myself discussing the microbiome. Something that I commonly hear in conversations is ‘what…….?’
- What dose of vitamin B12 should I take?
- What microbes in the microbiome are good and which ones are bad?
- What form of zinc should I buy in supplement form?
- What is the most bioavailable multivitamin on the market?
- What is the best diet?
- What herbs will help me with my eczema?
- What compound is responsible for the antioxidant effects in berries?
- What mineral levels should I be looking for in the soil?
- What are the stats for the nutrient degradation of our food over the last 30years?
- What are the figures for how much carbon can be sequestered into a tree?
- What are the figures for soil carbon levels of regenerative agricultural methods vs the standard chemical agricultural model?
These are all valuable questions, but the answers to them actually don’t have a great deal of value, except to point us in the direction of further questions that we actually need to be asking.
The answers to ‘what?’ are merely a starting point - they are based on what we think is correct, given the information we currently have available. What many fail to notice is that the answer to ‘what?’ can only be speculative, i.e. we think that this is likely to be the answer…..but it may not be accurate and it could turn out to be totally wrong (sometimes to devastating effect). This is why science does not provide definitive answers - it can only offer up clues and signposts.
Even seemingly unshakeable scientific findings, tried and tested over many years can only lead to the creation of a paradigm, yet paradigm shifts are an inevitable part of being human.
We are currently undergoing a paradigm shift in our understanding of human health. No longer do we view the human body as being made up of separate mechanical organs and parts with distinct roles that are not affected by the rest of the body and the wider ecosystem of which it is part. Instead we are increasingly recognising that individual organs, body parts and well defined systems, with their own unique functions, are ALSO intricately connected to all other individual parts and systems, within the body and the wider ecosystem beyond.
What is catalysing this paradigm shift in our understanding of human health?
It is the discoveries we are making about the human microbiome and also within the field of epigenetics. We are now standing at the shore of a vast sea of new questions - a seemingly endless number of what's, how's and why's serve as the doorways that will lead us further into a new world, a world that we have to develop whole new ways of thinking to see.
In this new world - the ‘what?’ and the fears of the old world make no sense
In this new world we are beginning to grasp the reality that no-one can say what physical interventions are best for an individual. The dose of a supplement that is optimal, or what diet is best for an individual cannot be defined....because this will change depending on the microbiome and many other factors, including the seasons, the diet, the amount of sleep, the evolutionary processes involving horizontal gene transfer, occurring within the microbes in the gut and even the level of stress or fear someone is experiencing.
This has always been true of course - because every individual is totally unique - with a totally different set of specific requirements on every level. The difference now is that we are beginning to see and understand this more deeply.
In this new world we see human health through new eyes. No longer can we say with integrity what form of a vitamin will be most bioavailable, nor can we say whether someone will benefit from a supplement, probiotic or otherwise, or if a vitamin will actually antagonise established cellular biology that may already be doing the job far better. Now that we are beginning to understand health from a new perspective, the best next steps of the past are revealing themselves to be potentially problematic, in light of the new information presenting itself.
There are many companies now innovating in this field, creating bespoke individualised medicine through technology - targeting your microbiome and even your genes themselves. But hold on a minute before you walk through these unknown doorways - because we are only just beginning to settle into this space of vast potential for improving the quality of life for all life on planet Earth through a balanced approach that incorporates natural mechanisms. To jump straight into understanding how to control and adjust the microbiome and the genes with technology would deny us the full breadth of the opportunity to understand and work with the immense potential humanity has now been invited into....and it truly is a spectacular invitation. An opportunity that offers the potential for us to experience and understand life in ways that were previously inconceivable.
We could now choose to study how nature does things - how does nature optimise the health of the microbiome, how does nature create balance between pathogens and beneficial organisms? How does nature evolve genes to optimise health, increase the capacity for maintaining homeostasis and maximise the opportunity for ever increasing level of biodiversity? How healthy could all life become if we jump on board to better support biodiversity and facilitate the natural development of relationships between organisms that strengthen the health of the whole.
In discovering that changing our microbiome can change our health - what can we learn from nature about how to better facilitate the process of optimising the microbiome. What is nature showing us about how can we support maximal diversity of organisms that also function well together?
Through the study of how genes are affected by our environment we are discovering that we don’t yet know what level of optimal health humanity could achieve. We have barely scratched the surface of what is possible. If we were to support the nature within us to increase in diversity AND functionality - by becoming the wise and committed students and vessels of nature - where could this lead?
Before we go running before we can walk with augmenting our microbiome and genes to achieve moderate health improvements (and let’s face it - get in the way - of achieving optimal health), let’s keep ourselves open to the rich potentials offered up as we step into the full miracle of this new paradigm.
Have a listen to this podcast (below) - it speaks of plants whose botanical features begin to change as the soil is regenerated and diversified. The very number of flowers growing and therefore the amount of fruits that can be cultivated begin to increase - producing four flowers from a node whereby the plant would normally only make one! We have no idea how abundant this planet truly could be - no idea at all. But the paradigm we are in is wide open for allowing us to begin finding out. So LET’S GO!
For all those seeking to achieve peak states of health within themselves and for all life on earth, let’s get busy restoring biodiversity - not just in the variety of species, but more crucially of the life within the soil and within our own human microbiome.
It’s not complicated to do - though it does require effort, commitment and courage. Grow your own food, regenerate the soil and eat as diverse a range of natural, minimally processed whole foods as possible.
Regenerating the soil is not difficult - make your own compost and plant mulches, use perennial or self seeding crops that grow back year after year, leave fallen leaves for the earthworms and other organisms to eat, don’t dig the soil up - leave it alone. You can even create larger edible forest gardens within your community - turning unused land into an abundant harvest that can be improved year upon year. There are many books on perennial vegetables, forage gardens, forest gardens, mulching and composting as well as integrating livestock into systems to further re-charge the microbial life of the soil.
This channel offers some very well presented and essential knowledge in how to begin expanding the soil health and from it, planetary wellbeing into previously unchartered territory.
If you want to stick only with the old paradigm - fearfully controlling nature to achieve mediocre results - then go ahead. But if you want to head off to experience the realms of optimal health that we are about adventure into - then be fearless, learn from, work with and help facilitate the restoration and evolution of nature.
I know I am so ready to step out of the shadow of fear and see what amazing potential the future really holds if we accept nature's invitation into a new paradigm of ever increasing abundance and optimal evolutionary health.
Welcome to a new experience of being - when you are ready open your eyes.