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Does your lifestyle make you thrive?

My experience of people talking about health is that you can either be happy or healthy. Pick one. My view is that you can have both. You are also generally told that the modern way is bad. The attitude is ‘don’t live in the present, live in the past. It’s much better for you.’

This advice frustrates me because it’s so negative. It’s also not what I’ve learnt and not what I see. Lots of people have inspired me precisely because their happiness makes them healthy. These people also live in the present. They aren’t stuck in the older ways that they understand well. They enjoy the experience of learning new ways to get things done and live life in a different way. They enjoy the old and the new equally.

In this article I want to elaborate a little on the vision for this blog. The idea of Cell Your Sole is that through activity you can talk to your cells. Get them to do what you want them to do and what they need to do and keep yourself fit and healthy. At the same time its about living the life you always dreamed of. The message being; Don’t sell your soul (pun intended), chase your dreams instead.

Putting this into practice is where we all get lost. I know I do. So I started this blog to document my journey in search of both health and happiness. I like learning from others what this means trying ideas out. Seeing what works for me.

Is diet and exercise king?

Some say diet and/or exercise are the most important thing in your lifestyle and that it’s easy to be healthy, just follow the right diet and exercise routine, they say. That’s too simplistic for me, life is far more complicated and deserves more respect. Let’s me give you an example:

Meet John, a project manager who is near the end of a big project that’s been running for 4 months. He has been eating and exercising really well for the last few weeks but it’s not been so easy lately. He is spending more time at work as the deadline approaches. More time at the office means he gets less time to relax and so he’s thinking about work more and more. This is making it hard to sleep at night because he finds it hard to switch off.

His nervous system is taking a pounding because he is always stressed. The constant surge of adrenalin is making it hard to sleep. The lack of sleep and high adrenalin levels are making it hard for his body to recover from each day. The body generally only fixes itself when it rests not when it is on high alert. So essential maintenance gets postponed. Sometimes for the entire project. Humans are survivors so the body gets by as best it can.

Such a serious lack of essential maintenance makes the body sluggish and inefficient. So John starts feeling tired most of the time because his body is no longer functioning the way it normally would. It’s been on high alert for too long. He finds the healthy food just doesn’t have the flavour it used to. The food hasn’t changed, his taste buds have. Tired people are drawn to comfort foods and quick fixes. They are the only things that taste good.

Any one recognise this scenario. I’ve been through it many times when I’m in a busy and stressful period and I have seen it in others too. These are often times when following the diet and exercise regime still leaves you feeling bad. Of course it does. You’re tired and overdue essential body maintenance because you aren’t sleeping properly. You have a vicious circle where the the nervous system is always on, preventing proper rest and recovery.

In considering a lifestyle that makes you thrive I’ve noticed three common factors which must be in balance for proper health. These are:

  1. Resources: Nutrition. To fuel challenges
  2. Challenges: Activity. To use the resources
  3. Recovery: Rest. To repair and prepare

Over the course of this blog I will elaborate further on these factors. What they mean, why they’re so important and why I have grouped them like this. For now I’ll just introduce them and put them into practice.

Considering these factors it becomes obvious why the lifestyle is out of balance. The resources and challenges are there but the recovery isn’t. The only way I have found to get round this is to deal with the shortfall in recovery. This is because the stress is preventing quality sleep. I’ve been through this cycle so often and tried so many solutions that I have found it is often that simple. Sort the sleep, sort the stress and all becomes well. Changing the diet doesn’t solve the problem.

Of course sorting the sleep and stress is the big challenge in the first place but then diagnosing the problem is an art in itself. With that done you at least have a direction that will lead you somewhere.

So the path I’m going down is a holistic one. I don’t like explaining everything through just one answer. Food or exercise for example which seems to be a common answer. I’m more interested in the interplay between all aspects of a persons life. How your lifestyle defines how you look, feel and are. We all live differently and in general things work out. People follow very different lifestyles across the world and in general these lifestyles work. What’s important is that the lifestyle is in balance with the person and the situation in which they live.

I simply enjoy exploring what it is to be human. How amazingly adaptable we are yet at the same time how little we seem to know about ourselves particularly our adaptability. On my journey so far I’ve seen and learnt some incredible things. Now, through this blog I hope to share what I’ve learnt and engage with others on the topic of what it takes for a lifestyle to make you thrive.

My quest is a lifestyle that makes me thrive. My question… does yours?

Does your lifestyle make you thrive? first appeared on my original blog. This site is my new focus for health posts so I’m re posting relevant articles here.

Living a healthy life. It’s survival of the fittest

I’ve spent my life learning how to balance lifestyle with health. Everything I learn points to being active on a mental, physical and spiritual level. The activity forces you to grow. The lack of it leaves you to decay.
I’ve been struggling with the common assumption that health comes from what you eat not what you do. It’s the message you get everywhere but it doesn’t fit what I see and learn.

Now I think I can explain why and use an age old theory to explain it. Darwin said it was the survival of the fittest. He didn’t say it was survival of those who eat the best. That’s it. The basic theory of evolution states that we must be fit for purpose. I take this to mean we must live lives that make us fit. Health comes from making our lifestyles fit our environment. Finding and consuming the right food is part of it but making our bodies capable of dealing with the effects of the lifestyle is much more important.

I think everyone forgets that wild animals do not control the soil and growing conditions of the food they eat. They just develop the ability to get the nutrition they need from what they’re given and deal with the by products. That’s how nature deals with it so that’s how we should if it’s going to be sustainable.

Humans have had the same problem for millenia too. We learnt to cultivate the land and move to find good soil but have only very recently had the power to completely change large sections at will.

That’s what I’ve been struggling to put together. A simple line that puts this all in context and shows how activity is fundamental to all life. I think that now I have it.

Learn more about preventing obesityinsulin resistanceheart disease and Diabetesdementia and alzheimers and even Cancer through exercise

Living a healthy life. It’s survival of the fittest first appeared on my original blog. Cell Your Sole is my new focus for health posts so I’m re posting relevant articles here.

Why only drinks that stimulate thirst are profitable

So I’ve had this niggling question for quite a while now. ‘Why do most drinks available not quench your thirst?’. for along time I’ve been ordering a separate glass of water with any drink at a restaurant. In a club or bar I just accept that each drink is going to make me want another.

But why is this the case? Why is each drink so strong and often quite concentrated to make me need a separate glass of water?

I think the reason is basic economics. I don’t think it’s anything particularly sinister on the manufacturers or sellers part. The drinks market is very competitive and needs sales volume to turn a profit. So each drink must be sold in volume. I just think that it doesn’t make sense financially to sell drinks that don’t encourage repeat purchases because you won’t sell many units of a drink that actually quenches your thirst.

This explains to me why the best sellers are coffee, tea, coke and many other caffeine related drinks. Caffeine makes you pee so you lose some of the water you drink with it. It’s also addictive. So you feel the need for another. Chocolate is the same.

I expect that many drinks have been sold over time that do quench your thirst but very few of these have survived for this very reason. They just didn’t sell in the volumes required. They were outcompeted by other drinks.  I don’t see how drinks without elements that keep you coming back for more like strong flavours, addictive agents or diuretic properties can compete in this market.  It’s these properties that produce drinks that won’t quench your thirst because they’re too concentrated with sugarand laced with diuretics and addictive ingredients.

The alternative is to price these thirst quenching drinks higher so you don’t need to sell the volume but I don’t think that sits well with consumers. Mainly because the drinks don’t fit the expectations people have of higher priced drinks. They taste more like the simple drinks you’d have at home not expensive drinks for a special occasion.

This is just my opinion. It helps me accept these things for what they are. We may see this change in the future but I’m not holding my breath. Ultimately I’m saying that consumers are making the choices. Manufacturers and retailers have to sell products that make them a profit. to do this you need people regularly coming back for more. By definition that means you give them what they want instead of what they need.

The funny thing is, I think the exact same thing has happened in the food market. the same pattern and results for exactly the same reasons. Often food and drinks are seen to complement each other.

It’s also why my approach is to make my body strong enough to be able to handle the food and drinks on offer. Instead of spending my time avoiding the delights on offer I prefer to believe our bodies can thrive with a little of these foods so longer as we maintain our true hunter gatherer roots. That is that we must hunt and gather which means move, play, search. Do that and you’ll be able to do what you want when you want.

Why only drinks that stimulate thirst are profitable first appeared on my original blog. Cell Your Sole is my new focus for health posts so I’m re posting relevant articles here.

Modelling high blood pressure

The very long standing debate on the causes of high blood pressure has another piece of evidence to add to the pile. Scientists at the Norwegian University of Life Science believe that arterial stiffening explains 90% of high blood pressure.

Apparently the cause of most cases of hypertension isn’t know. Just 10% have been explained. So the search is on to explain the rest. Klas Pettersen and his colleagues used the best data they could find to produce computer models of how the major blood vessels stiffen with age.

Their models neatly explain the details we know so far. They go further to suggest that the body doesn’t blood pressure directly as currently though. Instead they believe it measures the strain on blood vessels which is the deformation of their walls under pressure.

A fascinating insight if it’s true. It certainly fits with the concept that we generally lose our fitness as we age. Fitter people have more pliable blood vessels because to get fit they force their body to shift large amounts of blood to places where it’s needed. That’s what exercise does. It forces the body to work properly.

In this automated age fewer and fewer people do the exercise that previous generations did. Exercise is no longer a core part of our ecosystem. So it can’t do what it’s supposed to. Thus we see more and more people with bodies that aren’t doing what they’re supposed to do.

Obviously this is a theory with evidence. Not a proof. But it certainly fits much of the wider evidence.

The men who made us fat

I’m watching the the second episode of “The men who made us fat” by the BBC. I’m impressed. I’m used to seeing these kinds of programme. I’ve heard most of it before but I like the way it’s put together. I think it’s really nailing the point that we’re eating much more than we used to and that portion sizes have increased massively in the last few decades. Often they’ve doubled.

What also fascinates me is the relative absence of other explanations. Nutrition alone isn’t enough to explain obesity. Of course, eating more is going to make you put on weight but we’ve known that for years. It’s just being explained in more detail. What’s lacking is any ideas of how to deal with it other than limiting advertising or pleas to eat less.

What I see is that life now is infinitely better than it was decades ago. Mainly because we have more choice, opportunity and wealth. We can choose to live like we did in the 60’s or before if we like. We can also choose to live any other way we want.

The challenge I feel we now have is picking the right lifestyle for the life we want to live. There’s so much information but much of it conflicts with other advice. Watching this programme I can’t help feeling it’s biased. It argues that other aspects of life such as activity levels don’t have an impact on obesity. That it’s solely down to what we’re eating.

The truth is that this is a very contentious area. A previous article of mine considering ‘nutrient intake over time‘ shows that government data actually records us eating less on average now than we did pre-war. So either the government statistics are wrong or the data in this programme has to be questioned.

As for activity levels. It’s actually very hard to find enough reliable research that paints a clear picture. It seems the show has just picked one study from one location to make its point. Ignoring other evidence to the contrary. Basically saying that children are as active as they used to be is an insufficient statement. What dates is he comparing and what populations. Inner city kids, which is what he showed, probably did have as much activity years ago as they did now. But most people lived outside cities decades ago.

The world population has moved en masse to cities over the last few decades. So the reality is that kids are now growing up in a different environment than they used to. Further away from the country and rural areas. Most likely further away from places where running around, being active are easy. But did the study he mentioned take that into account? I don’t think so.

Now I’m getting to the end of the programme and have had a little time to think about it I’m feeling it’s just biased like every thing I read in health. There’s no balance at all. He’s covered many areas but is carefully presenting his biased view. That’s a shame. As usual I was excited to see how it’s presented. I’ve seen a few good accounts of health recently. Maybe the third episode will balance things out.

In the end though the info about the food industry becoming big business I do believe. I like the way it is presented. What I want to do in this blog is show that this is simply our environment today. Humans, animals and all other life have been facing this kind of constant change and challenge since life began.

While we see it all as man made I only see natural evolution. I see the drive for big profit through capitalism as natural as the drive for more individuals of your own species. The same as trees figured out millions of years ago that using animals to spread their seed was better than using the wind. So they learned to live with and attract animals and use them for their own benefit. Companies do the same with humans and cash.

I’m seeing companies as, wait for it, a potentially new kind of life form. I know it’s a crazy notion but stick with me, in that they exist simply to consume money. In the same way that all life consumes a form of energy,. Humans consume calories and use atp to fuel their cells. Companies use money as their energy. Cash flow is their energy flow. Once the flow stops. They die. Just like we die when our energy flow in key areas like our brain or heart stops.

So the focus on the food industry and it’s business practices is useful because it’s describing our new environment. Something we as humans now have to learn to thrive in. As I said at the start of this post. We have it better than ever before so no one really wants to go back. So I think we need to learn how to live with this new world instead of against it.

What I’ll leave you with is the purpose of this blog. The two lifestyles I can think of that are well adapted to this new environment are ‘the healthy athlete’ and ‘the healthy child’. An exact definition of what I mean will have to wait for later. The main point being that they’re in balance with their bodies needs. I look forward to unpicking what this means in future articles. For now I encourage you to watch ‘The men who made us fat’ if only to learn about the new playing field of food in the 21st century

Learn more about preventing obesityinsulin resistanceheart disease and Diabetesdementia and alzheimers and even Cancer through exercise

Welcome

Hey everyone. Welcome to my new blog. It’s going to centre around my passion for understanding my body, the trillions of cells it contains, and using this knowledge to have more fun.

That’s the dream. I’ve always got a ton of things on the go all around this area. Right now I’m building a cellyoursole app where you can explore aspects of a cell and learn how individual processes in each cell can affect the health of your body.

You can see the app is very immature. It needs a lot of work, but it’s a start. I’m continually working on different aspects so it will start to take shape pretty soon.

My first task is to redesign the app. Build it  for mobile first. At the same time I hope to simplify the interface and make it more interactive, intuitive and fun. As part of this I’ve set up as an open cellyoursole challenge at p2pu. I’m hoping to delivering future tasks with different p2pu challenges.

There we are. That’s a start. I’ve got so much more to say but limited time. So I’ll let it come out over time. Thanks for visiting. If you want to get involved then get in contact or join the challenge