Modern processed food may be common, but to our bodies, the modern diet is an extraterrestrial encounter.
In humanity’s 200,000 year history, farming is an suprisingly new development. About11,000 years ago, agriculture started popping up around the globe in a few disconnected areas: Asia, South America, Europe and the Middle East (“The Fertile Crescent” in modern day Iraq and Syria). What this means is that for more than 90% of our development as a species, humans were not eating grains or or any modern farmed foods. Processed foods with refined sugars, refined grains, preservatives, artificial flavors, etc. are only 50-75 years old. This means that, at most, 99.3% of humanity’s evolution was apart from any processed food.
I read this in a Medscape article while I was, literally, drinking my morning coffee. California law is awomely aggressive about how any carcinogen in a consumer product must be labled. The unsettling fact is that consuming coffee does pose some increased cancer risk due to the acrylamide that is made in small but significant amounts when coffee beans are roasted.
Separately, drinking coffee upregulates phase I liver enzymes (primarily CYP1A2) which activates other cancer-causing agents we modern folks are exposed ot every day including: aromatic heterocyclic amines, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and aflatoxin.
Acrylamide and the CYP1A2 issues are even more problematic when the body’s slower and more metabolically costly Phase II detox systems can’t handle the increased load of our modern toxin-loaded lives.
Honestly, I am more concerned about the chemicals used to line the inside of paper cups: PFCs or polyethylene plastics. Plastic lids from disposable cups are highly suspect too. They have Polystyrene: a known carcinogen and a neurotoxin, especially when HEATED. (Zoiks!!)
I finished my coffee while researching this post, and I’m going to continue drinking it–at home, in ceramic or stainless steel mugs. That’s because I take care of my liver with a high-vegetable diet with ample fiber, antioxidants, and phytonutrients. I also hydrate well and take extra liver and phase II support: NAC, selenium, milk thistle, Vitamin C ,Vitamin E, methylation support (methyl-folate, methyl-B12, B6-P5P) and whey protien. I also take probiotics to help ensure that my body is more effective at eliminating the toxic chemicals I inevitably encounter in today’s world.
The take-home point is that is you are a coffee drinker, DO NOT USE DISPOSABLE CUPS–for all kinds of environmental and health reasons and also be sure to take care of your vital liver and gut function. These simple steps will help reduce your risk of serious chrionic illnesses including diabetes, cancer, thyroid problems and autoimmune conditions. Also, buy a couple stainless steel travel mugs to prevent adding to… this.
I consult with patients in the Seattle area and worldwide through remote consultations. If you are interested in maintaining your optimal health, or if you are suffering from a chronic illness that that conventional medicine alone could not fix, I invite you to check out my services and reach out for a consultation.
Depression is predicted to be the second largest contributor to the global burden of disease by the year 2020. By 2030, depression will be the #1 contributor to the global burden of chronic disease in high-income countries.
There is a greater than 16% lifetime risk of major depressive disorder (MDD). Persons living below the poverty level are nearly 2½ times more likely to have depression. 43% of persons with severe depressive symptoms report serious difficulties in work, home, and social activities.
For starters, I take issue with the word “disorder” in attention deficit disorder (ADD). It’s not a stretch to suggest that ADD is actually a normal physiological response to the many insults of the modern world. The hyper-vigilance, distractibility, and impulsivity of ADD could all be predictable evolutionary adaptations intended to help us be safer and more successful in stressful environments.
Stress is not just mental, it quickly jumps to a physiologic effect. When the brain perceives stress, it sends both chemical and nerve signals to the adrenal glands ordering them to make two short-term stress hormones [epinephrine and norepinephrine] and the long-term stress master hormone cortisol. Not eating regularly enough and getting low blood sugar also spike cortisol levels. Cortisol is now known for promoting the dreaded stress-gut that gives chronically stressed people that apple shape.
Epinephrine and norepinephrine both promote the “fight or flight” response to the world by stimulating increased tone in the sympathetic nervous system. Other attributes of the “sympathetic state” are the tendency to freeze up, tense muscles, shallow breathing, and divert blood flow away from the extremities and digestive tract toward the large muscles. The sympathetic nervous system also interrupts digestion and makes it harder to concentrate and integrate and make new memories. If you have ever had trouble getting someone else (or yourself) to see a new point of view in a heated argument, you can probably thank the sympathetic nervous system for that gem of human psychology.
It all makes perfect sense if you think about it; if your body senses a threat (stress) it gets everything ready for a fight or flight from danger. Cortisol helps us prepare for stress by mobilizing resources to raise blood glucose and cholesterol. This sugar boost is good if you’re about to sprint away from an angry rhinocerous, but not so good (AKA promoting diabetes and heard disease) if the stress is an email or a phone call.