500 Words – Day 025 – My Big T.O.E.

Welcome to “My Big Theory of Everything.”

I am an Autodidact and Systems Engineer. An autodidact is someone who is self-taught and a systems engineer is someone that stands back and examines the engineering and management of complex systems, ensuring that all parts are working together towards the common core of the whole system function.

Being the person that I am, as defined above, I by nature began studying the human body and its functionality when my body presented itself as a complex system that was not functioning properly roughly 5 years ago. When I knew that there was something wrong I took my built-in abilities and applied them to my(human) body. And so naturally, I began studying human physiology and disease pathology.

I wanted to understand how the human body functioned from head to toe, or nose to tail. Beyond that, I also wanted to understand what disease is and how I had landed myself in a state of disease.

I was not ignorant to the fact that my lifestyle choices, for many years were at the core of why my body was no longer functioning properly. I, like most people, was living in denial of what my body inherently knew was a more excellent way. I, like most people, simply liked my junk foods, alcohol, and tobacco products. But the time came when I needed to start making more sober-minded decisions with my body or my body was going to kick me to the curb. My body was in pain and no amount of pain relief was working anymore.

The first thing I did was get sober in 2016. A little over a year later, in 2017, I removed refined sugar, candy, junk food, fast food, and pretty much anything that wasn’t made fresh. And in 2018, I finally, once and for all, walked away from all things nicotine.

This was a good start towards working on, “My Big T.O.E.”

In the midst of that process, I began studying human physiology and disease pathology on a daily basis. That was a tough row to hoe considering I had no formal training on the topics prior to my body crying out for help. But being an autodidact and systems engineer made that doable. All I had to do was learn what all of the strange words in the texts I was reading meant. That took quite a while, and I am still learning every day, but it has all been worth the work. Worth its weight in gold.

All the while I kept a working journal of my progress and a log of all the different sources that I had been researching to form my understanding. I even created a website to keep it all in a chronological listing of my studies and thought processes from 2018 through 2020, located at https://fuqna.com.

In September of 2018 also started the website, https://chewdigest.com, as a place to journal my thoughts for an upcoming publication by the same name. Chew Digest. As of 2022, I have already published one volume and will continue publishing subsequent volumes as I continue to develop, “My Big T.O.E.”

Want to read more about “My Big T.O.E.?” Go Here to read more.

500 Words -Day 024- Devotion to Life -1508-

Postulatenoun: A thing suggested or assumed as true as the basis for reasoning, discussion, or belief. -Mirriam-Webster

I would like to postulate that we humans, in the form of homo sapien that we can see in the mirror today, have been around for 50,000+ years. Anatomically speaking though that number could go back as far as 300,000 years. And for most of that history, we were hunter-gatherers. And then somewhere between 10,000-13,000 agriculture, herding, and permanent human settlements began to develop.

Based on these postulates and my studies on human physiology and disease pathology, I would like to suggest that there are likely a fundamental set of rules that are deeply engrained in our physical being. That if properly observed, we would find ourselves more in tune with nature and the nature of reality as we know it. That there is a natural rhythm to life here on Earth that we should be able to observe. An existence that would allow us to appreciate a fuller expression of our greatest asset, time. A life completely free of any kind of resistance, mental or physical.

That in a sense, there is a human frequency by which we would best be served to find ourselves aligned with or in tune with that would allow us to simply be in a state of flow at all times. A cruise control if you will, that allows our physical being to enjoy a full lifespan, healthspan, and life expectancy that all run abreast of each other until we draw in our final breath and exhale one last time. Maybe 120 years, maybe more, whatever that number may be. A natural, singular, universal practice that is around us at all times being practiced by all mankind to one degree or another, whether we are aware of it or not.

Some might call this perfect practice a state of flow or being, “in the zone”, while others may refer to it as zen where one’s actions are not a result of conscious effort, but of intuition and calm attentiveness.

I do believe this to be the case and find that the more time I spend devotionally dedicated to understanding this quality of nature, the more at ease my whole person becomes. Does nature have some kind of divine expectation of us? I do not think so, but there does seem to be benefits to aligning oneself in a devotional manner towards life in all of its ways. I am one with nature because I am a part of nature. The elements that make up the whole of my body have been here on Earth since it was formed and they will remain here long after my body ceases to function. When death actually catches me. When it is no longer behind me.

As such, it has been my observation over the last handful of years that death is not something in front of us, but something that is behind us. Every day, every hour, every minute and moment we live and breath, the life we have continues to be spent and it is death that swallows that life we leave behind. We have nothing to fear about death because it is patently clear that we will all run out of life, ultimately being swallowed up in death; a life fully spent. The question is, how much richer will death be once my life is fully spent?

Death is not to be feared because it is not in front of us, but the time behind us. We do not have to be mournful of death lest we spend our time looking back to a time already spent.

And so I choose to live a life looking only upon life, that which lay before me where fear cannot conquer. Our future is hope, and today is life. This very moment is life and we are as rich as we will ever be in every breath we take.

But in the meantime, I want to see this problem solved. I cannot imagine any good reason our healthspan cannot be on par with our lifespan other than our simple ignorance of what we need to be doing differently. But of course what does that look like. What is it that we are doing that is affecting our healthspan so greatly as to limit it to only a little over half of our lifespan?

Aside from the obvious implications of diet, I am beginning to suspect that sufficient levels of electrolytes in balance could be the greatest factor overall. Could part of this longevity paradox be solved by simple and continual monitoring total systemic electrolyte balance and sufficiency? Wouldn’t that be wild? I imagine a day when we will someday be able to swallow something the size of a piece of rice that would be able to move its way through our gastrointestinal tract once or twice per week that would interact with an application on our smartphones that would tell us what we need to adjust the following week.

I bring this electrolyte issue up because of my own recent journey into raw veganism that was marked by a predominance of fruit intake. As a diet, it made me feel good. But it never felt fully sufficient. Something always felt like it was missing. And when I began adding Dead Sea salts into my diet, that feeling that I was missing something went away. It was a test that spoke volumes to me.

Clearly, sufficient electrolyte intake is important, but just as important is the balance of the electrolytes within our body. Too much of any one kind will mean that our body then needs to remove the excess to maintain balance. Fortunately, our kidneys are built just for this purpose. The way this manifests itself is in us needing to urinate more frequently as this is the path by which our body removes specific excess electrolytes to maintain balance.

If we consume foods that contain too much potassium and not enough sodium, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and chloride, then our body will balance itself by shedding the excess potassium in a urine solution along with the excesses of plasma from our body’s vascular and tissue fluids which amount to about 16oz. or 1/2 liter per day. And this is why too many electrolytes in our diet result in excess urinary production and dehydration. If the body is constantly having to remove an excess of any of its required electrolytes our body will be constantly drawing from our proverbial hydration storage tanks. This is why drinks like Gatorade are so hydrating even though they contain electrolytes.

Clearly, the foods we are eating are important, but maybe we are misunderstanding what it is about the specific nutrients that determine our overall health and wellness. Maybe the answer is found in maintaining sufficient and balanced electrolytes within the overall creature(human) as in some sense a pre-requisite to all things consumed.

On a side note, I really don’t want to overcomplicate my understanding by separating out the balancing of electrolytes as something separate to do from eating. I just can’t imagine that someone living before the 1900’s even asking a question like this or even trying to formulate a formal understanding of one in light of but separate from the other. They were still in such a place that they were just worried about not starving. Not what color salt would be best for them or their fancy dietary regime. What I am having is an internal narrative of someone living in a virtual lap of luxury that most did not share the pleasure of just some 120 years ago. The problem of privilege is a great place to start when exploring the frontier of future generations and the knowledge powered by modern technological advancement.

And so we need to find that state of flow in that river of life which will lead us to life’s fullest end, whatever amount of years that might be. There is no good reason for us to be failing so miserably, making it only to a miserable 78.5 years.

P.S. I don’t believe we have ever truly lived in an Edenic state where everything was perfect and in harmony followed by a fall and a loss of orthodox practice. My research leads me to believe that we are mere infants in our progress and understanding of how the human creature functions and that state we call Eden lay ever before us. That we will continue getting closer to that state as we continue to simply live life simply. Yes, it is fun for someone like me to explore these deeper questions, to find better answers for the following generations. Answers for my kids, grandkids, and great-grandchildren. I would love to see my generation be the one to overcome all of the health problems that I see plaguing the human race, but I am not so naive as to actually have any expectation that it will happen. But the least I can do is continue preparing the way for those who come after me.

500 Words – Day 023 – Conversation With a 12 Year Old Me -655-

I was doing some Uber driving the other day and someone asked me what I would tell a teenage me if I could go back. I kept it simple and told them that I would say 3 simple things that would be easy for any teenager to remember.

    1. Eat only when the sun can shine on it. 6 am to 6 pm.
    2. If you eat something one day, do not eat it the next.
    3. Eat 100% whole-food/plant-based. No animal.

Of course, if I could do that and had thoroughly convinced that younger version of me to do these three things, I wouldn’t be here writing this today. I wouldn’t have had to suffer through the last 4.5 years of recovery from bad decisions that led me to an advanced state of disease.

If I could go back and convince that younger me to live life the way I do now I would have never learned the things that I have given me the life experience and subsequent knowledge that has the potential to help a world full of people do the same as I have. Recover their health just as I have mine.

“I could have missed the pain, but I’d have had to miss the dance.” A line from the 1990 song, The Dance by Garth Brooks. Never have any more true words been spoken as I write this short essay. I could have missed out on this pain, but then I would have never had the opportunity to become the person I am today, nor would I have the future that lay before me as a result of that experience.

So in that sense, I am in some way grateful for all of those decisions that ultimately led me to be the person I am today. And that brings me joy knowing that I can now speak from a place of experience that can help many more people than just a younger version of me. And who knows what kind of impact that will have.

Maybe it will be one of my children, grandchildren, or great-grandchildren that I am able to help in the same way because of my experience. Maybe it will be a whole host of people from all around the world for many generations to come long after I have breathed my last breath. Maybe it will be you; whoever you are that is reading this.

I do believe that I am here for a purpose. I imagine that my existence alone is that purpose and that I am currently serving out that purpose even now as I am typing this short essay. Maybe that purpose is to scavenge the excess oxygen produced by organic plant life on Earth in contrast to the organic life on Earth that sequesters the carbon we exhale with every breath we take.

Of course, my self-esteem or sense of self-importance would like to think I am still just warming up for something greater that is yet to come. There’s just something about my personal identity that wants to believe I’m still yet to arrive at the plate to hit my grand slam out of the park. Until then I am just going to keep writing every day. I will keep banging away at this keyboard until I have mastered this form of communication. If it takes 10,000 hours then so be it. Maybe it will take less.

My goal at this point is to author a whole series of books on how to avoid diseases of any kind. A series of books that will be understandable by young and old alike. A series that will keep people from having to suffer the same fate that I did. Words that will move people to action. To a life of more sober-minded decisions that will ultimately change our future generations of life here on Earth without having to depend on pills or technology.

A simple life. A life of ease, rather than disease.


500 Words – Day 022 – More Aglet Please -612-

Just how badly have we missed the microbial mark and what influence do these microflorae have on the overall balancing act we call life in our goal to make it to 120 years of age with a body that looks and feels no more than a robust 24?

Lifespan, healthspan, and life expectancy. Is any one of these more important than another? A long lifespan is not something I would enjoy if I were hindered from doing whatever I liked because of some physical impediment that I could have avoided. And this is where healthspan comes into play.

Currently, it appears that the human lifespan is about 120 years. In the United States, the current life expectancy in 2022 is about 78.5 years with a health span of about 63 good years of life without many physical limitations. So then what changes over time that results in a decline in functionality and better yet, can that decline be averted? I would like to think so.

Clearly, there will come a time in everyone’s life when there will be some form of decline in functionality. So what is stopping us from extending that decline or at least pushing it back to our 120th birthday or more?

It is us that are keeping this from happening. Our body has the functionality within it to make it to 120 years of age. And I am beginning to suspect that it is the overall condition of the microflora, primarily found in our intestinal tract that is the major contributing factor that determines how close we get to that end of 120 years. And if it is that microflora that is the mediator of that overall healthspan functionality, then what do those microorganisms need to get us to that fullness of life?

The microflora that lives on us and within us is much more at the forefront of our minds than it was just one generation ago. In all the years I spent in school I can’t say that I remember hearing anything about it at all. Yet a deviation in the functionality of this mass of living organisms about our being can have grave consequences in the individual creature.

Our body is a complex system. Within that individual system, there are many complex subsystems that are also complex within their own discrete functions. And yet I can see that we are very little different than a plot of topsoil that somehow figured out a way to wrap itself in a lipid bilayer, what we call skin so that it could get up and wander about the Earth.

Nonetheless, here I am again with this question. What are we doing wrong?

If our life was a shoelace, one of the most important aspects of the health span of that shoelace is the aglet at the end of the lace. Those little metal or plastic tubes that are affixed tightly around each end of the lace. A happy, healthy aglet makes for a well-functioning shoelace. Of course, the lace can always break somewhere in the middle, but barring that kind of failure those little aglets will ultimately determine the overall length of the functionality of that lace.

I suspect that our life is much like this aforementioned shoelace. If it is not overused it will last much longer than one that is abused by overuse. A shoelace can fail from overuse long before the aglet fails and in like manner our human body can fail long before our body loses the ability to regenerate the cells that ensure a full health span of 120 years.

So are we wearing out the aglets of life or abusing the lace of life that results in mechanical failure? Maybe both.

500 Words – Day 021 – Why Are We Here -632-

I do not believe that we are here by chance. I believe that we are here as a mutual response to counteract or balance another aspect of existence within life on Earth as a whole.

Microorganisms like bacteria, yeast, fungi, protozoa, and helminths are among the many lifeforms that make up the zoo that lives on and in me and you. And they all serve distinct purposes, within the overall human experience we call life. In simple terms, they exist to consume that which is no longer beneficial life. They are here to clean up the messes that life leaves behind. They are in the business of bio-remediation. They occur naturally as an intentional function of existence to break down pollutants in any given environment, consuming that which would otherwise pollute the greater complex system we call our body. They are a beneficial part of our greater overall existence as humans as we humans are to the greater world we live in.

We can use this example of our internal ecosystem to better understand our own existence within our greater external environment. Each one of us 7.9 Billion human beings that currently inhabit the world we live in plays a role similar to one of the individual microorganisms mentioned in the prior paragraph. We too are consumers of foods that are no longer living. Our consumption breaks these complex nutrient sources down into simpler components that our greater environment will use once again at a later time. We call this the cycle of life.

Another example of this is the relationship between human life and plant life.

Green plants along with other organisms create what we call food by consuming carbon dioxide and water. The result of this process is the production of oxygen.

Humans on the other hand consume these foods that are a result of this process for use as energy for all of our cellular processes required for life. The byproduct or result of that digestion and assimilation at the cellular level is the production of carbon dioxide that we then exhale back into the atmosphere that is then used as food by the plants. And so the cycle continues on.

But which came first? The plant or the human? Or did they both grow up together within the greater environment, both acting as cofactors in a greater process in the circle of life? I suppose I will eventually get around to addressing that question too. Maybe at this time my understanding and thinking are still too juvenile. It is possible that humans and plants are just two of many more life forms that serve some greater role still yet to be observed or defined.

Some would simply say that we are here at the pleasure of our creator. And I would agree. But how do we define that creative force, nature, and will that some simply call God? Maybe we humans within the greater context of our existence and environment are little different than those microorganisms that make up our gut. Yet we believe that we are so much more intelligent than a single or multicellular organism. But what if that is a mistake and simply a story we’ve created to make ourselves feel better about our existence? And who’s to say that those microscopic lives whose cycle is only but a breath compared to our own as a human is any less than our own?

Wouldn’t that be wild if fungi had stories that they told their budding yeast buddies to help them better understand the gastrointestinal world in which they live, thrive, and find their being? Clearly, they too have a form of consciousness, just like we humans do. They are awake and aware of their surroundings just like we are, which is the definition of consciousness.

500 Words – Day 020 – Raw Vegan Requiem – Natural Hygiene; A Bridge Too Far -873-

I recently spent a full year on a raw vegan journey after I found a group on Facebook that promoted Natural Hygiene that promoted a diet that was not only vegan but one that followed a diet primarily based on fruit and gentle leafy greens. I also decided to remove garlic, onions, caffeine, dark chocolate, even added salt, and bore deeply into eating mostly fruit and salads as suggested by this aforementioned group. The only exception was a small amount of homemade hummus added to my salads in place of dressing. So I guess if someone wanted to nitpick a little they could say that I was only 98% raw vegan. There is too much evidence and data demonstrating that those that live the longest eat legumes on a daily basis. That and I just make good hummus.

I feel it was a worthwhile endeavor that allowed me to learn firsthand a lot about how the human body functions when exposed to a raw vegan lifestyle over a long period of time. Not something a lot of people can say. An its overall cleansing effects on my body were well worth the time and effort. I am grateful for what it did for me and I still believe that it was the right thing to do.

Would I recommend this diet to everyone? Not necessarily. It would depend on the individual and what their diet had been like for the year leading up to their wanting to take on such an endeavor. If they had been a strict vegetarian for a year first then by all means. I wouldn’t see any problem in making the shift. If they were omnivores, I would suggest transitioning to a vegetarian diet for a good six months beforehand. I believe healthy and gradual transitions are the best way to find success in dietary changes.

These days I am no longer a raw vegan for a number of reasons, but most importantly is because there is no evidence that it is the best way to go about getting to 120 years of age with a body that looks and feels no more than 34. Aside from the fact that there is no evidence to suggest that such a hygienic Edenic diet would do such, my main concern with the raw vegan or even fruitarian diet is that it is too easy on the body ultimately resulting in a more fragile state of existence, premature decline, and lower mortality overall.

Humans did not become the dominant species by eating a perfect or overly hygienic diet. On the contrary, it is because of much adversity and stress in our lives that brought us to where we are today.

An all-fruit diet in today’s world is problematic because we just don’t have access to enough variety on any given day to have a wide enough diversity of nutrients to make it even feasible to get enough of what we need, in the way our body would need it for our body to thrive.

And then there is the overly-hygienic state that an all-fruit diet will land your body in that would ultimately leave you with a microbiome that has diminished diversity which is not a good place to be. Our body and mind need to be exposed to small amounts and diversity of stress on a regular basis to maintain a strong state that can better deal with unforeseen future adverse situations. An overly hygienic, or sterile state is not a good place for a human or any other organic life form to be found outside of a sterile or hygienic environment. And none of us live in a cleanroom. We live in a diverse world filled with much adversity and as such our body needs exposure to adversity and even small amounts of environmental stress to remain anti-fragile and strong when unforeseen future adversity should arise.

To be clear, I am still a vegan by definition because it provides us with the greatest opportunity to make it to 120 years with a body that looks and feels no more than 34. However, I don’t believe that we need to limit ourselves to a raw diet and that adding certain plant-based foods that need to be cooked first is an important part of greater longevity and a fuller life experience. They provide a necessary and beneficial derivation through mild adversity that strengthens the body overall.

So rather than arguing about which version of vegan diet is better for every individual, I can say with all certainty that there are other principles that are more important than a list of approved foods that exclude things like cooked legumes, sweet potatoes, and cruciferous veggies. Clearly, some plant-based/whole food is better at cleansing the body than others, but there does come a point where a complex living system can become too hygienic and the needle of health starts pointing in a negative direction. A Natural Hygiene diet is the best for cleansing, but not good for overall longevity and to suggest that it can be a permanent lifestyle is overreaching. A bridge too far.

Adversity and variation are what build a strong and robust body that will make it further down the road while avoiding any states of disease.

500 Words – Day 019 – Stress. Are you getting enough? -1299-

Stress. Our life depends on it. The quality of life and the amount of years we will live on Earth is a direct result of the quality and kind of stress we apply to the systems of the human body. We are like a tree. Apply too much stress at one fine point and it will fall over and die. Add just the right amount, applied at random intervals and the tree will grow strong, both above and below the ground.

I imagine most people would not see stress as something beneficial to their life. But it is. Quite beneficial in fact. In reality, most of us living in the Western World have become quite soft if you will simply because we have come to a place in history where we have plenty. We don’t have the right kinds of stress that would provide our bodies with the right kind of stress that would lead to an overall improvement in the human condition.

Yes, we can age more gracefully with the right amount and kind of stress in our life.

We are very rich compared to our great-grandparents that were born just a little over 100 years ago. We not only have plenty, but we also have a variety that they couldn’t have imagined. But along with the variety of nutrient sources we have today, most sources are foods that are processed and lacking in the actual things our bodies need to help us achieve our fullest potential.

And then there are the right kinds of foods that our body needs much more of. Plant-based/whole-foods. In some places, like Los Angeles for example, we have plenty of access to these natural food sources, but the sad reality is that most don’t have access to the variety that mother nature has created for us. And as such we just keep eating the same few things over and over again. Of bananas, apples, oranges, grapes, strawberries, and a handful of leafy greens we have plenty, but we tend to lack diversity. And because of international trade and refrigerated shipping containers, it is dirt cheap to get a narrow selection of produce in plenty all year round. So we are missing out on the benefits of seasonal variety that would be beneficial for our body.

More than 100 years ago there was a lack of not only quantity, but also a variety that led to disorders like scurvy, beriberi, kwashiorkor, pellagra, and goiter. The wrong kind of stress. Today we no longer have the problems like these that were a result of deficiency of nutrients. Today we have too much but not enough diversity of the right stuff and now we suffer from metabolic disease from overconsumption and lack of variety. And then the icing on that cake is that even if we are getting a sufficient amount of calories from the right kind of foods, the lack of variety is oftentimes resulting in food allergies and behavioral disorders related to food and dietary fads. Again, the wrong kind of stress

Our American(Western) lifestyles would benefit greatly from a little adversity and high-quality stress that would produce beneficial results leading to a better overall picture of health and wellness.

Hormesis, Health, Homeostasis, and Aging.

You’ve heard it said, “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.” A phrase coined by Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900). This is a principle called hormesis. It is what happens when we go to the gym and work out. We stress our body and it responds positively. But that is not the only kind of hormesis. Toxins, or poisons, can also result in a hormetic effect that offers protection and extended longevity of lifespan.

For thousands of years, it has been observed and practiced that low doses of poison could be beneficial to health in the long run. Studies have shown that small amounts of alcohol can double the lifespan of worms(nematodes) as well as enhance the memory of mice. However, high amounts of alcohol in humans result in cardiovascular disease, cirrhosis of the liver, cancer, and neurological disorders. However, there is an overall reduction in mortality, especially of the kinds resulting from coronary heart disease and stroke in those that have small amounts of alcohol.

And apparently, there is a similarly protective effect from cigarette smoking on Parkinson’s disease and may have similar effects on Alzheimer’s dementia. I imagine this has more to do with nicotine which is used as a pesticide in agricultural settings. Remember, low doses of poison can be beneficial. But alas, modern man tends to not practice temperance when it comes to smoking and drinking, which ultimately then makes them both toxic at the levels most will enjoy.

Unfortunately, these two specific hormetics tend to be well overused. But that is another topic for another essay. Nonetheless, hormesis can benefit overall homeostasis resulting in a better quality of aging.

Aging is the condition or process of deteriorating with age and death is the final manifestation of the body’s inability to maintain homeostasis. Homeostasis is the result of the body’s efforts to maintain a stable environment to the benefit of the overall creature(us). A state of ease in contrast to a state of dis-ease. Well, versus unwell. And this is all maintained through a number of different mechanisms, or physiological processes that for the most part go unnoticed as we make our way throughout the day. For the most part, it is an automatic process that takes place, which I imagine is a good thing for us. Especially since our body still needs us to keep breathing, whether we are awake and aware, or not. A feature I definitely appreciate being automated. Some other processes our body automates and regulates are pH, glucose, blood pressure, toxins, and temperature.

What most of us call aging is a shrinking back of the hemodynamic space that is often taken for granted when we are young. We take it for granted in our younger years because our body simply feels and works better. But eventually, sometime around our twenty-fifth year, we begin to feel aches and pains that we didn’t experience in our youth. One might even say it’s all downhill from there. Some make it into their thirties or forty’s before feeling this way, but not without some effort on their part through sober-minded thinking and decision-making processes or by pushing back a little at the gym. This pushing back is called hormesis.

As we get older we start to notice things changing, usually because of what we see in the mirror. An increase in skin blemishes. A thinning out of our hair. Maybe a few gray hairs start showing up. Fingernails and toenails not looking as healthy as they may have at a younger age. And these things are actually good visual indicators of our overall health. They can speak volumes without ever having to use a word as they allow for someone that studies aging to see not only the current state of the body but also what could have led us to that point in our life.

Good health is the result of a body’s ability to maintain homeostasis, but it comes at a cost. A cost that is factored into our current lifespan of 120 years which we are sorely lacking the ability to attain here in the twenty-first century. Likely from a lack of adversity. Maybe it’s time we start being a little harder on ourselves.

We’ve really gotta get this figured out. We are missing out on so much good life. We are literally throwing away the greatest asset of all. Time. And the time we do have really tends to be hindered in the way we age in our latter years.

This is a sad reality that I am going to fix. I’m done aging badly.

500 Words – Day 018 – What is Autophagy? -689-

To eat oneself is the plain meaning of autophagy. It is our body’s way of cleaning itself out. It is the way by which our body removes dead or degenerate cells that have lost their optimal functionality. This way the body can regenerate itself. It literally eats itself and in the process recycles the amino acids or proteins in a form of reincarnation, and it happens over and over again. Our body recycles itself because it is an efficient thing to do. It is the act of repeated incarnation. The process by which our body heals itself by tearing itself down and rebuilding with its own flesh through the process of granulation. A wound healing in the grandest sense of the word.

The human intestinal tract is an amazing ecosystem. A habitat for that which makes up much of our humanity. It is inhabited by diverse and complex colonies of synergistic micro-organisms that not only call us home but are also absolutely necessary for our overall health and wellbeing. We may be an individual in a sense but we are likely better understood as a host of a grand buffet of bacterial components spanning a diverse spectrum of individual players both commensal and pathogenic depending on the situation they find themselves in. It’s one big dinner table in there and there is a lot of diversity in its many different guests.

The lining of our intestinal tract which is also known as our intestinal epithelium interface interacts directly with this houseful of guests and acts as a barrier or first line of defense against bad players that might be interested in finding their way into our tissues. This lining of our intestinal tract has a number of mechanisms by which it protects us against micro-organisms that might want to attach themselves or even make their way into our vascular system. One of these mechanisms by which this is accomplished is mucus. A mucosal lining that has antimicrobial properties that can limit bacterial interaction with the host’s intestinal surface.

So important is this barrier our body even goes so far as to produce its own anti-microbial compounds by which to keep some of these bad players at play. One I find fascinating that our body generates on its own is lectin. A compound that is also a plant defense mechanism that we humans need to be careful of. We don’t want to be consuming too much of this compound as it is found in fresh produce as it will interfere with proper digestion, metabolism, and assimilation of nutrients. We refer to this dietary form of lectin as an anti-nutrient because it interferes with the absorption of nutrients like zinc, phosphorus, iron, and calcium. As you can see, we are not so different from the plants that live around us. We have common interests.

As you can see our intestinal lining plays a very important role in the maintenance of our overall health and wellbeing. Just another reason to be extremely diligent in the foods we choose to put in our mouth. Our intestines are not only our interface with the outside world but are also a banquet table and a battlefield. On one side is the outside world where the food we put in our mouth passes through for consumption by the trillions of micro-organisms that inhabit the passage, on the other our inside world(vascular), bathed in blood that leads directly into our liver through our portal vein for further processing and filtration before the blood that circulates through our intestinal lining enters back into general circulation.

And if everything is functioning as Mother Nature intended that whole internal environment will be continually recycled and reincarnated over and over again, day after day, week after week, month after month, and year after year, for a complete lifetime. What does our ingesting and assimilation will eventually be ingested in this continual process we call autophagy in which our extremely conservative body eats itself to rebuild itself for the betterment of life, not only within this creature we call us, but to benefit the greater outer world we call home. Mother Earth.

500 Words – Day 017 – Anti-fragility and Hormesis -709-

What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You What?

Is it possible that a random bacon double cheeseburger could ultimately make a vegan live a longer, healthier life? What if a raw vegan or even a frugivore could live ten to twenty years longer by simply eating something that is not within their strict framework every once in a while? Is it possible that consuming a diet that is too easy on the system is actually worse than one that is not?

I am beginning to wonder. Because complex organic operating systems are weakened, sometimes even unto an early demise where there is a lack of stress. And as we have seen over the last few years, 2019-2022, Mother Nature does not favor the weak. On the contrary, she favors the strong.

I can’t imagine each and everyone one of us hasn’t heard this many times over. Kelly Clarkson made a hit song with this title in 2011. It’s not just a catchy song, it is also a very true statement within a complex system that has the ability to adapt. In the scientific and medical worlds, it is referred to as anti-fragility or hormesis.

In Greek mythology, there was a story about a creature with nine heads called Hydra. The monster would occasionally emerge to stir up the people and livestock of the mythical land of Lerna. When someone attempted to defeat this creature by cutting off one of its heads they would find that two more grew back in its place. What didn’t kill Hydra made him stronger.

This concept can also be seen in the plant world through a process called topping in which the main stalk of the plant is cut resulting in the plant redirecting its energy and growth hormones out to the side branches resulting in the branches growing more robustly in an outward fashion instead of continuing skyward. The intended result is a plant that produces more fruit.

And this is why you see so many humans working out. What doesn’t kill us does quite literally make us stronger. You see, some things benefit from a shock to the system that pushes a smooth running organic machine out of balance. Even our bones grow stronger when put under stress by physical activity. But there does come a point where that stress can become too much and the benefits are no longer as robust. This brings me to my another question I will address later. How much is too much?

So, back to the double bacon cheeseburger question. Could an occasional curveball actually be better for the human body than a perfectly executed raw vegan diet? It would seem so. Even Dr. Valter Longo, author of The Longevity Diet notes that those who indulge in a small amount of fish once per week ultimately live longer healthy lives than those on a strict, 100% uncooked whole-food/plant-based diet. Nonetheless, he still stresses the importance of maintaining a 95% whole-food/plant-based diet. But I don’t really remember ever hearing him clearly state what that mechanism of action is by adding a little fish to the diet.

My feeling is that it boils down to the hormetic/anti-fragile effects of the animal food product acting as a small amount of poison that kicks our body’s immune system into high gear. That just a few ounces of fish once per week causes our body to produce an excess amount of neutrophils, eosinophils, basophils, monocytes, and lymphocytes that then go out into the body to fix the problem.

And this is where the magic happens.

Not only is the specific poison addressed by all of those amazing immune cells that our body produces for times just like these, but they also go about cleaning up a whole host of other lesser things that were flying just below the radar at a subclinical level improving the overall health of the human body. Cleaning up other senescent cells that are no longer beneficial to life, but not quite problematic enough to trigger an immune response. Individually, those senescent cells won’t take out the creature(us), but over time they will and do build up to a level that eventually precipitates a health crisis that most aren’t even aware of until we start experiencing systemic inflammation requiring an interventional response.