Do you believe in evolution? Are you of the school of thought that the body has grown more intricate and complex throughout the eons of time that life has existed on earth? If so, then for those of you with an interest and love for nutrition, I find it useful to ask what I believe is a powerfully underrated dietary question:
Are we still evolving nutritionally?
Most people, experts and scientists tend to proceed under the assumption that we have stopped and stabilized from the standpoint of evolution. This is us – a couple of arms and legs, a bunch of organs, a nice looking brain, 5 good senses, language capability, an immune system that works overtime to keep us healthy, and some interesting organs of pleasure that keep us entertained and procreating. What more could a highly developed monkey want?
In terms of nutrition, many experts assume that the answer to the question “what should we eat” is based upon our evolutionary past. Well, here’s what we used to eat, here’s the diet we evolved upon, here’s the DNA we’ve inherited, so that’s where all our nutritional answers must be hiding – in the nooks and crannies of our genetics. And this is certainly useful and true, but I suspect there’s way more to the story. Consider this possibility then:
We are still evolving spiritually, emotionally, and nutritionally.
In other words, our DNA is changing as we speak. Really. In fact, we may be at one of those speedy times in evolution when environmental and internal pressures push us to progress and mutate with the pedal to the metal. In the last 150 years – just a blink of an eye in terms of the vastness of evolutionary time – our diet has changed profoundly. And not coincidentally, so too has mean body height, body weight, muscle mass, bone size, life expectancy, and more. Increased amounts of calcium, protein, vitamin D, and vitamin C have been directly linked to these changes in the body.
Think of your life as one big beautiful genetic experiment. Meaning, we’re still growing and morphing. We can literally evolve the body through the experimentation we do with supplements, herbs, vitamins, amino acids, acupuncture, chiropractic, weight lifting, meditating, running, a vegan diet, a vegetarian diet, a raw food diet, macrobiotics, fasting, energy medicine, and so much more. And perhaps we may be performing various genetic experiments that are de-evolving the body – diets high in junk food, sugar, poor quality fat, artificial foods, excessive use of prescription drugs, lack of movement, pollution, stress, and more. These factors can literally impact our offspring for generations to come.
For me, this perspective is so important because it transcends the question of “what should I eat, what’s the one perfect diet?” When we embrace the bigger dimension of evolution, we immediately find ourselves face-to-face with one of the most profound laws of nature:
And day to day, moment to moment, meal to meal, you are that change. Your body is the proving grounds for your own personal experiment in healthy living, thinking, and eating. Perhaps one of the next steps in nutritional evolution is each of us learning through awareness, study, intuition, and body wisdom the diet that is right for our own unique evolutionary trajectory. Who do you want to be in this world? Why are you here? What is your purpose? For me, these are some of the questions that are worthy of our deepest nutritional consideration. I’d love to hear your thoughts. How can the way you eat support your highest intentions for the life you’ve been given?
Institute for the Psychology of Eating
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