Here at Mark’s Daily Apple, we advocate the Primal Blueprint Lifestyle, that is, a health philosophy that in large part acts to mimic the diet and physical activity of our pre-agricultural ancestors.
And, while we’ve explained in the past what it means to “Get Primal,” we figured what’s not to love about a bulleted list that reminds us how to incorporate these methods into our everyday lives.
I received tons of emails from last week’s Gene Expression: Location, Location, Location post. Thanks to everybody for their feedback and questions. In the comment section of last week’s post, Ed was interested in other concrete examples of gene expression (the ability of a gene to produce a biologically active protein). In personal emails, others asked for more explanation of the difference between genes and gene expression. Still others wanted to hear more about the interaction between their gene expression and lifestyle choices. Given the range of reader questions this week, I thought I’d reframe this week’s Dear Mark to include more of an overview of this recurring MDA theme. There’s a lot to be said on the subject, and I promise this post won’t be the last word on it. Nonetheless, there’s no time like the present to give a proper introduction and dive right in.
Let me just say that gene expression is one of my favorite areas of interest, and it’s truly at the heart of the Primal Blueprint. In fact, it’s the real beauty of it as well. It confirms that the day-to-day choices we make have incredible impact. And we can influence gene expression to a far greater degree than anyone ever thought possible.
Geneticists at North Carolina State University have revealed an interesting lesson in gene expression: where you live can have significant impact on how your genes are expressed.
The scientists focused on a sample of 46 Moroccan Amazighs, a relatively homogenous group genetically-speaking. The subjects included desert nomads, mountain agrarians and coastal urban residents. The researchers analyzed the white blood cells of the group “to study the impact of the transition from traditional to urbanized lifestyles on the human immune system.” The results surprised even the scientists themselves: gene expression in the group varied by up to one-third based on geographic location and corresponding lifestyle.
We arm ourselves with knowledge. We gauge the evidence and outline a plan. We form our ideals and establish steps for carefully considered goals. We seek out support and put our noses to the grindstone. We stay focused, keep learning and hone the design with time and experience.
Goals require responsibility, commitment and fortitude, but life invokes flexibility, compromise. In the midst of all the good, the bad and the ugly we hash out here (in the name of the Primal Blueprint), there it is at the end of the day: the compromise.
Now and then we stumble upon research and ideas that, while they’re not at the heart of MDA focus, nonetheless grab our attention and get us thinking. (Variety is the spice of life, no?) We talk a lot about the carryover between our paleo ancestors and contemporary selves: the physiological patterns relevant to nutrition, fasting, exercise, stress response, etc.
So, what about other vestiges from Grok’s heyday? Some of us were familiar with the scientist, E.O. Wilson and his theory of biophilia, the concept that humans have an innate, biologically determined need for nature. Wilson’s theory has been around for years, but the concept is getting renewed attention lately. Turns out, as we round the corner to April next week, we have the opportunity to observe not just the first full month of spring (group sigh of relief) but “Children and Nature Awareness Month,” as declared by the national organization Children and Nature Network. The organization was founded by Richard Louv, noted journalist and author of a book called Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder, a book we were inspired to pick up. Sine then, it’s been intriguing fodder for water cooler talk.
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