Being raised as a prairie girl, I have a clear picture of a farm looks like. Acres and acres of undulating wheat on a breezy fall day.
And that is nothing like a farm I saw in the Amazon Rainforest. Of course, the plants themselves were completely different – mostly trees and shrubs. And the purpose of the farm was different.
Because the farms were isolated, they had a wide variety of plants to serve their family and the community. If, when I mentioned plants, you were thinking of foods that would serve the community, you were mostly right. However, there were also plants for medical needs.
Some plants did both. And perhaps, most plants do both.
In this series articles, I want to introduce you to the concept of your microbiome and why it might change how we think of many, many diseases and conditions, ADHD and autism included.
Sometimes variety is the spice/health of life.
Bacteria live in unbelievable mixtures of hundreds or thousands of species. Like on your teeth. There are 600 species of bacteria on your teeth every morning.
Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.
When we think of bacteria, we usually think of harmful bacteria - the use of anti-bacterial soap, for example. However, we have helpful bacteria in our bodies (mostly our gut) that makes it possible for us to function (obtain nutrients, ward off disease, brain health, for example).
Research is showing that our microbiome is far more diverse and important than we realized, not just for our physical health, but also our emotional health.
For instance, at one time, serotonin was classified as a ‘brain chemical’ (produced and used in the brain). Lack of serotonin causes many issues, such as depression and anxiety. People suffering from those two conditions often are prescribed SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) which increase the amount of serotonin available for the brain by blocking its reuptake.
Recently, it has been discovered that 80-90% of serotonin is produced by the gut.(!!!!!!) The percentage is staggering. So, what if we could prevent depression and anxiety or reduce it (as well as become overall healthier) by being kinder to our guts.
This is what I would call a no-brainer (or, more accurately, a very-little-down-side-but-a-huge-upside-for-a-healthier-body-and-brain-er).
The downside just mentioned, when it comes to food, is that most of us do not eat a huge variety of foods. We often choose the same few proteins, carbs (wheat and sugar in processed foods pops into my mind), veggies and fruits. Variety is essential.
This week ask your clients, students, children and yourself to consider how many whole foods are eaten within a week (i.e. those without an ingredient label. They are the ingredient). How much variety of whole foods does an affluent society really get?
If it is sometimes difficult to have the food make it to the mouth, these are here to rescue you: Catch-It Bibs, Perfect Pocket Bibs and Perfect Pocket Smocks.
Next week, we look at one of the many microshifts that we can make to improve our microbiome.
Providing calmness & comfort, learning & laughter,
P.S. The night beforethis was to be published, I caught the first few minutes of a radio program on this very topic! https://www.cbc.ca/radio/ideas/planet-you-the-mysterious-world-of-the-microbiome-1.4828142
This is a vast topic. Is it something you are interested in? Would it be worthwhile to make it a series? Or wrap it up quickly? Let me know so I can tailor the information to suit you.
https://draxe.com/microbiome/ Good general informationabout microbiomes, with visuals for quick understanding.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serotonin_reuptake_inhibitor Explains the basics of SRIs
Leao was one of our guides in the Amazon. His love of the jungle, knowledge, pleasant personality and Manchester-accented English made him a delight. He also offers his own, much more extensive jungle tours.
firstname.lastname@example.org He has poor access to email so if you email him about the rainforest, you may or may not hear a quick response.