Happy Birthday Chuck!!
Feb 12, 2009 is the 200th birthday of one of the most influential people in history, Charles Darwin. There have been some phenomenal accounts of his life including a BBC series that is as thorough as it is enjoyable…do check it out.
So, I want to celebrate this great man’s birth by relating some of my thoughts on evolutionary medicine and it’s role in my life. This whole story really starts in late 1998 when I was terribly sick with colitis, high blood pressure, depression…altered blood lipids…I was a mess. I was also vegetarian, dutifully eating a high carb, low fat diet. it’s not overstating things to say that I was on a fast track to an early grave. About this time my mother went into the hospital with complications arising from both heart and lung failure. The doctors had no idea what was wrong with her other than she had some kind of auto immune reaction and wicked systemic inflammation. During the course of her testing her doctors discovered she has celiac…an autoimmune reaction to the protein glidan, a subfraction of gluten which is the major protein found in grains such as wheat, rye, oats barly and millet. Apparently her autoimmune problems stemmed from this gluten intolerance…and it very nearly killed her. For me it was a stunning eyeopener. If the grain based, morally superior diet I had been eating was the cause of my problems…what the hell should I eat? I literally sat outside in a park wondering what the hell I should do. If my grain based diet was killing me (and it most assuredly was) what should I do? i think sitting in a small slice of greenery got me thinking about nature. I thought “What should anything eat? What if we go back to the very beginning…evolution…Hunter Gatherers…what about a paleolithic diet?” That was literally the sequence of thoughts I had and a quick internet search lead me to Art Devany, Loren Cordain, Crossfit, a life free of illness (besides tequila induced hangovers). My life was changed and the effects of that one thought about our past as hunter gatherers, this notion that WE are a product of our environment…this changed everything in my life. I think it’s safe to say this change not only saved my life but set me on a path which has allowed me help a remarkable number of other people with problems ranging from infertility to cancer to autoimmunity.
Charles Darwin’s insight, of evolution via natural selection, is generally regarded as the most powerful insight in ALL of science. It provides a framework for analyzing highly complex systems. Life itself in fact! Prior to this insight biology appeared to be a disjointed jumble of facts and measures with no coherent theory tying the whole thing together. A tragic feature of modern medicine and nutrition is the violent opposition to this thought, that evolution is an insight into our life and health. The California State University Chico “Nutritional Science” department is violently opposed to even the discussion of evolution via natural selection. The guiding tenant of biology is ignored and lambasted by these folks. Science indeed.
I’d like to thank Craig Zielinski for his awesome site Re-design…you absolutely ROCK brother!
I’d also like to share a photo from the Complete Works of Charles Darwin. The diagram is of a 3 dimensional phylo0genic tree…implying not only relatedness but the 4th dimension of time. All this preceded with the amazingly understated comment “I think”.