My friend Paul (Hammockman) sent me a helpful article today on the topic of the human microbiome (gut flora) which reminded me of something I’ve shared with many friends, and endeavor to remember myself, which is the subject and title of this post. It’s about our vehicles, which is to say, our bodies. Few people mistake themselves for their rides; yet we often are tempted to believe that I am my body. ¶ Many of us have succumbed to this temptation so often that it is difficult to shake. How absurd! Even so, it has become something of an identity statement. Yet I AM is God’s name, according to CS Lewis, and we have stolen it for a joy ride; or perhaps it’s more of a terror trip at times. ¶ In the comment section I’ve put my response to Paul regarding the article linked above. The article, which is a bit long, is well worth reading.
A fine article, Paul. Thanks for sharing it. It confirms much of my experience: Bananas! OJ! Garlic! Kimchi and sauerkraut!
In the fall I began to start the day by smashing a clove of garlic every morning, and then cutting it into pieces small enough to swallow gingerly without chewing or choking. Also, I started drinking the juice of a small lime each morning, squeezing it into some unchilled water, which is an auyurvedic practice (also effectively adopted by the Limeys – British sailors). And good green tea has been a morning thing for a number of years now.
When I was in business we did some imaging for a genetics-research firm here in Buffalo, Hauptman-Woodward, which conducted the human genome project. It was pretty cool to see some of those graphics. A net observation for me was learning that our human biome is constituted of only 10% human genetics. We’re 90% “other.” Largely, we are a reef. And keeping the surrounding ecology balanced is a worthy assignment for us islanders. Much of my thinking on this has been shaped by two heretical doctors: Andrew Weil, and Depak Chopra, with additional help from Larry Dossey (in charge of alternative medical research at Nat’l Institutes for Health).
Two years ago Mary’s mom was having explosive bowel troubles. I did some research which led me to a probiotic which I take almost daily. Initially I just brought it to Mexico with us, as Mary had previously had a few severe encounters with “Montezuma’s revenge” – dysentery, or diarrhea. But then I just decided it made sense to be proactive rather than reactive. Hey, there are friendly critters in those probiotics! Over the winter I took two inches off my waist, but I can’t tell if it was daily exercise at the gym (a new activity), or the probiotics (also new). I tend to favor the probiotics; but the exercise surely helped gain back upper-body strength, which had been declining.
One thing the article fails to mention, which seems a glaring omission, is the over-use of antibiotics in agriculture and medicine. Waging war against invisible bogies exacts a very high toll on the friendlies. And there is some strong evidence out there that this is a huge aspect of the obesity epidemic which has befallen mankind. I’ve never taken any anti-biotics (aside from ingesting the ones that come in conventionally-raised meat). Being an organic gardener has taught me that chemical warfare against nature is a fool’s errand. Balance requires peaceful coexistence in the One reality.
On the whole, it was a very good winter. ~eric.
Here’s another article on this topic, including additional insight, and including caution regarding antibiotics:
A fine essay on this topic can be read here: