I want to start by telling my version of a story learned from John Durant.. from his book “The Paleo Manifesto”...
We begin with a story of this guy who is having a variety of problems in life. He is overweight, losing his hair, having skin conditions, joint problems, digestion problems, diarrhea, he is depressed, not sleeping well, lost interest in sex, can’t really complete the act of sex when he is interested and he is suffering from diabetes and heart disease. He is a wreck!
Sounds a lot like some of us doesn’t it?
There is a significant difference in this guy though…from you and I, he is a Gorilla living in a Zoo.
[Technically so are we!... but, I digress.]
Why in the world are we talking about gorillas!? Well, they are incredibly similar to human beings.. and I’m not suggesting that we are apes or gorillas… just that metabolically and otherwise we are very similar.
OK, so you get it .. that we are SIMILAR.. so still why are we talking about them and not humans… well, we will... it’s just an interesting parallel and it gets even more interesting.
There were scientists, researchers, veterinarians and others that were interested in why this ape and others were suffering from these conditions at rates far higher than those that were still in the wild. Also, there were concerns about why these same animals were dying in captivity many years earlier than their brothers in the wild! Why?
It was finally discovered that several factors associated with health and wellness were at play. These animals were not eating diets that were natural to them, nothing near what they ate in a natural environment.. sure the nutritional values of macro and micronutrients were taken into account when the zoo’s made their food.. but it wasn’t the same.. they were essentially fed biscuits with vitamins and minerals added.. among a host of things that weren’t natural.. as binders, as fiber and for whatever else it was deemed necessary for these animals! It just wasn’t anything like what they ate in their natural habitats!
Neither was their environment.. when this story (in John Durant’s book) took place; zoos were stark, they didn’t have simulated natural environments.. they were housing the primates in concrete cells.. with spectator windows or worse yet just bars fencing them in. Often under artificial light. It was dismal, to say the least.
The full story and John Durant's book “ The Paleo Manifesto” is definitely worth a read.. and is far more interesting than my brief description.
So, why mention these apes? Well, they (the scientists and zookeepers) ended up making some changes that turned everything around! The apes started getting back to healthy weights, they started mating again, they got healthier... no more heart disease, no more diabetes and pretty much everything got better!.
What changes did they make? Well, they fixed their diets.. gone were the biscuits and other man-made concoctions for their meals.. they started getting fruits and vegetables similar to what they ate in the wild, the artificial lighting was not on through the night, they had environments that were similar to nature erected.. they were now able to swing, jump, climb and do whatever they wanted in a very comfortable environment! They began to live life a bit more naturally.
How does this relate to you and me? … I’m sure you see this already... but, if we change elements of our lives that are not healthy.. we can change things in our lives for the better too! If you are not sleeping well, not eating well, not active enough, etc.. you too are probably suffering from obesity and a range of related disorders.. that all are contributing to factors known to cause metabolic syndrome. We’ll talk about this syndrome and the related markers.. as well as Morbidity and Mortality in the next issue… see ya there!
Updated Tue, March 31, 2020
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Music: Lawrence Edward Magee*
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