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Taking Care of Ourselves

Oct 11th, 2013 | By | Category: Nick Kemper's Blog

Nick KemperYou get old, prostate and if you have half a brain, at some point you start to analyze how you are taking care of yourself. Here in America, taking care of yourself isn’t always taught to us as we’re growing up. Maybe that’s changing. I know I sure didn’t take care of myself until I was about 30 years in, and even then I was inconsistent and still am.

Disclaimer: keep in mind that all of my ideas are half-baked and over-grilled.

Evolution is a very slow process for animals. We’ve been walking on the planet in some form for thousands of years and over that time, our physiology hasn’t changed that much. Our behavior has. Guess what? Physiology isn’t going to catch up. It doesn’t care. If behavior wants to run ahead and not look before crossing the street, physiology says, “I told you so.” I’m no doctor, nor am I a scientist, but even I can see why our bodies would reject gluten when we didn’t eat wheat for the first 250,000 years of our existence as a species.

A few years back I picked up this discarded book, that one of my coworkers had left lying around, and I read it. It was written by some sort of conspiracy theorist and had to do with health. The book recommended ways to improve health. I asked my chiropractor about it because he is someone I know well and respect, and he’d heard of the book but never read it (I don’t even remember the title or the author’s name now). We talked about some of the ideas in the book, and he thought they had some merit.

A few things that caught my attention:

• Water is treated with chemicals. If you really want to do more harm than good, doesn’t it make sense to drink water that is pure? If you pour water with chlorine or fluoride or god-knows-what-else into your gut, it just kills all the good bacteria your body needs to have a thriving immune system. Where can you find pure water? That’s up for debate, but the closest I’ve found is a mountain stream where there are no impurities upstream, like clear-cuts or forest spraying. Good luck with that.

• Microwaving food changes its cellular composition. So does heating of any kind, but a stove or oven or barbeque doesn’t change composition quite in the same way as a microwave. Here’s something I’ve discovered, though: Cold leftovers taste pretty good. Seriously. Spaghetti sauce has very unique flavoring and you don’t have to heat it to perceive it.

• Plastic is not solid. Nothing is really solid in a way that it doesn’t exchange electrons or larger particles of some kind with whatever is interacting with it. If your drink is in plastic, you’re drinking some plastic. If your food is in plastic, you’re eating some plastic. If you heat up your food in a microwave in plastic and then eat it, you’re conducting your very own chemical experiment with your body. Glass and ceramics are heavier and break when you drop them, but there’s something classy about them that make me embarrassed to hold food or drink in anything plastic. Sorry red solo cup.

• Not only are insecticides and herbicides bad for you, insects and weeds are pretty good for you. Not all of them, but even a compulsive gambler can point out that betting against a long-shot is smarter than never putting any money on a lock. I’m not sure if that metaphor works, but it sounds good (it made sense until I wrote it).

• We’re pretty resilient. Think about all of the stupid and careless things we’ve done to our bodies just in an institutionalized manner (partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, cigarettes, lead-based paint, antibiotics). And we can still recover and thrive. Some of us thrive in spite of continual self-pollution. Amazing.

This is the one that just kills me, though:

• Behavior and economics seem to be inextricably linked. If someone can make money on it, it will happen, on some scale, no matter how insidious and destructive it is. We are so clever at finding a way to dupe other people to make a buck. We can create an elaborate system that actually resists and sometimes prevents corrective action. We can develop an economic system that gives “rights” to corporations that were never intended to survive beyond the limit of their charters, and then transient individuals within those corporations defend its existence sometimes at the cost of their own health and lives, the same way the bacteria in our bodies defends against the contaminants we ingest, inhale and absorb.

There’s a lot of talk about what is organic, what isn’t, and how you can tell whether or not something is good for you. I’m not going to get into that debate, but it keeps coming back to me – what helped us to evolve and get to the top of the food chain is probably what our bodies will thrive on. So imagine that you are a caveman, after the advent of using fire as a tool, or a Native American, before the advent of agriculture, and consume accordingly.

Deer hunting starts soon — can you tell?


Nick Kemper