Ancestral Eating (& decolonizing our food)

Ancestral eating croppedA couple hundred years after my ancestors destroyed the food systems of the Indigenous peoples of the Americas we’ve started our very own ancestral food movement.

And most Indigenous people, after generations of marginalization, colonization and cultural (as well as literal) genocide aren’t in a position to afford to eat ancestrally, unless they managed to maintain their traditional hunting, fishing and gathering practices.

I wrote about this once already in My Ancestors came from Candy-land.

But I need to write about it again.

Please! When you come, bring Moose, Venison, Beaver, Bear or Salmon~

A tour of Southwestern Canada last summer by Unist’ot’en Hereditary Chiefs to gather support for the Unist’ot’en’s stand against the construction of fossil fuel pipelines through Northern British Columbia included an event in Victoria, where I live.

Venison pot roast, present & future 2
Venison pot roast, present & future~

Event organizers made an urgent request on behalf of the Unist’ot’en delegation: “Our guests eat a meat and fish rich diet. If you are in any position to bring any wild game – moose, venison, beaver, bear or salmon, any of these are most appreciated.”

Those of us who eat ancestrally can appreciate the challenge of finding food while traveling. Wanting to be gracious guests while trying to find anything (anything?) that resembles real food in faraway lands.

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The Skin Microbiome (& Our Personalized Microbial Cloud~)

The Skin Microbiome Banner

I wish I had microscopic vision.

Because you wouldn’t look like a human, but a mass of microorganisms organized in a human shape, surrounded by cloud of microbes that would swirl every time you moved.

Or scratched yourself.

So pretty~!

We know that the microorganisms that live in our gut are critical for our health.

But we tend to forget about the skin microbiome.

Like the microbes in our gut, the microflora that live on our skin defend their habitat for their own survival, and depending on whether the resident communities of microbes are ‘commensals’ (our allies) or pathogens, these residents either offer us protection or cause us harm. Read More

The New Stages of Change

ChangeWe all want to change.

And change is constant.

But we want the ability to create specific change.

We want the change we want.

I’ve been thinking about change for 20 years. And I’m proposing a 21st-century adjustment to the way we think about it.

The Old Change

According to the old-fashioned Change theory, at first we don’t think about change, then we start to think about it, then we prepare and then we take action.

Sometimes during our change efforts, we Relapse.

If we’re successful, we enter the Maintenance stage, and once we get there we’re different than before. Then we terminate our change efforts, because the change process is complete.

The Old...It’s logical.

It can be useful.

But it’s linear.

And change is often not.

We are complex systems living in complex systems.

And change in complex systems includes tipping points. Butterfly effects. And unanticipated outcomes.

Our change efforts transform the world. Both in and around us.

Change alters our relationships. And those relationships change us.

A change in perspective transforms the way we see the world. And the world, in turn, modifies our perspective.

As soon as we begin to think about change, things change.

Once we begin contemplating change, we are already viewing life differently. Already, there are more possibilities. We may find those possibilities exhilarating or terrifying, but once we know about them, it’s hard to unknow that they’re there.

After a couple of decades of working for intentional change in social systems & a number of years immersed in my own n=1 experiments to improve my health, I’ve revised the old stages of change.

To reflect the reality of creating intentional change in a complex world.

The New Change

Stages of Change new & oldPrecontemplation & then Contemplation. That’s how change begins.

But let’s compress Preparation & Action into a new stage: Engagement. Because as soon as we begin to think about change, things change.

And let’s reimagine the idea of relapse.

Because as long as we remain committed to biohacking, as long as we remain curious about why we might be reverting to behaviours we would like to change, and as long as we remain committed to that change, non-linearity in our progress doesn’t always have to be a relapse.

It can be a chance to learn more about ourselves.

An opportunity to adjust course.

Try something new.

Refine our approach.

It’s through the fits and starts that we can come to know ourselves more deeply as we move through the process of change. And through this deepening self-knowledge, we are changed. And become more effective at creating intentional change.

It’s what the n=1 movement is all about~.

The New Stages of Change: A Summary

Precontemplation

We are precontemplative when we are not yet considering change.

Contemplation

As in the original Stages of Change theory, we begin by contemplating a change we want to make.

Engaged

Really, we are engaged in change as soon as we begin the process of contemplation. But we don’t always move from contemplation to engagement.

The shift happens when we make some kind of conscious resolution. Yes. This is what I want (or need) to change.

We prepare, we take action. And as soon as we engage, we begin to change.

The change process may be non-linear. It may involve some vacillation between our previous and our desired state, but we stay engaged.

A desired state that is differentWe remain observant.

We keep learning and improving our strategy to help integrate our change.

Integrated

We are integrated in our change process when it becomes part of us.

Even if we experience a reversion to old patterns, we pop back to our changed state because we have established a new equilibrium.

Actualized

Self-actualization is the goal.

Once we embark on the process of change, we are exploring what we are capable of becoming. We are already becoming more actualized.

Back in 1943, in paper called A Theory of Human Motivation, Abraham Maslow defined actualization as “the desire for self-fulfillment, namely the tendency for [the individual] to become actualized in what [she or] he is potentially. This tendency might be phrased as the desire to become more and more what one is, to become everything that one is capable of becoming.”

Biohacking 101: Clean your Laboratory

Carafe of clean and dirty water
You are the laboratory~

You are the laboratory~.

To generate useful data to improve your health and well-being, you first need to get your laboratory cleaned up!

Once you do, you’ll be able to develop your own protocol. You’ll know what foods are best for you, what forms exercise (& in what dosage) you need, and what other lifestyle factors support your health.

How you approach your laboratory clean-up project is entirely up to you. As long as it’s through an elimination diet.

An Elimination Diet

If you see a naturopath, you are (inevitably) going to be told to remove the basic inflammatory foods for 30 days & then reintroduce those foods, to see how they affect you.

A more extensive elimination diet is recommended by all my favourite healers & optimizers, including Chris Kresser in Your Personal Paleo Code, Sarah Ballantyne in The Paleo Approach, Terry Wahls in The Wahls Protocol, and Dave Asprey in The Bulletproof Diet.

Though these protocols vary slightly, they are based on the same science and are extremely compatible (if not largely identical).

They are all Paleo protocols.

But the timeframe for the recommended elimination phase varies.

The Bulletproof Diet

Dave Asprey’s Bulletproof Diet focuses on optimization; helping people without complex health issues to significantly upgrade their lives.

His recommended elimination phase is brief: 2 weeks. But he suggests that once people experience the benefits, they might decide to stay on the Bulletproof Diet for life.

The Autoimmune Protocol

Sarah Ballantyne focuses on reversing autoimmune conditions.

For people with autoimmune disease, she notes that improvement in symptoms will depend on:

  • the degree of inflammation and intestinal permeability;
  • what type of antibodies are being mobilized;
  • which cells those antibodies are attacking;
  • how long the body has been in autoimmune response;
  • how gene expression responds to improved conditions; and
  • how strictly the protocol is implemented.

She suggests that most people should have experienced improvements within 2-4 months on the Autoimmune Protocol, but that significant healing often takes years.

Clean Your Laboratory (thoroughly~)

Matthew and I first learned about Paleo healing protocols from Diane Sanfilippo’s 2012 book Practical Paleo.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAt that time, Matthew was extremely disabled by several autoimmune conditions & I had been Paleo for a year.

Matthew had tried being Paleo for awhile, but found that a regular Paleo diet exacerbated his symptoms.

We decided to try the 30-day autoimmune elimination diet from Diane’s book & expected nothing less than miraculous results by month-end. So when Matthew experienced no improvement, he became tremendously discouraged and reverted back to eating all his SAD-old comfort foods.

It wasn’t until months later that we noticed that his psoriasis symptoms were better than they had been in years.

On reflection, we realized that the trend had started with the elimination diet. Which was enough to convince Matthew to (unenthusiastically) try it again. This time with the help of Eileen Laird & Sarah Ballantyne‘s blogs.

Festina Lente

~Make Haste Slowly
~Make Haste Slowly

‘Festina Lente’ is Latin & means ‘Make haste slowly’.

It’s an ancient concept, but one that isn’t often championed in our culture.

Festina Lente could be the maxim for cleaning your internal laboratory. It could also be the adage for healing through nutritional and lifestyle protocols.

The fantastic news is that by ‘making haste slowly’ with an elimination diet, you are not only cleaning your laboratory, which will enable you to know yourself better and gather data to improve your n=1 experiments, but you are also initiating the healing process.

Make Haste Slowly

To truly clean up your laboratory, 30 days is probably not enough. But it’s a beautiful beginning~.

You run the experiment, you get the data & you decide.

You are the laboratory.