- "When I was young, I could eat whatever I wanted."
- "I never stretched as a kid."
- "Gluten never bothered me until a few years ago."
Most people use age as excuse. The number I usually hear thrown around is 40: "When you turn 40, your metabolism slows down" or "In your 40's, your body just can't handle the impact of running." Of course, most of the people making these kinds of statements are walking billboards for their own claims. And while N=1, if you look at the majority of our population you might think their point is valid. Heck, just 30 minutes of t.v. will convince you that with age comes high cholesterol, low sex drive, and midsection weight gain.
And that's the problem. The 30 minutes of t.v. when we're 10 is 1 hour when we're 20. Those two drinks a night at 20 are four drinks a night at 40. Each injustice our young bodies endured in youth is magnified with each passing year until...the straw breaks the camels back.
You may think that all your unhealthy habits didn't impact you when you were younger. But here's the truth. The Froot Loops you ate as a kid (or last week for some of you) were still void of nutrition and cost your body more to digest and assimilate back then as they do now. You weren't impervious to sleep deprivation or caloric excess. That you could bounce back from a night of drinking or an insane workout had nothing to do with how old you were so much as how many years of doing this shit you now have under your belt. You're really only as old as your habits.
The study of Epigenetics explains one of the reasons why life expectancy is DECREASING for the first time in recorded history. Basically, our DNA stores memory. So any choice we made which led to suboptimal health when we were younger has even more and greater adverse consequences on our children. When researchers feed rats a typical American diet, subsequent generations express significant increases in body fat. What I'm saying is that even if McDonald's hamburgers weren't cheaper and more processed today than they were a generation ago, they're still worse for the generation currently eating them.
Ignorance gets passed down, too--though I don't think that can be explained by Epigenetics. It's simply that we've all become so accustomed to feeling like crap that we have no idea what health feels like. We're so sick and tired that we don't even recognize when our lifestyle choices make us feel sick and tired. It's like having a clean glass of water and a dirty glass of water. Put a sprinkle of dirt in the pure one, and you'll taste it right away. But add some to the dirty one, and you'll continue drinking because you don't even notice it. We need to raise our baseline of health cause right now it's in the toilet. Disease has become so easy it's hard to find someone who isn't sick! What is this teaching our children? One cannot know health by studying sickness.
It's said that when the first ships sailed over the Atlantic to the New World, the natives couldn't even see them. Something so strange was incomprehensible to what they knew as reality that their minds just couldn't register what their eyes were seeing. I want my son to be able to accept that health is possible. He should know that health is real, that it's his birthright. And like the great Shamans of old, his vision of what's possible should allow him greater clarity when he begins exploring his own infinite potential.
Here's daddy, Son.
And you can be better than me....