By Lise Alschuler, ND, FABNO, and Karolyn A. Gazella
Nature versus nuture. Do you think that your genes are your destiny? Think again! The truth is, we can directly and profoundly influence how our genes behave. While it is true that our genes do have influence, they are more like a blueprint. The house built from a blueprint depends on the skill of the builders, the materials used, the lay of the land, and the interpretation of the construction crew. We too have the opportunity, through the choices we make, to change the expression of our genetic blueprint.
How do we change our genetic expression? There are five bodily pathways that have the greatest influence on our genes and our health. Those five pathways are immune, inflammation, insulin resistance, hormones, and digestion and detoxification. These pathways are superhighways of influence that carry information from our lifestyle to our DNA and specifically to the proteins that switch genes on and off. And the status of these pathways has significant impact on how our genes behave. There are five core strategies that most influence these pathways: diet, movement, dietary supplements, rejuvenation, and spirit. Implementing critical actions within each of these core strategies will greatly impact the pathways, ultimately changing our DNA expression towards health and away from disease. This five-part plan can become a lifestyle strategy to create vital living and lower the risk of chronic disease, especially cancer.
The key to thriving is to incorporate actions steps into our daily lives. For example, from a dietary standpoint, here are five things you can do each day to enhance your health and help prevent serious diseases such as cancer:
- Engage your five senses when you eat (smell your food, feel its texture in your mouth, appreciate the beauty of the food, really taste your food, and listen to the world around you as you enjoy your meal)
- Add more colorful fruits and vegetables to each meal (strive for a rainbow on your plate)
- Add more spices like rosemary, turmeric, and garlic to your food (more is better, and be sure to use fresh spices whenever possible)
- Eat a whole food diet and eliminate processed foods as much as possible (you should be able to recognize the food you eat by looking at it!)
- Eat organic whenever you can (especially when it comes to thin skinned fruits and vegetables, poultry, beef, and dairy)
These five dietary action steps are based on the scientific literature and what research has confirmed. Whether you are faced with a diagnosis, want to prevent a recurrence of a serious illness such as cancer, or are just interested in revitalizing your health and wellness, choosing how you live our daily life can make all the difference!
It’s time to Thrive!
About the Authors
Dr Lise Alschuler is a naturopathic doctor with board certification in naturopathic oncology and has been practicing since 1994. She is past-president of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians and a founding and current president of the Oncolofy Association of Naturopathic Physicians. She maintains a naturopathic oncology part-time practice out of Naturopathic Specialists, based in Scottsdale, Arizona. Previously, she was the department head of naturopathic medicine at Midwestern Regional Medical Center. In September of 2000, Dr. Alschuler was named by Seattle Magazine as one of Seattle’s Top Doctors.
Karolyn A. Gazella is the publisher of the Natural Medicine Journal, an innovative peer-reviewed medical journal for holistic-minded healthcare practitioners. Karolyn has been writing and publishing wellness information since 1992. She is the author or co-author of hundreds of articles and several books including her latest book The Definitive Guide to Thriving After Cancer that she has written with Dr. Lise Alschuler. Along with Dr. Alschuler, she is the co-host of the Five to Thrive Live! radio show on the Cancer Support Network, online at w4cs.com, and the co-creator of the Five to Thrive® Plan. She is also the author of The Healing Factor, a blog on PsychologyToday.com.