An insight into some dinner party conversation the other night.
When did we forget that fundamentally as humans we are animals?
As animals walking the planet for many millenniums, we have adapted to different conditions, environments, changing food sources, developments etc just as other animals have. Also just like other animals, our feeding and sleep patterns are determined by our circadian rhythm.
I love animal watching. Here in Central Queensland we live near mangroves where thousands of flying foxes/bats reside. I take great delight in watching their sleep and feeding patterns; their nightly take off is like a dark cloud ascending just after sunset.
During the day you can walk past and watch them enjoying rest time. Very rarely would you see them having an "all-dayer" munching down on some fast food! (Not saying it hasn't or couldn't happen).
Even our beautiful dog starts to yawn and turn in for the night once the sun goes down. He wakes up with the sunrise and launches into the day with a great burst of energy and a re-fuel!
I often like to sit and imagine what it would have been like in pre-industrial times when we didn't have "blue" light (all our screens, our household lights, TV, computers) and we became sleepy with the amber of sunset, fires and candles. Where the morning began with a re-fuel of foods that were from nature. There were no packets, no factories to make quick and easy foods. By no means am I anti-progressive but I think if we are to honour our health, it would help to understand our programming.
Our circadian rhythm does more than help with sleep. It is one of the major regulatory controls of hormone production, cell regeneration, brain wave activity among other functions.
How do we make hormones? We need food and sleep! We don't purchase our hormones (well not historically!).
The way they are produced is by utilising components of protein, amino acids and fats. Hormones have distinct patterning of production with many increasing over night while others decrease with proper rest.
We also need proper functioning cells (made out of nature derived fats and oils) with little power houses called mitochondria (our cell batteries) to produce our energy.
We need to be eating food suitable for the human body and sleep in accordance to our circadian rhythm to allow us to generate the energy needed to get through the tasks of our day.
Where am I going with this?
Perhaps we overlook the simplicity of our needs. Just like the bats and our dog have natural food requirements and they are in tune with their circadian rhythms, we too have basic requirements.
We need food that provides INFORMATION to our body, not foods that make us feel great because they are stimulating our nervous system to request more (those "treats") that have been manipulated to make us want more.
The time we eat is also important as our digestion is not programmed to digest, assimilate and integrate foods after nightfall and at the other end of the day, we are primed to eat at sunrise and through the day light hours.
We need sleep in a rhythm that we are biologically programmed. We cannot expect optimal health if night after night we eat into the precious time that sleeps gifts us by providing all our natural anti-oxidants and hormones to enable us to heal and regenerate.
Sitting back and thinking about it, very simply speaking, we can't expect great hormonal health, optimal digestion, good energy, fertility, growth, mental health and overall systemic health if we ignore the absolute basics of our programming as animals.