The Story of the Human Body

Evolutionary Biology and Mismatch Diseases

The Story of the Human Body – Evolution, Health and Disease.

Evolutionary biologist, Daniel Lieberman in his book ‘The Story of the Human Body’ suggested that medicine could benefit from a dose of evolution. Whilst evolution may appear irrelevant to medicine at first glance, our body is not engineered like a car; rather it evolved over time with modification. It therefore follows that knowing your body’s evolutionary history helps us understand why your body looks and works as it does, hence why you get sick.

Although scientific fields such as physiology and biochemistry can help us understand the proximate mechanisms that underlie a disease, evolutionary medicine helps us make sense of why the disease occurs in the first place.

Over time, natural selection adapts (matches) organisms to particular environmental conditions and this process occurs over tens of thousands of years. Research suggested that it takes 40,000 to 100,000 years for an environmental change to assimilated (genetically) by the body.

However, as innovation has accelerated, initially since farming began (approximately 2,000 to 10,000 years ago), and especially over the last few hundred years as a result of the industrial and technological revolutions, we have devised or adopted a growing list of novel cultural practices that have conflicting effects on our bodies. Many of these cultural changes have altered interactions between our genes and our environments in ways that contribute to a wide range of health problems known as mismatch diseases – which are defined as diseases that result from our Paleolithic bodies being poorly or inadequately adapted to certain modern behaviours and conditions.

Most mismatch diseases occur when a common stimulus either increases or decreases beyond levels for which the body is adapted, or when the body is not adapted for it at all. Moreover a common characteristic of these diseases, is that they occur from interactions whose cause and effect are not immediate or otherwise obvious. And most of these mismatch diseases are ailments that, as far as we can tell, were rare in our Paleolithic ancestors.

In other words, we get sick because we do what we evolved to do in an environment to which we have not adapted, and then pass these habits and illnesses onto future generations, who also get sick..

Hypothesised mismatch diseases account for a vast majority of deaths in the modern Western World. These are the chronic, insidious onset ailments that include heart disease, cancers (some), stroke, diabetes (Type II), obesity, chronic  respiratory conditions, cavities, apnoea, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, ADHD, depression, anxiety, insomnia, IBS/Crohn’s disease, OCD, hypertension Alzheimer’s disease to name a few.

Following this understanding, it makes sense that in preventing and treating these mismatch diseases, we apply what is understood of how we lived and therefore, how our bodies are structured to function ideally.

The aspects of living that most impact our health include:

  • Nutrition
  • How we move and stabilise
  • Breathing
  • Sleep
  • How we think and emote – which influences how we process stress (which subsequently affects all other aspects of living).

This is the primary influence or core philosophy in my approach to treatment and prevention of disease, performance and optimal living. Using what understanding we have of how we performed these aspects of living as we were evolving and applying this in an approach to treatment or living can yield outstanding and life changing results. And, over time, it reduces or eliminates the need or reliance on synthetic or artificial medicines.

Further, the use of accurate and reliable biofeedback to provide information on the efficiency that one is achieving in performing these aspects of living, makes learning much easier and more rapid.

Finally, the use of pure extracts as medicines and supplements, where necessary, provide the perfect balance. As opposed to manufactures and synthetic, or new to nature, pharmaceuticals and supplements, pure extract herbs and nutritional medicines exist in the form that our bodies were exposed to them over millions of years and are therefore far more easily assimilated, or are more bio-available than artificial chemicals and lead to no side effects as a result.

Modalities used to bring about recoveries from these chronic illnesses include:

  1. Mickel Therapy – which addresses imbalance at higher levels – specifically, the hypothalamus which regulates all automatic functions, endocrine function, immune, cognitive function, sleep cycles, neurotransmitters etc.
  2. Nutritional medicine
  3. Breathing retraining
  4. Therapeutic fasting
  5. Herbal medicine

The more we begin to understand how nature has adapted us to live and living our lives in accord with this, and using foods and medicines provided to us by nature throughout our evolutionary history, the more we will shift the focus of medicine from treatment to prevention and optimal living.

Sacha Test Results

Case Study – Weight Loss with Intermittent Fasting

Case Study Using Bio-Impedance Testing and Intermittent Fasting to Find an Ideal and Individual Nutrition/Weight Loss Program for Clients

The featured image for this post shows the Bio-Impedance test results of a client I have worked with recently on weight loss.

Whilst I have worked with weight loss for over 15 years since I began clinical work, and have seen some wonderful results, the challenge for clients has always been not necessarily in losing weight (I have some great programs that achieve that extremely well), it is in keeping it off or continuing to lose weight (if necessary) once they assimilate back into their normal lives.

Simply put, (as I’ve said many times) we have created a mismatch between the bodies we inherited from our hunter-gatherer ancestors, and the culture we have created. So we do not eat the way ‘we are built to’ which makes us fat and sick, deprives us of energy, we sleep poorly and die from chronic, lifestyle preventable, illnesses.

I have been looking for a solution for this for many years – the ‘so-called’ ideal eating plan. And intermittent fasting plays a significant role in this. Whilst no culture in evolutionary history has ever been exposed to the high levels of sugar and carbohydrates we now consume, every culture in evolutionary history was forced to adapt to famine, and therefore, fasting.

Ironically, when I was introduced to fasting over 20 years ago by the fantastic Russian doctor (who I now work with and learn from in my Sth Melbourne clinic) as a part of my recovery from chronic fatigue syndrome, CFS, I was told by many in the medical and wider community that fasting was dangerous and irresponsible. Yet when I recovered completely not long afterwards, they were either lost for words or denied that I was even sick in the first place. Grrrr…

Back to intermittent fasting. I believe it provides the perfect counterfoil for the hiccups we encounter when trying to eat well and lean in the modern world – the odd freedom meal/junk food meal, night out with a few drinks, business lunch, craving for sweet/savoury etc. The challenge lies in finding the program that works for each individual, as a program might have you lose weight, but you end up losing more muscle and water (or as much as) than fat, which is counterproductive in the long term.

Enter bio-impedance testing – a simple and quick, yet based on extensive research done, an accurate and objective measurement of body composition (muscle, fat and water levels), cellular health, biological age, and inflammation/toxicity status.

By comparing the results from bio-impedance testing to previous tests we are able to determine over time, the ideal nutrition program for each individual that provides a counterfoil to the challenges of the modern world, yet it suits the individuals lifestyle so it is more likely to continue long term.

The body composition results of the client in the featured image show that he made positive, yet very slow progress for the first month whilst we were determining a program that suited, whereas his progress in the second month has been fantastic. He lost roughly 2.3kg of fat whilst only losing 0.7kg of muscle (ATM). And in that time he did very little exercise due to work commitments, so increasing his resistance training again will increase his muscle mass. So his fat:muscle ratio dropped significantly, and that is the key body composition indicator we are looking at as research has found it is the number one body marker that contributes to ageing. For example, the average westerner will halve in muscle mass and double in fat mass between the ages of 20-60. Not good!!

I won’t go into too many other factors from the test today for the sake of time, however in the period of testing his biological age went from 37 down to 32 and, more importantly, in the last month it dropped from 36 to 32. So his nutrition is helping him feel younger inside, and he has more energy, sleeps better, improved mental clarity and feels better about himself and food in general.

In addition, via the Mickel Therapy and breathing work I do, I have learned a great deal about techniques we can use, including balancing our lifestyle more effectively, to reduce the negative impact stress has on ideal nutrition and weight loss. As such, I work with these techniques and a client’s lifestyle to support the program. These play a huge role in contributing to the results similar to above I have started to see more regularly in clients over a more sustained time frame.

If you would like to lose weight or explore intermittent fasting and bio-impedance testing further for weight loss or optimal living and performance, contact me at tim@timaltman.com.au or call 0425 739 918. Or go to the booking calendar on this site. I am in Torquay on Monday and Fridays, South Melbourne on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and I offer consultations online via Skype or over he

 

 

 

 

Obesity

Research: Consuming more of daily caloric intake at dinner predisposes to obesity.

Consuming more of daily caloric intake at dinner predisposes to obesity. A 6-year population-based prospective cohort study.

Linked below is a study confirming the old adage “Breakfast like the king/queen, dinner like a pauper”.

Quoted here is the conclusion: “Consuming more of the daily energy intake at dinner is associated with an increased risk of obesity, metabolic syndrome, and non-alcohol fatty liver disease (NAFLD).”

Well, technically this study only suggests the second part – ‘dinner like a pauper’. Or, certainly not a king or queen.

However plenty of studies have found that those who make their breakfast (or first meal of the day) their most substantial meal, they eat better and less for the next 24 hours.

I certainly have found consistently with clients in clinic that eating substantially at breakfast and less at dinner is much better for regulating blood sugar levels, having even and consistent energy throughout the day, and definitely helps to stay lean or lose weight.

Most clients who come to see me often really understand what foods are good, and not good, however many of these people simply do not know how to put together their daily nutrition to get the most out of themselves. They may be eating organic foods, and consuming lots of ‘super-nutrients’ (I quietly hate that term), but so often they don’t regulate their blood sugar levels, so end up having sporadic energy levels and mental functioning, and can often battle to keep prevent weight gain.

If you feel you would like help in working out the best way to plan your daily nutrition, please email me at tim@timaltman.com.au or phone 0425 739 918.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25250617

Juice Fasting

Fasting As a Solution To Optimal Health

Introduction to Fasting

Fasting is a process that allows us to see from direct experience the incredible innate healing and restorative powers that our bodies possess as well as the incredible inherent capacity for health that we all possess as our birthright – a capacity for which most people only ever experience a fraction of its ultimate potential.

In his book ‘Staying Healthy With Nutrition’, Dr Elson, M Haas M.D. describes fasting as nature’s ancient, universal “remedy” for many problems and the single greatest natural healing therapy. Animals instinctively fast when ill. It is the oldest treatment known to us, the instinctive therapy for many illnesses, nature’s doctor and knifeless surgeon and the greatest therapist and tool for preventing disease.

Further, Dr Haas calls fasting, or the cleansing process, the “missing link in the Western diet”.

Most of the conditions for which fasting is recommended are ones that result from the discord to the human system created Western diet and lifestyle. Conditions which are best described as resulting from “chronic sub-clinical malnourishment” (despite having more choice than ever before in human history) in the face of severe “over-consumption or over-nutrition”. In other words, we consume excessive amounts of toxic nutrients such as refined sugars, saturated and trans fats, and chemicals, yet receive inadequate amounts of essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and essential fats.

These conditions are the chronic degenerative diseases including:

  • Atherosclerosis
  • Heart disease
  • Cancer
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Allergies
  • Chronic immune system disorders or deficiencies.
  • Weight Loss – via intermittent fasting only.

Over 90% of deaths in Western countries result from these chronic degenerative disorders. Indeed, ignorance (of how to live in accordance with nature) may be our greatest disease.

Fasting is therapeutic and, more importantly, preventative of many of these diseases.

The term fasting here is used to describe the avoidance of solid foods and the intake of liquids only and we offer mainly juice fasts. Juice fasts support the body nutritionally by providing some of the essential nutrients it requires whilst offering a deep and profound cleansing and detoxification of the system.

Dr Haas describes detoxification via fasting as an important “corrective and rejuvenating process in our cycle of nutrition” (balancing and building being other processes), and a time when we allow our cells to “breathe out, become current and restore themselves”.

It was through the use of fasting to heal a very chronic and debilitating illness that I became involved in natural medicine and nutrition. It literally changed my life and gave me a completely new outlook on food and the incredible innate capacity our bodies have for health if we only take a step back and live our lives naturally in accord with how our evolutionary history has modelled our systems’ to function optimally.

Instead of suffocating my cells and organs via overconsumption of processed and refined foods and ‘new to nature’ chemicals, I simply started eating and living naturally. As such, I have continued to fast occasionally and have continued to enjoy the preventative, healing and transformative benefits that this beautiful and natural cleaning process avails.

Intermittent fasting, or fasting over smaller intervals, but more regularly, has been heavily researched and implemented as an extremely effective solution for reducing weight and inflammation (that contributes to most of the chronic degenerative disorders we suffer and die from).

We now offer a variety of fasting options to clients as a fantastic way of enhancing wellness, slowing down ageing, treating a variety of illnesses and increasing resistance to disease.

Contact me via email, tim@timaltman.com.au or 0425 739 918 to book in or discuss what type of fast would most suit you. I offer consultations in Melbourne and Torquay, or online via Skype…

Juices

Fasting to Regenerate Your Immune System

Fasting Can Regenerate Your Immune System in 72 Hours

Much of the treatment used in healing my Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) in the early to mid 90-‘s utilised fasting as a healing tool.

It was very daunting to me at first – the idea of not eating for extended periods of time did not sit well with me! In my case, I went on a 16 day juice fast – involving 350ml of freshly made vegetable and fruit juices twice a day, the occasional herbal tea, plenty of water, and frequent gut cleaning via herbal enemas.

Not a lot was known about fasting then, and I had MANY well intentioned ‘experts’ tell me I was doing more harm than good. This increased my anxiousness about doing the fast, however the practitioner who was treating me was a former research biochemist in the former Soviet Union who had done extensive research on fasting to treat chronic illnesses and to create optimal levels of health. Yes, the Russians were way ahead of the Western scientific community in their understanding of fasting and many natural health treatments. It is only over the last 10 years or so that Western scientists have started to catch up in this research.

At the time, I was desperate as nothing that anyone else had used or told me about to treat this condition had helped – in fact, most doctors told me I was making it up. I can assure you I didn’t exactly like being as tired and ill as I was all of the time. It was devastating. It shattered sporting dreams I had held since I was a kid and halted my university education severely.

Because of this, and because I trusted the Russian practitioner I was working with, I embraced my fears and discovered the wonderful healing powers of fasting. It was a process that not only helped me completely recover from CFS (no sign of a flare up in the 20 years since), it also changed the direction of my life.

I pursued a career in natural health as a naturopath and have used fasting as a modality in my clinical work ever since, implementing various fasting lengths (from 1-21 days) and types. This is a tool that should not be taken lightly and I have always supervised clients who are conducting fasts, to ensure that they are conducting them properly and coping well.

I have also personally done the same fast 5-6 times since the original one and many one to three day fasts over the ensuing years. My experience has always been that my immune system is far more robust for at least 12-24 months following a longer fast and my energy levels and mental clarity also stay very strong for an extended period after the fast.

The same occurs, in similar ways, when I have fasted periodically; i.e. one day a week or fortnight for several months at a time.

Whilst fasting is not the only modality I use in treating chronic illnesses such as CFS or to create optimal health and vitality in clients, it is certainly one of the most potent arrows in my quiver. And a practice I maintain personally.

Whilst I thank the well intentioned ‘doubting Thomas’s’ for their concern all those years ago, I’m glad I didn’t listen as they had not done their homework.

If fasting is an idea you would like to explore for your own health goals, I would be happy to assist you and supervise you through it. I can work with you in person if you are near Geelong or Torquay, or online and via Skype or phone if you live more remotely. I have several fasting programs prepared that may suit your needs.

Below is a great article showing the potent power of fasting as a healing tool to regenerate your digestive and immune system.

http://althealthworks.com/4651/california-researchers-discover-how-to-regenerate-your-entire-immune-system-in-72-hours-and-its-cheap-too/?c=soe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The No 1 Dietary Mistake Most People Make

Having asked thousands of clients their average daily diet, I have no doubt that there is one common dietary habit or requirement that most people fail to achieve. From my clinical experience, I would say that over 95% of people fail to achieve this – regardless of whether they eat organic, are vegetarian or vegan or follow some other dietary or health approach. It is so predictable.

The answer?

That they fail to regulate their blood sugar levels on a day to day basis. The pattern that usually occurs to varying degrees is that people’s blood sugar levels fluctuate throughout the day with intermittent peaks and troughs – known as hypoglycaemia. The telltale signs of this are:

  • Desire for sweets or refined carbohydrates (processed or white flour, alcohol), or foods high in trans or saturated fats, at the times where we usually experience blood sugar level troughs – upon waking, mid morning, especially mid afternoon, pre-dinner, post dinner.
  • Fatigue at the times above or generalised fatigue.
  • Excessive hunger, especially at lunch or late afternoon and pre-dinner.
  • A need for coffee to get going at the start of the day  or regular consumption of coffee throughout the day – at times similar to the above (especially the first half of the day).
  • A propensity for weight gain.

Why do we get this wrong?

The answer could lie in understanding what our body has evolved or adapted to and comparing that to what we expose our bodies to in the modern world. It is understood from genetic and anthroplogical research that it takes 40,000 to 100,000 years for a change in our environment to be genetically assimilated by our bodies, meaning that the bodies we have inherited are those that adapted to the environment our hunter-gatherer or paleolithic ancestors were exposed to 40,000 years ago or more. Or, put more loosely, our bodies still think we are wandering the bush!!

Yet the environment our hunter-gatherer ancestors were exposed to was vastly different to the culture we have created. Our ancestors lived in an environment where food was scarce and we had to work hard to find it. We were often hungry and exposed to conditions of scarcity and famine. As such we evolved to be extremely adept at seeking out energy dense foods – especially when we were hungry. We all know the feeling that fatty or sweet foods smell or appear almost irresistible when we are hungry!

Two examples of energy dense foods include those high in carbohydrate (sugar) and those high in fat. Yet, there were very few of these energy dense foods available to our hunterer-gatherer ancestors – some via animal sources, or nuts and seeds and maybe fruit. Compare that to nowadays where energy dense foods are everywhere – in fact, most junk or packaged foods are comprised mostly of fat and/or refined carbohydrate/sugar. Food companies, which are invariably more interested in bottom line than they are in our health, prey on this aspect of our behaviour.

The changes in our food chain first began about 2,000 to 10,000 years ago with the advent of agriculture or farming – which is, at best, one quarter of the time it takes for a change to be adapted by our bodies. This saw the advent of grain and saw us start to settle in villages and towns. Evolutionary biologist, Dr Daniel Lieberman, who wrote the wonderful book “The Story of The Human Body”, suggests that while the advent of farming was great from an economic perspective as it made food more readily available, so our population could grow, it was the biggest mistake we ever made from an evolutionary perspective, because it resulted in the carbohydrate content of our food chain increasing dramatically which paved the way for hypoglycaemia.

With the advent of the industrial revolution and our modern technological age, this change accelerated exponentially. We now have far more exposure to carbohydrates, refined carbohydrates, sugars; and saturated and trans fats. And at levels that none of us have ever had a chance to adapt to. Hypoglycaemia is clearly a by-product of this evolutionary mis-match.

All of the eating programs and dietary plans that benefit our health and work in the long run, whether by design or not, successfully rectify this failure to regulate blood sugar levels.

To be continued…