Feeding Your DNA - Epigenetics

The way we live feeds information to my DNA about our environment. These choices we make influence the way our genes are expressed. Choose well and our genes will help us to be healthy and strong, choose poorly and we'll get weak, fat and sick.

Why your DNA is no longer your Destiny

The human genome is an ancient biological blueprint that's billions of years old. Our unique sequence of nucleotides (A, T, C and G) is passed down to us by our parents. Most of us think it's fixed and deterministic, but most of us would be wrong!

Our genome is fixed but the expression of our genome is flexible. How our genes are expressed changes all the time in response to our environment. This ability is both a blessing and a curse.


Epigenetics is a fascinating and incredibly empowering. Scientists are learning how genes are switched on or off by environmental triggers. Since we control our environment, we can control the expression of our genome.

We can choose the job we have, the hobbies we have and the food we eat. If we make positive choices we can be healthy, happy and strong. With some obvious exceptions, human beings can all achieve health and vitality. But we have to help our genes express themselves in the best possible way. We do that by learning how to think, eat and move.

Evolutionary Mismatch Theory

I have spoken in the past about the Evolutionary Mismatch Theory (see link at the end to learn more). The theory explains how we have adapted in response to our environment. When our environment changes we are left with old adaptations that no longer serve us.

Genetically, we are virtually the same as our hunter-gatherer ancestors. Many people think that our ancestors had horrible teeth and died by the age of thirty. This is a myth left by people who wanted us to believe that tribal people were wild savages.

Peter McAllister, the author of Manthropology: the Science of Inadequate Modern Man, describes today’s males as the “sorriest cohort of masculine Homo sapiens to ever walk the planet”. He found some compelling evidence that 20,000 years ago aboriginals might have reached speeds of 23mph on soft, muddy ground.

The headline line was that our ancestors would out run Usain Bolt! Bolt, by comparison, can reach a top speed of 26mph but with modern training and equipment aboriginal hunters might have reached speeds of 28mph!

The best ways to feed your DNA

Anyway, back to DNA!

We must think, eat and move in a way that helps our DNA express itself with strength and vitality. The only way to do this is through deliberate suffering.

It was the wild, harsh environment of the past that made us so strong and resilient. The comfortable and safe environment of todays industrialised world makes us weak and susceptible to disease.

The kind of deliberate suffering is only a temporary phenomenon because we adapt and become more resilient. If I am training for a marathon, I am choosing to suffer. When I get in a cold shower, I am choosing to suffer. When I resist the daily temptations of sweet treats, I am choosing to suffer.

The thing about suffering is that its not REAL! It is only our thoughts about an experience that make us suffer.  If you choose to suffer to become stronger, it not suffering it's training!

I have had a cold shower every morning for about six years now, in the beginning it was hard, really hard. But eventually it became a habit and my body and mind adapted. Now cold water provides me many benefits, both physical and mental.

To help support my argument about suffering here are a few quotes:

“It’s not events, but our opinions about them which cause us suffering.”
— Epictetus - Stoic philosopher
“To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering.”
— Friedrich Nietzsche, German philosopher
“It’s not the problem that causes the suffering; it’s our thinking about the about the problem.”
— Byron Katie, American author

With that in mind, it's time to go the gym and suffer through my painfully pathetic knee rehab exercises!

Want to learn more? Check out the article below, it might just help you out!

James @