NEWSLETTER #3
EVO.TEE
EVOLUTIONARY THINKING, EATING AND EXERCISING

2nd October 2015
Reading time: 8 minutes


Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.
— George Bernard Shaw

THINKING - LIVING LIFE ON THE FRONT FOOT

 
Attack is the best form of defence
 
Failing to prepare is preparing to fail
 
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure
 

Here are a few proverbs to get us thinking. For the most part we put them into practice. We do our best at school to give ourselves opportunities when we are older. We work hard in our careers to increase our earning potential. We save money for retirement. But I don’t know many people who are working hard now to be healthy at 80!

Unless nudged, humans are short sighted. We are under an illusion that we have plenty of time. Year after year it seems like time moves faster. But as Geoffrey Chaucer said: “Time and tide waits for no man.”

One thing we respond well to, is a crisis. If a doctor tells us that we need to change or die, we're pretty good at turning things around. But why wait for a crisis, let tackle our health head on.

In a time where information is at our fingertips it's time to go on the offensive. Time to take responsibility for our own health and longevity. It’s time to take charge of our bodies and minds to make sure we don’t suffer later on. The majority of suffering is avoidable. Heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, even some cancers are all preventable.

 

OPTIMISM BIAS

Humans can be remarkably intelligent but we can also be incredibly stupid. A cognitive bias is an error in thinking. An error that happens when we misinterpret information in the world around us. The 'optimism bias' is something we often suffer from. Also known as comparative optimism, it looks like this. Bad stuff doesn't happen to me, it happens to other people.

A great example of this is why I cycle without a helmet. I'm a fool, I cycle like a maniac, dodging in and out of traffic without a helmet. I'm under some kind of illusion that I'm immune to making mistakes. Or that I will be able to react quick enough to counter anyone else's mistakes. I think I'm different to others but my brain is just as vulnerable.

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When we understand that we aren't as clever as we think, it's easier to become more intelligent!


Back to living life on the front foot. We can all take more ownership of our health. Being healthy is about eating the right food and moving our body. But healthy habits all stem from a healthy mind and healthy thinking. And the mental game is something most of us ignore.

My mind is a ‘little’ prone to over-thinking. So I decided to go on the attack and learn how to train it. I’ve seen what depression and anxiety can do to people and it's not something I want. So I learnt to meditate and I now train everyday.

When we manage our stress, food and activity it's possible to stay healthy for a long time. If something unavoidable comes along which it is apt to do, we will be better placed to cope.

Who we are today is a result of what we did yesterday and all the days before that. But who we are tomorrow is a result of what we do today. And today is the only thing we have control over.
— Unknown

If you're not happy with what you have right now, then focus on changing today.  What small thing can you change today to become healthier? It might be as simple as eating less bread and eating more dark leafy green vegetables. Go on the attack and take charge of the situation. Improving our thinking, eating and exercising today will make tomorrow a better day.


EATING - VITAMIN D DEFICIENCY

Vitamin D is not a vitamin. It is a steroid hormone that our bodies produce. Hormones are substances that make biology happen. Adrenalin is a steroid hormone that makes our heart race and get’s our body ready for fight or flight. If you want to be healthy you need healthy hormones.

Our body makes the majority of vitamin D when we're exposed to UVB light. We also make some vitamin D via the food we eat. But why is it so important? The popular view of vitamin D is that it helps us absorb calcium and phosphorus and this keeps our bones strong. But a vitamin D deficiency can cause other health problems and will speed up ageing.

Vitamin D controls the expression of over 1000 genes. Which equates to 1000 different physiological processes. If we're deficient in vitamin D then there’s a lot that can go wrong.

We have trillions of cells in our body. Each one contains DNA, a bunch of proteins that are the instruction manual for life. We have 22 pairs of chromosomes. At the end of every chromosome are caps that hold each coil of DNA together. Telomeres are the caps and their length indicates our biological age. If they shorten enough the DNA will unravel and the cell will no longer function.

In the UK, sunlight between November and March is short of UVB radiation. Furthermore we spend a lot of time inside and we cover most of our skin with clothes. And to add insult we are so scared of skin cancer that we are overusing sunscreen.

Too little and too much vitamin D is bad for our health. So it’s important not to start mega dosing vitamin D tablets. Testing is the only way to guarantee healthy levels. Once tested, we're aiming for a sweet spot. Somewhere between 30-80 nanograms per milliliter of blood serum.

The upper tolerable upper intake for supplementing vitamin D is 4000 IU’s a day.

As an insurance policy I supplement daily with vitamin D. At a cost of about 3 pence per day it’s not expensive. I also get as much of my skin on show without getting in trouble with the police!

We should also consider eating more foods high in vitamin D:

  • Fish - consume sustainable fish instead of farmed fish (click here to learn more)

  • Liver - only eat organic organ meats

  • Eggs - organic or free range only

  • Mushrooms - especially ones that have been left in sunlight

  • Cod liver oil

 

IN SUMMARY

 

If we want to be healthy and slow down ageing let's take care of our vitamin D levels:

  1. get our skin out in the sun a bit more
  2. eat more fresh fish and
  3. start taking a vitamin D supplement.

Other factors that affect telomere length:

  • Telomere shortening

    • chronic stress, alcohol, smoking, inflammation, obesity, oxidative stress

  • Extend telomere length

    • Vitamin D sufficiency, omega-3 sufficiency, folic acid sufficiency, meditation, exercise



MOVING - WAYS TO INCREASE PHYSICAL ACTIVITY

The more physical activity we get throughout the day the better. A sedentary lifestyle significantly increases our chances of premature death, regardless of how much exercise we do. I will highlight some methods to increase physical activity. But this will need a 180 degree change in mindset. We are hardwired to save energy. And I’m suggesting we start wasting it!

The best way to increase your physical activity is to walk more.  So whatever we do let’s just start walking a bit more, it’s that simple. But if you need more, here goes.

AT HOME:

  • Try walking before breakfast or after dinner

  • Do more gardening and cleaning

  • Run around and play with the kids

  • Fidget more

  • Carry baskets instead of pushing a trolley

  • Walk/ cycle to the shops with a rucksack to carry your things back

  • Try habit stacking - tying one behaviour to another

    • If you're washing up do some heel raises or stand up on your tiptoes

    • Exercise whilst waiting for the kettle to boil

    • Wall sit whilst brushing your teeth

    • Stretch or sit upright whilst watching a TV programme

    • Abdominal clenches or pelvic floor exercises working at a laptop

    • Whilst calling your friends and family, walk around instead of sitting

AT WORK:

  • Take the stairs instead of the lift or elevator

  • Park further away from the workplace entrance

  • Sit on Swiss ball or ask for a standing desk

  • Convince a work mate to be your fitness buddy (hold each other accountable)

  • Stand up every 20-40 minutes

  • Carry fitness equipment when on the road

  • If the weather is good, suggest an outdoor meeting where you walk and talk

  • Join a gym close to work

  • Schedule exercise into a business calendar

  • Set up a charity fitness day where the office complete a 24 hour row

OTHER:

  • Park further away from the shops

  • Plan outings that are physical, instead of meeting for a coffee and cake, do something active

  • Plan an active holiday with friends or family

  • Sign up to a new active class with a friend

  • Put music on and dance more

  • Try going out and just dancing instead of going out just to drink and then dance!

  • When visiting a new city, talk a walking/ bike tour instead of a bus tour

 

The only limit here is our imagination. The key to changing habits is to make small, simple and non threatening changes. Start with a five minute walk after dinner. Don’t make promises you can’t maintain. Less is more!


If you are enjoying what you read then I encourage you to share it. Spread the word to your family and friends who will benefit from this too.

If you're interesting in specific advice and personalised coaching direct from the source then click here or email me on james@evotee.co.uk with any questions. 

Thanks for reading.

Be well,

James


EVO.TEE newsletters are written by a human being prone to making mistakes. I reserve the right to use a series of grammar bad&terrible structure sentence and refuse I do to apologise for it'!{>