Purpose

I was listening to an interview with a prominent sports marketing and memorabilia entrepreneur.  This person has overcome multiple challenges in his life to become successful.  These struggles facing humiliation and embarrassment solidified his purpose at a young age.  His focus which was forged into a purpose centers around developing healthy relationships.

It’s obvious that this person is a prominent figure in today’s sports arena.  He has strategically developed business relationships throughout his tenuous career.  Therefore, he enjoys conversational dialogues with well-known athletes.   His personal relationship skills have developed through years of interactions in multiple business ventures.

His personal skills have been finely honed into a detection monitor for the finer things in life.  Although money is important and needed for daily existence the real and sustaining value lies closer to everyone’s reach.  It is something that can be developed and nurtured by anyone desiring to have a rich and full life.  This ‘finer thing’ requires attention to developing problem-solving abilities and upgrading your listening skills.

The purpose of developing healthy relationships is a lifelong skill.   It involves struggling with life’s challenges, appreciating your life, trusting in the goodness of people, looking honestly at disappointments, disassembling your old notions of bias and being charitable toward other’s faults.  In order to have healthy relationships with people, you have to talk to and interact with people.  I know that sounds obvious but the idea can be scary to some people.  Often, people who are skilled at playing hardball in the business world find it difficult to interact in the personal arena with others.  For some reason, these hard-hitting entrepreneurs find that dealing with another human being on a strictly personal level is terrifying.

However, this terror is quickly overcome when a ‘purpose’ is the main focus.  Purpose trumps everything.  Especially when you truly care for people you’ll find that if you decide that your purpose is healthy relationships that’s where your focus will be.  Fostering your interactions with the people that you care for will melt away all of the incidentals in life.  I’m not saying that food or clothing or shelter aren’t vitally important because they are but if you decide that your purpose in life is healthy relationships with yourself and others, the essentials of life will also fit nicely into your life.

The purpose of life is to remember that people are more important than things.

 

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Weight or Wait

Grandma’s experiences influence our DNA structure.  The science of Epigenetics studies the chemical modification of genes and how the information in our genes is expressed and used by our cells.

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The reason this concept of weight is important is that if grandma is obese that tendency is imprinted on her DNA and can be genetically passed to her descendants. (DiscoverMagazine.com) Epigenetics doesn’t alter the sequence but influences our gene expression.

A Redbook article (Wrangle Your Stress, Sept.2018) relates that when we’re stressed our body shifts into a fight-or-flight mode.  This hormonal shift signals our body to conserve energy since we’re under attack; our metabolism slows.  This situation also signals the stress hormone, cortisol which increases hunger motivating us to eat foods high in sugar and fat according to Jessica Bartfield, M.D., assistant professor in the Weight Management Center at Wake Forest Medical Center in North Carolina.

This theme of stress and survival imprints on grandma’s DNA and functions much like a stop light; turning “on” or “off” a particular DNA expression. So, if grandma experienced stress on a regular basis the imprint of obesity sits on her DNA and is passed on to her descendants as a potential expression.

An article in WebMD (July/Aug2018) relates that childhood obesity rates continue to rise in the U.S.  The researchers voiced concern that excess weight has become so common that many parents may now see it as normal.

Another study noted in HealthyDay (Sep 19, 2018) relates a quote by Mark Eberhardt, an epidemiologist at CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) “Diabetes remains a chronic health problem in this country, affecting some 30 million people.”  This idea is reinforced by the fact that 1 in 7 Americans has diabetes, and many don’t know they have the disease.

Medscape Medical News Jan 20, 2017, cites that the epidemic of obesity is affecting society’s youngest members, driving up rates of type 2 diabetes from infancy to the college years.  Severe obesity is a cause of type 2DM.  Not the only cause, but a direct one.  Increasing rates of obesity will lead to more type 2 DM.

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Obviously, all of this medical research proves that obesity affects our DNA and the tendency for obesity can be passed on to our children who in turn can pass the tendency on to their children.  “Therefore grandma’s experiences leave a mark on your genes.”

So, the question is do we wait to address the issue of obesity?  Since there is scientific evidence that the altered trait of obesity can be transmitted to our grandma’s descendants is it time to integrate genetics into our weight management program?  Waiting to make this change may ensure that the tendency for obesity keeps integrating throughout our coming generations.

Should we wait to act on the weight issue?

Epigenetics

A simple definition of this exciting scientific arena is the study of biological mechanisms that will switch genes “on” and “off.”  A recent web-based explanation of this emerging medical field takes a walk through the complicated steps to simplify the complicated knowledge.

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Cells are our basic working units and these energetic cacoons contain the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) which are the chemical directors of activities.

Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is composed of nucleotide bases which we all know as the recognizable “double helix” of our basic building proteins – adenine, cytosine, guanine, and thymine.  You may be more familiar with the letters – A, C, G, and T.

Sequencing of these bases is what determines the life instructions for each person – blue eyes, brown hair, long fingers.

Genes are the conductors of the sequencing and provide direction for triggering proteins to carry out life functions.

Epigenetics Controls Genes.  This means that what you experience in your daily life influences this “on” “off” process. The chemical process influencing this activation process can and will modify the “potential” of our individual genes.

The reason this is both interesting and important is that current and ancestral personal activities influence this process.  The chemical influence of methylation which modifies our genes can be passed on from generation to generation.  Scientists verify that astronauts returning from outer space experience this methylation change and the gene-editing technique known as CRISPR/Cas9 is being used to prevent detrimental genetic effects to the astronauts.  In other words, the harmful effects from outer space noted on the astronauts DNA are being removed by gene splicing so that they will not be passed on to the next generation of their family. (Science Oct 28, 2017, 1:43 pm)

This may sound like science fiction.  However, this process is called molecular engineering technologies and scientist can counteract and repair defective genes.

Your DNA also contains information about your health and your grandmother’s health.  Your risk for developing specific diseases is sitting in your genes and can be read like a movie.  Genetic testing can determine your tendency toward developing chronic diseases such as Parkinson’s,  Alzheimer’s, diabetes, auto-immune diseases, macular degeneration and a host of other conditions. (WebMD Sonya Collins – Arefa Cassoobhoy, MD June 2017)

There is also a significant legacy that each person carries with them from their ancestors.  The methylation changes to our DNA carries the memory of our family’s life.  In this regard not only do we need to consider the obvious medical concerns but the emotional issues as well.  If your grandmother lived in a physically and emotionally abusive relationship for an extended period of time this environment left a noticeable methylation mark on her DNA.  A study by The Guardian (social-care-network/2015) noted that often times adolescent boys who are abused become abusers.  An additional study by DiscoverMagazine.com/May/2013, “Grandma’s Experiences Leave a Mark on Your Genes” indicates that a mother’s behavior could cause epigenetic changes in her DNA.  Another publication in the journal Nature Neuroscience (June/2004) verified this scientific finding.  These studies referred to their findings as a post-natal inheritance.  There is additional scientific information that similar activity is occurring during a mother’s developing pregnancy.

In other words, we’re not only what we experience but what our ancestor’s experience.

However, do not dismay.  You can influence this process.  Knowledge is the first step.  If you know your risk and your lifestyle triggers, you can establish protective measures with the goal of preventing the onset of illness or destructive behaviors.  Having a tendency toward something doesn’t mean that you’ll develop that issue.  It simply means that you have information about yourself and your genetic mutation to fit into your preventative maintenance program to help tailor your strategies; it’s a plan.

 

CLUES

How do we define disease? How do we define health?

These seem like easy questions to answer.  We know when someone is sick or when they’re without illness; it’s obvious. We can tell when our body isn’t working “up to par.”

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CLUES are interesting little bits of information that swirl around our everyday lives guiding us through the intricate maze of evidence that can lead us to a solution to our problems.  Often these little, sometimes annoying, indicators lead us to a complete understanding of the issues in our lives, all we need to do is take a few minutes to understand the story that they’re telling us.

As we go along our day performing our comfortable habits in our normal routine these tiny indications slowly creep into our awareness and take on the persona of an aggravating gnat. As usual, we flick this tiny suggestion away from our consciousness as though it were a brief inconvenience.

Our vibrancy, wit, and confidence aren’t threatened so why should we give attention to such a minute detail?  Not until or memory, behavior, daily functions and activities begin to falter does our attention focus on our personal health and wellness.  Now, our daily habits are interrupted.  Now, we notice the CLUES that have been circling and buzzing to attract our attention.

Our flexibility and awareness may need to be reset into the ‘priority’ mode especially when it comes to listening to the CLUES that our body is giving us about our health and wellness.

 

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