I have a number of pet peeves. For those that know me really well, you know I can go from zero to maximum irritability in 0.2 seconds when I see random shopping carts in a major retail parking lot. If I see you NOT put it away, even though the cart return is only 3 spaces away from your car, I’m ready to punch a hole in your car. I’m considering creating a personality assessment and job interview process centered around your shopping cart etiquette. If you can’t push a Costco cart without walking half bent over, leaning on the cart, you’re not even getting an interview.
For the sake of this post, your shopping cart habits are none of my business…unless you don’t put it away. But a more pertinent pet peeve of mine are the analogies surrounding genetics. I’m sure you’ve heard them and you thought they were clever and didn’t even question them. Hopefully these become pet peeves of yours as well.
Your DNA is NOT a Loaded Gun
With all the online summits, podcasts, and blogs out there, I’m sure you have come across the analogy equating your DNA to a loaded gun and your environment as the trigger. In my best Dwight K. Schrute voice: “FALSE. Your DNA is incapable of loading anything. You can’t even spell bullet with the As, Cs, Ts and Gs that make up your double helix.”
Equating your DNA to a loaded gun is a fatalistic, reductionistic, mechanistic paradigm of health. No, we won’t live forever but your DNA provides the sequencing of life to have you live 120 years. The environment will dictate how that gene code will express. That expression will be divided into 2 basic categories. Category one will favor the expression of your gene code to help you survive the next 30 seconds. Category two will favor the expression of your gene code to help you build your next 30 years.
Both are appropriate. But both are circumstantial. If you are in danger, your nervous system sends signals to the your cell membrane to pass a signal to your nucleus to unzip a portion of your DNA so you can make a copy of that code. That code then has to be read and interpreted by the ribosome to produce the necessary proteins to most likely build an enzyme to drive a reaction to support what is needed. Those codes and enzymes will support processes to increase blood pressure, heart rate, blood sugar, muscle contraction, cholesterol, amygdala stimulation, etc. These codes and enzymes that support your survival for the next 30 seconds, do it at the expense of your next 30 years. There’s no 30 years if you don’t survive the next 30 seconds.
If you actually have someone with a loaded gun pointed at you, it would be moronic for your DNA to build the codes and enzymes necessary for you to sleep, increase libido, or recall your opening monologue from your 3rd grade play of Wizard of Oz. It’s not an appropriate time for rest, sex, and reminiscing about the past.
The more you signal to your DNA to produce the necessary components to survive, the more you put your body into a state of tissue breakdown. You have to get minerals to feed muscles from somewhere. You have to rip open your sugar stores too. As your body is in a chronic state of break down, guess what happens to your chances of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, auto-immune, and depression? They go up. But it’s not because your gene code is a loaded gun just waiting for the trigger to be pulled.
The body never does stupid stuff. If you don’t have the ability to shift into survival, well, you don’t survive. It’s our choices that dictate what needs to be expressed to adapt to the current situation. If you keep recruiting information that alerts the body, you are providing both the bullet AND pulling the trigger. A gun can be used for both benefit and detriment. Your lifestyle choices, experiences, and how you interpret them will be both used for benefit and detriment.
But it’s not your DNA’s fault. It’s just relaying messages.
Your DNA is NOT a Faulty Light Switch
Your DNA doesn’t have random acts of expression. The light switch doesn’t just turn on or off. You don’t express chronic illness like cancer, heart disease, or diabetes because of random chance. Those chronic illnesses express for an intelligent reason. You have been adapting for so long, putting your body in a chronic state of tissue breakdown, that you can’t adapt anymore and start to give up. Eventually, adaption turns into fatigue and ultimately premature cell death. The codes and enzymes that are trying to support your constant need for survival can’t keep up with demand.
The more this happens, the more you run out of raw materials to support the recipes (enzymes and proteins) to have a full expression of the current situational adaptation response. Just to reiterate. ALL RESPONSES ARE APPROPRIATE AND NECESSARY! When it comes to chronic illness, it’s not random chance.
Your DNA IS a Blue Print.
That’s it. It’s just a code of conduct. It’s not loaded with anything except the recipes to keep you alive and vibrant for a very long time. You can’t turn it on or off. What you can do is provide it with amazing ingredients and building materials to create a strong and lasting product. Those obvious ingredients will be what you eat and how you move, your relationships, social structures, and life purpose. But the secret to all victory lies in the organization of the non-obvious.
This is where personalized testing comes into the equation to assess the non-obvious. And more importantly, how the results are interpreted, is where the non-obvious becomes something staring you in the face.
If you feel like you’ve done a great job at working on your lifestyle and are still having roadblocks, come find me, I can help with the organization of the non-obvious.