Often times the more we dig into the subject of environmental health, the more upsetting, and frankly, depressing it can seem.
The challenge can even feel insurmountable... Cancers, heart disease, diabetes, infertility, thyroid disorders, autism, allergies, and on and on.
(Cue me humming the Winnie the Pooh song "I'm just a little black rain cloud... hovering under the honey tree....)
People with family history of breast cancer or obesity often feel like their fate is sealed, and that all this healthy living stuff won't help them.Not only is this a defeatist approach to life, it also totally ignores the powerful silver lining: our epigenetics.
Have you ever heard the expression "Your genetics loads the gun, and the environment pulls the trigger?"
THIS is epigentics. Let me explain:
Our genetics are the genes we inherit from our ancestors, our closest ones being our parents. Our genes dictate our hair color, eye color, and can even predispose us to weight issues, or heart disease, etc.. This is where the "cancer runs in my family... I'm doomed!" thinking comes in. For the most part, our genome (our DNA) is fixed.
Our Epi-geneome (literally "above-genetics) tells our genes to either express themselves or to lie dormant, including those genes that might predispose someone to cancer. Our epigenome can turn on and turn off the expression of genes throughout our life.
Heavy smoker, poor diet, and lots of toxins in your bod?
Those are having a super negative impact on your epigenome and the body. Cue disease. Cue having a harder time losing weight than your plucky cousin Sue. Cue developing lung cancer even though you never ever smoked.
Here's the silver lining: we have tremendous control over how our genes get expressed!!
Our genetics DOES load the gun, but it's our environment that determines whether the trigger ever gets pulled!!
Toxins, by a long shot, aren't the only thing that can impact your epigenome... stress, anxiety, depression, poor diet, lack of exercise, trauma. All of these things can make that trigger finger itchy...
The INVERSE of this is that all the amazing things you do for your body - the healthy food, the powerful, restful sleep, abstaining from smoking, exercising, creative time, a spiritual practice - all of that can help to reduce the risk of disease AND reduce or eliminate symptoms of conditions that are already present.
The amazing thing is you can even pass these positive epigenitic changes on to your children and grandchildren. How empowering is that!?
If you're a practitioner in the health and wellness space, explaining how we can have a tremendous positive effect on our health outcomes through changing our environment is essential to supporting your clients.
In fact, I'd call it a non-negotiable. You MUST address environment with your clients.
My good friend Andrea Nakayama, Functional Nutritionist and founder over at ReplenishPDX and Holistic Nutrition lab also considers this a non-negotiable.
In fact, she created a guide called 3 Tiers of Epigenetic Mastery: Secrets to Cracking Complex Clinical Cases that I think every practitioner needs to read.
Because understanding epigenetics and how changing diet, environment and lifestyle can completely alter the outcome for your client is so.dang.important.
These 3 tiers establish a framework and systematic approach that will allow you to work with anyone who walks in your door—no matter how complicated their case is, and how many symptoms they suffer from.
Andrea is a master at explaining complex topics in a clear and easy to understand manner, which is why she's so admired in the Holistic Health field, and so sought after as an educator for those seeking to confidently grow their practices.
Most practitioners still don't address environmental toxins in their client work; Andrea is not one of them. In fact, addressing toxins is on her list of non-negotiables.
I encourage you to check this out and go get nerdy with my girl Andrea.