Our great intellect is in large part necessary because of the quest for food. A cow is as smart as it needs to be to figure out how to eat what is always underfoot. The apex predator—clawless, fangless man—needs great cunning, memory, logic, and analytical thought. The spear and arrow have now been replaced with the grocery cart, but even more cunning is necessary in order to survive well and remain healthy in our confusing modern world.

We can no longer rely on instinct, senses, and trust. The healthy choices that were before us in the wild have now been replaced with endless options, most of which can rob our health. More choices mean we must be smarter. Intelligence creates our modern predicament; intelligence must be used to sort it out. Our world is now all about marketing, manufacturing, and science, but much of it is without conscience. The words of Dr. Malcolm in Jurassic Park come to mind: “Your scientists were so busy wondering how they could—they didn’t stop to ask if they should.” It’s up to us to discern, cut through the malarkey, and make smart choices.

The heuristic cornerstone for health enlightenment is, to repeat, understanding our proper genetic context. Health is not about a doctor’s visit, a cholesterol check, a mammogram, counting calories, or faithfully taking meds. Like any great truth, health truth is right there in front of us, slapping us in the face. It’s obvious, simple, and easy. The problem is that it is obscured by the clever deception of modern circumstances such that even a 1.5 trillion dollar medical industry can’t see the obvious. The deceptive illusion is that it is right and normal to live without sunlight ever striking our skin, breathe conditioned and polluted air, sit on our duffs the majority of the day, eat a salmagundi of processed trinkets from packages, get vaccinated, swill ‘diet’ soft drinks, and languish in front of a TV.

We are supposed to be out in the woods, not nestled among oil derricks and snack extruders while scheduling appointments for pap smears and prostate checks. Our genetic fine-tuning to the natural world does not disappear because we invent electricity, plows, hammer mills, and video games. The good life is not achieving a handicapped sticker because we have eaten and lived our life with abandon.

Ignoring our true genetic heritage may not doom us immediately, but the effects over time result in dis-ease: our genes are not at ease with what we are imposing on them.

The wisdom of returning our lives to our genetic roots is an algorithm—a logical framework used to solve problems. Just like a blueprint algorithm can map the construction of marvelous edifices and identify flaws in construction, so too can our genetic algorithm build health and identify the causes and solutions to health problems. There is no need to look for a magic elixir of youth, the right doctor, or an expert to give us a list of dos and don’ts. The only tools we need are our brains and the right algorithm.

If we apply that algorithm, it means we will seek fresh air, clean water, exercise, sunshine, rest, pleasant social contact, physical and mental challenge, and fresh, natural foods in variety to the degree it is possible to achieve this (1-5).

As obvious as that sounds, it’s difficult to apply because our bodies are resilient and permit us, for a time, to get away with cheating. If we were given a convincing jolt of electric shock every time we did something that would bring eventual harm to ourselves, to society, or to the environment, most problems facing humanity would be almost instantly solved. But that’s not the way things are. Some lessons are easily learned, like not to pet a snarling dog, and to keep your grip when climbing a tree. But our modern world is more challenging than that. We are faced with many decisions that require intelligent foresight to measure potential consequences that may not come until far into the future—or may only come to our children or theirs.
Therein lies our problem. We are mentally lazy and pleasure-driven, too clever with alibis and excuses, like to play the odds, and are particularly good at self-justification—judging others by their actions and ourselves by our intentions. We continue whatever suits our fancy until eventually we are sufficiently harmed or are humiliated into changing due to the brute force of evidence or public opinion.

Although cigarette smoking, industrial smog, water pollution, radiation, toxic gases emitted from modern construction materials, and slothful living are all proven to cause harm, even grievous life-threatening harm, they continue because immediate ill effects do not occur and because change would mean inconvenience and sacrifice. And then there’s Uncle Josh. He’s robust at ninety-four and yet has smoked cigars, chewed tobacco, and swigged whiskey since he was sixteen. Your brother-in-law works in the nuclear plant and has never developed cancer. A damnable classmate you saw at the recent reunion doesn’t exercise, watches virtually every soap opera, and eats pounds of chocolates but looks more trim and fit than you in spite of your tofu and jazzercise. Or how about the incredibly athletic NBA All-Star who eats greasy fast foods, gallons of pop, and boxes of candy bars?

So we look at such examples and use them to justify poor life choices. But that’s like pointing to people who for decades have driven drunk without ever getting in a wreck as an excuse for us to drive drunk. Escaping immediate harm doesn’t mean a life choice is wise and that the odds are not against us.
The medical image here is a computed tomographic scan of the head of an inebriated man admitted to the hospital. In the side-view, note an approximately 2-inch nail embedded in the back part of the skull. In the front view, see that this nail is in the center of the brain. The patient disclosed that some twelve years earlier he was depressed so he used a nail gun directed between the eyes to end his life. Since that time, he had been doing “just fine.”

Everything is a matter of odds. If nails can be shot into the brain and a person can survive essentially unscathed, then certainly one might be able to smoke, lead a sedentary life, breathe toxic fumes, be unfit, and eat almost anything and possibly escape damage, too.

For most of us, however, if health is the goal it would be much smarter to weigh the odds in our favor and use our brains (minus nails) to exercise judgment and foresight.

1. Milton, K. Diet and primate evolution. Scientific American, 263 (1993), 86-93.
2. Tooby, J., et al. The past explains the present: Emotional adaptations and the structure of ancestral environments. Ethnology and Sociobiology, 11 (1990), 375-424.
3. Wysong R. L. The Synorgon Diet – How to Achieve Healthy Weight in a World of Excess. Midland: Inquiry Press, 1993.
4. Schroeder, H. A. Losses of vitamins and trace minerals resulting from processing and preservation of foods. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 24 (1971), 562-573.
5. Eaton, S. B., et al. Paleolithic nutrition revisited: A twelve-year retrospective on its nature and implications. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 51 (1997), 207–216.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Wysong is author of thirteen books on health, nutrition, self improvement, philosophy, and the origin of life. He is a pioneer in the natural health and nutrition movement, and is the first to put the creation-evolution debate on rational footings. His blog, books, updates, mind-stimulating content, interactive forums, and FREE thinking matters video-rich newsletter can be found at: AsIfThinkingMatters.com. To contact Dr. Wysong, email: wysong@asifthinkingmatters.com.

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