This week we look at the very essence of who we are as a start to finding out how we can be healthy - and this all starts in our DNA.
Did you know that only 5% of disease are due to genetic defects or mutations?
That means that 95% of all diseases are NOT from hereditary genetic defects or mutations, people who are born genetically healthy can become ill because their genes are affected by their environment.
We all know that, don’t we? Everyone says ‘You Are What You Eat’ so it must be true! But did you know WHY?
This week I have learned why. Epigenetics of course! Sorry - what?!
So, here’s the ‘Science Bit’.
Our DNA (our own unique blueprint or recipe) is the same inside every cell in our body, and is made of up lots of genes which act as an instruction sheet for the body to build proteins. But HOW those genes are interpreted by our bodies and whether they are turned ‘on’ or ‘off’ is actually affected by environmental factors.
It is the Epigenome (chemical tags around the outside of the DNA) - that determines how or whether the genes are used to build new proteins in your body.
So what does all this mean?
Well it means that environmental factors affect our Epigenome which then determines how our own genes are expressed - and whether they are damaged or healthy, and thus whether we will be healthy ourselves.
What environmental factors?
This is everything to do with our well being, not just foods we eat:
-What we eat and drink
-When and how often we eat and drink
-How active we are
-How we live
-What we do
-How we feel (stress)
-What we touch
-What we breathe…
Is your brain aching yet?
Now, this is not anything new, and not a shock for me either, but it now seems a bit more real. From now on when I do something that I vaguely think is unhealthy, I know it will be affecting my genes in some way, and that is a powerful incentive to become healthy in all aspects of life.
So, that was what I learned in the first few weeks of my diploma, and I’m looking forward to finding out ways to help identify where I need to be more healthy in my own life.
‘The Challenge’ Update
To find super healthy meals, snacks and breakfasts for my family that they will all enjoy.
So this week I have been focussing on snacks. My kids love chocolate chip cookies and of course, chocolate, so I have been experimenting with finding homemade alternatives. A little success but I am still eating it all more than they are!
Here’s my first cookie replacement recipe - a low sugar alternative and very yummy!
Nutty Seedy Flapjacks
This is different to traditional flapjack in that it is made with both coconut oil and butter, and Stevia rather than syrup or sugar. It also does not contain any fruit as this is high in sugar.
Stevia is a plant found in South America, it is totally natural and does not raise blood-sugar levels. It also has been shown to have many health benefits. Bizarrely, it is much sweeter than sugar, so only use a little and keep tasting!
Coconut oil has so many benefits, it needs it’s own blog to show them all, but for me the main ones are the fatty acids that have therapeutic affects on the brain, and help with infections and lower cholesterol. I give Holly coconut oil every day.
Grass-fed Butter has more Vitamin K2 and Omega-3 fatty acids which are good for the heart.
Seeds and Nuts contain mono and polyunsaturated fats which can lower cholesterol and decrease inflammation, and are also full of fibre which helps slow digestion.
Please note: I haven't put amounts in here as to be honest, it is up to you to put the ratio that you prefer of nuts, oats and seeds, and keep adding more until you get the right consistency!
1/2 cup Oats
1/4 cup Ground mixed nuts
1/8 cup Sesame seeds
1/8 cup Linseed/Flax
1/8 cup Pumpkin seeds
granulated Stevia (a few teaspoons - keep tasting until it is right for you!)
Good chunk of Butter (preferably grass fed)
2 tbpsns Raw Coconut Oil
Optional: dark chocolate chips
1. Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl.
2. Melt the butter and coconut oil slowly in a pan and add the Stevia
3. Mix the wet and dry ingredients together, adding more nuts/seeds etc as appropriate so the mixture is sticky but there is no liquid in the bottom
4. Press into a lined baking tin
5. Bake for about 25 minutes at 180 degrees C until it is hard and slightly brown on the top
6. Let it cool and then cut or break into small pieces
Holly liked them, but still prefers cookies. Well, we can work on that!
Izzy unfortunately is very fussy about texture, so I will have to experiment a bit more.
To improve this recipe I'm thinking to grind all the dry ingredients to make the texture smoother and maybe add some coconut flour. I will also, try to shape them into rounds like cookies and wrap them in fancy wrapping to make them look more appealing! I'm also thinking about making a homemade nutella topping - using medjool dates and raw cacao so wait till next time for the result!
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