Which book did you read this month for the Healthy Living Reading Challenge?
October was a beautiful, fall month here in the northern plains. I have spent time outdoors without a jacket. Something unheard of around these parts. The nice weather means I have been reading a little less, however, I want to share two of them with you.
For October, I chose a book by a healthy guru I follow, Inheritance: How Our Genes Change Our Lives And Our Lives Change Our Genes by Sharon Moalem, MD, PhD.
It is hard to believe that our human genome was only mapped for the first time in 2003, just 13 years ago. I remember learning basic information about our DNA, but there has been so much more discovered about our genes in the last 30 years. It is mind-boggling.
This book is all about the fact that our genes are not static. They are not our destiny. Our genes many mean we have a greater chance to look a certain way, have an illness or die young or old, but the way they are expressed is dependent upon our lifestyle. What we eat, how we move, and more all affect whether or not a gene expresses itself.
Dr. Moalem makes a case for how individual we really are. Even identical twins are not identical in how our genes express themselves.
My favorite quote from this book summarizes what Dr. Moalem wrote about in an entertaining way.
“You don’t need to travel up to the space station for your heart to shrink. Just a few weeks in bed are all you need for it to begin to atrophy. But our bodies are also quite amazing at recovery–we just have to convince them that we need the power. And that’s not always a tough sell, because our cells are incredibly malleable. What we do every day makes a big difference in what our genes tell them to do–which is just another genetic motivation for you to get off the couch.” page 42.
Yes, what we do every day makes a big difference. What we put in and on our body, how much we move, how much we sleep, and the toxins we come in contact with all count. This can be frustrating in that we might feel overwhelmed. However, it can be empowering knowing you can make a difference because our bodies are good at recovery and are malleable. You have the power.
The stories of individuals with rare genes are touching and encouraging knowing that these individuals might be the key to learning how to prevent or work with our genes.
If you enjoy learning about your body, this book should go on your list to read.
For my local Healthy Living Reading Book Club I read another book by Sharon Moalem, Ph.D, DNA Restart: Unlock Your Personal Genetic Code To Eat For Your Genes, Lose Weight, and Reverse Aging.
This book was a little more practical than Dr. Moalem’s other book. It covered five pillars of living within your genetic code: 1) Eat for your genes, 2) reverse aging, 3) eat umami, 4) drink oolong tea and 5) slow living. There are 31 DNA Restart Health Tips throughout the book.
As I tell my clients, it is important to eat a balance of the macronutrients when eating a meal. However, what should the balance of proteins, fats, and carbs be? Chapter 3 gives a cracker test to help you figure out the correct balance according to your type. It is easy to complete.
Here are a three quotes from the book.
“….even today your body still uses IL-15, released when you are intensely working out, as the signal to stay younger for longer and help your clansmen out. If you stop moving intensely, what you’re telling your body is that it’s time to stop being a burden on others–it’s time to die.” page 67 Movement is important for your DNA to know that you are still young, still able, still valuable. Make sure you get movement in every day, and intense exercise at least 2-3 times a week.
“Heather Leidy, PhD,…’The group of teens who ate high-protein breakfast reduced their daily food intake by 400 calories and lost body fat mass.’ Her research also found that the group of teens who continues to skip breakfast gained more body fat at the end of the 12-week study.” pages 134-135 This tells us that whether you are a teen or not, breakfast can be a key to a healthy weight.
“We still do not know for certain whether not sleeping enough just allows us more time to eat or whether it can change the way many of our appetite hormones such as leptin and ghrelin function. What we do know is that if you don’t make sure your children get enough sleep, this can have a bigger impact on their levels of belly fat than not exercising enough or watching too much television. Yes, sleep even trumps TV and exercise!” Page 198. This just reinforces what I always say about sleep. Sleep is not a waste of time, but an integral part of healthy living.
Both books are easy to read. They give plenty of tips and ideas in an easy to read format. If you are interested in genetics and DNA, consider reading these books.
What are you reading this month? Tell me in the comments below.