I remember a song by ODB of the Wu Tang Clan called Brooklyn Zoo. When the song came out, I was still in my adolescent years, so it did not resonate with me so much at the time. I still, to this day, do not understand half of the words coming out of his mouth and I have a strong feeling that I am not alone on this matter. It is mostly the song’s title, however, that stimulates my inquisitive mind and philosophical nature. Yes, there is a real zoo located in Brooklyn with a bunch of lovely & exotic creatures, but this is about a zoo full of people – human constructed & human occupied – that keeps us from fully experiencing a fulfilled life of health, wellness, & joy.
Whether you have come to the realization as of yet, or you are still at the beginning stages of your healing journey, the Western world that we inhabit in the 21st century is an intricately designed zoo that deprives us of our need for variety. Most of the walls, fences, & other restrictive enclosures of our human zoo are merely figments of our collective imaginations that have been meticulously implanted into our minds.
Think about it for a second. There is an incredible assortment of wild foods in your immediate vicinity, whether in the city or the country, & yet we have been convinced that it is dangerous for us to forage, and that we would be much better off shopping at our local supermarkets. You may feel a little ill sampling the wrong plant in the wild or even vomit from tasting the juice of an inedible berry, but that is how our bodies evolved to protect us. Unfortunately, we cannot detect the multitude of pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, hormones and antibiotics that we consume on a daily basis these days. These chemicals accumulate in our tissues & wreak havoc on every system of our bodies.
You may be thinking, well I make sure to switch up the fruits & vegetables that I purchase. That may be true which puts you ahead of many of your peers on the road to wellness. However, this is somewhat of an illusion.
Let’s look at vegetables first. When you go to your farmer’s market to pick up some greens and you come home with broccoli, kale, brussels sprouts, & some kohlrabi (now we are being truly audacious), you in all actuality, just bought the same plant. They are all modifications of the same species, Brassica oleracea. Over the years of cultivation, they were bred to produce different qualities. Can you see how this may lead to nutrient deficiencies? Not only that, but you are also being exposed to the same plant defense chemicals.
Fruit is up next. I live in Florida, which is home to beautyberries, mulberries, muscadine grapes, pond apples, persimmons, maypop fruits, prickly pears, & wild oranges. Besides oranges, which oddly enough usually come from California, it would be a most glorious day if I could find any of these at the local, natural foods market. Instead, we are restricted to 1 variety of blueberry, 4 varieties of apples, & 2 varieties of oranges year-round. Plus, most are grown in depleted soil using GMO seeds and sprayed heavily with petrochemicals. That is a topic for another day.
My carnivores are not off the hook either. I can highlight my point with two very popular slogans used. “Beef, it’s what’s for dinner,” & “Eat mor chikin.” Whatever happened to eating all of the other delicious fowl? How about lamb, mutton, goat, & other ruminants? Rabbit or water buffalo, anyone? Then, there is the other issue of only eating select cuts of these animals when the most nourishing bits like the liver & heart go to waste. My dog is a picky eater; but whenever I put some raw beef liver in his bowl, that stuff does not stand a chance.
Variety is also extremely important when it comes to movement. Gymnasts, dancers, and MMA fighters have a solid repertoire of human movements, but if they do not swim, climb trees, or run long distances periodically, then I would say there is still work to be done. Going to the gym 3 days per week to exercise is a huge first step toward an active lifestyle. I just do not want people to be fooled into thinking that they are now reaping the benefits of movement variety. Ensuring that you are implementing different movements into your daily life may be the missing piece that is holding you back from achieving your fitness goals as well.
Before I close out this blog post, I lastly want to touch upon variety’s cousin, variation. Specifically, the temperature variations that we evolved to experience on a cyclical basis. This is a huge component to vitality. Incorporating cold showers, ice baths, & hot yoga were revolutionary for my healing journey. Pushing the limits of what the body can withstand makes you so much more resilient and makes the mundane stressors of everyday life seem almost meaningless. Maybe try a cryotherapy session or witness the mood-altering effects of a sauna before you start to dabble in things like a polar bear plunge or a marathon in the Atacama Desert.
If you’re ready to feel rooted in longevity, call Dr. Damon today to schedule your free consultation!