Angie Alt is wife, mother, world traveler & blogger. She’s also a warrior in the autoimmunity war. Angie confronts three autoimmune disorders each day, including Celiac Disease, with powerful management techniques like AIPaleo & the Paleolithic lifestyle. She blogs regularly about the emotional side of tackling autoimmunity, adopting Paleo, and how it impacts her, her family, & their way of life. You can read more by Angela Alt at her blog and connect with her on Facebook.
I’ve been busy lately. Really busy. You might have even noticed that last month, I didn’t get a chance to write my monthly guest blog for The Paleo Mom. Quite frankly, I was too busy. So what is it that’s been occupying all my time? Well, I was busy slowing down my life and revamping my schedule to better meet a few personal goals.
One of the first things I did was start a new job with a slower pace and a reduced scheduled. I have a desk in a quiet space looking out a window into a green, calm forest. I’ve watched blue jays in the branches while I enter company data and caught glimpses of deer while I worked on filing. It’s been great, like mixing “aaah” and office.
I’ve also had the opportunity to catch up on tons of my favorite podcasts (like The Paleo View!) as I check-off the daily to-dos in my new position. Recently, I was listening to a Balanced Bites podcasts with guest, JJ Virgin. It was a great show, but one line in particular stood out for me. JJ said, “Your body is not a bank account. It’s a chemistry lab.” Wow. That knocked my socks off.
I’ve understood this concept for a long time. In fact, I wrote about it last October. It was the additional comparison that really got me though. JJ said, “ . . . not a bank account . . . a chemistry lab.” It made so much sense to me and suddenly I was thinking of examples I see all the time, in my life and the lives of others, to back-up her statement.
One of the most concrete examples is weight loss or gain. If the worn, old bank account analogy were true, then simple calories in versus calories out should help heavy people lose quickly or extremely thin folks, like me, put on the weight we need for optimal health. I eat three big meals a day. They are filled with protein, healthy fats, and good carbs and plenty of other fruits or veggies. Due to autoimmunity, I keep exercise to a very minimal walking routine. With the bank account idea, I should easily achieve my weight gain goals. In over a year of trying, I’ve yet to get there though. My body isn’t a bank account; it is a chemistry lab.
The delicate reactions that our performed inside us every second, require that every piece be in place. We need the right vitamins and minerals, in the right amounts. We need each organ to do the best possible job at its particular function. Each chemical substance is transformed into something new to be used by our body, but only if all parts of the process are in place. We learn this even in the most basic high school chemistry class. The whole experiment fails if just one piece is wrong.
This is not simple math. Not a matter of two plus two equals four. We can’t go on thinking that we can just add (or sometimes worse yet, subtract) infinitely to our bodies, without serious consequences. We are these really beautiful, really complex chemistry labs. We are bubbling, cooling, solid to liquid, carefully timed and constructed chemistry labs. We need to put all the right reactants in place to reach the products we need on the other side of the equation.
The more health conscious choices I make, the more I can feel the experiments in my cells getting closer and closer to ideal results. It’s not just about diet, either. Some awesome chemistry happens in me when I spend time in the sunlight or practice proper sleep hygiene.
Or when I get busy slowing down and reducing stress. Chemical reactions require careful attention to lots of detail, including time and pressure. Changing jobs had some effects on my actual bank account, but any subtractions there were made up for in my better functioning “chemistry lab.”