10 July 2023
I recently read about how the Saudi’s are striving to become a global leader in renewable energy technologies. What?!?! Saudi Arabia basically has the world over a(n oil) barrel with our reliance on their fossil fuels. Yet, they have taken steps to offset their own emissions in ways that will lead the way for other countries, and it’s starting to work. With a goal of planting 10 billion trees, they considered factors of the local dynamic ecosystem (you know how I feel about native planting 😊). And it’s clear that life can be brought back, and rather quickly – even in a desert – as evidenced by birds and butterflies appearing around a newly constructed dam.
Resilience is also evident in our personal ecosystems, what we call the gut microbiome. I’ve mentioned before how quickly our taste buds adapt to new ways of eating (replaced every 2 weeks or so). If you think you are in control of your own health, you’re wrong...sort of. The trillions of bacteria, fungi and other microbes that inhabit our gut - our internal ecosystem - control the health of our entire body. We can nurture a habitat that sustains health by including plenty of prebiotics and probiotics in our diet, AKA vegetables, fruits, whole grains and fermented foods. Changing your gut microbiome is a lot quicker and easier than you might think.
“Our gut microorganisms not only react to make best use of whatever is available, they’re extraordinarily adaptable,” notes Dr. Rachel Carmody, Assistant Professor in the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology at Harvard.
In fact, gut microbes are regularly purged. Within 24-48 hours of a dietary intervention, the microbial composition experiences rapid changes.
A diet full of ultraprocessed food provides little fuel for the good microbes, leaving an unhealthy gut microbiome. The “bad microbes” then signal your brain to provide more of the junk food they love. But introducing a whole foods plant-rich diet has the potential to turn things around quickly - reducing cravings, increasing energy and, in a matter of weeks, even improving blood markers like glucose and cholesterol.
My point is, nature is resilient and so are we. We can adjust to the worst possible dietary situations (think: Joey Chestnut), but we thrive on whole foods, especially when the bulk of them come from plants. I’m tired of the Vegan vs. Carnivore argument – nature is not always binary. This ignores the relevant fact that adding more veggies to your day is always a great idea!