Seeing Metabolic Syndrome through Evolutionary Stress Dynamics: Beyond Calories (2009)

Note: Written in 2009, last updated January 10, 2021

“If you eat and drink more calories than you burn off, then you’ll gain weight,”–Coca-Cola

Calorie counting has been the go-to for weight management for decades. Even with the inclusion of the importance of the micro and macro balances diet advice has stayed relatively the same; Eat right and Exercise. If Metabolic Syndrome (MtS) is instead created by an imbalance in our ability to regulate stress, where stress regulates calorie desire, storage and expenditure, this would be why the quality of the calorie can be more important than quantity of calories.

The Calorie In/Out Model is Inadequate

Metabolic disorders created by too much stress occur for multiple reasons. Carbohydrates and fats are our sources of energy. We want as much energy as we can to run our physiology, however, there are limits to how much energy is too much. And while that is a number, it is also a context. That context includes our genetics, our microbiome, our hormones, fruits, vegetables and fiber within a meal. Whole foods that we eat along with our carbs and fat buffer the “tax” we pay for those calories. When we overeat high fat-sugar-salt meals without whole foods, this creates stress. We then seek more resources (calories) to combat the stress. It becomes a vicious cycle. But simply lowering calories isn’t the solution.

Moving Paradigms

Complex_systems_organizational_map By Hiroki Sayama, D.Sc.

The conversations about weight and health would be better discussed in what is called a “Complex Systems Model“.  MtS would shift from focusing on the energy expenditure model to focus on a communication and stress regulation model. Instead of looking at eating right and exercising to balance a number, we’d look at eating right and exercising to create better adaptations to environmental stress. Exercising isn’t about “burning” calories, although that happens, but rather engaging the system in physically challenging activities that engage the system to more fully utilize its energy resources and feel less prone to save them. Stress mechanisms inform the system about what type of challenges it is experiencing, what type of resources it has present and what it must do to regain balance.

“Logic is a systematic method of coming to the wrong conclusion with confidence” ~Murphy’s Law

The number of calories isn’t what causes metabolic distress, what that number communicates is what causes distress. A small but significant shift from thinking there are only so many calories we can use (burn), to thinking there are only so many calories we can manage (stress). This changes the picture and our approaches significantly. Calories or other single causes, however crucial, are only small flat parts of the much rounder issues we must engage with to manage metabolic and noncommunicable disorders.

From Ignoring Evidence to Applying it

What are some of the prominent associations and causes of MtS?
  1. Genetics: Genetically susceptible populations
    • Epigenetics: Genetics being altered, adapted and programmed by the environment
  2. Positive Energy Balance: Too much energy IN and not enough OUT. Fast foods and sedentary lifestyles.
  3. Microbiome: These little guys developed with us in a symbiotic relation: We give. They give. Without them, it makes things harder, more stressful with fewer resources and more susceptibilities.
  4. Pesticides and BPA: Endocrine disruptors alter the orchestrating hormones that tell us what to expect in the environment and how to respond accordingly.
  5. Sleep Disturbances: A two-way street, the more stressed the less we sleep, the less we sleep the more we are stressed.
    1. Vitamin D: Also a two-way relationship in MtS, Vitamin D is suggested as a cushion for inflammation. However, Vitamin D from the sun is a much under-appreciated hormone that has a foundation in our development, immune functionality and integrated systems such as skin integrity and our microbiota. We were built with the sun as a resource, it would only make sense we would make use of it and need it.

      © Center for Consumer Freedom © Center for Consumer Freedom

 “Yes, but which ONE causes Metabolic Syndrome?”

When there are so many different potential answers our instincts want to assume none of them are correct and we dismiss them all thinking that someday we will find the single cause. However, in a nonlinear paradigm, because it’s about stress channels, any combination can bring about the outcome. Many factors combine to create the situation of metabolic distress and energy regulation issues. Stress is that single cause, but stress itself is never a single cause. Stress is an ecosystem of balances. Stress is a framework for understanding interaction and when balances become disturbed. It’s also about evolution. Stress informs us how we must shift to better adjust to our environment. When you shift paradigms the same evidence brings you to very different conclusions.

——–Putting it all together————

Using Complexity or Chaos dynamics is like looking at weather patterns in particular climates. Complexity is about “sensitivity to initial conditions”. Meaning the outcomes are wholly dependent on where you start.  The things acting on the system does not create the outcome; the system interacting and responding to the inputs is responsible for the outcome.

•Chaos theory is a field of study in mathematics, with applications in several disciplines including physics, economics, biology, and philosophy. Chaos theory studies the behavior of dynamical systems that are highly sensitive to initial conditions, an effect which is popularly referred to as the butterfly effect. Small differences in initial conditions (such as those due to rounding errors in numerical computation) yield widely diverging outcomes for chaotic systems, rendering long-term prediction impossible in general. This happens even though these systems are deterministic, meaning that their future behavior is fully determined by their initial conditions, with no random elements involved. In other words, the deterministic nature of these systems does not make them predictable. This behavior is known as deterministic chaos, or simply chaos.

Photo credit superchefblog


Chaos: Initial conditions —-> Variable influences —-> Predictable but unpredictable outcomes

When applying a chaos physics model and thinking of our human health like weather patterns in particular climates, we first need to find our “initial conditions” or starting points. This is where influences create divergent outcomes. We could reduce our initial conditions to genes but that’s a little like reducing the tree to the tips of its roots. They’re informative and they matter but it gets easier if we find other “hubswhere the environment influences individuals within expected patterns. Hormones that impact brain development, sensory and information processing systems (stress perception) and are genetically driven are a likely hub.

Estrogen Alpha receptorEstrogen impacts brain development as well as grey matter and white matter in the brains of both men and women creating distinct patterns of development, unique patterns of stress reactivity and patterns of susceptibility to outcomes. We also know from researchers like Deborah Clegg that estrogen can be seen as an orchestrator of energy regulation and glucose homeostasis as it is a prominent channel that communicates stress and fat storage, immune reactivity, obesity, adiposity and energy dysregulation in the brain.

Hormone-driven functioning creates variety and diversity. Genes in cases like gene-environment interaction don’t program for diseases like we once thought, as in “it just runs in the family” and can’t be avoided. Rather genes program for particular function and typically better survival. We could think of it as these functions have particular fuel needs and operate within certain pathways that keep them regulated and balanced. When those particular resources are compromised the function and its needs create distinct thresholds and outcomes.

Gene-hormone set-ups are not destiny that one will fall into a disease-state but rather those genes set up unique requirements that must be obtained and balanced or you find yourself in a stress-associated disease state.

The foods we eat, the stress we are under, turn genes on and off in response to those resources and challenges. Tweaks from the environment. Stress isn’t a thing; it’s an action, a model, so that action first and foremost depends on where one’s particular ‘bar’ is set and the thresholds we establish from early exposure. This correspondence to react to the environment is about building resiliency and raising the bar of stress resiliency by proper environmental conditions, like quality foods we evolved with.

Is Metabolic Syndrome a Math Problem or Communication Problem?

Math VS. Communication

What happens when we move from speaking about MtS as a math problem to MtS as a communication problem is we find we may be getting the wrong directions and insufficient resources from our environment. Calories are still part of the equation because the body begins to seek and store calories (energy) when the body has more stress (challenges) and it needs more resources. This would make sense that our bodies and brains are highly adaptive to our environments. We need accurate information and communication about what is going on or we will falter. We build the wrong or unnecessarily strong structures or save resources with too many shortcuts.

Estrogen and its contrasting subreceptors, alpha and beta, communicate to the body/brain what is happening out in the environment and adjust accordingly. We have times or “critical periods” while in the womb, toddlers or teenagers where they are even more aware and pliable to change.This is partly why we see many studies on the impact of “endocrine disruptors” like pesticides, BPA or plastics in MtS. They interrupt or accentuate this communication. While in the womb a person can be “programmed” to overly store energy in preparation for a hostile environment.

If getting messages from the environment about stress, like from estrogen disruptors (NYTimes “Warnings from a Flabby Mouse“) that do not represent the actual environment, this can create false messages of a distressed metabolism. Of course that is just a start, or sometimes a small stage setter of false or exaggerated messages from the environment.

MICROBIOTA: Our stress and immune partners:

Our love of Umami and fermented foods

The cover art for Nature suggests a microbial reflection of one’s self in dialogue with its host, as in the original painting titled “Our Self-Portrait: the Human Microbiome” by Joana Ricou Illustration by Steven H. Lee

“Our Self-Portrait: the Human Microbiome”
by Joana Ricou Illustration by Steven H. Lee[/caption]

Another communicator within our stress, organ and immune systems are our synergistic partners within our microbiome. We’ve developed this relationship over centuries both by eating them directly in our fermented foods, developing communication with them and by feeding them with our complex diets from within our diverse cultures. They are an important aspect of human nutrition and stress balancing. Probiotics, our fermented foods (dairy, grains, vegetables, fruit) dating back 10,000 years (Princeton) and prebiotics, the fiber and sugar our gut microbes rely on. As authors Kau describe in their June 2011 article in the journal Nature, our current “dramatic changes in socioeconomic status, cultural traditions, population growth, and agriculture are affecting diets worldwide” and our synergistic friends, our microbiome.

Cecil Lewis anthropologist discusses that our microbiota have changed dramatically in the last 100 years. There is also evidence from Professor Cooper and researchers at the University of Adelaide’s Centre for Ancient DNA that there have even been changes in the microbiome of our mouths in these last 100 years. Our rural -cousins resemble our ancestors more than city-dweller and maintaining this relationship and diversity appears of the utmost importance, especially to our ability to handle, detect and respond to our environment, foods, and stressors.

Foods Help Regulate Stress

Foods are clearly a pivotal resource in recovery and resiliency to stress. However, the act of eating foods can also create stress. Stress is a demand for attention and energy to take action. It takes energy to break down and make use of the foods we eat. 10-25% of our calories can go toward digestion. There is also stress in handling the byproducts and processing to balance these loads. Foods that create stress for us aren’t inherently “bad” for us, but they can become so, by activating stress defense system when they do not have counterbalances and buffers.

A steak is great for you, but it can create byproducts, drinking a glass of wine with your streak can buffer those byproducts making the meal less stressful. Stressful foods are often foods where we get our best calorie resources: sugar and fats. However, these calorie dense foods are resources for other stresses from our environment; emotional, intellectual or physical challenges. Also maintained by these resources are our very expensive internal organs like the brain, heart, skin, immune, reproduction and so forth. Although various stressors like physical or emotional pain have unique pathways they also run many of the same pathways and feed from the same pool of resources. A true sensing and sharing organism. Nothing like the paradigm of separation of body systems and the separation of mind and body in our current medical paradigm. This is a bidirectional relationship and intimately integrated network of very “intelligent” systems on the cellular level. The mind, sensing and awareness, is the body and vice versa.

More than Filling up the Tank

Nutrition is often thought of as “filling up a tank”. In our current paradigm nutrition’s impact on health was thought of as either deficiency or excess, a very straight-line of “not enough”, “enough” or “too much” of a particular vitamin etc.

What this neglects is that in a sensing system, call it the brain, immune system, stress regulation of gene expression, determines the trajectory of our health and growth from food. This is also more significant than “helping us grow”. It is more than a fuel needed in an already planned out system. Nutrition from our foods are in essence information about the environment we are entering and a constant interaction guiding us. In a very subtle way it is not only helping us to grow, but rather directing us how, where, when and why to grow. We see this in the power of milk in the early stages of life. Another example is from the research and pivotal discoveries of Timothy Noakes. Our muscles are not like a physical machine that just needs gas to work. They don’t just have a fuel they run out of, but rather there is a complex communication within the nervous system and the brain that allows that energy to be dispersed and utilized correctly so we stay in balance. The physical aspects of “filling up a tank” may seem reasonable, but it is ultimately again an illusion that it is that hard and fast of a situation. It’s the undercurrents; the “ghosts” behind the workings that we rarely see and can often neglect that are true drivers of outcomes.

Our Internal Dance of Balances and Communication

Keeping what is called “homeostatic” balances of organs and activities of the body can be very delicate and sensitive. In a manner of speaking foods talk to us and give us an expectation of nutrients through sensory mechanisms, communication channels and interactions between physiological processes. In this way our systems can sense what type of resources, like fat or sugars are coming its way. Foods really are more than just ‘fuel’ as they are actively communicating with the stress regulatory hubs like the mTOR system or the Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA axis) and the sensory system that is our brain.

Seeking True Needs and being Deceived

We seek caloric density because the body thinks it is undergoing a time that its needs have greatly increased or have been compromised because of threats. (This lately seems like always does it not?) Calorie sources have multiple actions and signals. It is of crucial importance that we are motivated and learn where to get them.This is unfortunately what food manufacturers flavor enhancers and chemists take advantage of. They’ve learned how to artificially mimic the messages we received from once rich-resource foods. Instead they are supplying these same messages, but lack of any substance. The sugar-fat-salt combination what is termed “palatable” meals or “junk foods” that taste (and feel) really good are taking advantage of these communication pathways. The natural form of a culinary feasts high in fat-sugars and caloric dense used to be buffered by the other foods within the meal; the fruits, vegetables, fibers, quality fats, herbs and spices. Buffers found in natural foods eaten in the context of traditional recipes and meals. Foods that were once attempting to guide us and motivate us to get these resources in these combinations are now fooling us.

Junk food imitates natural balances of sugar-fat-acid-salt-umami-heat.These are high palatable foods with flavorings trick the brain to elicit pleasure and seeking behavior (because it reduces stress and supplies resources). Which would be a good thing, if it were the real food. Instead it’s altering our balances and leading us on wild goose chases.

Sensing creates vulnerabilities: Taking this “sensing system” perspective to MtS would bring to the discussion factors such as endocrine disruptors, pollutants, early life stress, prenatal programming, community, family, microbiota, sunlight, naturalized environments, socializing, epigenetics and the impact these factors have on internal stress balances. This is a perspective which explains why tweaking macronutrient balances like low-carbohydrate or reduced calorie diets create change not by solely reducing calories but by reducing stress or inducing adaptive stress alterations.

BUILDING A HOUSE: Why Real Food Matters

To better visualize the role calories, hormones, microbiota and whole foods play in this complex building of our bodies, we could think of it like building a house. Calories would be like the Men, the energy, to build the house. Our hormones are much like the Supervisors giving instructions and guidance. The Tools are the levelers, balancers, screws, hammers and the precision tools to put all the Materials to proper use. The Tools are the variety of phytochemicals we get with our fruits, vegetables, fiber, herbs and spices. The Raw Materials are what we get from meat, legumes, nuts, milk, fats and sunlight. Our Tools make sure our Materials are fully utilized (some Materials have built-in Tools and vice versa). Supervisors carefully follow our Blueprints, our genetic code from the thousands of years of experience and our epigenome, sort of like “scouts” trying to give us more immediate conditions and future projections. The Supervisors must also have a constant understanding of our Foundation; the land the house is being built upon. The Supervisors also survey the Climate to prepare for inclement weather and the Community for the services available if disaster should strike.

house cc

Elements of the Build

  1. Men: Calories: Energy from Sugar (and fat)
  2. Tools: Antioxidants, Inflammatory and Feedback balancers: Fruits, Veggies, Fiber, Herbs, Mints & Spices, Probiotics and Sunlight
  3. Raw Materials: Protein, Fiber, and Fats (Fatty Acids)
  4. Supervisors: Hormones, Immune System and inflammatory pathways; Estrogen, Gerlin, Insulin, Leptin, Oxytocin, Sirtuins, Orexin, mTOR pathways (to name a few)
  5. Blueprints and Foundation: Genetics, Epigenetics and adaptation to environmental challenges and the microbiome

In order to build a house we need solid blueprints, exceptional supervisors, proper tools, plenty of raw materials and of course just the right amount of strong capable men to get the job done. The number of men we need will shift depending on the other variables and stage of the build. However, if the blueprints, supervisors or feedback mechanisms aren’t on point, or if we’ve gotten false information from our surveyors, then the house itself, after being built, will need constant maintenance and will most likely start breaking down. It will cost us a lot of time and money. We can save money in the short-term and along the way by getting rid of our most obvious money drain, our labor costs, ie Men or Calories. This may make it appear that the money problem was solved and therefore the men were the cause. However, calorie restriction as a solution to a problem doesn’t automatically mean that calories were the problem to begin with. There could be times lowering calories or firing men was successful because there were insufficient tools or materials for those men to use. Firing a dozen men off the job because you didn’t have enough tools for them doesn’t mean that the men were the problem. Calorie Restriction in many ways could be seen as the old paradigm approach of finding the “quick fix” to a problem without addressing the whole. Dietary Restriction makes adjustments in the behavior of the system to stress. It is the stress and we need to consider why we are increasingly impacted by stress. Is it that we lack the tools, materials and proper directions? The least amount of calories you have (men showing up to do a job) does not build the best house. You need all the men you can get in balance with the best tools, materials, competent supervisors and solid blueprints to build the most efficient, powerful and effective house you can construct. Reducing calories in that framework without the other considerations makes no sense, it only creates weaker houses.

Building a healthy body and maintaining a healthy weight is about a sophisticated communication and cooperation of an ecosystem of events and players that go into creating a well-functioning, highly evolved, elaborate system. Therefore getting calories in the context of whole foods, a whole meal with family, friends, and community seems the best and most imperative framework for understanding health.

Food isn’t a Magical Fix but an Evolutionary Foundation

“In other words, while the evolutionary causes of the enlarging human brain themselves are thought to have been due to factors that go beyond diet alone (increasing social organization being prime among the proposed factors usually cited), a diet of sufficient quality would nevertheless have been an important prerequisite. That is, diet would have been an important hurdle–or limiting factor–to surmount in providing the necessary physiological basis for brain enlargement to occur within the context of whatever those other primary selective pressures might have been.” Tom Billings

Food doesn’t magically fix us. We built a house of cards slowly as we found, combined, cooked, fermented and created meals with our food. Our bodies slowly figured out how to get and make better use of foods and find buffers for the foods we ate by following our tastes driven by flavor. When we didn’t cook our food, we couldn’t get enough calories from raw foods. When we didn’t have our gut bacteria it was difficult to get enough nutrition, the microbiota ended up doing some of that work for us. As this greater supply of nutrition became available our brains grew in capacity and function, because we came to depend on that nutrition that built it. Our brains and bodies are marvels at compensating and adapting and figuring out ways to save energy and find nutrition, but sooner or later the body can only compensate so much, so far. It becomes overprotective, over-seeking, and overly needy and must become stingy on where it sends its energy and how it’s going to save it.

When and Why we got rid of Fat, Germs and Sunlight

Thoughtful leaders increasingly recognize that we are not only failing to solve the persistent problems we face, but are in fact causing them.” John Sterman, 2002 MIT speech “All Models are Wrong: Reflections on Becoming a Systems Scientist”

Fats are fattening, germs are bad, and the sun causes cancer. The logic of “if it’s bad get rid of it” may actually have caused more problems than it attempted to solve. Fats, Germs (our gut microbiome) and the Sun (nutrient hormones produced from sunlight) all make a difference in our immune systems, neuroprotection and stress regulation. These factors impact our energy regulation (fat storage), adaptive mechanisms and our behavior. Without the protectors we evolved with, the stress of everyday life and exposures can become more stressful. Without resources this alters when our bodies perceive threats and subsequently begin over-reacting to our environment. We essentially have lowered the bar in our ability to handle stress. Our bodies end up finding ways to protect and compensate from these stressors and this typically ends up expressed as various disorders, protective strategies and trade-offs.

“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” – Albert Einstein

What causes stress which can create Metabolic Syndrome?

  1. Calories. Too many calories don’t just fill an arbitrary tank. That tank being over-filled causes stress. Imagine 100 men show up to do a job on a house and you only have tools for 50.
  2. Sugar. Sugars are a primary energy source. Too much sugar, especially in refined form, especially in forms reduced, cheapened and further isolated forms, like table sugar or High-Fructose Corn Syrup cause stress. Sugar needs to be in balance, like the men, with the tools, materials and natural buffers. Energy from carbs requires a tax to be paid from the byproducts and breakdown.
  3. Fat. Too much fat without balance. Too much fat of the easy cheap variety creates all sorts of problems. The introduction of manufactured vegetable oil fats that came into existence in the early and late 1900’s and proliferated in the 1970-90’s , because of an oversimplified and over-applied assumption about fats. Fats in this reduced stripped down form causes stress on the system. Fats need to be in balance with the tools, materials and other fats in to buffer and balance the stress and inflammatory balances of the system.
  4. Not enough Fat. Getting rid of natural fats from animal products like dairy. The saturated and natural trans-fats, and the multitude of other nutrients and combination of fatty acids buffered the stress on our systems. Omega-3 fats especially disappearing from grass-fed animals in the combination and balance we evolved with were part of how our bodies and brains built and protected itself. Their absence causes us stress.
  5. Germs. Getting rid of germs. Not just antibiotics, but when it comes to foods, the naturally fermented products from unpasteurized dairy, fruits (aka wine), fermented grains like alcoholic beverages with their diverse social and cultural history (which also requires caution), vegetables and naturally cured meats. These products assisted and developed our microbiome, the germs that reside in our guts for thousands of years depend and our built because of what we ingested. These germs of our guts help us digest food, produce vitamins for us and regulate our genetic and immune expression. Without this diversity our environment causes us more stress.
  6. Processed foods. Refining foods causes us a multitude of issues because it throws off our balances. The context of the meal, the foods that we combined and fashioned into delicious recipes that provided us with a rich balance of interactive constituents. Processed foods could conceivably make nutritious foods more stressful to us.
  7. Pesticides and Pollutants. Another reason to re-examine our corporate “big” farming practices and environmental clean-up concerns. Endocrine disruptors in the environment do more than interrupt reproduction, they have the potential to make stress more stressful because they can, for example, impact endocrine signally for the brain and immune development. The growing climate change with increased Carbon Dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere may be a contributing factor in lowering our ability to handle stress.
  8. Psychological Stress. A complicated sometimes primary other times more secondary player in stress MtS dynamics. Since many of these factors interact, enhance, diminish, or otherwise confound each other, the psychology will cross-over to the physical and vice versa via the multitudes of “cross-talk” among the body’s organs, stress perceiving and resource allocation hubs. Nutrition or other programmed immune interactions can set the stage to make stress more stressful and lower the bar for psychological or physical stressors to exert more impact.
  9. Epigenetic Programming. Information about the hostility of the environment from previous generations, parents and grandparents. Stress mechanisms start with initial conditions and those initial conditions can be altered to adjust to a “hostile” environment and modify their stress reactions and seek more resources.
  10. Our Approaches. When we blame an outside “thing” instead of the sensing system, we end up getting rid of a stress instead of working with the system to be more resilient to stress. Stress-producing items may have been very valuable to us. Sunshine, for example, directly has the potential to cause skin cancer. Do we get rid of sunshine or do we need to address ways in which the sunshine may have become more stressful because of our nutritional choices, immune, emotional stress levels and the ‘sensing’ organ of the skin? Was blocking out the sun the answer? Or did that scientific paradigm logic of getting rid of things we need simply cause more problems?

A stress perspective is different than a cause-effect perspective. Cause-effect finds a cause and gets rid of it. Stress looks at balances and interactions. Calories are hard, linear and static model of what causes MtS. Whereas stress is a dynamic, interacting and nonlinear concept of what causes MtS.

Steps to Solutions:

  • AVOID: Fake flavors, processed foods, trans-fats, msg, and high fructose corn syrup as they impede health and potentially the health of real foods by disturbing the ecosystem balances of our bodies and brains.
  • Aware of individual needs and how foods impact stress regulation and the body as “sensing” systems
  • Lighter (less fats/carbs) whole foods mixed with heavy meals from time to time
  • Grass-Fed and Whole animal eating; encouraging a larger variety than “lean meats”
  • Fermented and cultured meat, cheese, vegetables, and dairy
  • Fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices, nuts, grains as tolerated, real cheese, well-kept animals, oils-butter-lard (in moderation or oscillations), wine, beer and spirits naturally fermented and prepared, traditional and culinary-style simple eating.
  • Exercise, fun, family, games, creativity, community, individuality
  • Weight-loss; low-calorie, fasts, alternate-day fasts, surgery, low-carbohydrate or other health-reattainment type diets or lifestyles diets have a place in a stress model perspective
  • A new scientific approach, an ecosystem and diverse approach to health and well-being.

Moving to a new paradigm represents a framework that better suits and makes sense of the evidence. So besides changing our scientific framework from a single-cause, we begin using complex dynamics in stress-models. Solutions will be comprised of asking new questions. In my view it’s utilizing great diet programs already out there but generally what I like to think of as a “Culinary Lifestyle Diet”. Looking toward simply prepared foods from healthy animals with traditionally made sauces. Eating lightly most days, and feasts from time-to-time. Real foods including the miraculous ways recipes come together including fats, sugars and whole foods. Exercise, movement, challenges and games through sports and fun activities. Embrace and value the benefits of social connections with family, community, activities or friends. Clean up the environment; demand more from food providers and restaurants. Government to lift bans on real foods (from fear of “germs”) and to subsidize fruits, vegetables and small farms instead of the commodity crops. Embrace and take on stress, challenge our intellect, honor traditions, work to live don’t live to work. Schools incorporate diversity, creative learning, how to think instead of what to think. Our medical establishments to paradigm shift and include in their expectations an ecosystem nonlinear approach to health and recovery programs.

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