I was cleaning my bathroom on Friday and did a twist and bend move that would have been no problem in my yoga class, but for some reason in this instance, my lower back muscles decided they had had enough and were going on strike in protest.
I knew immediately what it meant. I’ve visited this place before. I did ice packs, bio-freeze, stretched, rested, advilled up, napped and still couldn’t walk except in a weird waddling way. The lower back is a series of very intricate, complex bundle of nerves, discs, bones, collagen, chemicals, ezymes, compounds, blood pathways and much, much more. Undeterred, we attended a concert in the city. It had previously been postponed because of Irene, and I wasn’t going to miss this opportunity.
Saturday, I called the chiropractor but you know how that goes on a weekend! Forget about it.
I tried mind over matter and willed myself to go out for a run on Sunday morning and it was a no go. The walk was fine, as I dragged my feet, but I was definitely “out of alignment” and my yoga, intention and mind power could not break through the protesting muscles that had me their death grip.
So the rest of Sunday I rested. Became a munching machine couch potatoe. Watched football. Read. Watched some more football and read some more. I waddled and waded through two college chemistry tomes that were both on my favorite subject: Omega-3s.
The Fats of Life: Glen D. Lawrence
Dietary Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids and Cancer: Calviello, Serini
In one section of the book The Fats of Life, Dr. Glen is explaining that among the millions of communication signals that are being transmitted and received at every moment, some are electrical and transfer data in milliseconds and some are chemical and enzymatic and take seconds, minutes or many minutes to reach across a multiplex of platforms and be decoded, interpreted and reacted to.
For example it took several pages of text, thousands of words to describe the very simple example of the flight or fight response. External situation elicits an adrenaline release, the description of the pathways and the reaction of variousl parts of the body was enormously complex. Within seconds muslcles are constricting, while the liver is release stores of energy. Some systems are heightening the response, other systems are relaxing and releasing important chemicals to allow you to run, or stand and fight. Thousands of calculations are being performed in order to meet the need of the moment.
If a chemist and/or a biologist for that matter simply wrote the story of ten seconds of your life in a fight or flight response, recounting every system, every sub-system, every chemical action and reaction, every electrical impulse, every endocrine and adrenal action and reaction, every neural pathway that receives and passes on information, I am sure it would be a terabyte of information, give or take a few gigabytes. (A terabyte being 1024 gigabytes) The actual number of actions of course is not critical; I am just trying to express the enormity of what 10 seconds holds in our life time.
And that, is only 10 seconds of your life. So I am in awe and amazement of what is contrived within our physical beings. There are processes that are yet undiscovered. The store of medical knowledge is doubling every five years. This means in 2006 we only knew half as much as we do today. There are processes that are ongoing that we may know about but haven’t the foggiest idea of how or why those processes are in place. Scientists can theorize and test a small slice of the pie but the utter wonder of what makes us able to function, walk uprightly (something I hope to be doing soon again), work with tools, communicate with neighbors in our towns and cities and even video chat with San Francisco, Australia and the Philippines is by itself beyond our ability to comprehend. We just use it as it suits us. We turn on the lights and they work. We connect with Skype and we chat freely with the world. We digest our breakfast and go for a run or walk and enjoy the scenery. It’s really a magnificent reality that too often is taken for granted.
So my appreciation is large to the doctors, scientists and academicians who are willing to spend years of their lives in the observance of something as seemingly as simple (complex and wondrous at the same time) as a compound called an Essential Fatty Acid known as Omega-3. ( A thin slice of the human pie)
There are many Essential Fatty Acids. The particular need for Omega-3s in our society is large since our food processors have devised ways of making economical oils out of plants which result mainly in Omega-6s. While the ratio of 1 to 1 is shown to be a beneficial balance for the immune system, our present day modern diet has us at 15 – 17 to 1 weighted toward the pro-inflammatory Omega-6 oils.
Whatever one can do to decrease the amount of Omega-6s and increase the Omega-3 intake, is what most people should do. While there are very complex reasons and hundreds of pages describing the phenomenon, it’s that simple. This is now considered by these esteemed researchers and many more like them, to be the root cause of modern diseases: Imbalance in ratios of polyunsaturated fats. The second underlying cause of modern disease: sugar. Too many carbohydrates. Those high glycemic, tasty kind. Carbs are great if you burn a lot of energy on a daily basis, just ask Michael Phelps. However, if you are in a desk job, if you are sedentary, if you don’t exercise more than 30 minutes a day, then cut out the rice, bread, pasta, cakes, doughnuts, candies, etc.
You can eat pasta once in awhile. Don’t be party pooper and refuse a thin slice of cake at a birthday party. Just make it the exception to the rule and up the amount of exercise while you still can! (I can’t wait to get back out there.)
Back to the books: Several pages in both books are dedicated to the 5 areas of human health potential benefits:
1. Heart Health
2. Eye Health
3. Brain Health
4 Joint Health
5. Immune Health
By far, the winner of any type of super food showdown has to be Omega-3s. That’s what I gleaned from my position on my back on the couch this weekend. There is food, and then there is super food. Omega-3 fish oil by far has the potential to turn any one of these 5 areas around for you. In fact, all five areas will improve with a consistent regimen of Omega-3s.
More Lessons on Limitation:
By age 4, 5 or 6 we passed a milestone. We learned how to tie our shoes. At some point the exercise of over, under, “bunny ears” are made without thought, now we know something that is so very easy to do, no thought is given to it. What if you can’t reach your shoes? Limitation. (It took awhile, but after some experimentation, I was able to get my own shoes on by bringing my knees up to my chest, lying on my back.)
We walk, we run, we swim with ease, until a sub-system of nerves and muscles decide they will no longer cooperate. So feeling very limited, I applied that feeling to other feelings and beliefs that we are taught. “You can’t do that.” “You aren’t (fast, strong, good) enough.” “Better not risk it.” “Why take chances? You might fail.” “You might lose your money.” No, you just aren’t all that, so why even try? Fact is, whether we are willing to appropriate this truth to oursevles or not, we can do just about anything.
No one could run a 4 minute mile until Roger Bannister did it in 1952. A few days later another runner John Landy did the same. Within a few years 17 runners had broken the unwritten rule that you can’t run a mile in 4 minutes. Today, it’s a standard mark of a middle distance runner.
Call it personal development or pop psychology. There are limitations we place on ourselves daily. Whether I can or I can’t isn’t even the point. Everyone struggles with fears and failures. And the only successes that exist are those who hung with the problem a little longer and didn’t give up.
I will be back to sprinting in no time. Doing my intervals, keeping up with the program I have established for my own health goals. In the meantime, it doesn’t hurt to take a few days off and be thankful that I can walk. I can see. I can read. I can type on a laptop from a prone position.
What we have inside of us is priceless. From our physiology to our psychology, these gifts that we have, that we use without much thought, can’t be bought. Use them wisely.
Thanks for reading this.
✓ The Omega-3 Protocol? ✓ True Omega-3 ✓ Antarctic Krill Oil ✓ Calamarine High DHA Omega-3 ✓ Total Package – Omega-3 Protocol