Have you ever done something out of character and thought, “Am I possessed by aliens?” Do you really want to do something, but no matter how much you want it, and know how good it will be for you, you just can’t do it? It just feels like you aren’t in control of your own body or mind? Well, guess what? It could be true! You could be possessed by aliens.
Yep! How much of you do you think is you? Ten percent? Fifty percent? Would you be surprised to know that humans carry more bacterial cells than human ones? Yep. “You” are not you. You are a host for a whole bunch of alien life forms. Fortunately, humans and these parasites evolved together in a symbiotic way, so most of these “guests” are friendly and beneficial.
Let me explain. When a baby is in utero, he gets all he needs from mama through the umbilical cord. He has a sterile gut and then, when traveling through the birth canal, he picks up all sorts of bacteria that colonize his gut and makes him able to digest food. He gets more from breast milk. Not only that, but breast milk contains complex sugars called oligosaccharides that the baby can’t digest. So why are they there? To feed the probiotic bacteria in the baby’s gut. As the bacteria digests these sugars, they release short chain fatty acids that help developing gut cells to seal the gut and keep microbes out the blood stream.
These bacteria also help establish a healthy immune system that impacts the child for the rest of his life. The microbe’s full beneficial potential is only unlocked when it feeds on breast milk. But let’s say that you born by Cesarean section and weren’t breast fed. What do you do then?
That’s where food, environment and lifestyle come in. Since having a healthy gut impacts your risk of developing cancer, diabetes, periodontal disease, anxiety, depression, migraines, leaky gut, diarrhea, inflammatory bowel disease, bacterial vaginosis, infertility, high blood pressure, and auto immune disorders, you really want to do all you can to boost your numbers of healthy bacteria. The healthy bacteria keeps the aliens at bay who want to seem to make you feel like you’re possessed by someone who is not your bright and shiny best self. They thrive when you have a healthy lifestyle.
What food do they need? Fresh alive foods. Foods that were recently flying, swimming, crawling, grazing, or growing on the earth. They also like fermented foods like saurkraut, kimchi, kombucha, raw apple cider vinegar, and yogurt. Fast foods, processed foods, and foods with added sugars feed the aliens that you don’t want. These are the ones that make you feel crabby, achy, and without self control.
You get more of these bacteria when you are in the natural world. The natural world has bugs. You need bugs. When you are in a climate controlled environment with hand sanitizer and shoes, you don’t frolic where the beneficial bacteria live. These guys need to be replenished and fed. Remember sugar, stress, lack of sleep, and a sedentary lifestyle kill them. So get outside, get some exercise (which these good bugs like), and get some bugs.
Your bugs need rest. I know everybody says they either “get by” with 4 to 6 hours sleep, they are night owls, or they can’t sleep. While there are individual differences between people, humans haven’t evolved to be nocturnal or function optimally with minimal sleep. Your bugs and brain haven’t either. If you want your bugs to be happy, take time to sleep. These guys control your melatonin (sleep hormone) production and your serotonin (mood) production. Do right by them and they will do right by you.
I heard that the human body needs to be relaxed as much as it needs to be under stress, and sleep doesn’t count as “relaxation.” How many of us get that? Zero. Anything louder than a forest causes our nervous system to react, so just living in the modern world is stressful. This means you have to do something like meditation, reading, listening to music, deep breathing, yoga, or Tai Chi every day. It’s really not an option. It’s the minimum required to live a balanced life.
The bottom line is, we’re all possessed by aliens. If we treat them well, they let us think clearly, feel good for no reason, and get things done without much effort. When we don’t treat them well, we get the nasty aliens who keep us up all night, give us racing thoughts, plague us with aches and pains, and make us old and sick. You don’t have a choice about whether the bugs are here or not. You do have a choice about whether to create a home for beneficial bugs where you both benefit or you could create a hostile environment where the bad bugs flourish and will take over.