Brains on Fire

Anyone who follows medical news in the slightest would be aware that chronic inflammation is a big driver of disease. Aside from stress, another significant source of inflammation is the American diet.

Many of the processed foods we eat - and the stuff within them - promote inflammation, which travels throughout the body, affecting virtually every organ. It produces widespread - and eventually debilitating - disease, shortened life spans, and premature death. Hence the modern epidemic of chronic disease.

Among the affected organs is the one most often overlooked - yet arguably the most important: the brain. It is is not immune from this assault. And if you can’t think straight your quality of life will suffer.

Between the everyday stressors of modern life: The unending 24/7 stream of (bad) news bombarding us from all corners of the global village; modern technology in the palm of the hand allowing each and every one of us to instantly emote back to the world; the antique fight or flight response built into our DNA, thereby producing a default bias to anxiety, fear, and pessimism.

What this dynamic produces is: An out-of-control emotionalism where feelings trump facts, perspective is blurred, and context lost; a world in which my truth is more valid than yours - because I said so - and by the way, you’re a jerk, and because I can readily disguise my identity it feels good to link up with a Twitter mob of similar sensibility and IQ. So I will troll, doxx, and cancel you because…you deserve it.

So as we keep feeding ourselves processed foods we keep thinking processed, inflammatory thoughts. We become what we eat - which is fragile, synthetic, volatile people. Moreover, we are aware of our physical, mental and emotional fragility, and feel helpless to change it. That makes us all the edgier.

Change the diet, change the mind. In a nutshell, eat whole, nutrient dense foods. Do not eat processed food. (More detail on this in a future blog.) Along with a few other factors - exercise, curiosity, amiability, sociability - that will do the trick. It’s that simple. But adopting this back-to-basics approach would put the experts who run our lives out of work and, even worse for them, shut off their oxygen supply of power and influence. Meanwhile, on the other side of the equation it would force people to take responsibility for their own behavior and stop blaming others, which seems to be an easy dopamine-of-a-hit thing to do these days.

But you gotta remember: Starve the beast and the beast will slink away. In this case, starving the beast means feeding your body - and your mind - back to life, and liberation.