Is my health determined by my genes?

Allow me to share the story of how I got interested in nutrition. Having grown up taught that our parents' genes influence who we are more and ultimately destine our lives, which is just plain wrong, I went through a period of thinking I'm pretty much screwed by circumstance. 

The medical track record in my family is one least to be envied, the entire male lineage with the exception of one uncle, on both my mothers and fathers sides had died from chronic disease. We have lost our father at age 40 to cancer, both my grandfathers had type 2 diabetes, were on daily meds and died of cancer. My uncle, still alive, however had been struck by infarction twice already. A symptom of atherosclerosis.

So here I was, embracing the lack of impact I have on my own health due to a genetic misfortune, doing exactly the same things and repeating the patterns of my forebearers. All of them proud connoisseurs gourmet, I also indulged in hedonistic pursuits of taste which included absurd amounts of alcohol and tobacco.

Alas, I stumble upon a youtube video from this lovely human being which shatters my belief structure and motivates me to buy and read his book that throws me into the field of epigenetics, questioning academics and the central dogma, an actual belief at the core of science???

Vegetable, Fruit, Grains, beans and seeds

Vegetable, Fruit, Grains, beans and seeds

Well, all of that opened up a whole different can of worms for me and I found another great human spirit embodied in Colin Campbell and the China study, his life's work: the most comprehensive study ever undertaken of the relationship between diet and the risk of developing disease, synthesized in this book. That’s how I figured out that each individual should be responsible for their health and not outsource responsibility to our current healthcare model.

I've now been practicing lifestyle medicine on myself and by example inspiring my closest friends and family and offering support on this path. There is much yet to learn, especially with the nuances of genetic predispositions of individuals that tilt the hormonal balances and with it manifestations and reactions to specific substances. However, there is always the rational tool and the scientific method that allows us to implement small changes and observe how our body reacts. With time, we learn to listen to our body and become much more sensitive to what we eat, drink and read or watch. A balanced body, mind and spirit gives us the energy needed to live life to the fullest.

-Aleksander Brankov