The more you (think) you know the greater the importance of learning to let go of what you (think) you know so that you can open to the deeper knowledge already within every cell of your being. Ancestral wisdom is encoded in our DNA, dimly remembered as the habits and routines passed down to us from our parents, grandparents, and our partner’s family.

As we learn and grow, often we are taught what we are led to believe is true due to “scientific” methods of testing and observation. But how many times are we convinced (often for years) that we are doing the right things, eating healthy foods only to learn that later research (sometimes confirming much older research) is showing these “true facts” are in fact completely wrong? Dr. Dwight Lundell came to a difficult realization that everything he know was wrong…

“We physicians with all our training, knowledge and authority often acquire a rather large ego that tends to make it difficult to admit we are wrong. So, here it is. I freely admit to being wrong. As a heart surgeon with 25 years experience, having performed over 5,000 open-heart surgeries, today is my day to right the wrong with medical and scientific fact.

I trained for many years with other prominent physicians labelled “opinion makers.” Bombarded with scientific literature, continually attending education seminars, we opinion makers insisted heart disease resulted from the simple fact of elevated blood cholesterol.

The only accepted therapy was prescribing medications to lower cholesterol and a diet that severely restricted fat intake. The latter of course we insisted would lower cholesterol and heart disease. Deviations from these recommendations were considered heresy and could quite possibly result in malpractice.”

It takes true courage to let go of years of training and allow one’s own intelligence and powers of observation to shine through. Since the 1980’s, when the USDA first began making recommendations for a low-fat low-cholesterol diet, the levels of chronic disease have skyrocketed. Americans are sicker than ever, often taking multiple prescriptions for issues that are diet and lifestyle related (which should make one wonder, why not fix the root cause? Diet and Lifestyle!).

“While we savor the tantalizing taste of a sweet roll, our bodies respond alarmingly as if a foreign invader arrived declaring war. Foods loaded with sugars and simple carbohydrates, or processed with omega-6 oils for long shelf life have been the mainstay of the American diet for six decades. These foods have been slowly poisoning everyone.” Dr. Lundell and other physicians are finally speaking out against our over-reliance on highly processed and refined foods of convenience which create widespread inflammation in our bodies. This inflammation results in the blocked arteries, NOT the cholesterol that has been demonized for years – “The cholesterol theory led to the no-fat, low-fat recommendations that in turn created the very foods now causing an epidemic of inflammation. Mainstream medicine made a terrible mistake when it advised people to avoid saturated fat in favor of foods high in omega-6 fats. We now have an epidemic of arterial inflammation leading to heart disease and other silent killers.”

So what do we do? The diseases of “modern” humans originally were rare, occurring most commonly in city dwellers and the wealthy, those who were more likely to consume processed refined “foods”. The common farmers and laborers ate closer to the land because those foods were cheaper (but also fresher and more nutrient dense). So eat like your grandparents ate, if they were farmers! Fresh, whole foods are packed with nutrients. Simple preparation with traditional fats and oils will convey rich flavors and using spices (ideally freshly ground but hey, let’s start small) like turmeric, coriander, cumin, black pepper, mineralized salt, and grass fed butter (or ghee) and cream will not only taste better but stick to your ribs so you’re not constantly hungry and looking for snacks.

Then we must try to get active – our sedentary lifestyles are stiffening our joints and allowing what we eat to be stored on our hips, waists, and in our blood vessels. We don’t need to sweat profusely or crawl out of the gym to get a “good” workout. Differing constitutions have different needs – someone who really needs to lose a few pounds (or has difficulty with weight) needs more vigorous exercise than someone who is naturally slim and lean. One who is under a great deal of emotional or physical stress should not exercise the same way as one who is calm and serene.

To learn more about how to awaken our body’s innate wisdom we need to pay attention to how we react to everything we do – what effect does our food have on us? What effect does our physical activity (or lack of it) have on our aches and pains and our energy level? The practice of Yoga, specifically designed to teach us how to be self-aware, can be applied to other areas of our lives as we learn to tune into ourselves more deeply. You don’t need to be flexible or coordinated or thin; try different styles and even different teachers within a style which appeals to you. Once you begin to recognize themes as well as specific postures which feel beneficial you may feel ready to do some practicing on your own; when you go to class you recharge your creativity and learn new things you can then incorporate into your home practice. And while classes may range from 60 – 120 minutes your personal practice need not last more than 5 – 10 minutes at first. Make a little time (traditionally in the morning before breakfast, but you can also unwind with gentler yoga in the evening before bed) every day and reap the benefits the longer you practice.