Lifestyle

Is Intermittent Fasting Right For You?

You are what you eat…no, when you eat…er, how you eat! With so much eating advice out there, what is the best approach?

There are as many right answers as there are individuals. There is no one-size-fits-all diet. We’re all unique, right down to our physiology. What plan you should adopt depends on your goals and your body’s needs. That’s why having a nutritional therapist as an advocate can be a blessing.

You might want to try Intermittent Fasting if you have high blood sugars and are insulin resistant.

If insulin is high, you are going to store fat, not burn it. Insulin rises after a meal. It rises dramatically after a high-carb meal because it has to escort all that glucose into the cells for energy. When you are insulin-resistant, the cells won’t accept either the messenger or its package and blood sugars remain too high.

Intermittent Fasting works because insulin can’t spike if you don’t eat, and your cells can become re-sensitized to insulin. In the meantime, you are able to burn off some of those fat stores while insulin levels are reduced.

Red flags for insulin resistance include:

  • feeling tired after a meal.
  • needing sweets or a stimulant after a meal.
  • weight gain.
  • memory loss.
  • slow healing.
  • premature aging.
  • thyroid hormone imbalances.

You might want to avoid Intermittent Fasting if you are hypoglycemic.

You have to have a certain level of glucose in your blood in order to function. The brain’s primary fuel is glucose, and” if the brain ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” So a hormone called glucagon works in opposition to insulin to keep blood sugars from dropping too low. The ideal blood glucose level is between 70-90 mg/dL before a meal.

A hypoglycemic drops much lower than that. Getting glucose to the brain becomes an emergency, so cortisol steps in to help glucagon raise your blood sugars back to at least 70 mg/dL. When this happens repeatedly, cortisol actually increases insulin resistance! Fasting in this condition will make matters worse, because cortisol will be produced to keep you from having a sugar emergency, and you may actually aggravate your insulin resistance.

Red flags for hypoglycemia include:

  • feeling jittery, shaky, or light-headed before a meal.
  • irritability if a meal is missed.
  • chronic snacking or need to eat every 2-3 hours.
  • fluctuating energy (wired & tired syndrome).
  • easily upset or nervous.
  • constant cravings for sweets.

You might want to avoid Intermittent Fasting if you have Adrenal Fatigue.

Adrenal fatigue is a condition that develops from chronic cortisol output. It doesn’t matter whether the cortisol is stimulated by emotional stress (think bosses, deadlines,  rocky relationships, worry, etc.) or by physiological stress (such as food sensitivities, chronic infections, or high-carb eating). As addressed above, fasting in this state is only going to provoke greater cortisol output.

Red flags for Adrenal Fatigue include:

  • feeling tired when you wake up, even after a sufficient number of hours.
  • not being able to fall asleep or stay asleep, or having poor quality sleep.
  • inability to cope well with normal stress.
  • unable to recover quickly after exercise, or not able to tolerate exercise.
  • having an afternoon energy crash.

Are there alternatives to Intermittent Fasting?

You might consider eating different food all the time, instead of going without food intermittently. You could swap everything that contains flour or sugar for vegetables with butter on them. Sound drastic? Well, Intermittent Fasting is drastic, too.  If insulin is a problem, then analyze your fat-carb-protein ratios. There has been much focus on balancing carbs and proteins, but proper fat levels are not always addressed.

You could try Eating Rhythms, a system of eating nutrient dense food at roughly 5 hour intervals, designed to normalize blood sugar levels. Under this system, you have a no-carb breakfast (such as avocado and egg), then refrain from snacking until lunch, when you have a healthy protein with some complex carbohydrates and natural, unrefined fat (perhaps a steak salad with oil and vinegar dressing). Don’t eat anything more until dinner, when you again have protein and unrefined carbs, along with healthy fat (maybe fish, cooked vegetables, and butter). Then you do not eat again until breakfast, going a full 12 hours or more with no food overnight.

How do you know it is working?

You will know you are succeeding at controlling your insulin levels not just by your waistline, but by the way you feel satiated after a meal, have sustained energy throughout the day, think clearly and maintain focus, don’t need to snack between meals, no longer crave sweets, have plenty of stamina for your work-out, and experience level moods.

Are You Getting Full Value?

Eating is a little like giving to your favorite charity. If it’s a well-managed organization, your donation can potentially help thousands of individuals. But if a top-heavy administration is usurping funds, you may be greatly dismayed to find that only 10 or 20% of your contribution actually reaches those in need. Likewise, you may be consuming a healthy diet of balanced macronutrients (carbs, fats, and proteins), but if your digestive system is being mis-managed, your food may literally get flushed away without every reaching the cells it was intended to serve.

POOR DIGESTION CAN CAUSE YOU TO BE A SUGAR BURNER

Sugar burners are those that have fluctuating energy levels, don’t feel satiated after a meal, feel a need to snack, experience cravings, and often hit a wall during endurance activities. Many of my clients who have been sugar burners for a long time often display signs of hypoglycemia and insulin resistance simultaneously. It’s not a fun way to live, feeling tired and hungry all the time, gaining weight, and being controlled by cravings.

Some of these clients eat clean. They are careful to eat their vegetables, avoid sugar and refined carbs, add natural fats to their cooking, and select healthy portions of proteins. What then is going on? It may be digestive dysfunction. Protein digestion requires a highly acidic stomach to trigger the release of pepsin, the chief enzyme used in the breakdown of protein molecules. But…

STRESS SHUTS DOWN DIGESTION

Your body has to prioritize its energy demands. If the decision is between running from danger or making stomach acid, fleeing obviously trumps. Cortisol, the hormone your body makes when there is any kind of perceived threat, physical or emotional, sends the signal that energy may be needed to make a dash. So when cortisol output increases, your brain turns down all digestive functions, including production of stomach acid, to conserve energy for a quick get-away.

Thus, if stress is a chronic factor in your life, your stomach acidity may be underpar. That means vlauable proteins may literall be just passing through. Because carbohydrate is absorbed quickly into the bloodstream, the result is too often a surge of glucose into the bloodtream. Insulin, a dutiful worker, scurries to whisk all that sugar out of the bloodstream, resulting in a dramatic drop in blood sugars. Hypoglycemic symptoms manifest. Repeat that over and over, and your cells become insulin resistant. That is how your donation of good clean food gets wasted by poorly managed digestion.

YOU NEED TO GET PARA-SYMPATHETIC

That means getting out of your head, getting out of the future, getting out of fear and worry, and just being present. The parasympathetic state is one of sensing, connecting, and being. It is not task-focused or deadline-oriented. Here are are some way to do that at meal time so your food contribution reaches your needy cells:

  • Breathe deeply before eating. Shallow breath always accompanies stress.
  • Visualize where your food originated, the care given to bring it to you, and all the energy it has the potential to impart to you. Appreciation does not co-exist with stress.
  • Laugh with friends and family while you eat. Connecting with loved ones switches us into the parasympathetic state.
  • Engage you senses: notice colors and shapes, smell, touch, savor. Get out of your mind; make eating a full-body experience.
  • Chew thoroughly. You can gulp on the run, but chewing slowly and completely requires a deliberate awareness.

 

 

Hidden Stressors

Tense relationships. Unpredicted changes of circumstance. Too many demands on your time. These are stressors you can see. But there are changes inside your body that are stressing you out!

Any time your body perceives a threat to its homeostasis (stable equilibrium), it requires extra energy to bring balance back to itself, so it releases cortisol to supply that demand.

Common physiological triggers for the cortisol response are:

  1. Low blood sugars. When you don’t eat enough fat or protein to carry you through to the next meal, your blood sugars plummet. Your brain, which relies on a non-stop stream of fuel 24/7, sounds the alarm for cortisol to raise blood sugars immediately.
  2. Chronic infection – not just recurring viruses, but perhaps an overgrowth of yeast, bacteria, or parasites in your gut that you can’t see; the kind of thing that triggers cravings, creates constipation and/or diarrhea, feeds your vivid bizarre dreams, shows up as a coating on your tongue, makes you feel sick in a musty environment, instigates yeast infections or athlete’s foot or jock itch, create foul-smelling body odors including gas, makes you cramp, and gives you dark circles under your eyes. These are signs that your body is challenged and needs help!
  3. Toxicity. Toxins can come from heavy metal exposure, pesticides and herbicides that you breathe in or ingest, cosmetic products that contain parabens and phthalates and synthetic colors or fragrances, cookware and food or beverage containers made with BPA and PFCs…the list goes on. These disrupt your normal body functions and require extra energy to detoxify them.
  4. Food sensitivities. When you eat something that your body is intolerant  to, you release histamines to inflame the area where the offender is found so that white blood cells can more easily penetrate the tissue to surround and destroy this substance. Cortisol is then released as a follow-up anti-inflammatory – like the clean-up crew after the hurricane that has opened everything up.

Last week, in our post, Quit Stressing!, we discussed five different ways to counteract chronic cortisol output. If you are employing these methods and still feeling anxious, it’s time to see a nutritional therapy practitioner to delve into hidden causes of stress.

Quit Stressing!

Every stress response is a blood sugar response.

When there is stress, there is a demand for increased energy to deal with it. That’s why you have adrenal glands. They secrete cortisol, a stress hormone that increases glucose (sugar) levels in your blood. You need that glucose to provide fuel for the crisis.

But if stress is constant and chronic, the high cortisol output and the resulting high blood sugars are very damaging in at least 8 different ways:

  1. You crave refined carbs. To supply fuel for the constant triggers, you look for a quick way to get sugar into your bloodstream. The need for instant energy displaces the need for nutrient-dense whole foods, and your literally starve your body of minerals while eating excessive calories.
  2. You develop insulin resistance. Since every stress response is a glucose response, it is also an insulin response! (Insulin is the escort that shuttles glucose into the cells, where it is converted into energy). Just as an over-taxed mom tunes out the noise of her boisterous youngsters to protect her sanity, the cells stop listening to insulin after a continuous barrage. Even on a low-carb diet, you can become insulin-resistant, just from stress, and that means fatigue! If the cells are not receiving fuel, you are running on fumes!
  3. Your blood pressure rises because cortisol has a constricting effect on blood vessels.
  4. You get sick. Your ability to fight fight bacteria, viruses, parasites, and even cancer is hand-cuffed by this hyper-cortisol output. Immune functions operate in “rest-and-digest” but are shut down by “fight-or-flight.”
  5. Toxins build up. Detoxification isn’t a drink you consume; it’s a cellular process that occurs 24/7. Your cells are continuously exposed to both internal and external waste. But cortisol inhibits “housekeeping” because the demand to manage the crisis trumps the need to sweep up the trash. We do most of our detoxification at rest.
  6. You have trouble sleeping. Cortisol slows the pineal gland’s production of melatonin. You must have melatonin to drop into a sleep state.
  7. Your digestion turns sour. Stomach acid production, bile flow, enzyme production, and peristalsis are all slowed, to save energy to handle the stress. Next thing you know, you have heartburn, bloat, constipation, irritable bowels, candida overgrowth, or some other issue related to poor gut health.
  8. Your adrenals give out. In spite of a need for cortisol, you just can’t keep producing it, much the way an ocean or forest is damaged when it is over-harvested. So you feel constantly depleted, with even the smallest trigger tipping you over the edge in an inability to cope.  You become edgy and anxious.

You can reverse the effects of chronic stress in two-minute increments throughout your day. Build pauses into your life to take yourself out of “fight-or-flight” when you wake up, when you eat, when you drive, when you get ready to sleep, when you have been sitting at your desk for more than an hour, and when you finish an interaction with a spouse, a child, a boss, or a co-worker. Use this time to get out of your head and re-connect with your body and your surroundings. Here are some actions you can take during those pauses:

  1. Breathe deeply and exhale slowly. Stress makes you take shallow, quick breaths.
  2. Express love and appreciation. When you connect with others, you bring yourself back to a para-sympathetic (regenerative) state.
  3. Notice the little things. Stress is deadline-conscious, task-focused, tunnel-visioned. It’s about doing, not being. When you stop to feel the sunshine on your cheek or spot a spider on a blade of grass, you are breaking free of the constricting influence of stress.
  4. Create a sensation. Literally, make room to feel something – a ball of clay in your hand, sand in your toes, shade across your face, cushioning under your seat, or wind caressing your skin. Stress is future focused. Sensations are in the moment.
  5. Stretch. Stress tenses the muscles. Deliberately and systematically loosen up different areas: your calves and hips, your shoulders and jaw, your back and neck.

If you are in the Pocatello area and would like to learn 25 instant, effective stress hacks, you can schedule a class.

No Spunk? Feeling Stuck?

” I eat clean – no junk – but the weight won’t come off.”

“When I try to push my endurance, I inevitably bonk.”

If I delay my meals, I’m terribly ‘hangry!'”

These may be signs that you are a sugar-burner, not a fat-burner. That means the stored fats in your body and the fats you eat are not available for fuel, leaving you to run on metabolic “kindling,” rather than “logs.”

Assess yourself on this simple Sugar Burner Checklist:

  • My energy fluctuates and doesn’t flow evenly throughout the day (classic Wired or Tired Syndrome).
  • I fight cravings and don’t feel satiated, even after eating. It’s as if something’s missing from the meal.
  • I’m either revved up after a meal, or just plain tired.
  • I find it very diificult to fast. The need to snack is overriding.
  • I run out of steam during endurance activities.
  • I am unable to shed excess weight.
  • I feel irritable before mealtime.

Human physiology is biased toward fat-burning. It provides sustained energy, creates fewer free radicals, is more efficient, and takes away cravings.

Benefits of being a fat-burner include freedom from dizziness, brain fog, and mood swings.

 

So how do you change your metabolism? Try adjusting your eating rhythms in this manner: After dinner, don’t consume anything else for the rest of the day, except water and herbal tea.

The next morning, eat only fats and proteins, such as avocado with eggs. See how long you can go on that energy. Don’t eat again until your fuel drops off. Then have a meal and call it lunch. You may have carbs, but try to limit them to vegetables: For example, enjoy a salad with wild-caught salmon and a homemade vinaigrette of olive oil, vinegar, herbs, and perhaps mustard.

Refrain from eating again until your next experience of hunger. Then eat your dinner. It should be your smallest meal of the day. You might try something like grass-fed steak, and organic sauteed vegetables in butter. Now, don’t eat again until breakfast.

This regimen is challenging because it demands no snacking, but it re-regulates your blood sugars and enables you to get off the energy roller-coaster. After a couple of weeks, when you are feeling a renewed sense of wellness, you can experiement with bringing more natural carbohydrates moderately into your diet, such as whole fruits, or soaked and sprouted grains and legumes.

Power Up Your Picnic!

I love a picnic! Sunshine, fresh air, laughter and food – all the ingredients to create wholesome and delightful nourishment – are abundant even through autumn. But are you sabotaging your health with the lunch you pack?

Here’s a typical American picnic:

  • Sandwiches
  • Pop
  • Fruit
  • Chips
  • Cake or cookies

It’s appealing fare for all ages, but it’s a great mis-adventure for your physiology! Without realizing it, you and your loved ones are becoming so imbalanced in your nutritional needs, you are likely to be blind-sided by energy deficits that can someday become chronic health challenges, such as food sensitivities, chronic fatigue, weight gain, mood disorders, hormone imbalances, insulin resistance, pre-diabetes, high blood pressure, and even auto-immunity.

Let’s dissect this picnic. Given that the sandwiches are either made with 2 ounces of thin-sliced deli meat, or peanut butter and jelly, the meal stacks up at approximately 66% carbohydrate (with all but the fruit as simple, refined carbs), 32% fat (none of which is natural, nourishing fat), and 2% protein. I’m sorry, Beautiful, but 2% protein is NOT ENOUGH to make your hormones and hemoglobin, your enzymes and anti-bodies, your skin and your tissues. And if you keep putting soybean, cottonseed, corn and canola oil through your gall bladder, it will be as congested as a CD player with a pancake in it!

I’m not anti-carb. I just believe in real foods, properly balanced! So what can you do?

Try out any of these ideas:

  • Fill a whole grain wrap or pita with meat and veggies, allowing you to get more filling and less fluff. Or pick up some dolmathes from a nearby Greek restaurant.
  • Substitute real whole milk, herbal tea, or flavored water for your soda. You might even try a homemade electrolyte drink, such as these or these. 
  • Need some crunch and some flavor? Try nuts and seeds instead of chips. Just make sure they are raw so the fats are not oxidzed. Pumpkin and sunflower seeds are cheap and satisfying.
  • How about some cheese with your fruit instead of cookies? I’m partial to herbed chevre spread on apple slices.
  • Cut veggies with hummus make a great filler. Cherry tomatoes and petite bell peppers might be more add interest to celery and carrot sticks. Throw some olives in, too!
  • No time? Grab a container of ceviche from the market along with an avocado, and don’t forget to pack a knife. At your picnic site, slice the avocado in half, fill with your seafood salad and serve. If you don’t like crab and shrimp, you might try this Mexican-themed chicken filling instead.
  • Hard-boiled eggs and jerky both travel well and add extra protein. By the time you eat them, along with the other ideas here, you won’t even want cake!
  • Proscuttio goes well with melon. You could even put some on a skewer with cantaloupe balls before you leave home to moderate the insulin surge you get from eating carbs without fats and proteins.
  • Use jars to transport non-finger foods. For example, you could layer toasted oats and almonds with plain coconut yogurt.
  • Make a cookie that uses coconut or almond flour, rich in natural fats, instead of grain flour. If you use honey in place of sugar, you can cut the amount of sweetener in half.
  • Try a dessert recipe from our cookbook that uses only unrefined ingredients and has balanced carb-fat ratios.

Are You Hydrating Correctly?

You may be getting 8 glasses of water per day, but in this heat, are you sure your water bottle isn’t hindering your hydration?

Recently, I stopped at a convenience store to find some refreshment from the store’s cooler section. A splash of flavor was in order to liven up the mundane sipping I had been engaged in while stopped for 90 minutes on the interstate in 95 degree weather due to a 5-car pile-up ahead.

I started perusing labels, just to check whether the flavor was natural or artifical. I was stunned to see carbohydrate counts at 15-30 grams per serving. This was water, right?! Even with electrolytes added, water should still be 0 carb.

Now, I’m not anti-carb. I do believe in whole fruits, vegetables, grains, seeds, and legumes in their unrefined form. But I understand that pouring carbohydrates into my body un-modulated – without fats, proteins, or fiber to buffer them – will create an insulin surge that has disturbing ripples. I strive to keep my carbohydrate calories around one-third of my daily intake. I certainly don’t need hidden sugars in my water! Their effect is actually dehydrating!

My solution was to put a couple of ounces of pure coconut water into my quart-size Klean Kanteen, just enough to give my filtered water a hint of flavor. Here are some other strategies you can use to revive your hydration and yourself!

  • sprinkle in a pinch of sea salt
  • splash in a squeeze of fresh lime or lemon juice
  • drip in some trace minerals, such as Concentrace Liquid Mineral Drops
  • grind in a teaspoon of crushed chia seeds to help retain water
  • float berries, fruit slices or herbs, such as basil leaves, in your water
  • substitute a chilled herbal tea, such as fresh peppermint (or put a couple ounces of herbal tea in with your water)
  • quench yourself with a juicy melon slice, complete with vitamins and fiber
  • use bone broth in place of water in your cooking, or even for sipping

4 Stress Hacks to Save Your Life

If you want to control your blood sugars, you must not only watch your diet; you must also control your stress. As you know, stress triggers the release of the hormone cortisol, and cortisol raises blood sugars. So chronic stress equals chronically high blood sugars. And that leads to insulin resistance, and then diabetes.

Ground yourself every single day with these life-changing hacks that can be done in minutes or seconds!

Center yourself when you wake up.

It only takes a moment to do a few sun salutations or a guided meditation, but the effects can last for hours because you step outside of your head and re-connect with your entire being. You slow down your breathing and tune in to your feelings. Salutations and meditations are great ways to start the day, but one of my favorites is to open up my throat and belt out a song – either in the shower or on the way to work. It doesn’t take any extra time from my busy day, but by tightening the muscles in the back of my throat, I tone and condition my vagus nerve – the one that has so much impact on my sense of well-being. When I don’t have the privacy to sing loudly, I gargle instead.

Make meals a time to be in the moment.

Do you use mealtime to express gratitude? Scientists are proving that this isn’t just an old-fashioned idea. Gratitude actually makes you stress-resilient. Studies show that having a grateful disposition helps you rebound quicker when you are faced with adversity or trauma. Laughing is also a great stress-diffuser that you can engage in during mealtimes. Personally, I like to practice presence by consciously noticing 5 distinct smells, 5 different sights, 5 isolated sounds, 5 unique tastes and 5 particular sensations that engage me during the meal.

Hit the pause button when stress escalates.

Stress makes you breathe shallowly and rapidly. You can reverse this by observing your breath and choosing to draw it more deeply and slowly. An exercise to do this is to inhale from the diaphragm for 4 counts, hold your breath for 7 counts, then exhale for 8 counts. Alternately, you could exhale and inhale through the left nostril (holding the right shut), then switch and close the left nostril before first exhaling then inhaling through the right. It takes a little concentration and forces you to stop prognosticating your dire future. Walking outside for 5 minutes or applying a calming essential oil are also effective ways to take a time out to compose yourself.

De-compress at the end of the day.

Stress depletes your magnesium stores, so a foot soak in warm water and epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) not only feels relaxing, it actually physiologically helps counteract your stress. Herbs such as lemon balm, lavendar and chamomile are soothing when steeped in water as a bedtime beverage. Journalling is a great way to connect mind and body and to let go of negative emotions. A little music therapy prepares you for a restful night.

Your blood sugars aren’t the only aspect of your well-being that will benefit from these hacks. Your physical, mental, and emotional health will improve, too!

Need more calming ideas? Catch a class with us!

 

My Wish

If I could rub a magic lamp, my desire for you would be a soda-free life. Pop is the nemesis of stable blood sugars.

Do you have

  • constant fatigue?
  • weight gain?
  • foggy memory?
  • auto-immunity?
  • low thyroid?
  • high blood pressure?
  • depression?
  • anxiety?
  • hypoglycemia?
  • Insulin resistance?
  • difficulty sleeping?

These are all tell-tale signs of imbalanced blood sugars, and while other factors definitely contribute to this state, soda is one of the first places I start looking when there are issues.

If you want energy but love your Mountain Dew, need to lose weight but won’t give up Pepsi, feel moody but have to have a Big Gulp, go find your own genie, because my powers can’t get past your beverage.

Can We Stop It?

Heart disease results from the over-consumption of processed food, especially refined flours, sugars, and polyunsaturated vegetable oils. These create inflammation, and inflammation is a significant contributor to our most common form of heart disease.

This recently released info-graphic puts today’s leading causes of death into perspective.

Heart disease has reached catastrophic levels, and the most calamitous aspect of the disease is that it is  largely preventable. The number one action you can take to reduce your risk is to control your blood sugars. Here are two simple reasons why:

  1. Insulin is released when blood sugars rise. High levels of insulin block your body’s anti-inflammatory pathway and provoke high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol levels
  2. Cortisol is released when blood sugars drop. Repeated cortisol output leads to insulin resistance, which inhibits mineral uptake into heart cells. Because the heart is so dependent on minerals such as calcium and magnesium for even contractions, an imbalance can trigger irregular heart beats, called arrythmias.

Can we stop the heart disease epidemic? One person at a time, we can! It will happen when you and I:

  • eat natural unprocessed fat instead of the trans-fats, hydrogenated oils, and oxidized products that fill our grocery stores. We need to avoid foods that contain the so-called “industrial” oils: soybean, cottonseed, and canola.
  • consume our carbohydrates in reasonable ratios, balanced with proteins and fats, instead of dominating every meal and snack. Americans get somewhere between 60 and 80% of their calories from carbohydrates, mostly refined. It would be more appropriate to eat only 30-40% of our calories from carbohydrates that are complex, whole and fiber-rich  – vegetables, legumes, seeds, and so forth.
  • cease to drink carbohydrates in the form of juices, sodas and energy drinks. The best beverage for humans is water.
  • stop eating refined carbohydrates by themselves- that pretzel or donut or cracker or chip which flash into glucose in a wave instead of a trickle. We can use fats such avocados, nuts, and cheeses with carbs to moderate the rate at which the sugars in our foods are converted into fuel.
  • educate ourselves about carbs. This food category is much more than bread, cereal and pasta. if it isn’t a protein or a fat, it’s a carb. Though that sounds silly, many are deceived about their carb intake. For instance, a smoothie, while it may contain whole fruits and healthy dark leafy greens, is really a sugar high waiting to happen unless you intentionally add protein or fat, such as coconut oil, pastured egg, or hemp seed.
  • quit being afraid of fat. Research is showing that traditional societies ate as much as 60+% of their calories from naturally-occuring fats.

Though you may have heart disease in your family, you are not inevitably a victim. Every weak gene must have a supporting environment and a trigger for its expression. The gene is approximately 25% of your destiny. Your choices make up the rest.