In order for our species to perpetuate and be successful we have evolved over hundreds of thousands of years to become highly social species. Together is better, together we achieve more. Together is safer. Living in groups of 150 or so it became necessary for certain behaviours to evolve and exist and there are chemicals that get released into the blood stream and the brain which support and drive these behaviours. All of these chemicals help humans to survive and advance the species.
Endorphins are our bodies natural pain killers. They are so effective, in fact, that we won’t feel any pain when chasing after prey, for example. They exist to help us get the physical job done and they are responsible for the ‘runners high’.
The pleasure that we derive from alcohol, nicotine or food is all from dopamine. Dopamine is the chemical that is released when we accomplish something or find something we’ve been looking for. It’s one of our internal mechanisms designed to encourage us to look for food, finish building a shelter and generally make progress as a species. Its designed to keep us engaging in behaviours that perpetuate the success of the species. Society used to be serotonin and oxytocin based primarily, but globalisation has had some undesirable effect. Corporate greed and poor parenting have turned us into a target based short term fix society. We get given rewards when we hit certain targets, we get a rush of dopamine when your phone pings a message or we get a ‘like’ on social media. Every addiction is actually a dopamine addiction and it only works in the short term. Dopamine, while useful for survival can cause long term problems.
Picture the carcass of a wilderbeast floating down a river, two crocodiles go for it but the stronger and faster one swims away with a belly full and not a care in the world for the other croc. It works for crocodiles but crocodiles are not the most successful species on the planet, we are. We are because it is in our interest to cooperate. Crocodiles have no serotonin or oxytocin in their bodies, none whatsoever.
Serotonin is a remarkably selfless chemical. It encourages us to socialise, form a team and get things done. It is also the leadership chemical. It’s what makes being a leader feel good. It’s not power, it’s self-sacrifice for the greater good that gives the biggest release of serotonin. Serotonin is the feeling of pride. Pride in your work but also and especially pride in others that you care about and care about you. It’s is responsible for the feeling you get when you watch your children collect their diplomas. What is great about serotonin is that while the parents and children feel this sense of pride, someone watching the proceedings will also feel a serotonin release.
Oxytocin is everyone’s favourite chemical. It is the chemical of love. Love and more specifically trust. Nothing bonds us closer than a big release of oxytocin, it is the warm and fuzzies that we feel when someone does something nice for us, or sacrifices something of themselves for us. It is vital for our survival, without it we would not perform acts of generosity, there would be no empathy and there would be no friendship. Without oxytocin, we wouldn’t have survived as a species. Without oxytocin, we would have no partner to raise our children; in fact, we wouldn’t even love our children. It is oxytocin that helps us build our businesses through trust and cooperation. Unlike dopamine which is about instant gratification, oxytocin is long lasting. It takes a while to build up, a while to feel ‘love’ but then it can last a lifetime.
Serotonin and oxytocin grease the social machine.
Cortisol is the stress hormone, it has evolved to heighten our sense of danger. As a heard of deer are grazing, one hears a sound and up pops his head, because of this, others pop their head up to all search for a potential danger. Cortisol is responsible for this behaviour. It senses the outside threat to the group or individual and puts us in a heightened state of awareness. It is vital for our survival. Unfortunately, it is very toxic to our systems, it can be catabolic (it can eat muscle), reduce the effectiveness of serotonin and oxytocin and lower the immune system. In short it is only good in bursts but unfortunately modern life is extremely stressful. We are often unhappy in our work with some aspect or another, we might sense a threat from a manager, colleague or a target or deadline and because of this constant state of threat we are in a constant state of cortisol release. Toxic external environments create toxic internal environments.
Why am I telling you about chemicals?
Our bodies have evolved to be in an incredibly delicate balance. Anything that causes an imbalance to this can actually inhibit the release of these chemicals and cause more stress and dysfunction than drugs can in the long term. If we consider what these chemical originally evolved for then it would go something like this:
The tribal hunters would get together and agree to go on a hunt. A shot of dopamine gets released and everyone gets excited about their next hit of dopamine. They go on a long walk/run and endorphins work their magic to ensure this is sustained at a necessary pace. They find a track of a deer, dopamine release. They get a sighting of the deer, bigger dopamine release. They get the biggest rush of dopamine as they go in for the kill which helps to provide huge focus and a rush of energy. Once the kill happens, serotonin and oxytocin gets released which bonds the hunters like brothers. They bring the kill back to the tribe who are incredibly grateful for the risk the hunters took and they release serotonin and oxytocin as they share feelings of pride, love and gratitude.
The trouble is, we have no need for these chemicals in the traditional sense but they are still there and react to the same stimulus. If the internal or external environment is toxic then these will not function optimally and cause problems on top of problems. Serotonin and oxytocin actually work to inhibit stress, inhibit acid and boost the immune system. In an acidic environment, Cortisol is rife, cortisol is prevalent. If we are in balance internally with the acid/alkaline balance optimised then we can send signals, hormones and chemicals around the body as they should be and not inhibited.
What is the problem?
In order to improve absolutely everything in your life, one rule underpins them all. Health. Health is wealth.
Unfortunately, most of us live in a society where we don’t value our bodies, at least not as much as we should. My goal here is to give you the greatest understanding of how food affects the body, the good and the very bad. I will explain it in the simplest terms but all of this is profound knowledge, meaning it has its base in science. It is my hope that by the end I will explain it in such a way that it will be common sense.
If you’re trying to achieve the goals you set yourself back in January, and you’re not properly energised and full of vitality, then the chances are that you’re not fuelling yourself correctly. Again, I’m not going to tell you what to eat, just give you the knowledge to make your own choices.
Most people are digging their graves with their teeth because they don’t understand that the little changes that are happening within their body are making profound changes in the long term. Increased energy means a greater quality of life. We tend to try to improve our way of feeling with food or with a drug.
Do you find yourself sluggish in the morning, evening? Find that you don’t have energy for your significant other? Hard to peel yourself out of bed in the morning? The answers are coming.
There are some very simple changes you can make that will not require you to change your life and you will feel the difference within a matter of days. If you’ve been dieting, exercising and you’re still not where you want to be, there is a reason for that and that is ACID.
Acids in the blood will retain water and retain fat just to keep you alive. This is about learning about the acid/alkaline balance and how it affects you neurologically, how it affects the oxygen within the blood and how it affects your energy and your cholesterol. It also impacts your body’s ability to heal itself.
Dr Neil Soloman pioneered the research by taking a revolutionary approach to his research. Most of the medical profession study sick people in order to make them better, it sounds pretty crazy to me! He studied healthy people and in particular, their blood and he compared it to the sick people and the results were startling.