Do you ever wonder if all the damage we did to our bodies will sooner or later catch up to us despite our otherwise healthy diets. How messed up are our insides from all those rancid vegetable oils we use to consume? Is the damage irreplaceable? How about all the radiation we get from computers, wireless internet? Maybe you sniffed in a bunch of harmful dust a while back while remodeling your house which is slowly destroying you from the inside? CT scans...I have had one, have you? Will they give me cancer in the future, who knows? Will people blame it on my diet? Maybe.
It just seems like the modern world is full of stuff that will kill you despite your best efforts to stay healthy.
Yeah, it sucks. But prior damage is a sunk cost.
In perfect economic decision-making, sunk costs are not considered in current or future decisions. In the human psyche, they are unfortunately much more powerful.
One way to look at this is that humans are not so different than other animals (see, for example, Ishmael). While death totally and completely sucks, it is something that happens to every living thing, for whatever reason. At least we get to live lives full of interaction, language, and TV-on-DVD.
It's is possible we may have done lasting damage with previous lifestyle choices, do not underestimate however the body's incredible ability to heal itself and that your own mind is a powerful, powerful tool in wellbeing and health. The very fact we have consciously chosen a lifestyle we believe to be healthy will more than likely in itself benefit. It is only natural to worry about such things but to be honest, the worry itself could potentially cause more damage than the actual thing you are worrying about.
Oooh, the list could be long, but as Kamal noted, don't worry about the past too much.
Some things I wonder about (wonder without worry): no breastfeeding and tonsils removed when young. Playing drums in hardcore metal band: little ear damage. Lots of reading books: myopia (combined with diet).
Again, you don't have perfect control. I like Art De Vany's take on this: make good choices, but you can't control the outcomes. Call it Zen or Stoic (like NN Taleb), or what you will.
There is a Edge talk with Robert Sapolski about the influence of little critters like toxo on our behaviour and health. When I saw this talk, I told myself to listen to the wise words of Master Oogway: let go of the illusion of control...
Aside from one decade of vegetarianism and two of daily alcohol consumption, there are two things that I think about from time to time:
Smoking tobacco in a hookah - daily in the streets of Cairo for about a year (I worry about the damage I might have done to my lungs).
Eating peyote - for a weekend in the desert in Northern Mexico. (I worry I'm still tripping out!).
I think I'm healthier and stronger now at 40 than I was at 30, so I have my fingers crossed (WHOA...MY HAND JUST TURNED INTO A SPIDER AGAIN - DOES THAT HAPPEN TO YOU GUYS?!)
Similar concept to my thread about eating horrible things pre-paleo. I TOTALLY wonder how this will affect me. I also think it's not fair if I develop some kind of condition or disease for people to automatically blame the way I eat currently (which of course many will, due to human nature).
I was raised on soy-based baby formula from birth. I was so sick that my parents thought they were gonna lose me. True story. At 6 mos old, my Doc told my mom to switch to breast feeding. Problem solved. I have suffered from dry skin. I've had kidney stones. I've had horrible sinus problems and chronic bloody noses from 7yrs old til about 14 yrs old or so. I also had a pain in my chest at about 13 yrs old that I got fully checked out multiple times to no avail, and I still feel that pain every now and then. I've had multiple teeth cavities when I was a kid and suffered from horrendous (10 on 1-10 scale) migraine headaches.
So if you've already seen my brief rendition of some of the unbelieveably terrible things I grew up eating, now you'll know the motivation behind me posing the question about future generations, because I wanna know what the potential for human health is if one operates on all cylinders from pre-womb to full grown adult in their prime.
My mom died of cancer at the ripe old age of 45. My dad passed of heart disease at 53. They meant well, but they were both very ill informed and they got caught up in the madness of mainstream eating.
Well, I refuse to participate. Now, I just do my best to think like a winner and carry on the best way I am able.
Generally I feel an unhealthy person can become healthy with proper diet + abundant nutrition + time. Structural damage I doubt would fix itself though (relatively short height, malformed dental structure, brain defects at birth, etc). I think I saw on the Weston Price site that some girls born to a SAD mother ended up with nice dental structure when they're diets were improved at a young age though.
However I think http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_M._Pottenger,_Jr.#Pottenger.27s_cats is interesting. Even when the damaged cats were given good diets, their offspring did not return to optimum health until 4 generations later (according to www.ppnf.org/catalog/ppnf/PottengerResearch.htm ). I believe this is addressed somewhat in the "Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Foods" book, where she calls it 'genetic momentum' or 'genetic wealth' or something like that.
I think Pottenger's cats experiment is an argument for people coming from a damaged background, to make extra effort regarding eating nutritious (i.e. not just avoiding toxicity) diets, especially if they plan to have children.
When I started to be "healthy", i went through several things before i "got to" Paleo. Luckily it was only in about 5 month's time, Lest i continue eating like 3 bowls of oatmeal a day - for my health. I regret that now.
Another thing is excercise. most of what I do is intense bodyweight stuff, so It's better for my joints/flexibility and agility. Some external weight workout can wreck your joints/ligaments.
Also, being an electrical engineer and hobbyist, i'me sure i've inhaled a small amount of Lead solder fumes so far :(
Most of what concerns me is not for me, but for my family. Everyone i see goes on doing what they consider is healthy. Take my stepdad for example. He tries to eat "lower Carb" by eating high amounts of protein with only an average amount of fat. So cooks meat.... in vegetable oil. Things like that annoy me.
I'm only 20 though, so i haven't done too much damage.
I often wonder if wearing contacts for 8-10 hours almost everyday is going to catch up to me later on. Perhaps from deprived oxygen to my eyes, or the chemicals in the contact solution I use?
On that note, anyone got a hack for contact solution? Maybe just water and sea salt?
8 years of being a vegan couldn't be good for business.
Similarly, I could have skipped pretty much every x-ray that I have ever gotten and not been worse off at all. I think with ionizing radiation you'll either repair the DNA damage or not within a reasonable time frame though. I don't think an x-ray from a few decades ago is really going to give you cancer later in life, but that might be wishful thinking.
What's done is done. Some consequences I see already - my teeth won't un-crook anytime soon :) I already have asthma, allergies, fibromyalgia and some other smaller ailments... I can just hope it's all there will be. Both my parents smoked like crazy when I was a kid, so almost two decades of inhaling the poison must make some impact (I guess the asthma). But then, maybe not so bad? My Mom has been smoking since she was NINE, and she has very strong and healthy lungs and heart. Every body is different, and our system tries to fight with whatever we throw at it. So the same poison might affect each of us slightly different.