How Much Do Genetics Play in the Aging Process and Disease?

This is a photo of my mother and myself. I was 17 and she was 41:

Mom and me

This is a photo of me taken just a few days ago 26 years later at the age of 44:

body by fruit black tank pointing at man

I am 3 years older than my mother was in that photo. My mother smoked and ate the Standard American Diet while I’ve been vegetarian since the above photo and then vegan as of 10 years ago and finally raw vegan.

Alcoholism runs in my family. My grandmother was an alcoholic and so was my mother. In the above photo, she had been sober for two decades, but she relapsed about 16 years later. I am not an alcoholic. Why? Because I consume no alcohol. One cannot become an alcholic, no matter what their genetic inheretance, if they consume no alcohol. Environment wins out over genes.

My husband’s mother, brother, sister and father are all diabetic. Two of them died. One has had gastric bypass surgery. My husband does not have diabetes even though his brother died of it at the age that my husband is right now. Why not? He doesn’t eat the way they did. Diet and lack of exercise are what allowed that “genetic expression” to take foot hold; not genes.

How we age and whether or not we get disease is determined by lifestyle, not genetics. Genetics come into play when determining where our weak links are when we eat and live a toxic lifestyle; it determines what organs succumb first to the toxic load and break down. So, one person may get heart disease, another breast cancer, another diabetes, etc. And these diseases “run in families” because families all dine at the same dinner table together and we take the eating habits we were raised with along with us when we move out and start families of our own.

However, whether or not we develop these diseases is up to us on whether or not we burden our bodies with foods that harm them.

Aging is the same way. Aging has to do with the rate of cell renewal in our body which is a continuous process. When we “age” this process slows down because our bodies can’t keep up with the process of cell destruction and repair.

Cell destruction is accelerated on a toxic lifestyle and when we don’t get sufficient sleep to power the body’s ability to make new cells. That’s pretty much everyone these days. Living a high-powered, low-sleep lifetyle powered by stimulants is an AGING lifestyle.

When we eat a raw vegan lifestyle of high-water-content foods and get sufficient sleep, we give the body a chance to keep pace with the break down of dead cells and thus the aging rate is reduced.

It’s never too late to turn it around, either.

Sure, some damage may be irreversible, however, the body is very resilient when treated well.

Look at the interviews I’ve done with Lillian Muller, Annette Larkins, Karyn Calabrese and Tonya Zavasta. Sunny Griffin and Mimi Kirk are two other marvelous examples too.

mimi kirk close up

Mimi Kirk just gave a wonderful interview (she’s 74 now) where she said that most people think eating a raw vegan diet is too hard. She said if you want motivation, then just visit a senior folk’s home.

None of us really make the connection between what we eat and how we live and how we age in our later years. Aging is something that happens on a microscopic level and it happens daily; at an imperceptible pace. Except for those who haven’t seen us in awhile, it’s hard for us to notice it happening while it’s happening until one day we wake up and are like “Whoa! What HAPPENED???!!?”

Let’s come out of denial and reverse the Titanic while there’s still time. This is not about living long necessarily, but living WELL while we are alive. And we are not living well when we are poisoning ourselves with toxic foods.


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