Elementary School: Fire with Food
Welcome to your first class of Elementary School. You will not be learning fundamentals in reading or writing, but you will learn how the natural element of fire should be paired with food.
The first question is how often are you thinking about the relationship between fire and food? The most obvious example of this is the act of cooking. But as you’ll come the learn the connection runs much deeper and has many more implications on your food and health than you may realize.
- Cooking– Yes the act of heating food with fire can increase the nutritional availability in foods. Think of it as it being degraded and partially digested before you actually eat. Combining foods together in the cooking process can have a direct effect on how you ultimately metabolize your food. Think about the combination of lime and meat. The acidity of the lime starts to degrade the protein and release metabolites in the meat, or pre cook it without heat. It’s chemical interactions such as these that make cooking a real life chemistry lab. But don’t be fooled into thinking that you can’t cook without heat. Preparations such as canning and fermentation, have similar effects on food and is some cases either preserve more nutrients or actually create nutrients as a result.
- Metabolic Fire– The element of fire in the purist of forms is the sun. exposing your body to the sun creates alchemy in the liver and kidneys that synthesize vitamin D. Vitamin D levels are implicated in a vast range of biological processes from immune system health, to calcium regulation, to metabolic health. The sun and it’s UV is a necessity that should never be over looked. There is also another form of fire, stored fire, just as you regulate the sun for your own biological needs plants regulate it for theirs. Plants and or wood store sunlight, when burned infrared light is immitted. Ancestrally speaking fire was implicit for survival, not just for practicality in heat generation and cooking like mentioned previously. But for hormone regulation, metabolism, and immunity.
- Fire Up the Melatonin– infrared light burned from stored sunlight in wood material regulates your melatonin. By looking at a sunset or into a fire it induces a endogenous cascade of hormones that result in increasing melatonin and reducing cortisol. The sleep wake cycle is sited for this primary effect of this, but it also has a direct impact on your nutrient transport and metabolism. Melatonin increases appetite and induces beneficial changes to the intestinal microbiota.
- Many people know the effect of melatonin and sleep but it isn’t as well known for microbiota changes and antioxidant profile. Most of the melatonin produced in your body is made right in the epithelial cells of the gut. It may seem like a great idea to supplement with melatonin, knowing its mechanism of action as a sleep aid and antioxidant and regulation of intestinal bacteria what’s not to love?
- The problem is if you supplement nightly for months or years your own production of melatonin in the gut is chronically reduced and impaired. Leading to changes of hormonal dysbiosis, microbiota dysbiosis, and immune function. Chronic supplementation of melatonin reduces hydrochloric acid in the stomach leading to insufficient breakdown of food and putting excess stress on the small and large intestines. This is chronic supplementing can lead to symptoms of nausea, diarrhea, bloating, and abdominal pain. It’s best if you create an environment where your body can make it’s own melatonin and hormones naturally.
- Looking into fire after a meal prepares your body for metabolism via hormone regulation. It helps reduce inflammatory markers from lowered cortisol, and it enhances digestion through chyme regulation and peristalsis or gut motility. It’s for this very reason you should use fire to increase your melatonin levels not a synthetically derived supplement that will block your own production of melatonin. Chances are most people supplementing with melatonin are in the presence of blue or green light which spike cortisol, then your spiking melatonin and cortisol which further disrupts hormone regulation.
- After a big meal at dinner stare into the fire or candle light relax, and let your metabolism go to work. Give your body the environment it needs to thrive. Pair Fire with Food!