Action and reaction, ebb and flow, trial and error, change – this is the rhythm of living. Out of our over-confidence, fear; out of our fear, clearer vision, fresh hope. And out of hope, progress.
– Bruce Barton
My wife and I took our 5 year old daughter to the Natural History Museum last weekend. She thinks the past is pretty fun. She likes to play dress up and imagine another time or another version of herself. (Half-dino / Half-princess). But my 11 year old son does not feel the same way about history right now. He actually doesn’t like it much at all. And I understand why. History class. Most of what I learned in school in history class went something like this:
Q – Who was Pepin the Short?
A – The King of the Franks.
And then the teacher would ask the question on the test.
Q – Who was the King of the Franks?
And as long as you knew it was Pepin the Short, then you were all right. So I had a short talk with him on the way to middle school this week and when I asked him what he didn’t like about it, he answered the same way I might have at his age. Why do we need to learn about all this old stuff?. So I went into my best “D-A-D” voice and I told him that only by knowing what happened in the past will we be able to make sense of the world as it is today.
But I wish I had told him that it is much more than that. I wish I had told him how it reminds us of how we are connected, how it fuels wonder and helps us make wiser choices. And I am not talking about the history that is written by the victors. The history of war and religion. Politics and money. I am talking about the living breathing history that we live everyday. The kind of history that Will Durant called “ …a record of what happened on the banks.” How did we get the cars we drive, the planes we fly, the food we eat, the thumbs we use, the medicine we take, and on and on and on. On whose shoulders do we stand?
But one part of the historical puzzle has been on my mind ever since. And it goes to the heart of why I started DTR. Because when we take a closer look at what has been handed down to us from those who have come before, what we find is that everything we know is the result of a long process of trial and error. People stumbled and then they got back up. And the ones that got back up more times than they fell down are our ancestors. This is evolution at its most basic. Descent with modification. Generate and test. And that is what brings us to turmeric.
I am eating a lot of turmeric these days. I don’t think dinosaurs ate turmeric. Maybe they did. Maybe some form of it was growing in the ground and they would seek it out to heal their bodies. But we do know that they had cancer and tumors. So maybe they had some natural cures of their own, the way mountain gorillas and elephants seek out and eat clay to self medicate. Who knows? But every species that has ever lived has continued to survive through trial and error. And so it seems that is what I am doing right now to combat the tumor inside of me. Using trial and error to figure it out.
It is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something.
― Franklin D. Roosevelt
I had known about the power of turmeric for a while, but I hadn’t really put it to much use. I would use it now and then to flavor dishes and I knew it was in curry. You can find a good rundown of it’s health benefits at Mark’s Daily Apple. And if you want to go deep, here you go.
So after reading everywhere how good it was for me, I started using it daily in the olive oil I put on my salad. I would add about half a teaspoon or so and turn everything a nice shade of yellow. But what really opened my eyes was reading the book Anticancer.
Now just to be very clear, as far as I know right now, I do NOT have cancer. But I do have a tumor. And after lots and lots of reading about tumors, I came across Professor Thomas Seyfried. His work tackles the idea that all tumor cells have a common metabolic defect in energy metabolism. So with that as a jumping off point I have been learning as much as I can about what natural remedies are out there. And turmeric comes up a lot.
Now here is where it gets super interesting (at least to me), and what I think ties all of this together. Here’s what I read in Anticancer:
…when it is not mixed with pepper or ginger – as it always has been in curry – turmeric does not pass the intestinal barrier. Pepper causes the body’s absorption of turmeric by 2,000 percent.
I also found this on the Men’s Health website
Adding black pepper to turmeric or turmeric-spiced food enhances curcumin’s bioavailability by 1,000 times, due to black pepper’s hot property called piperine…
Now whether it is 2,000 percent or 1,000 times, all of my turmeric had been wasted!! I needed pepper to make the stuff work for me the way I hoped it would. Well, I can’t really say for sure it wasn’t doing anything good for me. I have a suspicion that there are many undiscovered compounds in the food we eat that have an effect on our system, we just don’t know what they are yet. (This may be another post on it’s own.) But now on to the zombies….
- No place is safe, only safer.
And I know that. No place is safe. No cure is 100% effective. I still believe that our ignorance grows with our knowledge. But like FDR recommends, I am trying something. I am eating a salad with dressing that has olive oil, turmeric, black pepper, and some curry spice for good measure.
Is it helping my tumor? I have no idea. But I do feel like I have less inflammation in my body, my nasal passages seem clearer, I breathe a little easier. But that is observational at best and I know that I am the easiest to fool. I have not followed a set protocol with strict measurements. But I am learning. By trial and error. The same way those who came before us did. The same way those who come after us will.