Those who study evolution from a biological perspective as well as physicians consider us humans to be a mass of "evolutionary compromises".
Ewwww, creepy, but humans and other living things are just the "transport" that genes use to propel themselves into the future. Genes don't care about our future; they care about their own goals of staying alive and making more of themselves. Pure and simple.
BUT, genes that were adaptive a gazillion years ago can actually lead to modern problems. Therein lies some of the problem. We fail to take into consideration "why" a disorder exists in the first place. Does it have a purpose we're just not seeing? It is a disorder that served us millennia ago, but has outlived its usefulness. Uh oh.
Believe it or not, evolution is not logical, it is not kind and it's sure not perfect. "Darwinian medicine" says that this nausea may have evolved to actually protect the rapidly growing and vulnerable fetus from toxins that mother ingested. Let's face it, prehistoric mothers didn't have refrigeration, so were prone to eating spoiled foods. Our current treatments of morning sickness may actually encourage a "reckless" diet, so be careful.
I still can't figure out that whole "pregnancy craving" thing except for the popular theory that it's your body's way of getting what it needs. I suspected I was pregnant when I walked in the door from work one Friday afternoon and ate nearly a brick of cream cheese and drank most of the juice from a bottle of olives. Really? Yep, I'm confessing right here.
Of interest to note is that children don't like strongly flavored vegetables like broccoli and onions and those are the exact vegetables that have the highest levels of plant toxins. Mutha Nature...she knows stuff.
We became meat-eaters after discovering FIRE which allowed us to cook meat which then allowed us to develop massive brains. Before then, we ate grasses and other veggies. We had HUGE digestive systems in order to process the massive amount of food we needed to eat just to get the required calories. Food was not plentiful. We were lean and active and evolved into craving sweet and fatty foods. These cravings are our body's way of saying, "Hey, pack on those calories and store that fat because food isn't always going to be out there on the plains". Hold on there, the grocery is open 24/7.
BUT, these ancient cravings don't serve us well today. Most of us enjoy an abundance of food and have a consistent supply, so this has become a problem. Uh oh. Because these behaviors don't readily interfere with reproduction, the behaviors persist. [Oh, but yes they do. If you are overweight, you may not conceive or deliver a healthy baby.] The genes are still cranking on. They don't care if we're fat. Obesity has a direct relationship to heart disease, cancer and diabetes. None of this is good. Helping-hurting...genes and their dual purpose.
Oh, and I recently read some stunning statistics about the direct correlation between the amount of home cooking a family does and obesity. The more a family cooks at home, the less likely they are to have weight problems. C'mon, get in the kitchen and rattle those pots and pans as the song says.
Ancient mankind benefited from being vigilant because the early environment wasn't exactly safe. But, our anxiety and fearfulness may be the modern equivalent of that vigilance. Think about Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and the concept of the "hunter-farmer" dichotomy of its manifestation. Think about how often Native Americans are diagnosed with ADHD. It's been such a short time since they were introduced to European life that the holdover "hunter" vigilance might just be misinterpreted as the neurological disorder of ADHD.
What about sadness and grieving? Now, these two conditions actually imperil reproductive success and those ancient genes don't like it. As a result, sadness and grief have a time limit and when you move on, your chances of reproducing are greater. Ta da!
And bipolar? The mania associated with this disorder is characterized, in part, by sexual aggressiveness that potential mates might be attracted to...gee, ya' think?
The most plausible explanation is that genes that cause cell death do so because that dying somehow benefits life. Yeah, I'm confused, too.
Researchers Nesse and Williams pointed out that the body's ability to absorb excess iron may help avoid anemia early in life, but causes liver problems later on. Because you avoid anemia, you can conceive and carry a child to term more easily. See? Early benefit, later damage. That "later damage" comes in the form of stomach ulcers.
Another "evolutionary anthropologist" discovered that the chemicals in the immune system that are used to battle infection also destroy tissue. Rather like chemotherapy.
The whole system has a benefit-risk-cost dynamic going on. See? Still a mystery.
We know that they're "go-go-go" because of their age, but before their health breaks down completely, sit them down and "edit" out those activities that aren't essential to their goals. They may "want" to do some things, but they also may have to start making those "adult" choices that are in their long-term best interest.
By sitting down with your teen and drawing out the "wants" versus the "needs" and the outcomes for their choices, they'll "see" the plan instead of just hearing "blah, blah, blah".
Keep your emotional responses within your own brain. This is a "teachable" moment, so focus on problem-solving and don't take their resistance, "know-it-all-ness" and petulance distract you from your goals. Stay steady. Stay focused.
Just do the best you can. TTFN, Claudia
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