Monday, April 12, 2010

Nature and nurture

Did you ever think, when you looked at a newborn baby, that (s)he is already everything (s)he will ever be? (S)he is. So is that teenager. So is that good looking guy in the next office. So is your grandmother. All of these people have potential, and it's all down to genes.

Our genes (nature) come from our biological parents - half from mum, and half from dad (and each of them got their genes half from mum and half from dad, and each of them etc. etc.). Genes dictate race, hair and eye colour, gender and blood type. But, beyond that, genes provide us with potential in every area - physical, mental and emotional. And it is nurture that feeds and allows that potential to develop. (This is my personal opinion and you are welcome to disagree - many people do!)

Nurture is usually regarded as the effect of family upbringing, but it goes way beyond family influence. We develop, mature, change, grow and evolve throughout our lives - physically, mentally and emotionally - because we are exposed to new environments, stresses and experiences on an almost daily basis.

Family upbringing - I'm using the term 'family' rather broadly here - has the greatest and most lasting impact on our eating habits, and therefore on our physical health. Children grow taller now than in previous generations because food is more readily available. Children (and adults) grow fatter now than in previous generations because portion sizes have increased way beyond what the body actually requires. We grow fatter and lazier because there is so much processed food available.

Isn't it time we got back to nature and nurtured ourselves, and our children, with healthy portions of fresh nourishing foods? Eating habits are formed at a very early age, but they can be changed. Change yours now. And help your children learn and enjoy the benefits of healthy eating.

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