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From: Luke Sartor (118.208.160.59)
Subject:         Re: Food chemistry on body ?
Date: August 1, 2014 at 2:48 am PST

In Reply to: Food chemistry on body ? posted by Marina on July 31, 2014 at 4:28 pm:

Hi Marina,

It sounds like the concept here is how action is
attributed to the body, and not to the food or other
substance. The thing is that the body DOES the
physiological process of increasing its alertness
with stimulants, evacuating the contents of the
bowels with a laxative, or falling unconscious with
a general anaesthetic. In each of these cases, the
substance itself is not doing the action. The
stimulant is a substance that we should not really
attribute the verb of "stimulating" to. The body is
stimulated in response to the stimulant, but the
stimulant is not something that can stimulate the
body, if we talk about what the stimulant can
actually do by itself. It doesn't just walk up to
the body and get into it, you know.
This may be easier to see if we look at the way
different people respond to the same stimulant. For
example, someone who has been consuming caffeine all
their adult life would need a lot more caffeine to
feel alert than an individual who has never taken
caffeine. The same dose may cause the person who has
never taken it to feel stimulated, but may not cause
this result in the other. We might be inclined to
say that it can "stimulate" one person, and "not
stimulate" the other person. But really, the body is
doing the action. The caffeine isn't doing anything,
really.
Each person may respond differently to the same
substance, just depending on how much ability they
have to respond it. This can be influenced by their
vitality, prior exposure to the substance, and the
natural response that the substance elicits. Like,
caffeine would not sedate the body. Or more
accurately, the body's exposure to the caffeine
would never sedate it, because of the way the body
handles the caffeine molecule. The body does the
action and elicits the response of experiencing a
heightened state of energy and alertness, but
because this doesn't occur to the same degree in two
different people, from the same dose, shows that the
substance isn't acting.
Our language is set up in a way that makes it easy
to treat substances as the things that do the
acting. It's like our language is set up to support
the medical model and the idea that things can cure
us.
Substances that cross the blood-brain barrier are
inert - they don't do things themselves. Although
our consumption of cannabinoids can allow them to
cross the BBB, interact with our cells and cause our
healthy biochemistry to go out of balance, the
cannabinoids aren't the ones doing the action. Yes,
they bind to receptors on cells and thus they
undergo a molecular interaction. Yet, the result of
this is something the body regulates. The body takes
care to respond in such a way as to ensure the body
remains healthy.
With digestive enzymes, each one catalyses the
process of digestion, meaning that it speeds up the
rate of a specific chemical reaction involved in
digestion. When we try to be very literal about
this, we would not say that the digestive enzyme is
what DOES the digestion. The body does the
digestion. The enzyme is like a tool that the body
uses to accomplish the process of digestion.
I guess what's important is that we use language in
a way that allows us to appreciate the power and
responsibility of the body for eliciting its
actions, instead of saying things like, "Aw, coffee
gives me energy so I take it first thing in the
morning." When we believe statements like that, we
can be prone to believing a false set of marketing
promises that THIS substance will do the trick of
burning fat, giving us clear skin, cleansing our
bowels, etc. No substance can do these things for
us. Our body does all the work. Our language should
help us cherish and honour the body and its
capacities to heal, repair and maintain health.

Luke

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