||If you've tried diets and
exercise regimes that felt wrong or didn't get you to your goals,
this book may give you a new perspective and a solution. --Joan
Price for Amazon.com
Chapter Two: The Four Human
In the late 1970's, the
age-old argument over nature vs. nurture shifted dramatically toward
validating the nature side of the debate. Molecular biologists studying
sets of twins from around the globe concluded that, while environment
does influence who we are, the dominant influence is certainly heredity.
We are like a computer's motherboard, hardwired with inherited characteristics
woven into the fabric of our DNA.
Long before the theory of genetic
inheritance, Ayurvedic physicians from India recognized That'specific
inherited traits come in groups. Oriental skin and hair come with
brown eyes, not blue eyes; solid musculature comes with heavier
bones and supportive connective tissue, not delicate ones. The Ayurvedists
concluded that we are each packaged in complementary ways to help
promote natural balance and homeostasis.
Today, as we observe different
peoples from around the world, it is obvious that all humans are
not the same, in size, shape, or way of life.
For example, the Inuit groups
of arctic Canada and Greenland have thrived for generations eating
several pounds of whale blubber every day, without any measurable
adverse effects, such as high blood cholesterol. Yet by the FDA's
measure, these people consume enough saturated fat to clog the arteries
of an army.
Most native Chinese
live from cradle to grave without consuming any calcium-rich
dairy food at all. They don't get near the FDA-recommended
1000 mg. of calcium per day, yet they still have among the
world's lowest rates of osteoporosis.
Vegetarians in East India thrive
on a diet that provides them with less protein than the FDA'says
is needed to avoid negative nitrogen balance.
The point is, no one diet or
exercise plan or lifestyle is ideal, or even reasonable, for all
human types. Over countless generations, our physiologies have adjusted
to our environments through natural adaptation and mutation. Governed
by a survival mechanism, our gene pool has evolved to enable the
perpetuation of our species by incorporating the many different
threads of human history that have contributed to it.
Each of the 100 trillion cells
in each of our bodies is carrying this history. It is our history,
the history of the human race, perpetuated through all generations
of time into this living conglomeration that is today... you and
America is one big ethnic melting pot, and since most of us don't know
our genealogy very well, we may not know exactly which threads from the
strand of human history predominate in our physiological makeup. That's
why we must use the tools that we have to discover the lifestyle choices
that are most harmonious for our own genetic type.
we can understand our own differences
centuries, physicians, philosophers and researchers have tried to place
humans into categories that would give meaning to the differences between
people. Some earlier classifications categorized people according to race,
religion, class, or the time of year they were born. Other early methods
focused on gender, anatomical build, blood type, oxidation rate or personality
type. Most of these methods have at least some validity, but modern researchers
have established that, for purposes of determining diet and exercise needs,
the anatomical, glandular, and energy methods are the most useful.
The modern Western pioneer
in this field was Dr. William Sheldon of Harvard, who, working with
a team of research physicians in the 1940s and 1950s, grouped humans
into anatomical types according to body'shape or general build.
This classification system was based on which of the three embryonic
tissue layers were most prominent in an individual. The embryonic
layers are the three types of body tissue that develop from a growing
fertilized egg. In each individual, one of the tissue types - ectoderm,
mesoderm, or endoderm - predominates, giving rise to structures
that are [I]relatively more dominant in that individual's
anatomical classification system works by measuring and comparing a number
of anatomical parameters, including height, weight, and thickness and
relative length of the limbs. This "somatotyping," or body typing, placed
all humans in one of three general categories:
ectomorph is the usually taller, bony, thin, small-framed, sharp-featured
person who generally has difficulty gaining weight; the ectomorph tends
to have a preponderance of body tissue from the embryonic ectoderm layer
(skin and nervous system)
mesomorph is the compactly-built, muscular type with a broad chest and
small buttocks and hips; she has a tendency toward more muscle and connective
tissue from the embryonic mesoderm
endomorph is the rounded type with relatively short limbs and a larger
abdominal component. His digestive system, which comes from the embryonic
endoderm layer, is relatively larger than his musculoskeletal and nervous
system, resulting in a tendency to gain weight.
Sheldon recognized that not everyone fits exactly into one of these categories,
his classification method proved applicable to a wide range of subjects,
predicting not just lifelong body type but also some basic personality
Green Valley, our research findings confirm that your anatomical type
determines your biological need for body motion (how much and which types).
Anatomical body typing also helps to explain why exercise is easier for
some people and a struggle for others. Through the years, we've found
that exercise is much more enjoyable and more likely to become a continuing
part of your life if you do the exercises that are right for your anatomical
type (body build).
I'll never forget Judy,
a spirited, red-haired client in her thirties. When she came to
me she was already exercising a lot - in fact, she exercised nearly
every day. She was strong and curvy in her lower body, with plenty
of lean body mass. Yet Judy was dissatisfied with her body'shape.
matter what I do, I'm just too big in my hips and thighs," she said.
told Judy about the basic body types, and explained that the weight training
was actually working against her desired results. "Your body is programmed
to have curvier legs," I said. "All the weight training you're doing is
just making them more muscular."
my trainer said I had to lift weights to burn more fat," she objected.
told Judy that was true for certain anatomical types, but not for hers.
In fact, a strength building program would cause her to bulk up and actually
hinder weight loss. After we talked a little more, Judy agreed to try
my suggestions. She gave up her intensive strength-training regimen while
continuing to pace walk and swim, and within a few months she'd returned
to her optimum size.
told you earlier how I identified that I was an "adrenal" type. In the
glandular (metabolic) approach, people are classified according to the
characteristics determined by the dominant gland in the endocrine (glandular)
system. This classification system, invented by Dr. Lewellys Barker of
Johns Hopkins and later refined and popularized by several physicians,
posits that we are each born with a dominant gland that influences our
body's biochemical functioning. Your dominant gland determines differences
in body chemistry balance, metabolic function, and energy usage. Your
glandular type, like your anatomical type, is programmed by your genes.
Your glandular type affects
your body's usage of basic macronutrients-air, water, protein, fat
and carbohydrates, along with micronutrients such as vitamins and
minerals-that create the energy and building materials necessary
for cellular regeneration. This process of converting raw materials
into the building blocks of life is known as metabolism. Each person
has slightly different ways of using these raw materials, and needs
different relative amounts of them: some require more protein, others
need more fat or carbohydrates.
The four major endocrine glands
are the adrenals, which regulate appetite and reactions to stress and
danger; the gonads, which control growth, sexuality, and reproduction;
the thyroid, which governs metabolic rate and energy usage; and the pituitary,
the "master gland" that regulates all of the other glands.
Each of the body's four major
glands is nourished and stimulated by specific foods. You often crave
those foods that most stimulate your dominant gland. The secretions from
this gland affect your brain and body chemistry balances, causing specific
feelings. When the gland becomes repeatedly overstimulated, however the
excess hormonal flood can throw your body chemistry out of balance. The
gland can become overstimulated to the point of exhaustion, and stop functioning
To restore a healthy
balance among your glandular secretions, you must cut back on foods
That'stimulate your dominant gland and eat more of the foods That
stimulate the subordinate glands.
In this process, the
key to health is balance-although one gland is always dominant,
it'should not be too dominant, or it will overpower the contributions
of the other glands. You can think of the glandular system as a
barbershop quartet, where your dominant gland sings the melody but
for good harmony mustn't drown out the others.
Your glandular type is determined
by analyzing related characteristics, such as physical shape, the size
of your skeleton, the location of body-fat pads, your energy patterns,
and how your body responds to proteins, fats, carbohydrates and exercise.
The glandular approach divides
humans into four body-chemistry types:
lanky, and restless; corresponds in many ways with Sheldon's ectomorph;
and warm; corresponds categorically with the mesomorph;
dreamy, and round; corresponds basically with the ectomorph, though
some pituitary types have an endomorphic base.
to women. This type is generally quite slender above the waist but tends
to be larger, with more body fat, below the waist. Although her body
has an endomorphic or mesomorphic foundation, she may actually be a
combination of anatomical types. Her personality is usually warm, outgoing
and people-oriented. At Green Valley, we'refer to this type as the Ovarian
Your glandular-metabolic type
determines how your body processes nutrients, and the best fuel ratio
of protein, fat and carbohydrate for optimum functioning. It also explains
why you crave certain foods, and how best to neutralize those cravings.
Eating incorrectly for your
metabolic type can have serious health consequences. It took me many years
to understand that the high-protein, high-fat, all-American meals my brothers
thrived on were overstimulating my dominant Adrenal glands and contributing
to my growing obesity.
There is yet another classification
system we use at Green Valley, the oldest of them all. Based on the ancient
Indian study of Ayurveda, it classifies people according to their underlying
energy patterns, or doshas. Named vata, pitta, and kapha, all three
doshas work together to achieve balance in all aspects of our biology.
Vata regulates movement, pitta controls metabolism, and Kapha oversees
structure. Together, the doshas provide the architecture of our being,
and, as any architect will tell you, there is more than one way to design
The ancient Ayurvedic physicians
anticipated modern physics in realizing that all matter, including the
physical matter that makes up human beings, is largely vibrating waves
of energy between particles (quantum units). Most of what we truly are
is not a tangible mass, but the energy fields between the tangible, physical
Ayurveda deals with how the
energy fields and the physical mass interact to influence how we feel.
In a sense, modern science is beginning to catch up. The new science of
psychoneuroimmunology studies the interactions among the nervous system,
endocrine (glandular) system, and immune system. It is the key to how
body chemistry works on a practical basis. Even though scientists cannot
always be sure how these communications take place, more and more evidence
shows that our bodies produce a complex network of chemicals (neuro-transmitters,
neuro-peptides, and related molecules) that our brain uses to communicate
throughout the body.
Although all three doshas influence
every human, one is generally dominant. The practice of Ayurveda applies
herbs, foods, movement and other principles to the doshas, bringing balance
to the entire system. You can think of the doshas as the meeting point
between mind and body. Good health is a result of balance between these
elements. If you are spiritually minded, you will recognize this as the
realm of the spirit or soul, the essence of what you are.
Although the doshas do not
correspond exactly with the anatomical and glandular typing systems, there
is a basic common ground:
Vata dosha corresponds
to the ectomorphic, thyroidal type, and to the sleeker version of the
Pitta dosha corresponds
to the mesomorphic, adrenal type.
Kapha dosha corresponds
to the endomorphic ovarian type, and also to the less-common cherub,
or puffy, endomorphic version of the pituitary type.
Your Ayurvedic energy
type determines how you respond to sensory stimulation, and gives
you the understanding of how to apply such holistic practices as
massage and meditation to balance your body and mind.
At Green Valley Health Spa,
we incorporate all of these classification systems-anatomical, glandular,
and Ayurvedic--into the four Genetic Types, which determine which
diet and exercise plan will work best for you.
When you know which anatomical
body build you are-ectomorphic, mesomorphic, or endomorphic-you
will know which kinds and amounts of body motion are most effective
for you. You'll discover what your type needs from exercise in order
to make it an enjoyable, regular part of your life.
When you know which glandular-metabolic
type you are-the pituitary, thyroidal, adrenal, or ovarian-You'll
discover the nutritional principles that are essential for your
metabolic type. You'll learn why you crave certain foods, and how
to neutralize those cravings, enabling you to feel satisfied on
a balanced diet.
When you know which Ayurvedic
energy type you are-vata, pitta, or kapha-You'll begin to understand
the principles for balancing your mind and body. You'll see what
types and amount of sensory stimulation are right for you. You'll
discover what parts of the day are best for you, and what sort of
environment you'require for optimum well-being
Throughout this chapter, I've
talked about how our individual genetic programming--the Body Code-determines
our body build, our need for exercise, our appetite, how effectively
we're satiated by different foods, our metabolic rate, and even
to a certain extent what happens to our excess energy if we overeat.
Genetic programming determines what different body types will do
with those excess calories, whether the calories will go to expand
fat pads or build lean body tissue.
The essence of my program-and
what we do in the Body Code wellness plan-is to adjust those elements
over which we have control within our genetically programmed
range. Each of us possesses a group of protective measures within
us that will help us to stay within that range-as long as we provide
the basic types of stimulation that our body needs to work toward
That'state of balance or homeostasis.
No matter what you eat, no
matter how much or little you exercise, you cannot change your basic body
code. If you are programmed to be an ectomorph, you cannot turn yourself
into a natural mesomorph, no matter how hard you try. You will always
tend toward long and bony; you cannot realistically make yourself into
a compact, muscular mesomorph.
The Pima Indians of southern
Arizona and northern Mexico stand out as casualties of the attempt
to be something other than what they are genetically programmed
to be. Until the mid-twentieth century, these people had been very
healthy, living on a natural diet of mostly desert plant foods,
and getting an enormous amount of physical exercise by farming,
gathering food, hunting, and walking. All that changed when the
twentieth century invaded their lives and they had to give up their
traditional ways. Now, the Pimas eat the way many Americans eat,
relying on processed, greasy convenience foods. They exercise the
way most Americans exercise-very little. But the effects of those
unhealthful habits on the Pimas have been dramatic and far more
obviously harmful than for most Americans.
Today the Pima Indians
(and some other related tribes) are among the most obese people
in the world, and have the highest rate of diabetes in the world.
Various experts and scientists have been trying to reprogram the
Pimas' attitudes and ideas, to get them to change their behaviors
and eat less, to follow the sort of low-fat diet often recommended
for overweight people. The Pimas are encouraged to work exercise
into their lives in small ways-to walk more, for example. But all
these attempts aren't working-and I don't think they will work until
the Pimas begin to more closely approximate the living conditions
they evolved from. Until they begin to again eat the native foods
that kept their blood sugar levels stable, and most important, to
perform the higher levels of body motion their bodies evolved to
need, they won't get better.
Because of their unique genetic
coding, the Pimas offer dramatic proof of the negative influence
of the typical American diet. But they are not alone. The relatively
recent changes in lifestyle and food choices has taken a toll-though
somewhat less dramatic--on most of us Americans. Until a short time
ago in this society we didn't have so many refined foods available
to us. We didn't have remote controls, and most work didn't require
hours of sitting in front of a computer terminal. This combination
of inactivity and rich foods have combined to make us, as a people,
out of shape, overweight, and unhealthy.
And now, it's time to invite
you to participate in the Green Valley Body Code Plan. I invite
you to discover which genetic type you are, and use the specific
foods, herbs, and physical stimulation that will give you what your
type needs for balance of mind and body. Simply follow the plan
for a few weeks and watch what happens. You will be at least delighted-and
maybe even amazed.
Jay Cooper's Website
material on this page copyright by Jay Cooper