Nature versus Nurture

Nature versus nurture. Who hasn’t heard this phrase? Basically it’s an ongoing dialog about whether a person’s characteristics and traits are with him or her from birth or if environment plays a role. Well, it’s a little bit of both.

Nature refers to all the biological factors that make up a human being; all the genetic material that comes from a mother’s egg and a father’s sperm. These things influence how we look, from the color of our hair and eyes, to whether we are frail and thin or big and strong, to how we think. Nurture refers to environmental factors we are exposed to as we grow up. So for example, if everyone in your family is on the taller side of average, but you were somehow neglected and undernourished, the likelihood of you growing up to be tall diminishes. In my health coach studies, they refer to this as constitution and condition; same general concept.

Constitution is determined long before you are born and is largely based upon the genes and characteristics of your parents and grandparents.  And your condition is acquired after birth and is easily changeable. It’s based on diet and lifestyle and thus is created day by day, even moment by moment.

When I first heard these particular lectures, there were parts that I questioned. I wasn’t quite convinced, but there was some logic to it all. Think about this: pregnant woman number1 eats fast food for lunch, drinks wine on weekends, is trying to quit smoking and loves horror movies versus pregnant woman number2 who only eats organic whole foods and does yoga and meditates every day. The woman who loves horror movies can’t help but feel fear and stress as she’s watching, and that anxiety courses throughout her body – so baby feels it too. But her baby doesn’t know it’s a movie! Baby2 is constantly nourished by good wholesome foods as well as a calm, stress-free, and mindful environment. Think about how the two babies are being nourished – by food as well as by environment. Which baby would you rather have? Which baby would you rather be?

There were also some things I found fascinating in these particular lectures. Like, for example, how the father’s sperm can change over time. So when planning to have a baby, dad can change his diet to more nourishing and wholesome foods. This change in diet can make a difference between kid 1 and kid 2.

Mom’s eggs are there from the day she is born, so nothing can change that. She can however change her diet while she is pregnant as this is what nourishes baby in the womb. For example, a whole foods diet will help baby become well balanced and intuitive; excess flour products could result in scattered thinking; a focus on root vegetables makes a baby that is hardy with a strong personality; excess meats could birth a stubborn and aggressive baby; and excess sugar could lead to nervousness. Of course, I’m generalizing, but there is some logic here.

Do you believe in astrology?

I was always doubtful until back in my early twenties I had my natal chart done, with the exact time and geographical location of my birth. It’s funny, before I did that, I was always confused. You see, I’m a Leo and yet I never wanted to be the center of attention or be in the spotlight like Leo’s are described. I’m not aggressive and have (had) some confidence issues. Then I did my birth chart and found out something interesting. I was born in the very early morning, so my ‘rising sign’ or ascendant is also Leo, which makes me a double Leo. There are other factors I’m forgetting like the moon and other planets and their position at the time of my birth – and the combination of all of these somehow minimizes the typical Leo characteristics and behaviors. This was like a light-bulb moment for me. It explained so much!!

So what’s my point? Well, there are many different types of astrology from across the globe, such as: Chinese astrology, Indian, Sri Lankan (Sinhalese), and Western, as well as historical traditions which have mostly fallen into disuse like: Persian astrology, Babylonian, Hellenistic, Mayan, Tibetan, Egyptian, Celtic, and Arab, etc. With so many forms of astrology spanning eons and geography, could they all be bonkers?

All of these cultures, at one time or another , somehow believed that when a child was born is significant. Might not some of this have inklings of truth?

I don’t know… But another fascinating topic in my lectures of nature versus nurture had to do with a baby’s date of conception, date of birth, and what happened in between. Think back to when you were in high school or college. Did you have a group of friends that clicked? That all kind of thought in similar ways? People born in the same century or the same decade had many similarities. Aren’t there huge differences between people born in the 1950’s versus those born in the 1990’s? Chinese astrology narrows this down ever further, to people born in the same year.

I learned in my health coaching studies that seasons matter as well. I was born in August, so I was conceived in November. Thus my mom probably ate heartier foods in the winter months, like stews, meats and root vegetables, which contributed to having a strong, sturdy and grounded baby. Yup, that’s me 😉

Contrast that with a baby conceived in March and born December. Mom is pregnant mostly in spring and summer, where people typically eat lighter and more cooling foods, so baby is constructed with more salads, fruits and vegetables than meats. This might result in a more sensitive, balanced and intuitive child.

Some other interesting insights: babies born at midnight may have more tranquility in their lives and those born at sunrise have an affinity for sunrises. For me, watching a sunrise (which is when I was born) is like a renewal of life force. Every time! Babies born near the ocean are typically more active and physically oriented versus those born in mountainous areas, which tend to be more inward and spiritual. And those born near the equator are frequently more balanced overall.

Obviously this is not an exact science. But it is fascinating to consider.