During a Thanksgiving dinner I once attended, I remember the annual ritual of giving thanks. One by one, in turn, people announced to those assembled what they were thankful for. Some were thankful for the good fortune they experienced during the year, some gave thanks for a blessed event, and some were thankful to still be in one piece (there had been a lot of severe hurricanes this particular year). But when I heard, “I’m thankful to have my health”, something struck me.
“How do you know you’re in good health?”. The majority of disease plaguing our society is degenerative disease (and it is, by all definitions, a plague); you degenerate slowly, over time. So the diagnosis of cancer, for example, may seem sudden, but it was a long time in forming to get to the point that it was detectable by tests or its symptoms noticeable by you.
Symptoms come in two flavours: apparent and unapparent. Over the course of 30 years you may not have consciously noticed a loss of vitality; and if you had, you might simply chalk it up to “getting older”. But what if it was a degenerative disease that was responsible for this loss of vim and vigor. Loss of vitality and energy is a symptom of disease, and just because it happens over a long period of time doesn’t make it any less a symptom.
So although a requirement of good health is the absence of disease, the absence of noticeable symptoms is not necessarily an indication of good health. Going by today’s statistics and by what science knows of disease progression, the majority of folks who say, “At least I have my health” are a stone’s throw away from a diagnosis (or an episode) that will rock their world.
Now you may have just thought, “I know you can cause disease, but can you cause health?” You absolutely can! Health and disease are a continuum; they are two sides of the same coin. Your lifestyle choices and habits dictate where you are on that sliding scale. If you are all the way to one side of it, the healthy side, does it guarantee that you will live a disease-free life? No; there are no such guarantees. But what it does do is give you the absolute best odds of avoiding degenerative disease, and the needless suffering and premature death that go along with it. And it gives you the best odds of having a vibrant, energetic quality of life (which I feel is more important than quantity of life), and it gives you the best odds of experiencing your “happiness potential”.
But if you are someone who truly wants the best odds of avoiding disease, the best odds of feeling great, and the best odds of being happy, then take the time to take stock of your lifestyle choices. Don’t wait until you get a diagnosis of something serious to start reversing disease; start reversing disease now, before you experience either symptoms or that devastating diagnosis.
A good starting point in your stock-taking is to look at what are called the basics of health – diet, physical activity, sufficient water, fresh air, sunshine, sleep, stress management/relaxation, toxin/poison avoidance, and education (to be better able to recognise health misinformation). And pay equal attention to each of these basics (if you focus on one more than the others, it is physiologically impossible to be as healthy as you can be). Make adjustments to your lifestyle practices that are doable, “detoxify” yourself in a tolerable fashion, and don’t beat yourself up if you occasionally take “two steps back”; that goes with the territory.
So if you honestly care about your health (including your future health), feel free to go ahead and make those positive changes in yourself, so that if you say, “At least I have my health”, it’ll be the truth, and not merely wishful thinking.
This article is proudly brought to you courtesy of Mewsum Wong of Raw Food Asia. Don Bennett is a Disease Avoidance Specialist, lecturer, and author of the book, How to Have the BEST Odds of Avoiding Degenerative Disease. Don’s book and lectures explode common misconceptions about food and health. For enlightening and empowering health information visit http://www.health101.org