“We have forgotten how to die of old age in this world. Instead, we die of man-made diseases that could and should be prevented.”
How is it that as technology advances and new inventions are created to make life easier, more people in the developed world are dying of cancer, heart disease and stroke every year?
The key lies in a lack of Awareness and Action. More people need to know about the links between the lifestyles they lead and how these affect their bodies. But knowledge is nothing if it is not applied. There needs to be the additional effort of acting on the knowledge to make the tough but necessary lifestyle changes that will halt disease and put our overtaxed bodies back on the path to health and wellness.
Creating and Spreading Awareness
Let’s talk about cholesterol. It is one of the fats in the blood and can lead to serious health problems such as heart disease and stroke. Yet how many people actually know this? We may vaguely “know of” good and bad cholesterol from what we read or hear about in the news, but not many of us will make the connection between what we are eating now on a daily basis and the disease that erupts years down the road. Even fewer will do something about this connection.
According to the Director of the Heart and Vascular Division at The George Institute for International Health, Associate Professor Bruce Neal, many Australians do not fully appreciate the health risks caused by cholesterol. If they did, many deaths could be prevented.
The good news is that high cholesterol is a problem that is preventable and treatable with a better diet, more exercise and (for some) medication. Unfortunately, most people are not even aware that they may be at risk of cholesterol-related health problems, and do not get their cholesterol levels checked regularly.
What can we do to educate ourselves on disease prevention and healthy living? For a start, we can read more. The Internet has incredible amounts of useful information from reliable, respected sources such as regulatory websites and medical research websites. Health magazines often carry short, easy-to-digest articles on the latest health and research findings. The library is a free resource for specialized and general health topics. That is where my husband and I chanced upon Dr. Sandra Cabot’s wonderfully readable yet highly informative books on the Liver Cleansing Diet, weight loss and cholesterol.
Secondly, we must take greater responsibility for our health. Doctors treat symptoms; they have neither the resources nor the interest to help you discover what is at the root of your particular ailment. You and I have to assume that responsibility ourselves by being conscious of what is going into our bodies each day. We need to ask more questions about the food we eat, the water we drink, the air we breathe, the personal care products we slap on our faces and skin, the household cleaning solutions we use. All of these things potentially contain toxins and chemicals that are damaging to our long-term health because they create toxin build-up in our bodies.
The food we eat
Our bodies have become burdened with high levels of trans and saturated fats which cling to our blood vessels and organs. They need to be broken down and flushed out of the system, but there isn’t enough dietary fibre to help them move along. The result is a cluttered, sickly bowel and liver, which in turn leads to disease. A 2-pronged solution is recommended. First, increase the amount of living foods in our diet. Living foods are raw, unprocessed foods which (still) contain the vitamins, minerals and enzymes needed to help you properly break down and digest your food. If you can, choose organic food. It is pesticide free, GMO free, and has more nutritional content; some even assert it tastes better.
Secondly, do a regular cleansing of your bowel and liver with a good detoxification routine. One way is to take probiotics. Probiotics are the supplement form of beneficial microorganisms that protect and build gastrointestinal health. Beneficial microorganisms play a critical role in improving digestion, rebalancing the intestinal flora lost through the use of antibiotics, and preventing harmful bacteria from growing to levels where they can cause disease. To ensure that the probiotic you take is of maximum benefit to you, there are 2 things you can do. Look up independent watchdog Consumer Lab’s website for product reviews to see if the brand you intend to buy is on their approved list. Secondly, check that the brand is certified organic.
The water we drink
The water we drink is highly processed, treated and disinfected. This is to combat the effects of contamination from natural and synthetic sources. The latter include sewage, industrial activity, pesticide runoff, improper dumping and defective water treatment. Even though tap water is generally safe for drinking, there is controversy over the effects of adding chlorine and fluoride. A possible solution is to buy bottled water (preferably water that is bottled at its source) or to use a water filter or purifier that removes impurities without disturbing dissolved minerals that are essential to our health.
What are we feeding our skin?
The skin is the largest organ in our body, which makes it the entry point of toxins into the system. Anything we apply to the skin is potentially absorbed. This includes anti-ageing creams and serums, moisturizers, facial cleansers, cosmetics, sunscreen, shampoo and deodorants. Off-the-shelf products contain a notoriously high level of harmful chemical ingredients (some of which are cancer-causing) that we may not be aware of because they are not fully disclosed on ingredient labels, and even if they were, we might not understand them. Over time, use of these products contributes to toxic build-up and disease.
In the US, the cosmetics industry is self-regulated and resource-strapped regulators do not have the legal muscle to enforce product and ingredient reviews. This means we don’t yet know as much as we should about the effects of product ingredients on our long-term health. In the meantime, we continue to buy on the basis of brand recognition and price and unknowingly contribute to the levels of toxins in our bodies. The solution? Start reading ingredient labels. Find out what parabens, sodium lauryl/laureth sulphate and phthalates can do to you and your children. There are helpful toxic ingredients glossaries on the Internet. Secondly, switch to organic personal care. Better still, find suppliers whose products are certified organic by a reputable independent certifying body. It is the only way you can guarantee the quality of the product.
Our household cleaners
Dishwashing and laundry detergents and multipurpose cleaners tend to emphasize effectiveness over safety. When you read the product label of the average cleaning product, it contains a warning that you should not inhale or swallow the product as this can cause irritation or poisoning. This is an indication of the harshness of its contents. Some companies are realizing that there is a growing demand for safer cleaning products and have developed phosphate-free, ammonia-free and fragrance-free alternatives. Look for these in your supermarket aisles or online. Again, if you can, choose organic.
What are we feeding our minds?
The cornerstone of good health is a balanced diet and exercise. However, as part of a more holistic approach to health, we also need to be conscious of what we feed our minds. As a man thinks, so is he. If you want to attract the positive into your life, you must attune your mind to focus on the positive. Attitudes and actions flow from thoughts. Focus your energy on thinking of what is good, pure and beneficial to you and to others, and replace self-limiting thoughts such as “I can’t”, “I don’t know how” or “I won’t”.
The journey to optimum health starts with a series of small steps in the right direction. Build an awareness of issues that affect your and your family’s health. Then take action to make the lifestyle changes that we have discussed in this article. If you make a start today, you will create a positive chain reaction that will have long-lasting benefits for you, your children and your children’s children – a legacy of good health that will be your best gift to the future.