A week ago one of my clients stopped me in the middle of our conversation about how we “should” eat and asked me “is that what you do?’ She then proceeded to want to know what it is I do. We discussed for some time how there are a lot of voices out there in the health world many saying different things: eat meat, don’t eat meat, eat grains, don’t eat grains, sugar is bad for you, we need sugar. The list could go on and on. This frustration is very real. Even as a doctor I get annoyed at the seemingly endless list of do’s and don’ts that exist.
That all being said, ironically, today I want to begin my own list on account of my client’s question of “what do you do?”. As I have pondered this I was surprised at how many things had to do with us as a people and not the do’s and don’ts of eating. I firmly believe that the battle is actually won inside first. Your understanding of health and life need to be set and strongly felt first before the real changes will come. Now while this list could just be grouped into that ever growing larger list that I just discussed, I hope for those that know me, that know the experiences behind it, and that know the sincerity with which I create this list that it won’t become just another annoyance. My hope is that it will be a help to those searching and looking for answers in their lives.
How to Live and Be healthy
#1 Be Honest With Yourself
There is a general need to accept the fact that we face health issues and that we aren’t invincible. Maybe “health issues” isn’t even the right word. I believe it should be stated that in general there is a misunderstanding of how the physiology of our bodies operate. The common perception is that it we should just work properly all of the time despite what we do, eat and think and despite how much we don’t sleep, rest, and focus on improving our physiology. In no other aspect of life is this concept viewed as okay and misunderstood to be the right option. For example vehicles; we all know you can’t poor soda into the fuel tank and drive it like you are racing every other car on the road and not expect it to break down, give you problems, and have to pay for the repair. Also most know that often once you repair a vehicle after a major issue it is never quite the same.
Now did the car have a “health issue?” Did it break down because of some unforeseen disease? The answer is no. It broke down because the laws of how cars should operate or how a car should be taken care of were thrown out the window. Another more comparable example it seen in the growing of plants or the raising of animals, with plants it can be as specific as what PH is the soil. If it is too acidic or too basic it simple won’t grow. Why? Because certain enzymes and chemical reactions only work at certain PH levels. We as humans are no different the more acidic driving foods you eat (I will cover this in more depth at another point on the list ) the more acidic you become and the slower enzymes and chemical reactions work. With horses it is known in the breeding world that if the mother won’t feed the colt and the colt has to be bottle feed that the colt will have behavioral issues and will be much more difficult during the developing years. Why? It has to do with their physiology and their emotional connection back to their mother.
We must be honest and accept that we aren’t operating correctly and that we need to understand more how our body works. The first part of that is usually simply recognize and accept that a part of us isn’t working the way it should: back hurts, I’m fatigued, no energy, angry all the time, I’m not happy ect... The second part is harder. What am I doing? Being exposed to? Eating? Or not doing? That could be leading to the problems I am now having. These questions may be even more important than the initial recognition. You must be willing to explore options because yes we live in a world where the seemingly innocent stomach cramps you get every time you eat dairy do lead to chronic intestinal inflammation with the possibility of eventually leading to swelling of the central nervous system and the creation of systemic health issues. (I know because this happened to me)
An example of this misunderstanding and not being honest about it came six months ago when my wife, two sons, and I walked into Sam’s club. Near the front entrance there was some kind of dairy based snack that my four year old commented on wanting to try. We told him that it had dairy in it, and him knowing that he reacts poorly to dairy simply said “eww I don’t want that it will hurt my stomach.” Next to us was a lady on a motorized cart who heard the conversation and commented “I would listen to your parents and don’t get started now. Dairy has always hurts my stomach, but I just keep eating it because it tastes so good. That’s probably why I’m so big though.” Then she drove off. My son still remembers this happening even now six months later. As she drove off I wanted to scream to her it’s not probably, it is a large part of why you are having so many problems. It’s not a question of maybe; it is a matter of physiology. You can’t repetitively aggravate your intestinal tract and it not create some kind of effect.
When we consistently do something that result in pain or us not feeling well we need to be honest enough with ourselves to admit “I am choosing that action over my well being and happiness”. Be willing to analyze yourself and create your list of the things that you currently do, eat, drink, or don’t do (like sleep) that you feel maybe adding to your problem. The sooner you are willing to accept your own habits as a potential cause of your “health issues” the sooner you will be able to take control of your health and focus on living and being healthy as oppose to worrying about unwanted health issues.
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