When thinking about the benefits of eating the way I do (an all-raw fruit-based diet), I thought of the expression “the fruits of our labor.” This means “the results of one’s efforts,” and I can’t help but wonder: “What will be the results of me eating and living the way I do?” and “What will be the results of my friends and family members eating and living the way they do?”
Recently, a family member of mine passed away. My Uncle Jack was 100. Now, you might think, “Wow, he went way past the average life expectancy!” And, yes, he did. But quantity of life is not as important as quality of life. What good is reaching 100 if you’re confined to a wheelchair and have no short-term memory? That’s not living; that’s merely existing. And that’s not the way I want to spend the last 10 years of my life.
Since we’re all going to have a last 10 years of our life, and since each of those 3,650 days will have us experiencing a certain quality of life, doesn’t it just make good sense to invest in our future health? No one thinks twice about the concept of investing for your future finances, but hardly anyone gives thought to the concept of investing for their future quality of life. Some people adopt a healthier diet because they’ve come to care deeply about the other animals we share this planet with, and some people transition to a healthier diet because they want to improve their current health. But how many see the adoption of a healthier diet as something they can do now to avoid ill health in the future.
And this brings me to the issue of “How healthy do you want to be during the last 10 years of life?” Let’s face it, this is the time of life when — because of aging — it will be the most difficult time of your life to be healthy. So it would make sense to shoot for being the healthiest you can be now, so that you can be the healthiest you can be then.
So far, I’ve used two forms of the word “health”: “healthier” and “healthiest.” If you had to choose one to be, which one would you choose? If you just want to be healthier than you are now, and you’re someone who’s been eating the typical Western diet and living a typical Western lifestyle, you have lots of options to improve your health. But most of those options will not result in you achieving “optimal health” (being the healthiest your genetics will allow you to be). A short-term improvement in health does not automatically equate to long-term thriving. If you want the best odds of avoiding degenerative disease in the future, and you want the best odds of having “old age” listed as the cause of death on your death certificate instead of what appears on most people’s certificates, then it’s important to make wise choices now.
Dr. Cornell West said, “Let my phone be smart … . I’d rather be wise.” And this is itself an example of wisdom. We can think it’s smart to follow a popular raw food educator, but it wouldn’t be wise if that educator had — in addition to all their great advice — some incorrect information. Following inaccurate info, even from a well-intentioned educator, is not in your best interest healthwise. Even if it represents only 10 percent of that educator’s teachings, if the info is not correct, and you follow it 100 percent, it is impossible to be as healthy as your DNA will allow, and this will — not may — affect your future health.
So what does this mean in practical terms? If you want to be as healthy as you can be when you’re in the “winter” of your life (and we’re all going to have one), following correct information is of critical importance. And since there is no one health program in existence today that has 100 percent correct info, what’s a student of health to do? First, don’t be a student; be a researcher instead. Students don’t tend to question their teachers. Oh, they may ask questions of clarification, but they are not likely to question the basic premises of the things they’re taught. Researchers, however, question everything. I’m not saying they automatically doubt everything, but they don’t automatically assume that every piece of info that comes their way is true. They vet the information, verifying its correctness. And most important, they don’t assume just because the educator is very popular that all his or her information is correct.
Keep in mind that we’re not talking about pottery-making here. If you got some less-than-accurate instruction in pottery-making, what’s the worst-case scenario? A malformed vase? But what might be the end result if you got some less-than-accurate info about diet? A diagnosis of something serious somewhere down the road? Your body needs enough of all the nutrients that are required for optimal functioning. Enough of all — two very important concepts. If an educator tells you “Once you start eating enough fruits and vegetables, you don’t have to worry about nutrition,” implying that you can get enough of all the nutrients your body needs for optimal health, you may like what you hear, but this should be a red flag. And this is because it’s been clearly shown that this albeit lovely notion is not true in reality. And it’s sad to say that some popular health educators — some well-intentioned and some not — are touting this meme. And some are wanting you to believe that you can be just as healthy eating a diet that contains some cooked food as you can eating an all-raw diet. A word to the wise: Believe these lovely sounding notions at your peril. (Too harsh? Not really. I’ve counseled too many people who’ve followed these memes only to see their ill health not improve or their improved health eventually degrade. Just as we need to put an end to money-corrupting politics, we need to put an end to arrogant health educators who are not willing to learn, and to the ones who care more about their own success than the health of those they educate. Boom!)
You may wonder, how do I know these things? I’ve spent the better part of my life devoted to discovering how to be as healthy as I can be, and thus as healthy as you can be. And I’ve cared enough about others to devote the bulk of my waking hours to sharing what I’ve discovered with others for their consideration and benefit. And because of my particular motives, I’ve found it disheartening to say the least that too many health educators are not interested in doing any peer-to-peer for the sake of those they teach, wanting instead to “do their own thing” and to do it not employing the ethos of science: open questioning, no authorities, no biases or personal preferences, honesty, transparency and reliance on evidence. This way of learning and teaching can make the world a better place by burying myth and dogma and by looking at things from the perspective of reality (the body, the soil, the environment). And the requisites for this inquiry are respect for rational and honest discussion, the ability to change your mind when the evidence merits it, an intolerance of distortion and misrepresentation and, above all, a skeptical interrogation of accepted notions. That is, a proper researcher.
So as you can see, it’s best for all concerned if everyone employs the ethics and practices of a researcher … both the educators and the educated. And while you have no control over how the educators comport themselves (some running a people-before-profits practice and some running a profits-before-people business), you do have control over how you deal with information.
Making sure you follow practices that are reality-based and take into consideration the world you’re living in now, and not the world the way it once was, can allow you to reap the fruits of your fruits.
“Make truth your authority, not authority your truth.”
Don Bennett is an insightful, reality-based author and health creation counselor who uses the tools in his toolbox — like logic, common sense, critical thinking and independent thought — to figure out how to live so you can be optimally healthy. Don shares his enlightening and empowering information through his articles, books and counseling services, available on Health101.org.