Every day that you’re alive, you’re going to have a level of health. So what do you want that level of health to be when you’re 50, 60, 70, 80, 90? Just because you have a decent level of health today isn’t a guarantee that it’ll be that way for the rest of your life; if you don’t have all the pieces of the puzzle in place — the puzzle that is “how to have robust health throughout your whole life” — you’re likely to find your quality of life lower than it could have been, and maybe even something you never thought would happen — a diagnosis of something. But by making prudent investments today for tomorrow’s health, you can have robust health for yourself, the planet, and the other animals we share this planet with; a win-win-win-lose (the lose is for the industries that profit from ill health and nonhuman food production).
10. Eventually eliminate harmful habits
Very often what accounts for the biggest initial improvements in health are those harmful habits that we stop doing. And then when you add in the healthful habits that were absent, now you’ve got a recipe for some seriously robust future health.
Some of the harmful habits are obvious, like cigarette smoking and alcohol consumption, but some are not as evident. There’s a bunch of lifestyle habits that can physically harm us while we have no idea this is going on (and since your physical health affects your emotional health, our happiness potentials can be less than what they are capable of being, too).
We can’t depend on our management teams (government agencies) to protect us because these organizations are staffed with people, and some people are too involved with self-interest to be interested in protecting those they supposedly serve … . I’m not describing all people in government, but enough to where we really need to care about our own health if we want optimal health.
If you think that it’s only natural that we’d need to be on half a dozen or more meds as we get older, think again. This is what the pharmaceutical industry would like you to believe (for obvious reasons), so they exert their influence on agencies, organizations and related industries to perpetuate this falsehood for their well-being. Unfortunately, the healthier their financial outlook, the bleaker your quality-of-life outlook, unless you adopt the notion of “the best health-care is self-care.”
By the way, did you know the U.S. is one of only two countries that permit pharmaceutical companies to advertise to the general public? But it’s required that if the ad talks about the benefits of the drug, it must also mention the possible negative side effects. Watch the ads for meds when they talk about the side effects; isn’t it fascinating how the visuals try to distract you from the narration. Coincidence or deliberate?
9. Emotional support and stress management
Some people are so independent with tons of self-esteem and self-confidence that they need little to no emotional support. But there are people who — to be successful — need emotional support when they make paradigm shifts where major changes to their lifestyle practices are adopted. Fortunately, the Internet provides such things as Meetup.com, groups on various social networking sites and forum websites where there are people who can be “there for you.” But there’s a caveat: certain groups can have particular philosophies, meaning they can be based on a particular program or educator(s). Now, this is just fine if all the information contained in that program or the info being taught by that educator is accurate, but if there’s any incorrect info, this can prevent you from being as healthy as your DNA will allow, and this will result in less-than-optimal future health, which can mean you will not have the best odds of avoiding a diagnosis of something serious in the future.
So if optimal future health is your goal, a word to the wise: It’s a good idea to vet the educators and verify their info before you go hang out at the social get-togethers organized by those groups (whether in person or online). I’m not saying you should then start what would likely be heated discussions, but at least you’ll be armed with correct information so you won’t adopt any incorrect information, and that’s something that’s in your best interest health-wise.
8. Realize that there are other important “basics of health” besides diet
Diet gets the biggest chapters in books, and indeed there are entire books devoted to diet, but this doesn’t mean that your diet is the most important aspect of health. You could be eating the perfect diet for a human being, one that provides plenty of nutrition, but if you don’t get enough regenerative sleep, enough physical activity (and not too much), enough sunshine, enough toxin avoidance and enough stress management, it’s physiologically impossible to be as healthy as you are capable of being.
So why does diet get so much ink? Of all the basics of health, diet has the most conflicting and contradictory information, and therefore it’s the most potentially confusing area of health. It’s fascinating how we know precisely what all giraffes are designed to eat, and what all sparrows are designed to eat, and actually, what all species of animal on the planet are designed to eat, except one. Us! And science, logic, rational thinking, solid studies and empirical evidence often take a back seat to self-indulgent, pleasure-seeking behavior, marketing and profit motives. But as they say, the truth is out there. And as I say, give me the truth though the heavens may fall. (And with the way I speak truth to the popular culture, the heavens do fall on me sometimes.)
7. Don’t over- or under-eat, exercise and sunbathe
If there’s one word that most accurately describes the amount of something that we need for optimal health, it’s “appropriate.” So we should be eating an appropriate amount of fat, carbs and protein for our design. Not the amount that an author of some book who desires to be popular wants you to eat, or the amount that we’d rather eat (unless of course you don’t mind not having optimal health).
An appropriate amount of sunshine is not so much sunshine that you burn, but not so little that you don’t get enough Vitamin D. And if you live where there are times of the year that the sun can’t make any D in your skin, then you have two options: a phototherapy light device or a D supplement is a must (unless you don’t desire having optimal future health).
And as far as exercise, my observation is that people either do way too little or way too much, and both are unhealthy for different sets of reasons. So what about doing what’s appropriate for the human body; exercise that the body is designed for. And just because we can do something doesn’t mean we’re physiologically adapted to do it, so just because you can run for many miles doesn’t mean that, on balance, it’s good for your body, all things considered. You may want to run, but what about what your body wants?
As far as how many calories to consume, that mostly depends on how much physical activity you do. So if you don’t do enough, and you eat an appropriate amount of food for that level of under-activity, you may not get enough omega-3 fat or enough of one or two of the essential amino acids that make up protein … and FYI, the levels of both these items don’t correlate with your level of activity the way that calories do. So to get enough of them, you need to be as active as you would have been many millennia ago so that you eat an appropriate amount of food. Hmmm, how often do you hear that little nugget of info?
6. Enough sleep
No argument here; we need enough, and unlike food, exercise and sunshine, we can’t get too much sleep. But it’s not just the amount of hours you sleep, it’s the quality of the sleep you get. Sleep consists of four phases, from the lightest to the deepest, and it’s in the deepest phase of sleep when the majority of nervous system energy (“nerve energy”) is replenished. This energy is not to be confused with caloric energy, which is replenished by eating. Nerve energy is electrical in nature, and its replenishment is just like plugging your cell phone into the wall to recharge … and we all know what happens if you fail to do enough of this.
So are there things that can interfere with you getting “a good night’s sleep” (enough Phase 4 deep sleep)? You betcha! Eating too close to bedtime, some meds, some nutrient deficiencies, a bedroom that’s not dark and taking problems to bed with you … and if that problem is your spouse, then you’ve got some work to do. Seriously, if you fall asleep thinking about upsetting, nonhappy thoughts, you will not get a restorative night’s sleep. But if you fall asleep thinking about something that puts a smile on your face, your dreams will be more pleasant, and you will wake up more refreshed (assuming you went to bed early enough). Remember, sufficient nerve energy is needed for optimal healing, so don’t shortchange yourself any. Go to sleep earlier so you wake up before the alarm clock sounds.
5. Plenty of fruit
Despite what misinformed people say, we are designed to eat fruit as our primary diet. Yes, we can eat other things to survive, but surviving is not the same as thriving, and we can thrive only when eating what we’re designed to eat. And if eating fruit causes any symptoms, the fruit is not the primary cause of those symptoms. Discover and deal with the primary cause, and you’ll be able to eat fruit just fine. Finding enough fruit to eat all year ’round can be a challenge for some people depending on where you live, but where there’s a will, there’s usually a way.
And since eating the diet that you’re biologically adapted to eat will help you have the best odds of attaining optimal future health, the only reason not to eat fruit is if optimal future health is not a priority of yours. And I’m not being judgy here; there are people who care more about certain things than optimal health, and that’s a personal choice, but often these folks come to value their health only after they’ve lost it; they don’t get serious about their health until they get a diagnosis of something serious. I think it’s wiser not to get the diagnosis in the first place, and that’s why I researched for 40 years to find out how to have the best future health possible, and that’s why I eat a fruit-based diet and have for almost a quarter of a century. Bottom line: What you decide to eat really comes down to how healthy you want to be. We all have a “health potential,” and it is known how to live to it … it’s just not common knowledge (the reasons for this tragic scenario is the subject of another article … probably one I’ll never write because I enjoy living).
4. Accurate information and knowing about all the incorrect information about the healthiest human diet
As I said above, if we were tigers, we’d know what to eat. If we were bonobo apes (which we have about 98% in common with DNA-wise), we’d know what to eat. But we’re told that humans are designed to eat a high-fat diet, a low-fat diet, a high-carb diet, a low-carb diet, a cooked-food diet, a raw food diet, a vegan diet, an animal-based diet, a starch-based diet, a fruit-based diet, a high-greens diet or an individual diet based on blood type, metabolic type, where you were born, hair color, eye color and/or Zodiac sign. “Wow! Our diet must truly be a mystery.” Well, no, there’s no mystery, just a mountain of misinformation (and disinformation).
If you have no biases, and are capable of rational, logical and independent thinking, then it’s plain to see what humans are designed to eat. But even the diet that’s technically the healthiest diet might not provide enough of all the nutrients your body requires for optimal health. In fact, it often doesn’t. Why? Because of the way the foods we’re buying are grown. The agri-based food industry grows for yield, appearance, size, pest-resistance, growth-rate, shelf-life, sugar-content, but not for nutritional content. Why? We’re not demanding that they do, and they’re not being mandated to do so by government, so why should they? They’d make less money. This is why the best health-care is self-care.
Just as we’d naturally have a healthy dose of skepticism if we’re told we need to eat animal products or cooked food for optimal health, we should also scrutinize the better dietary advice to be sure there isn’t any misinformation. And just as there are boatloads of misinformation that pass for “good advice” that’s heaped upon the mainstream public, those in the more health conscious communities get our fair share as well. Why? Human nature.
No one health educator has all the answers, but all the answers a health educator has should be correct. So if you’re told that you needn’t be concerned about nutrition when you eat a raw food diet, you are being treated to some incorrect information even if the person sharing this with you is sincerely well-intentioned. There’s a whole book devoted to the misinformation in the health creation community, so evidently there are things you need to be aware of if optimal future health is your goal.
Which do you think would be a more long-lived species: one with more intelligence than wisdom, or one with more wisdom than intelligence? A heady question indeed, but one that points out that a species can have the intelligence to make things that are unhealthy, but not the wisdom to not make them (or use them). Wisdom is also what allows us to value the concept that I mention over and over: optimal future health. It’s not difficult to see the wisdom in preventing degenerating disease rather than getting it and then trying to get rid of it. So investing in your future health is a wise thing to do. And this publication — Fruit-Powered Magazine — is a valuable tool in your toolbox that you can use as part of your future-health investment strategy.
2. Making sure your diet provides enough of all the nutrients your body requires for optimal healing and optimal health
Why is this item a number all its own? Because it bears repeating that to have the best health possible, your body needs enough of all the nutrients it requires for optimal health. And just because at one time the diet we’re designed to eat provided enough of all these nutrients doesn’t automatically mean that it still does. Why? Because something has changed, and has changed in a major way. We’re not getting our foods from where we once got them from. And don’t let anyone tell you that the nutritional quality of those foods is the same today as it was many millennia ago. Even if that educator has lots of spot-on 100% correct info, this is the once piece of misinfo that can prevent you from having optimal future health. I’ve seen it in my own practice; people who bought into this lovely but untrue notion and their health went downhill over time, so I know that what can do you the most harm is what you believe to be true that isn’t (the name of my third book is based on this maxim).
The good news is that there are things we can do to help ensure we do get enough of all the nutrients our bodies require for optimal health, or at least get as close as possible under the circumstances to this most worthy goal.
And now, the number one requirement …
1. A desire for and a valuing of fabulous future health
If this is indeed your goal, then keep this desire in the forefront of your thoughts. If any of the various steps along the way become difficult, remembering why you’re making these adjustments in your lifestyle practices goes a long way toward helping you stay the course. Close your eyes and imagine yourself when you’re 80 years old and think about your quality of life at that time … how healthy and vibrant do you want to be when you’re in the “winter” of your life? You may be far away from that day at this moment in time, but that day will be your reality one day, just as real as today is for you right now, and the level of health you’ll have then will be dependent on the decisions and investments you make today.
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 and books, available on Health101.org.