The Gift of Health

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My parents are at my house, virtually stuck here, after my dad took a fall as they were leaving their New Hampshire cottage to head back home to Georgia. It’s really been rather a nightmare for him, and I don’t want to go through all the details because, frankly, I am rather overloaded with everything medical. I guess I’ll probably never wind up in the medical profession.

The plans – barring any more crises – are for surgery on Wednesday, and into a rehab facility to help him heal as quickly as possible so they can head back home – a minimum of four to six weeks, we are told.

What this is doing to me, and what I want to write about, is renewing my commitment to preserving my health. I know there is only so much one can do, there is your genetic roulette (high cholesterol and stroke are in mine), but I will be darned if I am not going to do as much as is possible on my end to avoid needing the kind of care my dad is needing, which includes a hospital bed in my house, a portable toilet, and ambulance rides to the hospital and other medical appointments.

I’ve been doing a lot of research and thinking about nutrition and health over the past decade. It started when my sister-in-law had cancer. The first book that really impacted me was one called “Never Be Sick Again.” I think it’s in my house somewhere, although now that I want to quote it accurately, I can’t find it. But the gist of it was this. The source of sickness is unhealthy cells. Cells are the building blocks of our whole body. Keep healthy at the cellular level, you stay healthy. He mentioned about 6 or 7 pathways to that end. I can’t remember all of them, but the ones I internalized are:

  • Good nutrition
  • Adequate rest
  • Eliminating toxins
  • Minimizing stress
  • Physical activity

Then, a couple of years ago I read a book called “Eat To Live.” It talks about eating a high-nutrient diet.

So here is where I stand with what I think it takes to be healthy:

Eat real food. If you don’t know what an ingredient is, don’t eat it. Better yet, stick to foods in the form God made them. Eat salads. Eat nuts. Eat fruit. Make that be the bulk of your diet, at least.

Cut back on the sugar! It’s not good for you and it compromises your immune system. If you want sugar, eat a piece of fruit, fresh or dried. Fruit is nature’s candy! And don’t substitute fake sugar. This goes against the rule of eating real food. Reset your palette by cutting out sugar. You’ll find you won’t want things to be so sweet anymore. Initially, you may go through withdrawal (feeling like you are getting sick) because sugar acts like a drug, it’s an addicting substance. But you will feel better on the other side.

Eat lots of veggies, fruit, and high-nutrient foods. Greens are especially good for you, and the darker, the better!  A good way to get an extra dose of all of these is in a shake. Yummy and good for you.

Eat whole grains, not processed ones.

Eat healthy fats (like nuts, avocados, olives).

If you eat meat, eat reasonable portions of it, as opposed to the portion sizes most people go for. And choose organic, pasture-raised, grass-fed animals. The way it was when people had their own farms and raised their own food.

Buy local and eat seasonal foods. I particularly adore berry season and go crazy and pick gobs of organic blueberries to freeze for later consumption.

Walk, or do some form of physical activity, every day. It’s good to break out in a sweat. It means your heart got a good workout and it helps eliminate toxins from your body.

Drink lots of water! It, too, flushes out toxins, and your body is made up of water. You need it. You don’t need soda.

Eliminate toxins by eating organic, and using healthy personal care and cleaning products (good for the environment, too). Try to avoid bug spray or find natural kinds. I even avoid the chemicals in sunscreen by controlling when I am in the sun and I only wear sunscreen if I am not going to be able to avoid prolonged exposure. And don’t dump chemicals on your lawn! Perfect grass is not worth what it’s doing to us and to the environment.

Take vitamins. It’s best to get your vitamins naturally from food and healthy habits, but that’s not always possible in today’s world. For instance, I just recently found out that the deficiency vegetarians have in their diets with vitamin B12 is because we used to get it from the soil. But we clean our food so well now that we don’t get it anymore. And the reason that people can get it from eating meats is that animals ingest soil when they graze.

For me, personally, with my family history of high cholesterol and stroke, I have chosen a mostly vegan diet. But that’s a personal choice I am making for myself and I don’t know that it is the only way to stay healthy. There are so many “theories” and “studies” out there, I think you have to do your own research and make your own choices. I did write this post, however, to share the conclusions I’ve come to after doing a bunch of research that many people may not care to do.

These are all concrete things that are in my (or anyone’s) control. To me, they just seem to be common sense; principles to eating that were lost somewhere along the way in these crazy times we live in. They key is they require discipline, something that is often hard to come by in a technology-rich, industrial world. However, discipline is my goal because I currently possess the gift of health, and I am going to do my best to keep it. Join me on this journey, won’t you?

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