Most of us have heard about these types of things. Inherited weaknesses, diseases, or problems. We check for family histories of different conditions to help us know what to look for in the future with our health. Sometimes the results are somewhat insignificant and other times we have issues of cancers, heart disease, autoimmune conditions and the like. It is difficult to cope with this sort of thing, especially if serious preexisting conditions are there. It is important to understand what issues have been occurring in your family; especially if you can find information about grandparents or back farther.
There is some truth to this as people (and families) can and do have strengths and weaknesses. What we want to talk about here is WHY the weaknesses exist and HOW we might go about correcting them. Why do illnesses seem to follow families?
Sometimes families go about things in similar ways. They may eat the same types of foods, have the same views on exercise, deal with stress in distinctive ways, etc. These ways of doing things often gets passed on to the children. IF these things are unhealthy, disease can result.
OUR CULTURE has gotten progressively less “genetically health friendly.” There is often pollution in our cities, additives and chemicals in our foods, poor food quality, lack of exercise, and overwork mixed with stress. Many of these things were not even around until very recently. Is it possible that our human bodies do not know how to deal with this “newfangled” stuff?
So we want to fix these things and make ourselves genetically healthy and strong right? How do we go about this? Of course it depends on the individual situation and how far “off-course” we have gone, but here are some basic tips.
- Number One is to begin eating foods that are as natural and unprocessed as you can get. Healthy food literally has good genetics! Many people are sick because they are regularly consuming foods and substances that their bodies are not really designed for.
- Healthy Lifestyle factors. This includes many things like exercise, rest, stress-management, sleep, mental/emotional work, relationships, and many more.
- Brain Health. How we take care of our mind plays a big factor here. Spending time in nature, listening to music we like, doing mental exercise such as mathematics or puzzles, and other things can help keep our brain healthy. Too much time in artificial environments or with new-age electronics can take away health in this area.
- Be “Condition Specific.” If the genetic problems have to do with digestion; it may be wise to eliminate processed pork and hard to digest meats and foods. If it has to do with circulation; regular exercise and a overall healthy diet makes sense. Cancers often come with too much processed foods and substances or overwhelmed emotions. Try to know what you are working on avoiding and plan accordingly.
Overall, I just want people to know that there is HOPE at improving genetic conditions. We literally change our genetics when we improve what we eat and how we live. Many people have eliminated hereditary problems. You do not have to get sicker and weaker as you get older. It just depends if you are willing to change these areas into healthy ones, work with nature, and let yourself be led back to healthy genetics.
Sometimes while shopping, it amazes me to view all of the new products we have created that people categorize as “food.” Even in so-called “Health Food Stores,” it is common to find many processed items often touted as healthy. What is strange about this is that it appears we have forgotten what “normal” food is. People that shop for and eat whole foods are viewed as “on a diet,” or as “healthy eaters.” The thing is, until recently; that was everybody. There were no “processed foods” made in factories. There were not additives in the food. Of course there have been storage foods like whole grains, but many are choosing to eat processed versions of these also.
The good news is that there are a few simple tests that will allow you to determine if something is a whole food.
- Does it have more than 1 ingredient? IF YES, it is NOT a whole food.
- Does it grow in the ground, on a tree, or move around? It is probably a whole food.
So that leaves us with what? Fruits, vegetables, wild edibles, meats, whole grains and legumes, as well as nuts and seeds. There are also animal products such as raw milk and eggs.
The interesting thing to me is that many people would seem to reject this type of food. It is in the grocery stores, but much of what is purchases are processed versions of foods. That brings us to the question of WHY so many people are eating junk food?
There are many reasons; and that is sort of outside the scope of this article. However, we will go over a few.
- Addictions – People are addicted to foods and they do not always realize it. This is very prevalent with Bread, Pasteurized Dairy, Sugar, Table salt, GMO Foods, and certain chemicals they put in processed foods. Try getting people to let go of bread or dairy and you will find out how addicted some are.
- Convenience – Some packaged foods feel more convenient to many. Open the bag of chips and munch. Take the lid off the ice cream and eat. Of course there are healthy alternatives such as fruit, fresh greens, nuts, etc. but they sometimes aren’t loaded with calories in quite the same way.
- Emotions – Unfortunately eating bad food can sometimes help us push away our emotions temporarily. It does this by draining our energy and numbing us for a time being. After the food is digested, the feelings will usually come back.
- Cost – This is a tricky issue. Some believe eating healthy equals paying more for food. However, some with this mindset are the same buying junky snacks, cigarettes, lottery tickets, and fast food. Some real food can get expensive; especially in regard to meats and produce. I am convinced though, that if we cut back drastically on the junk we buy (not just food!), we would better afford the quality food. You also have to think what it says about us that we are not willing to spend our money on FOOD!?
Enough on this issue. The mains points here are that it is NOT HARD to determine what is a WHOLE FOOD, (which is what humans are used to eating). There are pitfalls and addictions prevalent with junk food, so treat it as such. Cost can be an issue; but honestly look at where your spending is going and ask yourself if it really is too expensive? Overall, getting into a whole foods eating style in the modern times is easy to explain but often hard to implement. This does not mean eating foods you do not like. It just means selecting your food from a large variety of healthy options, and not giving your money to corporations mass-producing junk food that is just making our country sicker, more overweight, and less happy. Respect yourself AND your food, leading to a healthier and more sustainable person.
So much of our lifestyle and culture has changed in the last 100 years. An exponential amount of change has occurred in just the most recent 25 years. Electronics, computers, internet, cell phones, processed foods, the list goes on. We seem to be addicted. In some ways, these things help us to organize, stay connected, and be more productive. In other ways, they bring us out of touch with some realities around us. Before these modern inventions, things were much different. The food we ate was more natural, we were outdoors physically working more, and we were in tune with the cycles and seasons around us. Part of the problem is that our bodies are so used to living before this “Technological Age.” We are asking for a lot of change in a short period of time. Many people struggling with health problems find it hard to get much better. There are chronic illness patterns that appear very resistant to treatment.
What I am suggesting here is to be cautious with these new “Toys” we are playing with. Especially with regard to new processed versions of food and sedentary lifestyles. Before 100 years ago we didn’t have chemicals and additives in our food, milk wasn’t pasteurized, thing’s weren’t produced in factories, etc. In other words, we are eating things our bodies are not used to. Computers have helped to create many “office jobs,” which sometimes don’t offer much physical labor. People are not exercising as much in their jobs.
Advancements in technology don’t need to hurt us. In fact, people have always tried to improve upon their space in nature and find better ways of living. The problem is that we are playing with things that we do not fully understand yet.
A great way to improve health is to emulate lifestyles before 100 years ago. This does not mean we need to totally get rid of our new toys. It just means trying to eat natural foods, work physically more when possible, spending time in nature, and being more aware of our surroundings. It also may mean spending less time with modern media like television or video games. Just try to remember that what we are doing is VERY NEW. We want our new technology to help us and not hurt us.
INFECTIOUS DISEASE is something that we do not like. Some form of “micro-invaders” via bacteria, virus’s, or parasites get into our bodies and cause illness. This is a concept familiar to most. We get the flu, our bodies immune system kicks in and attempts to destroy or remove the invaders. These are things that can often be transmitted person to person in close proximity or through physical intimacy. They are hopefully short term. These types of things can come from many avenues; but poor hygiene and sanitation is a sure way to create bad germs. Ok, so that is infectious disease.
BAD HEALTH is something that is built up over time. It can take years to develop bad health. This is a condition usually caused by many bad lifestyle habits. This can include poor diet, lack of exercise, smoking, processed foods, mental/emotional stress, etc. There are hundreds of things that can create bad health. Often people don’t even realize they are entering into bad health because it’s slow to come on or they attribute it to aging.
The point we are making here is that INFECTIOUS DISEASE and BAD HEALTH are NOT the same thing. People can have bad health without being infected with certain bugs. People can also have terrible infectious disease while having good health. There would appear to be much confusion. Bad health cannot be fixed by doctors unless the person is willing to change the lifestyle habits that are adding to the illness. Another issue is that when you have bad health it becomes EASIER to catch infectious disease due to weakened immune system, low energy, etc. So what do we do?
Obviously we want to have GOOD HEALTH and not be dealing with INFECTIOUS DISEASE. The best ways to do this are to use a combination of approaches. Eat whole foods, exercise appropriately, sleep, de-stress, find purpose, etc. IMPROVE the lifestyle to a healthy, sustainable one. To avoid infectious disease, use excellent hygiene and sanitation practices and regularly consume “anti-bug” foods such as raw garlic, hot peppers, some essential oils like oregano, fresh ginger, fermented foods, etc. When you go to the doctor you want to have good health and no bad bugs.
Health can be an obscure topic. I wanted to draw up a different way of thinking about things. In simplistic terms, humans function with inputs and outputs. The INPUTS are the things that we take into our body, mind, and spirit from our environment, relationships, etc. The OUTPUTS are the functioning that we can amazingly do because of our inputs. Things like working jobs, taking care of kids, going on trips, and various other tasks. Obviously we ALL want a HIGH LEVEL of OUTPUT. We want to feel good, have plenty of energy, strength, and stamina to do the things that are important to us. We also want to have resilience to stress, illness, and injury.
What I would like to state is that your INPUTS have a DIRECT RELATIONSHIP to your OUTPUTS. As a system of health, we want to improve the QUALITY of our INPUTS as to have better OUTPUT.
This is where cleaning up the lifestyle comes in. Unfortunately, many of our inputs in modern times have become compromised, polluted, inferior, or otherwise “junked up.” Let’s look at some of the basic INPUTS humans require.
- FRESH AIR. This is number 1 on the list. Problems arise when we compromise too much on the quality of our air such as pollution in cities.
- CLEAN WATER. Number 2 on the list. Most people know to drink water, however the cleanliness and quality can be a factor
- HEALTHY FOOD. There is so much junk out there people are eating. This is a big factor for many people as to why OUTPUT may not be as good as we want.
- GOOD RELATIONSHIPS. Not something you eat, but an input nonetheless. Being surrounded by positive, supportive people helps us mentally/emotionally feel safe and happy.
- There are many more inputs such as the types of music we listen to, the Television we watch, our hobbies, etc.
So the basic premise is that the healthier that your inputs are; the better output you can expect. This does not necessarily mean you will feel and perform as you wish that you could. It does mean that you will be doing better than you would with less optimal INPUTS.
A few basic notes here on REST and EXERCISE. I would not exactly classify these as INPUTS, however both are essential to functioning well. REST helps to heal and recover body systems and gives us a chance to de-stress. Exercise circulates and stimulates body systems and promotes health and strength.
It is not always easy to clean up our INPUTS, however there is generally a reward when we do. Keeping notes and tracking progress can be helpful. Just try to keep most of what is coming IN positive, healthy, and feeling good. Avoid negative, energy draining foods and activities. Don’t follow the crowd. Trust your instincts if you need to remove or add things. Remember that good does come when we make positive changes!