Why Fix What Isn't Broken? ... Yet
Are you complacent about your health? Have you ever thought, or said, “I’m pretty healthy so I’m not too concerned about my diet (or exercise, or stress levels, or sleep, or __________ fill in the blank)”? How many of us are concerned about our health, or that of our loved ones, BEFORE a serious diagnosis?
When our car leaves us stranded on the side of the road, it may appear that it just suddenly stopped but your mechanic can tell you that the cause is often the wear of a part. Sometimes simple maintenance could have prevented the crisis, or at the very least would have revealed the issue and the part replaced before you found yourself in an emergency situation. Or, maybe it’s simply a matter of an empty fuel tank! Too often we ignore subtle (strange grinding or thumping sounds) and even more urgent signals (check engine light or low fuel alarm) because our lives are so busy. Even if the thought registers that “I should look into this”, as long as the car is running we can become complacent – “oh, that noise doesn’t mean anything, it always sounds like that”, or we over-estimate our resources – “I should have another 50 km of fuel left”. When we are busy, it is easy to block out or overlook any signal as long as it doesn’t stop us from continuing. Have you ever been accused of selective hearing?
Are You Listening?
We treat our health in the same way. We tend to ignore all the subtle signals our bodies send to us that we aren’t taking proper care of them. Fatigue, stomach pain, constipation or diarrhea, brain fog, energy crashes, overwhelm, angry outbursts, rashes, constant cold symptoms, yeast infections, inflamed joints, or any other chronic symptom are often ignored because they are so familiar that they become “normal”. At most, we might take something to relieve the symptom such as a sleeping pill, antacid, laxative, caffeine, anti-depressant, allergy medication, antibiotic, or pain medication. To my mind, this is comparable to giving a child inappropriate games to keep them entertained when Mom is overwhelmed, or putting Band-Aids on dozens of bleeding cuts on my fingers but continuing to clear out my thorny rose bushes with my bare hands because I don’t have time to find my gloves or simply because I can work through the pain.
Every single thing we expose our bodies to makes an impact, either positive or negative. Every single thing we withhold from our bodies also makes an impact, either positive or negative. Some of these responses are minimal and we may never notice them, others are massive and immediate, and some responses cause gradual or cumulative damage which “suddenly” show up as a serious diagnosis. An allergic reaction, sudden rash, or lack of energy is your body telling you something is wrong. It isn’t asking for a drug or a cream. A rash is not a sign of cortisone-deficiency! Depression is not a result of a Prozac-deficiency! These are signals that important elements are missing or dangerous elements are present in our body. Add the first, remove the second, and your body will take care of itself.
Further, it is becoming more and more obvious that almost all disease and conditions result from those things we expose ourselves to, or are deficient in. Let that sink in. All disease and conditions – every. single. one. Even those we like to blame on our genes! It has been shown in study after study that although people carrying genes for serious disease or conditions even cancer, may be more prone to these health issues, it does not mean they cannot avoid or heal from them. As one doctor expressed: your genes may be the bullets but your lifestyle is the trigger.
Interestingly, no matter what condition we address, the solution is the same. Incorporate proper nutrition, sufficient hydration and sleep, relaxation, movement, and avoid sugar, processed foods, chemicals, and pollution (chemical, electromagnetic, dangerous organisms, and negativity)!
Avoid the Emergency Breakdown
A little time and attention spent on health maintenance and disease prevention could save years of suffering, thousands of dollars, and even prevent early death. It is within our power to prevent, avoid, or heal chronic conditions which may cost us our quality of life. Those energy crashes or “hangry” moments may not seem critical, especially when a sugary snack offers a quick fix but when this behaviour leads to insulin resistance you might wish you had dealt with it before your diagnosis of pre-diabetes, diabetes, or Alzheimer disease. Overloaded schedules and lack of sleep might appear manageable or normal now but years of stress can not only destroy your relationships but may lead to damage to almost all organs – liver, gut, heart, brain to name a few – which can result in toxicity, nutrient-deficiency, heart failure, depression, dementia, auto-immune diseases, or cancer!
Like most things we judge important in this world, health maintenance and disease prevention is fairly simple but not always easy. It takes time to break addictions, change behaviour, plan and shop for nutritious foods, not to mention prepare them. Our present lifestyle is a result of the conveniences of fast food, processed food, multi-tasking, technological dependence, and successful marketing of dangerous unhealthy products. It will take conscious effort to eliminate the nutrient-deficient, sugar and chemical-laden foods from our homes. It will take a little more planning to fit in the whole foods, clean water, activity and rest needed to repair and restore our bodies. You may need the help and encouragement of a health coach to navigate through the information and incorporate new habits, but once you see and feel the results you will never want to look back!
No matter where you are right now – stranded on the side of the road or flashing alarms or making weird thunks, or simply working less efficiently than you would like – please remember that it is never too late, you are never too old, and today is the start of the rest of your life, so begin your transformation now!