Before we get into this topic and take a look at what we can really be doing to be the healthiest we can be and to prevent and heal disease we really need to look at what disease is and why in the western world we have come to the position that we have with regard to the normal medical channels of ‘curing’ disease.
The Oxford English dictionary simple states that a disease is:
A disorder of structure or function in a human, animal or plant, especially one that produces specific symptoms or that effects a specific location and is not simply a direct result of physical injury.
This definition says a lot about the way in which the western mind views, observes and so in turn treats disease. Of course a disease has to be a disorder of structure and or function, and when there is disorder, given enough time, there will be a symptom that presents as outside normal with in the usual perceived parameter of what it is to be healthy.
So we look for symptoms and when we find symptoms we work to ease the symptoms and when they are gone we’re better! Right? Well no, this is of course not always the case.
The way we have developed our therapeutic and medical models is very sophisticated and we have developed incredible medical systems and drugs to diagnose and treat disease. However, I am not so sure we have got so good at resolving the core issue, the aetiology or the problem from which the symptoms arose. It is fair enough to say that the modern medical model will cure diseases as the definition of the word cure does not state any connection to the resolution of the primary influence;
Oxford English dictionary definition of Cure;
Relive (a person or animal) of the symptoms of a disease or condition.
So what we are really talking about is healing people or to become healed ourselves as to treat or cure is not the definitive goal of those who aspire to true health and vitality and this is not what the modern medical system even makes claims to offer. The definition of the word heal is slightly comical and is plainly written by an academic not a healer however it is, when slightly redefined, what we should really be aiming for when talking about health, vitality and optimal wellness.
Oxford English dictionary definition of heal;
Cause (a wound, injury, or person) to become well again.
I love that, and it’s a great example of exactly why we are where we are with wellness, health, healing and working the best we can to prevent and heal from disease. It is a bit of a tangent however I think there is value in pursuing it. ‘Cause’ a person to become well, cause a person to heal! Really, how can I cause you to heal? This is the language that states its own position and level of understanding, locked into a way of thinking that is in line with ‘curing’ symptoms to make us better.
I have a passion for plants and gardening (in what feels like another life I worked as a landscape gardener) and in the same way that you can’t cause a person to heal you can’t cause a plant to grow.
The correct conditions can exist for a plant to grow such as a good soil to nourish it, some sun, the right temperature and a little rain and then as if by magic a seed slowly sprouts in to a plant. It was however the conditions the seed was in, the context of its environment that allowed it the opportunity to grow… I did not cause it to grow!
So we now have a better understanding of what we are aiming for with the use of food and supplements for the prevention and healing of disease.
To be truly healthy we need to provide the right environment for us to be well in, to heal in. The key aspects of this environment are:
1. Optimal sleep – 8 hours per night of dark uninterrupted sleep (I’m a dad now so this is out!)
2. Awareness of thought or perhaps a form of mediation, yoga or ‘inner work’.
3. Optimal breathing and an understanding of the incredible power of the breath
4. Diet – Find out what right for you, as an individual
6. Optimal hydration.
If we get the balance of these things right for our own unique needs, or as I say to ‘walk in the direction’ of getting them right then we have, like the seed, the correct environment to be well in.
So the environment of wellness is the environment of prevention from disease and dysfunction. It’s supportive of life and all its systems and is not taught nearly enough as a model of modern living.
So the heading was of course about one major aspect of the environment we create for ourselves and that is food, what we eat.
Food as a healing medium
To me this is very logical, very self-evident and does not need more scientific research or the latest diet book. There is nothing new we need to know to be optimally healthy, there is no new magic pill or potion that we need and nothing that is not readily available to most of us in the western world today and now.
In fact I think we have had the answers to the majority of the health issues that we suffer from today for hundreds of years, and the answers can be found in a combination of looking at the diets of populations who were incredibly healthy combined with science we already have.
It’s so simple; just stop eating ‘modern’ foods. Why? Because they are not foods! A food is a substance that nourishes the body, sustains life and promotes growth. Ok so it could be said that a McDonald’s burger will sustain life but I think we can all agree that it’s not exactly nourishing and it’s certainly arguable that they won’t sustain a healthy life for very long!
So the aim is to eat real foods: meats, legumes, green leafy vegetables, herbs and salads, perhaps some high quality organic grains, brown rice and quinoa. Some fruits such as apples, bananas, pears and limited intake of high sugar fruits. Raw dairy or at least unpasteurized and un homogenised raw cheese. It’s as simple as eating foods that are closer to nature, foods with greater nutritional potency, and foods with greater energetic potential.
These foods should be as naturally and freshly sourced as possible – locally grown organic is best – however as with many things, keep walking in the direction of better food and health and you will get to know places and people that can help you find better food and in turn better health.
To perfect this food intake and to come to a higher level of balance I believe you should know your metabolic type. You should know what foods are correct for you personally. This goes beyond the scope of this blog post so I would highly recommend reading the metabolic typing diet by William Wolcott. It could be a life changing read!
I also believe the it is very difficult indeed for us to get everything we need for optimal health in our daily food intake. We live in a world with potentially very high toxic pressure on our systems alongside a reduction in food quality means the environment for health and wellness could be said to be stacked against us. This is why organic whole food supplements can be such a gift. Not only to fine tune the body to radically high levels of health, but to ensure we truly have the essentials we need.
Remember we can only walk in the direction of health but to be healthy we must be taking action… applied knowledge is power! Don’t let this be more stuff to read and intellectualise… make it in to action!
In health and happiness