Optimum health cannot be bought, it must be earned and it comes with a price. The price of health is healthful living. There are many actions that one can choose to take in an attempt to achieve optimum health. This is a brief summary of the actions, that in our experience, really matter.
1. Avoid the use of drugs and exposure to environmental toxins. (Including alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, other recreational drugs, over-the-counter and prescriptions drugs whenever possible, and environmental toxins including radiation, pesticides, herbicides, volatile organic compounds, heavy metals, etc.)
2. Adopt a health promoting vegan diet. (avoid meat, fish, fowl, eggs and DAIRY products.)
3. Avoid the use of highly refined foods. (including added oil, salt, sugar and refined flour products)
4. Engage in regular aerobic exercise (20-60 minutes of moderate aerobic activity most every day)
5. Insure plentiful high quality sleep (7-9 hours of high quality sleep sufficient to allow you to wake spontaneously, feeling refreshed)
6. Obtain appropriate exposure to sunshine and fresh air (20-40 minutes of generous skin exposure while avoiding burning)
7. Create a supportive social network (amongst the people you meet, like and love)
8. Insure adequate vitamin B12 (test for MMA or supplement)
9. Fast when appropriate (seek guidance from an IAHP certified doctor)
10. Educate and inspire yourself using the best quality materials available. (see reading list below)
1. The use and abuse of "recreational" drugs, including nicotine, alcohol, caffeine, cocaine, methamphetamines, etc. results in the artificial release of the pleasure chemicals in the brain, including dopamine. This can result in a habitual "pleasure trap" (abuse and addiction) that can undermine the health and happiness. In addition, the use and abuse of over-the-counter and prescription medications and environmental toxins and radiation all contribute to a state of toxicity that must be minimized if optimum health is to be achieved.1,22
2. Adopting a health promoting Vegan diet (free of all animal foods including meat, fish, fowl, eggs and dairy products) is one of the most important actions someone can take to promote optimum health and avoid the "diseases of kings." These diseases include cancer (including breast, colon, prostate and lung), heart disease (including heart attack and stroke), diabetes and autoimmune disorders. 1,2,3,5-8,16-24
3. Highly processed foods, including oil, flour, sugar and added salt artificially stimulate the pleasure chemicals of the brain, including dopamine, resulting in an addictive-like pleasure trap analogous to drug addiction. One result is the overconsumption of calories that is a major contributing cause of the epidemic of obesity in industrialized countries. 1,2,3,5-8,16-24
4. In the world of scarcity in which our ancient ancestors survived, vigorous activity was a requirement for survival. In order to get enough to eat, and avoid being eaten, regular "exercise" was unavoidable. In our modern, industrialized world of abundance, the need for vigorous activity has been minimized. We must overcome our innate energy conserving mechanisms and obtain 30-60 minutes, most every day, of aerobic activity, including, walking, hiking, biking, dancing, swimming or similar activity. It is wise to combine this aerobic activity with stretching and strengthening and the use of sound ergonomics in order to maximize fitness and functional capacities so critical to optimum health. 1,22,10,11
5. One of our frequently overlooked health promoting actions is a good night's sleep. Much of the body building and repairing associated with healing are powerfully stimulated during the deepest phases of sleep. Most people sleep best in a cool, dark, and quiet place. How much sleep is enough? In general, it is desirable to get enough sleep (7-9 hours for most adults) such that you wake spontaneously, feeling refreshed. 1,22,21
6. Essential nutrients, including vitamin D are formed when the skin is exposed to sunlight. This is necessary to insure optimum calcium absorption and bone health as well as optimum immune function. By avoiding excess exposure to the sun, particularly at mid-day, we can avoid the damaging effects of sunburn. If adequate sun exposure is not possible, vitamin D supplementation may need to be considered. 1,22,21,13,20
7. Human beings are social creatures who need to effectively deal with 3 kinds of relationships; with the people we meet, the people we like and the people we love. Cultivating emotionally supportive interpersonal relationships can minimize the consequences of social isolation that is common when people step outside the social norms, especially as they relate to dietary and lifestyle issues. 1,22,15
8. Our modern day hygienic practices help to protect us from parasites, toxins and consequent disease. These hygienic practices also minimize our exposure to bacteria, which are the sole source of vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin). Although our need for this essential nutrient is small and it stores well in the human body, whole body depletion can occur in long-term vegans, leading to elevations in homocysteine and increased risk of heart disease. B12 deficiency can also be associated with neurological disorders (neuropathy) and megablastic anemia (pernicious). Periodic testing for methymalonic acid (MMA) and supplementation if indicated will prevent one's health from being compromised by vitamin B12 deficiency. 1,22,20
9. Fasting involves the complete abstinence of all substances except pure water in an environment of complete rest. Fasting gives the body an opportunity to rapidly do what it does best: cleanse and heal itself. Fasting should be undertaken with the guidance of a doctor trained and experienced in fasting supervision (certified members of the International Association of Hygienic Physicians should be your first choice). 1,22,20,4,14
10. Most of the resources listed below are available from the National Health Association at anhs.org or from TrueNorth Health at truenorthhealth.com
1. The Pleasure Trap, mastering the hidden force that undermines health and happiness, by Doug Lisle Ph.D. and Alan Goldhamer, D.C.
2. The Health Promoting Cookbook, by Alan Goldhamer, D.C.
3. The China Study, by T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D.
4. Fasting Can Save Your Life, the video, documentary filmed at TrueNorth Health Center
5. The Pleasure Trap Lectures on DVD, by Doug Lisle, Ph.D.
6. The McDougall Program by John McDougall, M.D.
7. Diet For A New America by John Robbins
8. No More Bull by Howard Lyman
9. The Ultimate Fit or Fat by Covert Bailey
10. Walking by Mark Fenton
11. Stretching by Bob Anderson
12. The Mcdougall Program For Optimum Weight Loss by John McDougall
13. Light by John Ott
14. Fasting and Eating For Health by Joel Fuhrman
15. Feeling Good by David Burns
16. Diet For A New America video by John Robbins
17. Diet For All Reasons DVD by Michael Klapper
18. Health Food versus Healthy Food by Jeff Novick
19. Eating DVD
20. Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease by Shils and Young
21. Power Sleep by Dr. James Maas
22. Various Articles: www.healthpromoting.com
23. Disease Proof Your Children by Joel Fuhrman
24. Eat To Live by Joel Fuhrman