The Quest for Optimal Health…

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taichi

 

The goal of this article is to explain the purpose behind what I write for you.

 

Nearly all of the topics I write about are aligned with the goal of Optimal Health.  I define Optimal Health simply as the best state of body and mind possible, with respect to factors that are truly within our control.

 

Optimal Health is a personal quest that has nothing do with how much you can bench press or how fast you can run a 5K.  The Optimal Health for the 18 year old athlete is different than the Optimal Health of a 76 year old person diagnosed with cancer.  It changes as we change, but there’s always an Optimal Health level at each stage of our lives.

 

We live, we die, and our level of health effects every aspect of our lives in between. If it’s so obviously important, why are so many people living in health poverty?  That’s an extremely complicated question, but here are some big factors:

 

1. Information – Misinformation, disinformation, conflicting information, corrupt information, misleading information.  We sell supplements, so maybe I’m just trying to sell you something… that’s entirely possible.  My argument to that is we could make a living selling steak knives or iPods, we have no skin in the game, and choose to sell what we believe in and what the research supports.

 

A company that invests millions in research and testing has a lot of incentive to make it work the way they hoped it would from the start.

 

An industry that has spent decades promoting something to the public as safe, faces enormous pressure to defend their practice.  What if the ADA came out and said that mercury fillings have been harming people for years?

 

Individual professionals have an insane amount of pressure to back current practices.  Vaccinations for example, whether you agree with them or not, a pediatrician would risk losing their career over telling their patients that he/she believes that vaccines could cause autism.  The government says they don’t, the AMA says they don’t, his hospital says they don’t, his boss says they don’t… his own extensive research and patient history says they do.  What should he do?  What would you or I do?  I actually feel bad for the guy.  I don’t know about you, but I tend to believe that people are mostly good.  This guy probably became a doctor to help people.  Now he’s a smart, free thinking, capable, caring, well intentioned professional with his hands tied in many ways by the machine of modern medicine.

 

2. Delay – If you ate a Big Mac and your butt grew 3 inches in 10 minutes, you’d never eat another one.  The health choices we make each day affect us months, years, or even decades later.  The instant gratification of a tasty, low cost, quick burger today can easily outweigh the possible risks a decade from now… right?

 

3. Correlation – What doesn’t cause cancer?  My grandma smoked until they took them away in the nursing home and she never got cancer.  What doesn’t cause heart disease?  I know a gal who was a vegetarian.  She was thin, fit, and dropped dead of a heart attack while running.  “Now you’re going to try to tell me that eating too much sugar can cause insulin resistance, which can lead to a magnesium deficiency, which can lead to high blood pressure, which can cause a heart attack?  Come on!”

 

4. Paradigm – If we’re not sick or have a disease, then we’re healthy.  “The doctor says I might want to lose 20 pounds and my cholesterol is 10 points higher than he likes it, but otherwise I’m completely healthy… no reason to change what I’m doing.”

 

5. 2013 – It has NEVER been easier to be unhealthy.  There are over 3000 food additives allowed in US foods, and several of them are illegal in other countries.  How many of those compounds even existed 100 years ago?

 syrup

Last weekend my kids had 2 bottles of maple syrup on the table.  One contained 100% pure maple syrup and the other claims “A family tradition since 1887”, “No high fructose corn syrup”, and “Original Syrup”.  The ingredients are corn syrup, liquid sugar, water, salt, natural and artificial flavor (lactic acid), sodium hexametaphosphate, preservatives (sodium benzoate, sorbic acid), caramel color, and phosphoric acid. This is how they made it in 1887?  To sum up… one is 100% maple syrup and the other is 0% maple syrup.

 

Add on GMO products that aren’t labeled, an increased use of agrichemicals, and a large dependence on an ever growing array of pharmaceuticals.

 

Finally, our jobs and entertainment have made it easier and easier to limit physical activity.

 

What’s the answer?

Great chefs acquire a sound base of cooking knowledge, master the techniques, adjust for their unique tastes and styles, and are constantly learning.  A mixture of science and art, of universal concepts and individual differences… and while they may master their craft, they will never perfect it.

 

Our lifelong pursuit of Optimal Health is the same as the chef’s.  Practice what we know, and never stop learning… never stop questioning.

 

“Believe those who are seeking the truth; doubt those who find it.”  Andre Gide

 

The sad part is we will never fully know what all this effort has done for us.  How many diseases did we spare ourselves from?  How many colds and flues?  How many years did we add to our lives?  How much life did we add to our years?

 

It’s my belief that my health is my responsibility and the quest for Optimal Health is a worthwhile one.

 

It’s my hope that the information I provide to you is at least half as helpful in your own pursuit, as your feedback and suggestions have been to mine.

 

Here’s to your health… to your Optimal Health!

About 

Co-Founder of NutritionGeeks, retired USAPL drug-free powerlifter, volunteer youth wrestling coach, father of 3 amazing boys and interested in all things health

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