[From New Vegetarian and Natural Health, Autumn 2010 issue]
WHAT IS GOOD HEALTH?
Good health is much more than the absence of disease; it is a high level of wellbeing in which all systems of the body and the mind are functioning well and there is an abundance of energy.
Orthodox medicine tends to look for a germ as the cause of a particular disease, and in the case of degenerative diseases, the cause is often unknown. Natural Health recognises that almost all illnesses today are diseases of of civilisation – which means diseases of lifestyle – so that the underlying causes of our vast range of health problems, as well as premature ageing, can be found in everyday living. Understanding this connection and the fact that lifestyle can be changed enables us to gain control of our physical and mental wellbeing.
Studies of lifestyle and the experience gained by natural health centres around the world have identified natural laws that govern health. The Natural Health principles are:
1. Good health is the normal condition of the body and mind and should continue for life. Illness and premature ageing will not occur unless their causes are built into our lifestyle.
2. Broadly speaking, infectious disease is not primarily an attack on the body by some foreign agent such as a bacteria or virus. Rather its the body’s defences at work attempting to preserve the status quo of good health. The common cold is the classic example.
3. The human body – given the right conditions – is an efficient self-healing mechanism. We all know that a cut on the skin will heal, but what about damage to internal organs? They have just the same ability to heal.
4. The conditions that are needed to maintain health are also the basis for the control of disease if it arises. Good health may be retained or regained by living in harmony with nature as far as is practicable in the modern world.
5. The causes of most of the health problems in modern Australia lie in processed foods, excessive stress, lack of exercise and chemical pollution.
6. Drugs and similar treatments tend to interfere with the body’s self-healing processes. They often impede the return to full health by suppressing symptoms without addressing the underlying causes of the illness.
7. Degenerative diseases and premature ageing are the inevitable result of an unnatural lifestyle over many years. Degeneration is hastened by suppressing minor ailments like colds and flu, which are the body’s natural detoxifying processes.
8. Recovery can usually be brought about by removing the underlying causes of the illness and supporting the body’s self-healing powers. Degeneration and damage to organs and tissues are preventable and often reversible.
THE PRACTICES OF NATURAL HEALTH
1. Nutrition. Nourish the body with the foods for which it is designed; that is, a balance of natural, unprocessed foods. Three-quarters of total food intake is fresh vegetables and fruits. The balance of the diet is foods that provide protein, carbohydrate and fat. These include legumes, nuts, seeds, unprocessed cheese, free-range eggs, whole grains, dried fruits and perhaps honey and pure maple syrup. Eating mostly from the plant kingdom has proven benefits for health and the environment. Minimise the consumption of refined sugar, refined grains, salt, alcohol and food additives.
2. Relaxation. Have adequate sleep and relaxation, and find ways of dealing with stress, such as meditation, yoga, stress management courses, relaxation tapes and exercise. Maintain a positive outlook on life by overcoming negative attitudes such as fear, anxiety, hatred, jealousy, resentment, greed, etc, and focus on positive attitudes including love, kindness, generosity, thoughtfulness, unselfishness and so on.
3. Physical Activity. Regular physical activity provides a wide range of benefits, particularly tone of organs and muscles, a healthier heart and a trim body. The best exercise is brisk walking. Other beneficial exercises are jogging on soft surfaces or a mini-trampoline, swimming, tennis, cycling, dancing and so on. Maintain an upright posture, and, when lifting heavy objects, do it correctly.
4. Minimise Exposure to Toxic Chemicals. Toxic man-made chemicals are present in air, food, water and our homes and workplaces. Where possible, select organically-grown foods and pure water. Use safe household cleaning and skin-care products, and don’t take toxic chemicals into the home.
5. Pure Water. Drink adequate pure water to at least satisfy thirst. Either buy bottled water or use a home purifier. Avoid drinking with meals unless very thirsty. Consume liquids at least half an hour before meals or more than two hours after meals. Avoid excessive alcohol, soft drinks and the caffeine in coffee and cola drinks.
6. Sunshine. Have regular, daily, brief exposure to direct sunshine, but only in the early morning or late afternoon when the sun’s rays are weak. Avoid sunburn.
7. Fresh Air. Avoid breathing other people’s cigarette smoke, and, if possible, live in unpolluted areas.
8. Self-healing. If and when illness does arise, use detoxification methods that remove the underlying causes of the illness and facilitate the body’s powerful self-healing processes.
IF I ADOPT A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE, WILL I NEVER GET SICK?
This depends on your genes, your previous lifestyle and how fully you can adopt the Natural Health lifestyle. Certainly, the risk of disease is greatly reduced. The severity of any illnesses should ease, and the effects of any existing degenerative diseases may be largely reversed over time.
We don’t need to adopt a perfect lifestyle – in fact, it’s unattainable anyway, The golden rule is: It’s not what we do 5% of the time that determines our health; it’s what we do 95% of the time that counts.