Six Steps To Better Healthby Ben Kim, D.C.
Almost every person who sends me a letter or calls our clinic requesting help asks some form of the following question: what can I do right now to get better?
Although I usually end up providing unique recommendations in accordance with each person's health condition(s) and life circumstances, there are six fundamental recommendations that I share with everyone who asks for help with their health:
1. Ask yourself the golden health question.
Why do you want to be healthy?
If your answer to this question is not powerful enough to keep you motiviated to consistently make healthy food and lifestyle choices, chances are good that you will not reach your health goals.
You have to have an extremely compelling reason to want to be healthy. So compelling that you feel that there is no other choice but to get and stay healthy.
Do you want to reach and maintain your ideal weight? Want to quit smoking? Want to recover from a thyroid problem? Only when you have a powerful enough reason to accomplish these and other health goals can you realistically and confidently expect to attain them and be at your best for the long haul.
2. Don't let anger, frustration, or self pity destroy your health.
These are the three emotional states that I have found to be the most significant root causes of many chronic health challenges.
I spend at least one and a half hours doing an initial evaluation for every single person who visits our clinic, an evaluation that includes a close look at presenting symptoms, medical history, family medical history, dietary habits, lifestyle habits, social issues, and emotional health. I can say without hesitation that anger, frustration, and self pity are three of the most common emotional states that I've identified in people (myself included, at times) that are extremely detrimental to health. I can even say that I firmly believe that these emotional states can have more of a destructive influence on a person's health than his or her food choices.
I would include "being easily offended" in the same category as anger.
If you want to experience your best health, and a period of honest self reflection reveals that anger, frustration, and/or self pity are a regular part of your existence, you must address this facet of your life. And if you aren't convinced that your emotions have signficant influence on your physical health, you may want to read my article on emotional stress and your autonomic nervous system.
3. Move, move move.
Your body is designed to be able to move across uneven terrain, climb trees, exert bursts of speed and power, and perform many other physical activities that require strength, flexibility, balance, and a certain amount of cardiovascular conditioning.
Not only is your body designed for these activities, it actually requires these activities to stay healthy and strong. Healthy blood circulation, a healthy lymphatic system, strong muscles and ligaments, healthy joints, efficient lungs, and a well conditioned heart all require regular movement.
If your daily work requires that you sit or stand in one location for several hours at a time, you must find a way to incorporate more movement into your day.
4. Fresh air and sunlight.
Just as your body is designed to be physically active, it's also designed to be outdoors and exposed to fresh air and sunlight on a regular basis. If you don't get regular exposure to fresh air and sunlight, make a concerted effort to do so for at least two weeks (weather permitting) and feel the difference yourself. The only caveat to this recommendation is to make sure that you don't get sun burned.
5. Make restful sleep a top priority.
Healing and growth of new cells occur most rapidly and efficiently during restful sleep. If you know that you need more sleep but are having trouble getting it, review Margaret Chuong-Kim's excellent article on Nine Steps To Better Sleep.
6. Eat more raw foods, especially vegetables.
Raw vegetables are invaluable for preventing and reversing disease for two main reasons:
1. They are rich in vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and other nutrients that are needed to fuel your healing mechanisms.
2. They have very little potential to damage your cells the way that many processed foods can.
In providing health care to literally thousands of people over the past nine years, I have come to believe that a raw vegan diet does not support optimal health for the long term for most people. However, with a few exceptions, I generally recommend a diet that is centered around a lot of raw vegetables for people who are suffering with health challenges and striving for a speedy recovery. And even after a person has restored his or her health, I recommend that a combination of raw and cooked vegetables become dietary staples.
These six steps can produce good results for almost everyone because they support the body's own healing mechanisms. And ultimately, healing of all disease and dysfunction in your body is accomplished by the same healing mechanisms that are responsible for healing a cut or bruise on your skin.
Health recovery and maintenance are not accomplished by special therapies, superfoods, or exceptional doctors and state-of-the-art procedures. Rather, good health is always created by self healing mechanisms that are optimally supported by food and lifestyle choices. Put another way, the key to preventing and reversing disease is to strive to align your daily choices with your body's ongoing effort to get and keep you well.
Once you begin supporting your self healing mechanisms by following the steps listed above on a regular basis, you can expect to gradually restore any sense of well-being that you have lost over the years, and to eventually experience the physical comfort, energy, and mental clarity that are all natural consequences of accessing your health potential.
About the Author
Ben Kim is the founder and director of Life Essentials Health Clinic in Barrie, Ontario, Canada. He is also the editor of drbenkim.com and Dr. Ben Kim's Natural Health Newsletter, a free weekly ezine that is read by thousands of people in more than 110 countries.