“One problem I see with those of us who want to be humane is that while we invariably support calls for justice at a macro level, some of us are not above taking advantage in our personal, day-to-day dealings. I once rented a room in a house full of Marxists, and one of them was one of the least just individuals I’ve ever met. Yet he regularly marched in favor of justice for the oppressed peoples of this world. If we want peace, it’s essential that we be peaceful. And if we want justice, we have to be just—down to the smallest transactions. I think a lot of people can agree with this easily. But there are always “grey areas.” That’s where we have to be especially disciplined and thoughtful.” -Mark Bittner, We Must Be Just, April 2013

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Health and Appearance

I recently read an article on an LDS website about obesity and missionary work. In the article, "Missionary candidates must watch weight -- or wait," by Joseph Cramer, M.D., he mentions how there are many young men and women in The Church who are not able to serve missions, or are honorably discharged from their missions, due to weight related illnesses and problems. By the end of the article he concluded with the basic idea that, after having spent a short amount of time reading a few articles, there is too much conflicting information, making it hard to say what we should do and what we shouldn't. He then gave a few pieces of his own advice, all of which would not have a very profound effect on a persons overall health.

After having read this article I realized how deficient in knowledge we are regarding our own health. There are some myths that need to be dispelled, and are mostly due to the great marketing abilities of large companies who stand to gain copious amounts of wealth from our poor health habits. This particular article gave me a great desire to read a book called The Culprit and the Cure by Dr. Steven G. Aldana. Dr. Aldana has worked as a professor at BYU and is heavily involved in researching health for the sake of knowledge and science, not for promoting products. I have begun to read this book, but have yet to complete it. However, I have already come across some wonderful knowledge. He has had something to say about the information disclosed to the public by researchers.

"The only way the typical American will ever hear about the study is if he or she reads the scientific journal or if someone in the media reads the journal and decides to do a story about it. . .

Journalists are paid to write stories that people will pay to read or watch on television. Therefore, journalists need to write stories that are of interest to readers and viewers, so sometimes they have to jazz up the studies to make them a little more interesting. . .

By far the most confusing and outright deceptive health information comes from advertising and marketing campaigns from the food, supplement, tobacco, alcohol, and exercise industries."

- Steven G. Aldana, Ph.D., "The Culprit and the Cure,"
pg 27.

Some of the beliefs we have come to have and associate with good health are if you are thin, have good muscle tone, have a lot of energy, exercise on a regular basis, and take supplement pills you are in excellent condition. It is true that all of these things can have an effect on your overall health, but how you go about achieving such goals as being thin and having strong muscles is more important than getting the specific result. Once we have become so moved that we act on the behalf of our health we need to remember: thinness does not equal health, good muscle tone does not equal health, having energy does not equal health, exercising on a regular basis does not equal health, and taking supplement pills does not equal health.

I'm sure you are more confused now than ever, so let me explain. Being thin, having strong muscles and energy are a natural result of being healthy, but are also obtainable through other means, so just because you have a certain appearance does not mean you are healthy. If you exercise regularly but still continue to feed your body badly you may appear to be healthy on the outside, but are not on the inside, where it counts. Taking supplement pills may give you an overall desired appearance, but will not change the damage that is underlying. Also, supplements should not be confused for pills. Pills can be used as supplements, but so can wholesome herbs. Anything that is added to your diet to enhance received nutrition is a supplement. However, you would do well to remember that pills are made of synthetic chemicals that have been forced together into an unnatural state and can do more harm than good to a body that is a natural creation, one which relies on natural foods.

Dr. Aldana has a great personal story to illustrate the difference between the appearance of health and true health.

"After hearing a lecture on the importance of living a healthy lifestyle, two participants came by my office. The first, a 20-year-old male college student, came in to complain that he was not interested in changing his diet or getting exercise because he felt great. He could eat whatever he wanted, live however he wanted, and he generally felt great all the time. He even gladly reported that his blood pressure was perfect, his cholesterol was low, and he didn't smoke.

Right then he didn't have any major health problems and most likely wouldn't for another 30 years. He was not convinced that he should do anything differently, especially if what he was currently doing was working fine. He finished by saying, '"If it ain't broke, don't fix it," and even if I do have problems, I'll just have the doctor fix me up.'

The second individual was a 58-year-old female who had raised a family and now lived at home with her husband. Like most people over age 50, she was by definition obese, had high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol, and was recently told by her physician that she had diabetes and would likely be diabetic for the rest of her life. When she heard her doctor's diagnosis, she was shocked.

Something must have happened in the past 30 years because when she was 20, she could eat anything, exercise if she wanted, and was always thin and healthy. After hearing both of these stories, I introduced the young man to the woman and let them visit for a few minutes. The need to adopt a healthy lifestyle is important for all ages."

- Steven G. Aldana, Ph.D., "The Culprit and the Cure,"
pg 17.

When we are seeking true health, quick fixes are never the answer. An adult isn't born into their present state of ill health, but has acquired it over a period of many years. Because of this, once we have begun to feel the ill effects of our poor lifestyle, we should never expect our bodies to become healthy in just a few months. The longer we have lived a life of poor habits, the longer it will take us to cleanse our bodies and regain good nutrition. If your dietary habits cannot be maintained throughout your life while at the same time offering only good nutrition and health, then they are not good habits to have. True nutrition is what can be consumed throughout a lifetime and will always benefit the body and mind. While quick fixes and short lived habits are never the answer for obtaining good health, and the benefits of good health, it is never to late to make the necessary changes in your lifestyle. But the sooner you do, the better off you will be.

In future posts I will be writing more specifically about diet, exercise, supplements, weight loss, and other subjects that correspond with obtaining good health.

Soaring Potential

To fly with an eagle is to see sights unseen, as starlings fill the skies.

Even that little brown bird on the ground knows where it’s potential lies.

The ostrich and emu share a common trait, running is their forté.

Other birds, when allowed to be, seem to enjoy their play

A bobbing cockatoo dancing on it’s perch is truly a silly sight.

Now imagine that bird, free with its flock, as it passes in graceful flight.

Have you ever seen a pandemonium of parrots descend upon a tree back home?

For, you see, in reality, parrots weren’t bred to be alone.

The nightingale brings beauty to our ears, the peacock beauty to our eyes.

While all through the trees, where the mourning doves roost, hang the mourning dove’s mournful cries.

The flamingo stands on one leg for hours, while the penguin soars through the deep.

And though variety abounds throughout, they’re all birds from their very first peep.

There are birds that mimic, birds that screech and birds that can sing a soothing tune.

There are birds that welcome the morning as it breaks and birds who serenade the moon.

There is beauty to be found throughout the world of birds. Still, and none the less,

Only a bird, who is allowed to soar free, knows it’s own potential best.

“Do not do what someone else could do as well as you. Do not say, do not write what someone else could say, could write as well as you. Care for nothing in yourself but what you feel exists nowhere else. And, out of yourself create, impatiently or patiently, the most irreplaceable of beings.”

André Gide

"All men who have turned out worth anything have had the chief hand in their own education"
- Sir Walter Scott