Over the past two decades, America has witnessed a rise in what many would agree to be “preventable deaths and diseases”. Now, in 2016, too many people are afflicted and losing the battle earlier in life from illnesses that used to be associated with the elderly including cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, arthritis, heart diseases, and the always visible obesity. Yet, in spite of this, the average life expectancy has risen due to the many advances in modern medicine. In fact, some pharmaceutical and synthetic interventions only prolong the life of unhealthy individuals. If the truth be told, unless you treat the root cause of the disease, you will only mask it and often times, with this “masking” approach, contribute to the initial ailment(s) by causing additional damage to other bodily organs with a multitude of harmful side effects. As the saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.
An ancient Chinese proverb asks, “If you don’t take care of your body, where will you live?” In my opinion, the better question is, If you don’t take care of your body, how will you live? Statistics show that people are living longer, but the quality of life of is not optimal. The majority of elderly people in this country often times appear unwell. Many walk hunched over, drag their bodies with the aid of walkers and canes, are in wheel chairs or are completely immobile. Much of this is not due to the normal aging process. Many younger people including adolescents and juveniles are often incapable of performing basic exercises without becoming winded after a short time.
Due to the current economic situation, for the average family an income that once used to comfortably support a household does not “cut it” anymore. There has been an overwhelming need for dual and even multi-family member incomes to “make ends meet”. The combination of daily stress that can be contributed to the demands of our fast-paced society and the economic phenomenon, individuals are spending less time in the home, experiencing a variety of stresses, preparing fewer meals in the home and ultimately eating less healthy and wholesome foods. Add to this an increase in the fast food restaurant chains, over-processed foods, artificial preservatives & fillers as major ingredients and chemically injected livestock. This type of eating fills the body with empty calories and other substances that slowly tear down bodily health as opposed to nurturing it.
Insufficient diet and poor food choices compromise the immune system. A weakened immune system offers little to no defense against disease(s). “Eat of the good things that are provided for you”, “You are what you eat”, “Food is medicine and medicine is food”, “One should eat to live, not live to eat” are all quotes that refer to the importance of healthy eating. Thus, supporting the notion that proper nutrition is needed to maintain a healthy life.
The typical American diet leaves much to be desired. Ayurveda, (the knowledge of “long” life) an ancient Eastern medical system teaches that the right foods as well as specific behaviors are medicine and emphasize the importance of a healthy digestive system. How we eat is just as important as what we eat. For instance, eating fruit before a main course can aide in the digestive process by “preparing the pipes” for the heavier foods that are to come. Fruit breaks down faster than chicken, for example. If the chicken is eaten first, the fruit will remain on top festering and could cause bloating and other digestive complications.
We must take responsibility for our health and reeducate ourselves on the essences and bounties that are in nature. We must also do what we can to protect the earth from the dangers that threaten to diminish it. “Back to Eden” by Jethro Kloss is a classic guide to Herbal Medicine, Natural Food and Home Remedies since 1939. His work and many others like his can still be used as a successful guide to prevent cancer through nutrition.
Michelle D. Talbot, Board Certified LMT,CYFI, Ayurvedic Practitioner, is the practitioner at Pleasures II Wellness Natural Health Center in Woodbridge, VA. Michelle specializes in Personalized and Functional Medicine which includes Prevention, Diagnosis, and Treatment. She offers therapeutic massage, mind/bodywork therapies, in depth consultations and non-pharmacological recommendations for holistic healthcare, maintenance and relief from chronic diseases. View Michelle’s MFN profile