To understand the secrets to health and healing, I had to revisit a conference I attended in Las Vegas, where I heard a talk from Dr. James Chestnut. His paradigm of health is very congruent with most of what I try to live and share with others.
Several key points that he made during that talk have stuck with me as I try to understand why some of my patients are ill and how I can guide them towards better health.
According to Dr. Chestnut, there are several key questions we must ask ourselves in order to understand (what?) the secrets to health are:
- Why are we sick?
- What is required to express our potential for health?
- How should we move, eat and think?
Historical Understanding of Illness
We have historically believed that the reason we became ill was due to bad genes, bad germs or bad luck. There are several problems with this belief system.
If all the drugs and medical procedures in the world were free, this would not make us healthier as it would never get to the cause of the problem. There is no drug or therapy that can correct poor lifestyle decisions.
Our genes have not changed in thousands of years. We are starting to understand that our environment can express certain aspects of our genes. I will touch on the role of epigenetics on our health in a future post. The short version is this: epigenetics is the science of how our genes get expressed and are affected by environment and lifestyle.
I am always very clear with my patients that medicine is great during periods of crisis and trauma. The problem arises with lifestyle-related illnesses like chronic pain, obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, posture-related chronic pain, etc.
The Three Little Pigs
Remember The Three Little Pigs? Picture you are building a custom home. Our genes are the equivalent of the blueprints of your house. The materials you choose are similar to the lifestyle choices you make.
Using straw or cheap construction materials will affect the longevity of your house. Similarly, the food you eat, your quality and duration of sleep, your ability to manage stress, and your activity level will affect the way your genes are expressed.
People need to understand how to control their own health. If you believe that you just ‘catch illness’ or by treating only your symptom you have solved ‘the problem’, then you lose self-control over your health. You leave it to random chance.
The Root of the Problem
Here’s what I mean: if you have a rock in your shoe, you can take all the medication in the world to allow you to continue with your day, but the most logical and natural thing to do is remove the rock. You need to get to the root cause of the problem.
When you go to your healthcare provider, they measure whether you are sick or well. These measurements are compared to normal scores. If the score is outside the preferred range, your healthcare provider will intervene in order to bring the score to a normal range.
The assumption is that your body is defective. Healthcare providers must regulate you with a drug because your body cannot regulate itself or has suddenly lost the ability to regulate itself. Just because this is common does not mean it is normal.
Trying to treat your body for adapting to the environment will never correct the problem. Type 2 diabetes is an example of this. I would argue that based on the Standard (North)American Diet most of us are either diabetic or pre-diabetic. Lowering your blood sugar with medication will never correct the problem which is completely preventable.
What 4 environments are needed for our genes to express health?
- Nutrition: Primarily plant-based foods that are nutrient dense. Rich with healthy fats. Low in processed carbohydrates and sugars. Avoid all processed foods. (Download our Ebook to learn more.)
- A Positive Mindset: We need love, self-esteem, confidence, support, a sense of community and a sense of purpose.
- Optimal Physical Activity: Walking, other short-duration, high-intensity exercises and strength training.
- Minimizing Toxic Exposure: Reduce exposure to anything toxic that goes in or on your body, including food, personal care and cleaning products.
Good luck! Buena suerte!