Healthy Living in an Unhealthy World

What is health anyway?

To be working towards a constant state of health means to be constantly healing – this is what our bodies do with the foods with which we provide it. If we are not feeding our bodies properly then how can we expect them to function properly. If we want to be healthy we have to take responsibility for the food we eat – much of the time however the food we eat is not endowed with sufficient nutrients to do this. This is largely a product of how our food is grown and the level of pollutants in the environment with which we and our food is contaminated.

We need to get beyond the mere absence of disease, the ability to recover from trauma, living out the full life cycle… Health has got to be about more than survival, more than looking just a bit perky. After-all it’s not much use ‘lookin’ good feeling great’ if all around you the ecosystem is collapsing, toxic residues lap at your heels and the climate has been destabilised. As the wise have long insisted: the context is everything. (Dominic Bellfield in Permaculture Magazine no. 31; pp56)

Since the beginning of civilisation it has been understood that the golden grail of optimum health can only be obtained through an understanding of the three pillars:

Meeting our nutritional needs (this includes not eating to excess)
Regular and frequent exercise
A healthy environment within which to live and work.
Without one the rest crumbles.

Conventional thinking has us belief that optimum health is something beyond the reach of most of us and that we should all expect to be ill at some time or other. This is the accepted way of thinking. How many of us ever link being ill with over-work, poor diet or lack of exercise? These are the three pillars of healthy living and without them we are likely to become ill and suffer the consequences. For many people it is normal to be struck down by a virus, mostly colds and flu, at some time in any given year. Ever stop to ask yourself why? Given that viruses are with us all the time why are we not always ill?

Most of the time our immune systems are able to fight off viruses and infection, it is only when our bodies are overly stressed that our immune systems are weakened and we become ill. Unfortunately the amount of stress our bodies are under is rising as pollution levels continue to increase and we find ourselves working harder and harder just to maintain the status quo.

At the same time we are reaching crises point in terms of being able to maintain our current way of life (without catastrophically destroying the bio-sphere) record number of people are succumbing too ill-health and chronic diseases. The majority of chronic diseases’ are ones of affluence, rather than poverty, and betray our inability to consume our fair share of what are limited resources – we have become a society of gluttons and waste is the order of the day. Excessive waste leads to pollution and the degeneration of our environment is the result.

Healthy people and a healthy world go together like a horse a horse and carriage. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle in an environment, which is so polluted that the very food we eat contains toxic residues (which have been linked to cancer) and the air we breathe is thick with chemicals, is to fight a losing battle. We are becoming ill because we are destroying the very thing that gives us life and sustains us. When we learn to begin living in greater harmony with the world about us then we might find that our environment once again becomes a healthy place in which to live and work. Until we start taking responsibility for our own health and that of the planet however we are destined to a dark future indeed.

Provided by Ken Moon Tel:029 20 404318 or email [email protected]

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