5 Lifelong Lessons from a Natural Health Nut
Where are you on the road to health? I’m probably on the same journey as you. I’ve just been hauling around my (virtual) backpack of tofu and granola longer than most people I know.
My interest in natural health began in my early 20s with my first real job. It surged and waned and came back in full force recently when I decided to focus my copywriting business on the natural health industry.
This gives me access to a large variety of natural health experts, including alternative health doctors, naturopaths and nutritionists.
I’ve also been a guinea pig along the way, trying various diets and supplements to see what works best for me.
Here are some of the lifelong lessons I learned on my journey to vibrant health:
*Note: Please don’t take any of this as a prescription. Consult a qualified professional for any health issues you have. Consider this food for thought.
1. A Lifelong Lesson From Teaching a Blind 90-Year-Old to Knit
Fresh out of university with a fine arts degree and no job skills whatsoever, I landed my first job at an old-age hospital teaching arts and crafts to people aged 80 and over.
I was actually challenged with teaching a 90-year old blind woman to knit! They called it “recreational therapy”.
These were not active, healthy seniors. They were the demented ones who sat hunched over in wheelchairs, and cried out “What am I doing here? Get me out of here!”
While still in my tender 20s, I learned a lifelong lesson: I never want to end up here, and I will do anything I can to be healthy and avoid the hospital or old-age home. That began my lifelong quest for health.
2. You can’t take just one drug.
At the old-age hospital, they held “rounds” every Friday, and I felt very important when I was invited to attend, clad in a white lab coat just like the doctors wore!
Each department reported on how specific patients were progressing (always downward).
This is what struck me, and stayed with me forever: Not one patient was on just one or two medications. They were all on 8-10 medications. That’s because each medication had side effects that had to be countered with more drugs. The mantra I heard was, “Once you take one drug, you take 10”.
No wonder all these poor doped up patients were non-functional.
My lifelong lesson was to avoid drugs as much as possible, and use food (and a few supplements) to keep myself healthy. It’s working well so far!
3. A vitamin a day can keep the doctor away.
When I was a kid, I got sick a lot. Nothing too serious, but I always seemed to have a cold, an infection, or a sore throat – sure signs that my body was run down.
One day when I was a young adult, my aunt, a biochemist, noticed my sorry condition and suggested I try Vitamin C. I was skeptical, but took some and my cold disappeared much more quickly than usual.
I was intrigued, and began to research vitamins. “Earl Mindel’s Vitamin Bible” became my bible and my lifelong fascination with vitamins and minerals was born.
4. Forgoing French fries for kale and cauliflower
Once I understood the power of eating specific foods and taking supplements to optimize my health, I spent years devouring books on the subject.
My family laughed at me and called me a health nut, because I was baking with spelt flour and carob, and eating broccoli while they were enjoying their burgers and fries.
Today, one of these close family members has cancer. Another is suffering terribly from a degenerative disease, and two cousins younger than me died well before their time.
I love fries as much as anyone, but on a daily basis I’m happy to eat kale and cauliflower. My lifelong lesson is that my health is too precious to me to waste any time lying in a hospital bed, or risk missing out on my children’s and grandchildren’s lives.
5. Pay the farmer or pay the doctor
True confession: I buy most of my food at the health food store, and probably spend more on organic food and supplements than most people do. I was lamenting my obsession to a naturopathic doctor who works in the health food store where I shop.
He said, “You are investing in your health. Better to pay the farmer than the doctor.”
When I get my monthly Visa bill, I sometimes wonder if it’s all worth it. Then I get a call from a friend who is frantic because he’s losing his eyesight to glaucoma, and I think, “I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing, thanks!”