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July 29, 2016

How we Give Up our Power to be Healthy (& How to Take it Back).

Food, Lunch, Snacks, Healthy food

Everyone has an innate desire to be healthy.

We can all think back to the last time we were sick and remember how miserable we felt. No one wants to feel that way. Ask almost anyone, “Is your health important to you?” and the answer will most likely be yes.

If nearly everyone wants this, then why are so few people actually healthy?

What it Means to be Truly Healthy.

By healthy, I mean completely vital and full of energy throughout the entire day. By healthy, I mean rarely getting sick, or not at all, and not suffering from any chronic conditions.

Few people have this, and if a thought is coming up such as, “Oh man, I’m not healthy by this definition!” there is no need to feel ashamed.

We live in a world where it is difficult to achieve true health for a number of reasons. Our food grows in soil that is over-farmed, depleting it of vital nutrients. Chemicals and antibacterial products are in nearly everything, which puts stress on our bodies. Even with the intention to “be healthy,” sifting through the vast array of different diets, techniques, supplements and theories out there can be completely overwhelming.

Giving Doctors Responsibility of our Health is Foolish.

Because of this overwhelming feeling, many people tend to place the burden of “being healthy” on someone or something outside of themselves. A typical example of this putting our full trust in healthcare professionals or doctors, thus giving up responsibility for our health.

Let me be clear here: I don’t mean that healthcare professionals cannot be trusted. I mean that by allowing a person other than ourselves—in this case our doctor—to make important decisions about our health, we are giving up our power to some degree. It’s wise to take into consideration the advice given by doctors and healthcare professionals, but blindly following their advice is foolish.

As amazing as our doctor might be, he or she will never care about our health as much as we do—when something goes wrong, we are the ones who suffer. On top of this, our doctor has a lot of other patients to see and cannot possibly give us the time and attention that we need in order to maintain a true state of health.

Trusting Food Sources Too Much.

People also give up their power by putting too much trust in their food sources. Ask a friend enjoying a meal questions like, “Do you know where did this food come from?” or, “What are the ingredients in this food?” or, “By what process was this food produced?” and they will probably look at you like you’re crazy! Most of us completely trust the companies producing the foods we consume. Attitudes such as, “I bought it at the “health food store,” so there must not be anything bad for me in here,” are commonly held.

Is it so crazy to want to know where something is made and the process by which it is produced? Don’t we deserve to know this information? 

Again, this comes back to feeling overwhelmed by the research required to obtain such facts. This fear is the main reason people give up their power to things outside of themselves—such as food companies. It’s easier to take on the belief, “My doctor told me it was good for me,” or, “They’re serving it a restaurant so it must be of good quality,” than to take responsibility and find out the answers for ourselves.

Putting Pride aside can help us achieve True Health.

I think a lot of people are simply afraid to find out that the things they have been putting into their bodies for so many years have actually been causing them harm—so it’s easier to stay in the dark.

The first step to achieving health takes a lot of courage. It is the simple statement: I don’t know. By admitting to ourselves that we have no idea what it would take to achieve our health goals—that we don’t really know where our food is coming from or by what processes, that we don’t know what all those big words on the label actually mean, and that we have no idea what the hell gluten even is—we have taken a massive step that most people will not achieve because of their sense of pride.

Once we do this, we have begun to reclaim our power; once we admit that we don’t know something, we have the ability to find out.

When I first realized that I was giving up my power, it opened up a major door for me. I was suffering from chronic fatigue and finally recognized my own fears around not knowing how to heal myself. As soon as I admitted that I didn’t know what the next step was toward finding relief, I was able to reexamine all of my previously held beliefs. This ruthless questioning led me to a complete lifestyle change and the astonishing realization that all of my actions had created my condition in the first place. I finally recognized that by changing my behaviors I could change my state of health.

Questioning Everything Helps us Reclaim our Power.

The first step after admitting there are things we don’t know—potentially holding us back from achieving our goals—is to start to ask some basic questions. This is how we become more inquisitive.

We can start this process by examining the foods we currently have in our kitchen. Check out the ingredients label, and if there are unfamiliar words, do a quick Google search to find out what that substance is and why it might be in the food. Doing this exercise is easy, takes five minutes, and can kick-start the investigative attitude required to be truly healthy in our modern world. Eventually, it will lead us to ask more questions related to the origin of ingredients and the processes to which those ingredients are subject.

Once we really cultivate this attitude, we might start to question everything—from the products we put on our skin, to the water we use to brush our teeth—and begin to see the links between all of it.

We All Deserve to be Truly Healthy.

This is the main takeaway here: there is only one person in the world who cares about our health as much as we do, and that person is us!

We all deserve to wake up in the morning feeling good. We all deserve to have energy throughout the day. We all deserve to be free from disease and pain. We are all worthy of health and vitality in every sense.

Our bodies are incredibly intelligent, constantly regulating our blood pressure, digestion and hormones, among many other complex processes. The number one source of information we should be listening to is our bodies’ subtle signals. The body doesn’t speak English; it communicates with us through feelings such as hunger or pain. When we start to tune into these signals, we gain a greater sense of awareness and can act on them. We should trust what our body is saying above any other source of information.

On top of this heightened awareness, we can become more curious about information presented in our society as “fact” when it comes to health and nutrition. We can reclaim our power and enjoy a healthier and happier life by starting to question everything. By doing this, we take back responsibility for our own health.

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Author: John Miller

Image: Karolina Grabowska/Pexels

Apprentice Editor: Meghan Alton; Editor: Toby Israel

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