Keeping a Balanced View of Health

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We are bombarded with information in the modern age. Caffeine is good, caffeine is bad. You need antioxidants to prevent cancer, but they can increase cancer. Cholesterol causes heart disease, but eggs and whole fat dairy are back on the table.

I don't know about you, but the more information I take in, the more confused I become. And at those moments I have to take a step back and remind myself that in the end, my goal is just to lead a happy life, and hopefully be lucky enough to have that life end peacefully.

As a species, in the past 100 years we've really done a number on the health of ourselves and our planet. Through processed foods, chemistry, and other modern conveniences, we've shifted the balance of existence to one of immediate gratification, but long-term decay. I'm not saying that all advances have been negative. On the contrary, our lives have been enriched, and in some circumstances saved, by the progress mankind has made. But we've also found a lot of ways to make ourselves sick, down to the very cellular level that creates the energy required for life.

In the quest for trying to find optimal health for your body, there are a few things I think are important to keep in mind. Perfect health does not exist, and you won't be able to do everything right. This is just part of being a living organism that expends energy. Things deteriorate. I'm reminded of something I heard Dr. Bruce Ames say during a podcast along the lines that our bodies are not programmed to keep us alive forever. That's not the end game. The end game is the same as every other animal on this planet, to procreate and raise young to the point that they are self sufficient, and then our job is done. And the longer we live, the more resources we take up that could go to the younger of our species.

Kind of a depressing thought, I know. But it's also an acknowledgement that there are bigger things working against us, and in the end no matter how many miles we run, no matter how many supplements we take, no matter how many salads we eat, our bodies will only go for so long. And since that's the case, I want the time I have to be the best it can be. I want to feel strong and energetic, into old age. I want my body to age gracefully, and become the least diseased it can. I want to feel connected to the people and world around me. And I want to learn all I can, but also remember to keep things simple.

Being able to experience life in a healthy body is a beautiful gift, but a gift I think far too many people have forgotten (or not been taught) is attainable by uncomplicated lifestyle choices. Whole food, less time on electronics, exercise that you enjoy, sunshine and fresh air, time spent with family and/or friends. All these things work towards creating more harmony on a cellular level in our bodies. Happy cells = happy you.

The next time you feel overloaded by the modern pace of life, think of something simple you can do to contribute to your health. Eat some of your favorite fruit (and pay attention to the flavor while doing it), read a chapter in a good book (a real book!), stand in the sunshine and breath deep, or take time to play with your partner or kids.

In the moment, sometimes the least complicated things can be surprisingly the most fulfilling.