Why Do You Want to Be Healthy?

By Dr. Ben Kim

We recently had a guest stay with us for a 30-day water fast. This particular guest is an engineer with extensive experience in designing and inventing various machines like forklifts. Having a detective-like mindset and being highly trained to understand how things work, he asked numerous questions during his stay, his goal being to understand all of the variables that influence human health.

Many of his initial questions were satisfactorily discussed, as we went over principles of anatomy, physiology, pathology, neurophysiology, and endocrinology. He was fascinated to learn about the vital importance of proper diet, exercise, rest, fresh air, and sunlight to human health. As these topics were explored, it became clear that it wasn’t enough for him to understand general principles of health. What should he eat, how much of it should he eat, and how often should he eat it? What kind of exercise should he do, how should he do it, and how often should he do it? He wanted to come up with a precise protocol that would allow him to control all of the variables that have impact on his health.

The challenge with coming up with a precise protocol for good health is that the human body is infinitely more complex than machines like forklifts. With a forklift, a good engineer can understand all of the variables that influence its function and make necessary changes that will allow the machine to perform in predictable fashion. This is not the case with the human body.

Take a moment to consider a time when you woke up sweating because of a frightening dream. Nothing but your thoughts caused a direct physical change in your body – production of sweat from your sweat glands. Now take a moment to consider the experience of thinking about something that you love to eat and noticing that your mouth is watering. The thought of something delicious can cause a chain of physical reactions that result in release of saliva from your salivary glands. How about a person whose face turns red when angry? Or a person who cries when sad? These are clear illustrations of the physiological truth that every single thought and emotion that we experience during every moment of our lives have ongoing impact on our physical tissues.

This ongoing, powerful mind-body connection is essential to consider in striving for a healthy existence. Yes, it is true that buying organic produce instead of non-organic produce is better for health. But how much does this really matter if we walk through life being easily angered or offended? Yes, it is true that a water fast can be helpful for some of us as we seek to recover our health. But how worthwhile is this effort if we do not strive to overcome our tendencies to criticize, judge, condemn, be petty, be jealous, and be right at the expense of being kind? Yes, it is true that fresh, whole foods are better for our health than refined foods like sugar, white flour, and hydrogenated oils. But how much does this matter if we do not strive to live in a way that results in being deeply cared about by even just a few people? Without diminishing the importance of regularly making healthful food and lifestyle choices, is it not important to consider what we are trying to be healthy for?

During my first seven years of practice, I met many people who have consistently made healthy food choices for years and yet had serious health challenges. In interacting with these people, I have noticed that for the most part, they see their bodies as machines that can be made to run well as long as they eat wholesome foods and go through a cleaning every once in a while. It is my personal belief that all of us can experience better health by increasing our awareness of those things that are invisible but have signficant impact on our health.

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