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Not so Pretty Lies, Part Un


“The truth wil set you free, but first it will piss you off.”

-Gloria Steinem

Let’s all take a deep breath.

Most of what you’ve been taught about health is fueled by something other than a desire for you to be healthy.  Speaking from experience, I have spent thousands of dollars on special diet foods, special secret programs, gym memberships, special sneakers, special gadgets, and a ton of specially formulated supplements.  At some point in my past, I even spent money on diarrhea inducing teas and special potions “guaranteed” to get my body to lose fat effortlessly.

The first overt lie about health is that to be skinny is to be healthy.  There is a correlation between body mass index (for lack of a better tool) and health but it is by no means causal.  Some of the unhealthiest people I’ve met have been really thin.  I do travel a lot, though, and the third world has its fair share of people starving to death.  (So does the first world, they just look a little….fuller.)

The second overt lie about health is that it is somewhere out in the ether to be hunted down and captured.  Apparently, according to nearly everything that you read or hear, your health is in the hands of the latest celebrity doctor or wan spiritual guru or Oprah’s latest favorite thing.  Health is just about always available from somewhere exotic.

The third overt lie about health is that it will cost you.  Although I do believe that health is the greatest treasure that one can have, the source of true wealth, the lie is that it is very, very expensive.  It can only be had through great expense.  The source of health seems to keep shifting from expensive craze to even more expensive craze.

The truth may annoy you a little bit.  It annoyed me when I tallied up the money I’d spent over the years.  It annoyed me when I looked at some of my habits.  It annoyed me when I thought about the psychological toll that the “health quest” can take on some people and on me.

You were born with everything that you need to be healthy.  Your genes ‘want’ that for you.  Your body ‘wants’ desperately to be healthy.  The majority of things that you’ve bought, tried, hoped in have let you down and I’m pretty sure, if you’re anything like me, that you’ve thought all along that it was you that failed.  It may have never crossed your mind that the information you’ve been receiving has been promoted by anything other than your best interest in mind.  What if, just tossing this out here, most of what you’ve been told and sold was for someone else’s profit.  A lot (a LOT) has been invested in keeping you as far from your own innate bodily knowledge as possible.

When I think about the millions (billions) spent poorly on the latest health craze or weight loss craze, I do get angry.  Nearly livid, actually-it’s quite a cardiovascular workout just thinking about it.  When I process the amount of guilt and shame and pain that I’ve gone through in my quest and multiply it by that of the several million others who’ve gone on a fruitless search, all the cardiovascular work comes to naught as my heart audibly breaks.

Health is simple and, other than the cost of food, it is free.  Let’s take another deep breath.

In part two of the this post, I’ll get down the nitty gritty list of all that you need to be healthy.  Hint: you’ve already got everything on the list.  See you next Wednesday.