The Best Years In Life

A Plan for Living a Long and Healthy Life – Part 1

Turning the Odds for a Long, Healthy Life to Your Favor

Life is a gamble, and right now, chances are that the odds are very much stacked against you. The contamination in the air you breathe, the water you drink, and the highly processed and additive-filled foods you eat all combine to work against you.  Add to that the likelihood of years of lack of proper diet and exercise, lack of proper sleep, the side-effects from taking too many medications, the failure of modern medicine to properly treat and cure disease, and perhaps even your heredity, and the odds can appear to be very long indeed.  The good news is that you can turn those odds back in your favor no matter how old you are, no matter what your physical condition is, no matter what your heredity is and no matter how many years you have neglected to live a healthy life.

As anybody knows, nothing is 100%, and life is no exception.  However, it is pretty easy to see that the odds are pretty strong that you will ultimately face ill health and live a shorter life than otherwise might be the case if you continue to let an unhealthy lifestyle keep stacking the deck against you.  On the other hand, if you follow the advice in this simple series of articles, you can turn the odds very much in favor of living a much longer, healthier and happier life.

Before we look at how you can give yourself the best chances for good health and a long life, it would be a good idea to understand just what we have done, and what has been done to us, to cheat us out of the healthy and happy years we could have.  My own education was an eye-opener and hopefully will also be one for you.

In the beginning – an eye-opening journey

Somewhere around the time I reached my mid-forties I finally began to come face to face with the reality of my own mortality.  All of my friends were getting older, many of them were bothered by various health problems and several were beginning to carry around quite a little satchel filled with bottles of medications that they took daily.  As for myself, I know that I seemed to look the same every day in the mirror (except for certain Mondays after I had spent the weekend acting like I still was young and immortal), but when I looked at pictures taken a decade or so ago, the difference was pretty obvious.  And I knew that I wasn't quite as fast and lively as I was in my 20's and 30's.  So, I reluctantly had to admit that chances were pretty good that I wasn't going to stay young and live forever, and, when I thought about all the bad habits in such areas as lifestyle, diet, exercise and sleep, I really began to be concerned about what I might be able to do to live as long and as healthy of a life as I could.  I began to research health and aging, looking for ways to have more energy and vitality, live longer, and avoid or conquer the diseases and physical conditions that are common in our later years.
When I began my journey and started looking into subjects like anti-aging and disease prevention, I expected to find most of the answers I sought in modern science and medicine.  Although I had a certain amount of respect for folk medicine and the tradition of natural cures, I was pretty much one of those "real drugs for real cures" kind of people who thought that the answer to any health problem was best found in modern medical facilities and on the shelves of modern pharmacies.  I thought that for the most part, folk cures and natural remedies were pretty much superstition and unsupported myth.  If I became ill enough to seek help, my first and only thought was to go see a licensed modern medical doctor and get the latest wonder drug for my illness.  As for so-called alternative medicines, whether it was called naturopathic, homeopathic, folk or chinese medicine, well, I gave that about as much consideration as I would snake oil or the eye of a newt, or tongue of a toad – no witches brew or old wives tales medicine for me!  I found out that I was terribly mistaken!
First the bad news: our medicine has fooled us & our government has failed us
The more I checked into modern medicine, the world pharmaceutical giants and regulatory agencies like the FDA, the more worried and disillusioned I became.  I wondered why the death rate of cancer and heart disease was virtually unchanged for several decades, why so many drugs were being recalled because of serious, even fatal, side effects.  And I kept reading about natural remedies that seemed to be much more effective without serious side effects for many forms of cancers and other diseases when all modern medicine had to offer was long term treatments with little odds of success and horrible, debilitating side effects.  Then one day I came upon the following statement from former FDA Commissioner Dr Herbert Ley:
"The thing that bugs me is that people think the FDA is protecting them. It isn't. What the FDA is doing and what the public thinks it’s doing are as different as night and day."
As if that wasn’t disturbing enough, I then read the results from one of the FDA's own studies released in December 2004 (only after a freedom of information request resulted in the study finally being released two years after it was completed).  According to the study, fully two-thirds of the very scientists that the FDA used to determine if drugs were safe stated that they lacked faith in the FDA's ability to determine drug safety.  And one out of five of them admitted that they had been pressured to approve drugs that they felt were unsafe.  What was going on here?
The more I read and researched, the less willing I became with unquestionably trusting modern medicine and modern drugs.  At the same time, I became more and more impressed with what I discovered about natural healing, herbs and supplements.  In  hundreds of articles, testimonials, and medical studies, I found that there are thousands of people all over the world avoiding diseases, living longer and successfully beating diseases through natural healing and alternative medicines with far fewer side effects than conventional medicine.  Why, I wondered, had modern medicine not embraced this fact?  Why did more people not know about this?  It seemed like to me that someone should be shouting from the rooftops: “CANCER! AIDS! HEPATITIS-C! HEART DISEASE! HIGH CHOLESTEROL! STRESS! STROKE! PROSTRATE DISEASE! KIDNEY DISEASE!  YOU DON’T HAVE TO DIE! YOU DON’T HAVE TO SUFFER! AND YOU DON’T HAVE TO SPEND AN ARM AND A LEG!”
Soon, the answer became all too apparent:  The largest single source of funding for medical schools is the trillion dollar world pharmaceutical industry.  Does anyone think that it is a coincidence that since early in the twentieth century, modern medicine has taught our physicians to treat disease by prescribing synthetic drugs – drugs made by the same people who funded their medical schools?  For years modern medicine has been taught to ignore natural cures and treatments, or else taught that they such things don’t work.  The FDA has been co-opted into an agency that serves primarily to protect the marketplace of the pharmaceutical industry and suppress natural competition.  Diet and natural herbs and supplements were not only ignored, they were suppressed, for the very simple reason that THERE WAS NO PROFIT IN IT!
Perhaps the most striking proof is the fact that it has taken modern medicine and doctors fully 40 years to finally admit that vitamins are beneficial!  Yes, for four decades, they denied the obvious and dismissed the idea of adding vitamins to our diets as worthless!  Today, as nutrition and natural healing are finally gaining wider acceptance among the medical profession, the big international pharmaceutical companies are fighting back by resisting alternate cures on one hand while on the other hand spending hundreds of millions of dollars on efforts to limit public access to vitamins and supplements. Their tactics are obvious, limit the competition from natural medicine for as long as possible, and then co-opt natural alternative by restricting public access and bringing the herbs and vitamins under their control so that they can drive up the price and keep their profits growing!
As it is, no herb or natural treatment or remedy can be labeled or even advertised legally as a cure or treatment. Think in terms of cancer, for example.  If someone had a herbal supplement where 90% of the patients who took it became disease free, it still cannot be labeled or advertised as a cure or even as a treatment, while a synthetic lab-created chemical that kills more people than it cures can take out full page advertisements in national magazines.  And that is how the public interest is protected from all of those dangerous herbs, which result in maybe 50 deaths a year compared to 106,000 deaths per year for properly prescribed medications that can be advertised as cures and treatments.  Not to mention the 2,000,000 serious drug reactions from properly prescribed medications.

We would like to think otherwise, but the almighty dollar, pound, frank, deutschemark and ruble have dictated otherwise.  To the big drug companies and the doctors that prescribe their medicines, our body is their marketplace.  And the only way for an industry to grow is to increase the market.  That simply cannot happen if too many diseases are cured; in fact, it means just the opposite – diseases must increase!  And that is just what has happened: few cures and more side effects.  Cure rates for major diseases are virtually unchanged over the past 30 or more years.  Depending on the source, anywhere from 50-95% of modern drugs have not only side effects, but serious side-effects.

Death from prescription drug side effects is now the fourth leading cause of death in the United States according to the medical industry itself (the AMA Journal) – and that doesn’t include deaths that are reported to be caused by the original disease that really were the result of drug side-effects, or of miss-prescribed medications that are not reported by doctors leery of malpractice suits and malpractice insurance premium increases (one survey found that only 1 in 24 doctors would voluntarily report themselves in the event of a patient dying of miss-prescribed medications).  When all factors are taken into consideration, improper medical treatment and prescription drugs are considered by some authorities as actually being the second leading cause of death in our country!

Sadly, my friends, if the following applies to a treatment or medication,

1. It works.
2. It's inexpensive.
3. Few, if any, negative side effects.
4. It's not patentable

—odds are it will stay on the black list because no one is going to spend a dime to prove its effectiveness or to prescribe it. Medicine is a business. Cancer and other diseases are part of that business. The FDA serves and protects the drug companies and the AMA from anyone with an inexpensive and effective treatment for money making diseases.

At this point I should probably add that I am not one of the conspiracy nuts who believes that all of our doctors and our governments and big medicine have joined together in a grand scheme to keep us from being healthy.  In fact, I think that the big majority of doctors are dedicated, well meaning and hard working individuals.  The failure of modern medicine lies in the ways that modern medicine has been taught and practiced, the way that alternative treatments and supplements have been regulated, and the way that an unhealthy amount of greed on the part of the drug companies have combined to rob us of the good health that we might otherwise have.

Then there is the environment.  Ever since the industrial revolution began, we have been pouring an increasing number and amount of toxic chemicals and waste into our air, our water and our food.  In the beginning, much of the fault was due to lack of knowledge of the chemicals we used as solvents, pesticides, paints, fuels and any number of other products and industrial processes.  Today, that is no longer an excuse.

Despite the advances in modern science that have identified the damage that the toxic chemicals industry and fuel burning have wreaked on our environment, the process to clean up the environment is woefully slow and industry resists costly expenses to clean up at every step of the way, while the government is often all too willing to drag it’s feet and backtrack in enforcing or passing regulations to protect us.  The well-heeled propaganda machine that serves industry and the politicians their money contributes generously to may paint environmentalist as “tree huggers” and radicals, but the scientific evidence is indisputable:  the progress of industry has come at a huge cost to the public.

Today, the National Toxicology Program (NTP), part of the National Institutes of Health, lists 246 agents in our environment which are either known to cause cancer or reasonably expected to cause cancer, and many feel that the number is tremendously overstated.  For example, the Health Science Institute tells us that the average glass of water contains 2000 carcinogens.  And no matter which side of the environmental fence you may be on, no one who hasn’t lived with their head in the sand, is not aware of the lead, arsenic and mercury that that has been pouring into our environment for over a century now.

Next, we have to factor in the fact that over-farming and widespread use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers have made the food we eat today much less healthy than it was only a couple of generations ago.  The same is true for the foods we buy off the shelf in our local grocers.  Over-processing has removed much of the nutrients while harmful ingredients have been added to increase shelf life and enhance flavor and texture.  Combined with America’s love for fast food, our diet can no longer be counted on to come anywhere close to giving us all the vitamins and nutrients that we evolved to require, much less the ones needed to offset the damages caused by pollution, additives and the sheer stress of modern life.

With so much bad news, is there hope?  Fortunately, that answer is a resounding YES!
And then the good news – It’s never too late!
When you look at someone and say “Doesn’t he or she look young for their age”,  or you remark that someone “sure has a lot of energy for their age”, what you are really seeing is someone who looks, acts and feels a lot closer to what they should for their age than you do.  Whether they were blessed with good genetics, or more likely,  have taken better care of themselves, the real question is: how do you acquire the kind of health and vitality and become the kind of person that people say the same things about.  And, most importantly, is it too late?

The good news is that it is NOT too late – no matter what your age may be.  Recent studies have shown conclusively that people in their 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s can change their diet and lifestyle and undo most of the damage that a lifetime of neglect has caused.  That’s right, a person who is obese, sedentary, has high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoker’s lungs, and other health problems can essentially reverse those problems if they take action NOW and virtually catch up to the same health and vitality of a person who has spent their entire life eating right, exercising and living a healthy lifestyle!  Even people in their 70’s, 80’s and beyond can add quality years to their lives by changing their diets and exercise.  The key is, no matter what your age, you should take action NOW, because a neglected body in poor shape is a ticking time bomb that you want to defuse before it really is too late.  So, with everything to gain and nothing to lose, let’s get started!

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