If You Build It Health Will Come
As I write this entry, I am sitting on the porch of a cinder block building that is fashioned to look like it is made entirely of Legos. I am staying at Legoland Beach Resort with my sister, her kids, my mom, and my wife. Now the kids love this place, but this is about as far away from my ideal vacation spot as it can get.
Being got me thinking though, a trendy label for someone these days is a 'builder.' If you have ever watched any of the Lego movies, sadly I have, and they're actually pretty funny, the main character is on a quest to become a 'master builder.' Adam Savage from the popular 'Myth Busters' show just wrote a book titled Every Tool's a Hammer, and the premise centers around finding the true you. Throughout the book, he refers to himself and his identifying group at large as builders. One of my favorite moves of all time is Field of Dreams, and who doesn't love a good Kevin Costner flick. The famous (and conspiracy theory debated) line from the movie is "if you build it, he will come."
I think health works much like Kevin Costner's heavenly omen, 'if you build a lifestyle, it will come."
It seems like the ideal picture of health changes almost every decade. Just since I've been alive, we've seen the aerobic craze, the meathead 90's, whatever you want to call the 2000's and then off into the land of CrossFit, OCR and trail running. In the dieting realm there are almost too many different approaches to even discuss, everything from Adkins, to Jenny Craig, to HCG and now to the keto craze.
Biohacking popped up on the radar as a famous lifestyle label about a decade ago. Since then, people have been sun tanning their testicles, eating the placenta and shooting coffee up their butts — all of this in the quest for ultimate health and longevity.
Is this how health is built though?
Can we biohack our way out of the environments we have built around ourselves? Can we trade sunlight light for infrared? Can we replace spring water with reverse osmosis water with backend remineralization? Are we ever going to be able to fill in the synergistic gaps of food made in nature with supplements?
I can't answer these questions, and I don't know that anyone really can at this point.
I do think that the 'master builders' of health in our day and age are those people that create a lifestyle that fosters TRUE health, rather than trying to play a frantic game of catch up all of the time.
Easy ways to foster a lifestyle that promotes real health starts with the following, and of course, this all my opinion, my opinion as a healthcare practitioner, who also tries my best to practice what I preach.
These are my personal health principles.
(I'm not going to list all of the benefits of each principle, because there are just too many to list.)
1. Spend as much time outside as possible.
Yes even when it's raining, or cold or extremely hot as it is in Alabama right now. The Norwegian saying says it best, "there's no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes."
2. Eat real food, and eat specifically for you.
Too many people fall victim to dieting trends with no real understanding of why or what they are doing, or more importantly, how certain foods affect them. Always eliminate before adding, you can't supplement, diet pill or fast your way out of a poor diet. One more point on this principle, you also can't exercise your way out of a bad diet.
3. Move often.
Create an environment in your home and work life that fosters movement. Better yet take principle one and get your butt outside and move.
4. Surround yourself with good people.
Whenever epidemiological studies are done on centenarians or blue zones, one thing that always pops out of the data is the high correlation of strong social networks and their tie to health and longevity. This includes family and friends.
5. Tap into the deeper you.
I don't care what your religious affiliation is, but there is so much more to this life than what we perceive on a daily basis. Explore that in some way. Creating a sense of wonder and appreciation goes a long way.