How To Stay Healthy Even If You Eat Junk, Smoke Ciggies, Skip Exercise & Booze It Up

How To Stay Healthy Even If You Eat Junk, Smoke Ciggies, Skip Exercise & Booze It Up

By Lissa Rankin

Ever since we docs started teaching people the importance of smoking  cessation, moderation in alcohol intake, a nutritious, mostly plant-based diet,  daily exercise, and weight control, millions of people have been beating  themselves up for unhealthy lifestyle habits.  Yet the guilt and shame so  many feel hasn’t led to significant improvements in the health of the general  public. Even though people know how to live a “healthy” lifestyle, most choose  not to. Instead, rates of diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease,  and other largely preventable diseases are on the rise.

Bummer.

While lots of people rattle off about the importance of healthy lifestyle  modifications – and as a green-juicing, exercising, non-smoking, health food  junkie, I agree with them – what shocks me is how few are talking about the  other critical factors that contribute to health and longevity – the factors  that are arguably even more important than diet, cigarette use, alcohol intake,  weight, and exercise.

Some Diseases Are Preventable

Before I share with you these factors that may shock you, let me start with a  hat tip to conventional medical wisdom. Yes, some diseases are largely  preventable. If you’re a 3 pack-a-day smoker who winds up with lung cancer,  you’re probably feeling pretty crappy about your cancer because you know that if  you had never smoked, you probably wouldn’t have been saddled with that disease.  If you’ve been eating at McDonalds every day, it won’t surprise you if a heart  attack knocks you flat and you have to get bypass surgery. If you’ve been  boozing it up for three decades and you wind up with cirrhosis of the liver,  well… not to be harsh, but you knew that might happen, right? If you’re four  hundred pounds and you get diabetes, um… need I say more?

Yes, if we aim to lead optimally healthy lives, diet, exercise, weight  control, alcohol intake, and cigarette use matter.

Some Unhealthy People Live To Be 100

But let’s face it. Some smoking, boozing, overweight, junk food binging couch  potatoes stay healthy and die of old age. As a physician, these people have  always blown me away. How are their bodies so resilient to such poisons? Is it  genetic? Is it just dumb luck? These people left me scratching my head, until I  was doing the research for my book Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof You  Can Heal Yourself (Hay House, 2013).

Clearly, there are many factors contributing to why one person winds up sick  when another stays healthy, in spite of poor health habits. The same is true for  the health nut who is doing everything “right” but still winds up sick.

So what are these factors that your doctor probably isn’t discussing with  you?

Loving Community Equals Health

Let me start by telling you a story.

Once upon a time, a tribe of Italian immigrants crossed the Atlantic and  settled in Roseto, Pennsylvania, where they didn’t exactly live the most  “healthy” lifestyle. They ate meatballs fried in lard, smoked like chimneys,  boozed it up every night, and pigged out on pasta and pizza. Yet, shockingly,  they had half the rate of heart disease and much lower rates of many other  illnesses than the national average. It wasn’t the water they drank, the  hospital they went to, or their DNA. And clearly, it wasn’t their stellar diet.  So what was it that made the people of Roseto so resistant to heart disease?

One physician, baffled by their low rates of heart disease, studied the  townspeople to determine why they were so protected.

The Effects of Loneliness On The Body

What his researchers found is that the tight knit community living in  multi-generational homes and enjoying communal dinners and frequent festivities  provided solace from the loneliness so many people feel. The love and support of  others in the close knit community alleviated the stress and overwhelm many  lonely people feel. Researchers posit that the stress lonely people feel, which  increases cortisol levels and activates the sympathetic nervous system, raising  heart rate, elevating blood pressure, incapacitating the immune system, and  increasing the risk of heart disease, is responsible for much of the illness  lonely people experience.

Because the people of Roseto never felt alone, they rarely died of heart  disease – most died of “old age”- even though they smoked, ate poorly, and  drank.  As it turns out, alleviation of loneliness is preventative  medicine, and the scientific data suggests that loneliness is a stronger risk  factor for illness than smoking or failure to exercise.

Why One Person Gets Sick & Another Stays Healthy

It’s not just loneliness that contributes to whether you get sick or stay  healthy. As I discussed in my TEDx  talk, it’s not just your relationships that affect your health – it’s work  stress, financial stress, mental health issues like depression and anxiety,  whether you’re optimistic or pessimistic, and whether or not you’re actively  engaging in potentially stress reducing activities like creative expression,  sex, and spiritual activities like prayer, attending religious services, or  meditation.

For example, let’s take one person who eats poorly, smokes, and never  exercises, but who enjoys an incredible marriage, a great family, fabulous  friends, a rewarding and financially lucrative job, a sense of life purpose, a  healthy spiritual life, a blossoming creative life, and a kickin’ sex  life.  Aside from the cloud of smoke infusing the lungs with toxins and the  poisons this person’s body is ingesting, this kind of lifestyle has been  scientifically proven to result in better health than the lonely individual in  an emotionally abusive marriage, with a soul-sucking job, no sex life, an absent  spiritual life, and no creative outlets. The scientific data suggests that the  “unhealthy” individual with an otherwise healthy, balanced life is more likely  to live a long, healthy life than a nonsmoking, abstaining vegan with a personal  trainer who is unhealthy and miserable in all other facets of life.

Make sense?

How Healthy Is Your Life?

In my upcoming book, I go into great detail, proving how each of these  factors of a healthy life affect the physiology of the body, but until then, let  me just assure you that what I’m suggesting is true. I’m not recommending that  you pick up smoking, drinking, or overeating. But  I am suggesting that you start thinking about your health beyond the traditional  confines of how most people define health.

Are you lonely? Are you stressed at work?  Are you depressed? What would  it take to alleviate your loneliness, cut back on your job stress, and get  happier?

Expanding how I think about health,

Lissa

Lissa Rankin, MD: Creator of the health and wellness communities LissaRankin.com and OwningPink.com, author of Mind Over Medicine:  Scientific Proof You Can Heal Yourself (Hay House, 2013), TEDx speaker, and Health Care Evolutionary. Join  her newsletter list for free guidance on healing yourself, and check her out  on Twitter and Facebook.

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Calendar of the Sun for June 21

21 Lithemonath

Day of the Crab: Beginning of Cancer

Colors: Silver and grey
Element: Water
Altar: Set a cloth of grey and silver, and a silver crescent moon, shells, a vessel of salt water, a cup of milk, cakes shaped like the moon on a silver tray, and the figure of a crab.
Offerings: Food, which should then be donated to the poor and hungry.
Daily Meal: Shellfish. Milk and dairy products, from any animal, especially foaming milkshakes. Moon-shaped cookies. Soft white food such as rice, tapioca, or mashed potato. Oatmeal. All food should be cooked, none raw save the milk.

Invocation to Cancer

Child of the changing Moon,
Dweller between earth and sea,
Dancer of the ebb and flow,
Mother whose breasts flow with life,
Loving fountain of karuna,
Whose gift is Feeling,
Bless us with the ability
To know our own hearts,
And to gather our loved ones
About our hearth
In love and safety.
By the power of kin and tribe,
You challenge us
To build each other a safe home,
And help each other to work through
The scars and heartaches of our childhoods.
May we all go forth in sanctuary.

Chant:
Luna Luna Selene Mater

(Let three who have been chosen to work for the ritual come forward. The first bears the cup of milk, and says, “Taste nurturing, and remember you were born from a woman’s womb.” Each drinks. The second bears the tray of cakes, and says, “Taste nurturing, and be full and fed.” Each eats a cake. The third bears the cup of salt water, and says, “Taste nurturing, and remember that to love is to someday let go, and drink tears.” Each drinks. The remainder is given as libation to Cancer and the Moon.)

[Pagan Book of Hours]

Smoke Scrying

Smoke Scrying

Smoke scrying is best done while relaxing in front of a campfire. You should be in comfortable visual range of watching the smoke rise.

Do not follow the smoke up but rather allow the smoke to forms patterns within your spiritual gaze. In time you will see visions of many far off events.

I have generally found people who have natural artistic skill good at this form of scrying.

The American Indians practise a special type of smoke scrying. It’s called a sweat lodge.

Water is poured over hot rocks in a tent to create steam. The steam is inhaled by those who sit naked around the rocks.

The combination of temperature, humidity and elevated levels of carbon dioxide produce a state in which visions can arise. This form of scrying may be dangerous and should only be undertaken by experienced people.

SMOKE SCRYING

SMOKE SCRYING

 
 
Smoke scrying is best done while relaxing in front of a campfire. You should be in comfortable visual range of watching the smoke rise.
 
Do not follow the smoke up but rather allow the smoke to forms patterns within your spiritual gaze. In time you will see visions of many far off events.
I have generally found people who have natural artistic skill good at this form of scrying.
 
The American Indians practise a special type of smoke scrying. It’s called a sweat lodge.
Water is poured over hot rocks in a tent to create steam. The steam is inhaled by those who sit naked around the rocks. The combination of temperature, humidity and elevated levels of carbon dioxide produce a state in which visions can arise. This form of scrying may be dangerous and should only be undertaken by experienced people.