somber looking womanConventional medicine is set up in a way that keeps patients mostly passive. Doctors do the fixing. Patients are fixed. Doctors say, “This is what we’ll do.” Patients acquiesce – “Doctor knows best,” and all that.

Sure, plenty of folks consult “Dr. Google” first and come in with their own ideas, but whatever they opt for, they still ultimately put themselves in the position of being treated, not taking an active role in their own health and well-being.

In his excellent book Confessions of a Medical Heretic, Dr. Robert Mendelsohn suggests this happens when people become alienated from, even fearful of their bodies.

When you fear something, you avoid it. You ignore it. You shy away from it. You pretend it doesn’t exist. You let someone else worry about it. This is how the doctor takes over. We let him. We say: I don’t want to have anything to do with this, my body and its problems, doc. You take care of it, doc. Do what you have to do.

No doubt, when you’re used to that kind of dynamic, taking charge of your health can be a daunting prospect. It can be hard to make the changes you need to minimize your risk of developing chronic illness. You get to thinking you need to do it all in one fell swoop: get active, throw out the junk and replace it with healthful whole foods, change your schedule so you get enough and better sleep, develop strategies for managing stress…

While there is some research that suggests making lots of health changes at once may be effective, who says you have to do it all at once?

Let’s consider just the matter of diet. According to a study published earlier this year in the New England Journal of Medicine, even small, incremental changes can have big impacts.

Researchers analyzed data from nearly 48,000 women and over 25,000 men to assess the quality of their diets.

Researchers found that a 20-percentile increase in people’s diet-quality scores was linked with an 8 to 17 percent reduction in a person’s risk of death from any cause over a 12-year period….

In practical terms, a 20-percentile increase in diet-quality score can be achieved by swapping out just one serving of meat, which is 4 ounces of red meat or 1.5 ounces of processed meat, for one daily serving of nuts (about a handful) or legumes (about one tablespoon of peanut butter), said Mercedes Sotos-Prieto, the lead author of the study and an assistant professor of food and nutrition science at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio.

That’s hardly a monumental change. And one of the things about success is that it tends to lead to more success. As you eat better, you start to feel better, and that becomes motivation to keep going in that direction, improving your diet even more. It also makes it easier to make additional changes, such as adding exercise to your routine or finding new ways of managing stress. (You’ll find more tips for reaching your goals here.)

As you continue to embrace the keys to Radiant Health, you may want to take things even further – say, regular detox or immune boosting through IV therapies, regular acupuncture to keep your body in energetic balance, and more.

So maybe you start with just cutting back on processed grains. Or maybe you start by cutting out all added sugars. Later, you might start including a wider variety of vegetables or opt for more fish.

Start small and build on your victories. As they say, a journey starts with just one step – however small.

Image by Lord of Pixels, via Flickr


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