Toxins, water purification, aluminum

In Pursuit of Wellness: What You Put Into Your Body-Part 1

In Pursuit of Wellness: What You Put Into Your Body-Part 1

Futurists are stating that health and nutrition will be one of the biggest trends of the 21st century. The search for wellness is not a new phenomenon, however. People in all places and times have sought to be made well.

One of my favorite stories of healing and wellness is found in the Biblical book of Second Kings. Naaman, an honored Syrian military commander had contracted leprosy, a condition for which the best doctors of the time had no cure.

A young Israeli girl had been captured in a raid and made a servant of Naaman's wife. She suggested to her mistress that Naaman could be healed by Elisha the prophet.

Naaman requested and received a letter of recommendation from the king of Syria, gathered a small fortune and went to the king of Israel asking for healing. Needless to say, the king of Israel had no answer to his dilemma.

Naaman then went to the home of Elisha, who did not receive Naaman, but rather sent word by his servant that the commander should wash himself seven times in the Jordan river. Naaman was outraged by the suggestion and started back to Syria.

Some of his servants approached him and asked, "If the prophet had told you to do something great, would you not have done it? How much more then, when he says to you, 'Wash and be clean'?"

Naaman relented, washed seven times in the river and was made whole.

Things are much the same today. The average person is enthralled with technology. People spend fortunes on laboratory tests, magic potions, drugs and procedures in what are often futile attempts to regain their health.

A middle-aged man invited me to lunch several years ago. He explained that he was in the midst of a career change and wanted my opinion on which new technologies held the most hope for a breakthrough in reversing disease. He planned to become professionally involved with one of them.

I explained to him that I fervently believe that the answer to the vast majority of health challenges facing people today is not high tech; it is low tech. The most significant breakthroughs have always come, and will continue to come, when individuals decide to address the wellness factors within their control: The quality of the air they breathe, what they put into their bodies, what they put onto their bodies, the activities they pursue, the quality of rest they receive, what they put into their minds, and how they nourish their spirit.

In the last issue I addressed the first of these factors, the quality of the air we breathe.

The second factor is what we put into our bodies. There are many aspects to this. The first is to avoid putting toxic substances into the body. An extreme example of this is to refuse to swallow or inject illicit drugs. It is hard to imagine how many lives have been lost or irreparably changed through the use of mind-altering drugs. Celebrities and unknowns alike have died from drug overdoses. Thousands have contracted life-threatening illnesses such as HIV and hepatitis C through intravenous drug use. Countless others have ruined their mental and physical health through the use of drugs and alcohol.

It is easy to point to the abuse of illegal drugs as a way to destroy ones health, but it can be accomplished just as quickly through the abuse of legal drugs. What is not as easily appreciated is that the use of prescription or over-the-counter drugs according to appropriate directions can also have a negative impact on health over time. For example, 16,500 people in the United States died in 1997 from using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxyn. Countless others suffered serious, but not life ending complications.

Still more difficult to recognize are the effects of putting food additives and preservatives into the body on a regular basis. Thousands of chemicals have been approved for use in foods in the United States. Only a small number have ever been tested for safety in humans. Many have shown toxic effects in animals when given in a higher amount than typically found in food or beverages.

I do not believe that it is safe to assume that taking in a little bit of poison on a daily basis does not pose a risk to health. When asked about the safety of genetically engineered foods the New York City Commissioner of Health is reported to have replied, “Just because we don’t have bodies littering the streets does not mean that they are not a problem.”

Just because people do not die within 48 hours of taking in a substance does not mean that it is safe for ongoing consumption. I recently heard an estimate that one out of every two people in the United States will develop cancer in his or her lifetime. One out of every two people! Just fifty years ago the incidence was one in twenty. A century ago it was one in fifty, or less.

Processed foods with synthetic additives and preservatives were introduced in the 1950s. I believe we are now seeing the results of long-term ingestion of these substances. That is why one of my rules for healthy eating is to check the label on each food item. If it contains ingredients that you have difficulty pronouncing put it back on the shelf rather than into your body.

The use of carbonated beverages in our society is nearly universal. Children are introduced to them at an early age. I remember my first “soda”. It was a most unpleasant experience. The fizz bubbled into my nose and the drink burned as it passed through my esophagus. My instinct was to never drink something like that again, but the peer pressure of my cousins and the steady exposure to Coca Cola ads caused me to persevere until I could not only tolerate soft drinks, but came to crave them as the only acceptable fluid to drink.

I was fortunately able to kick the habit about 10 years ago. The phosphoric and carbonic acids that produce the “fizz” have an extremely negative impact on health and wellness. The body is forced to pull calcium and other minerals out of bone to neutralize the acid, accelerating the development of osteoporosis. The acids also break down beneficial nutrients before they can be absorbed and utilized in the body. This is why club soda works so well to remove fruit juice stains from carpets. In addition, the high sugar content of regular soft drinks destroys the effectiveness of the immune system, and the effect of long-term consumption of aspartame or saccharin in “diet” drinks has never been fully evaluated.

Serving meals in aluminum trays and beverages in aluminum cans increases the risk of illness. Aluminum is one of the metals, along with lead, mercury and iron, suspected of participating in the steps leading to Alzheimer’s disease. Deposition of aluminum in muscles may be one of the factors that influence the course of fibromyagia.

Even water, as it is commonly found today is not safe for internal consumption. Municipalities produce “potable” water, water that is unlikely to cause immediate illness when drunk, but the same principle is true. Just because we don’t have bodies littering the streets doesn’t mean that there isn’t a problem. Potable water meets certain criteria set by the EPA as safe for consumption. It is not free of toxic chemicals. In most cases, chlorine, itself a poison, is actually added to the water to kill germs, living organisms in the water supply. The chlorine does not stop killing when it enters the body. Being a larger living organism the body can withstand the effects without dying as a whole, but the chlorine does have an effect upon individual cells and, in addition, kills the beneficial bacteria needed in the intestinal tract to produce optimum health. Purified water is a far safer than water treated with chemicals.

© 2007 Wellness Clubs of

Receive the latest Wellness Updates and News. Subscribe now at