Although I believed that I was healthy and fit, my 6’2’’ frame recently skyrocketed to over 230 pounds (my ideal weight is 170-190). My blood pressure and cholesterol levels were high, and my health was rapidly deteriorating. I was shocked! I knew that if I didn’t change my lifestyle, my lifestyle would change me.
Like most Americans, I was killing myself to live—living in a fast-paced and stressful environment that can lead to unhealthy lifestyle choices. One definition of insanity is doing the same thing while expecting different results. Not only can the healthcare system not sustain it, but our quality of life is on the line.
Instead of grandparents playing with their grandkids, they are often barely able to get around. Instead of parents being productive, we are tired and worn out and our families pay the price. Instead of kids enjoying life, they are battling many health-related illnesses. We cannot continue down this path.
Thank God for physicians standing in the gap, but we also need those who understand how the body works and who can help by treating the cause, not just the symptoms. I’m not suggesting that we don’t need medication at times. But shouldn’t that be the last resort, rather than the first? We must be diligent and use wisdom.
A few years ago, a local doctor wanted to send me home with two different high blood pressure medications. Before leaving, I asked if he had used the large cuff when he took my pressure. He hadn’t. When he did, the blood pressure reading was normal.
Another example involved my young daughter who was not breathing well at night. The physician said that her tonsils and adenoids were inflamed and needed to be removed ASAP. Knowing that tonsils and adenoids help with our immunity, we tried a different route first: We completely changed her diet by removing all sugar (except light fruit). We focused on life-giving food and a daily nap.
Within a week, she was breathing well, and a lingering ear infection healed as well. A quick diet change often results in the body healing itself. Why do we rarely talk about this?
If you’re ready to take back your health, it’s not as difficult as it appears. The key is to focus on direction rather than perfection and to get back up when you fall. To help you get started, I’ve listed five tips below. As always, make sure to consult your physician before starting any nutritional program, including fasting.
Here are five ways to restore and rejuvenate our cells, and thus, our entire body:
1. DEEP SLEEP: Deep sleep is when healing and restoration take place. Very few people experience deep sleep because they are addicted to alcohol, sugar, and caffeine which deeply affects REM.
Some argue, “But I fall right to sleep; these things don’t affect me.” But that’s not deep, healing sleep; it’s adrenal fatigue and exhaustion—the quality of sleep is deeply affected.
We then repeat the process of self-medicating the following day to balance out sleep deprivation. It’s a never-ending cycle that we must break if we are to experience true sleep and rest.
Late-night eating and social media stimuli also prevent deep sleep. Fix this issue and you’re well on your way to feeling better. Productivity and energy will both increase substantially.
2. LIFE-GIVING FOOD: Many diseases could be prevented and/or reversed by eating better and being more active. Dead processed food from a factory does little to sustain life. We were designed to eat living food that contains the building blocks of life. Vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals are deposited into the body to renew, restore, and replenish.
Choose God-given food in moderation, rather than man-made, processed refined food.
3. FEAST ON FASTING: Fasting doesn’t kill us; overconsumption does. Disease is often a problem of toxicity created by what we consume, ingest, or breathe—and fasting can be the detox solution.
Dr. J. H. Tilden said, “After fifty-five years of sojourning in the wilderness of medical therapeutics, I am forced to declare . . . that fasting is the only reliable, specific, therapeutic eliminant known to man.”
Fasting is not a panacea; it simply provides an environment for healing. Since an enormous amount of energy is used to digest food, the energy is instead diverted to healing when we fast.
Although, there are some who shouldn’t fast—from pregnant and nursing moms to those struggling with eating disorders—an overwhelming number of people would benefit from it.
4. ACTIVATE MORE ACTIVITY: Our bodies were not designed to sit for long periods of time. In 2006, Harvard Medical School noted: “Exercise helps prevent atherosclerosis.” It also helps by “improving other atherosclerotic risk factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and stress…”
Inactivity often leads to weight gain and sluggish blood flow. Every pound of fat requires a few extra miles of blood vessels. That means more work for the body, especially the heart. Lose the excess and usher in better health.
5. STABILIZE STRESS: Some stress is needed because it prompts the body to respond to an injury or an illness by triggering an immune response. But chronic stress, over time, can be very destructive. For one, chronic stress puts the muscles in a constant state of tension which leads to back and neck pain. This is why it’s important to avoid stimulants—they keep the body in a constant state of stress.
Chronic stress is also hard on the cardiovascular system and can lead to elevated blood pressure, shortness of breath, and the release of stress hormones. Over time, this toxic state wreaks havoc on the immune system.
The key to a productive, well-balanced life is spiritual health. To deal with disease, discouragement, and stress without a relationship with God is futile. Productive longevity is a good goal, but without spiritual health, a healthy body has little significance.
Real health has God at the center. Don’t stay caught in the endless cycle of killing the symptom rather than the cause. It all begins with a choice to surrender to the one true and living God and experience the peace that surpasses all understanding.
Shane Idleman is the founder and lead pastor of Westside Christian Fellowship in Lancaster, California, and a contributor for The Stream. Read the extended version of this article and download his free books on diet, weight loss, and fasting at westsidechristianfellowship.org/free-ebooks/