Self-Study: The Most Important Study of All

Everyone devotes themselves to studying something. Whether it is the subjects taught in schools, the interests we discover like computer games, sports, earning money, or any one of thousands of other topics, we all formally or informally study various things during our life time. Have you ever wondered why more people don’t devote themselves to self-study? James Allen is quoted as saying, “Above all be of single aim, have a legitimate and useful purpose and devote yourself unreservedly to it.”

I have to agree with Mr. Allen. Certainly most researchers and writers on success would agree that when we focus on a specific goal, it is easier to attain it. The question is what should we study? Is it worth it to study ourselves?

The Value of Self-Study

Two events in my life inspired me to want to learn more about myself: a graduate course in child psychology and the diagnosis of coronary heart disease. I was surprise and impressed to learn that hundreds and thousands of researchers had looked very closely at almost all aspects of child development, physiologically, psychologically, sociologically, and emotionally. They committed themselves to study, even publishing dissertations on these topics. They were passionate. But it can’t always be done alone, sometimes you need help examining yourself, just as some of these probably sought dissertation coaching to complete their studies.

Previously I took human development for granted. I never gave it much thought. That one course opened my eyes to how the good, the bad, and the ugly incidents and experiences of childhood greatly impact us throughout our lives.

I started to read Sigmund Freud, Erik Erikson, Carl Rogers, Piaget, and many others. These great thinkers all had at least one thing in common: they wanted to understand what it means to be human. Why are we the way we are? How do we learn? What do feelings mean? Where do empathy, kindness, and humor come from? Why do some individuals try to do good, while others do harm?

When my family doctor called me a couple of days after my last office visit with him to tell me he had some bad news to tell, “You have coronary heart disease. You should see a cardiologist right away,” I was shocked and surprised. That call got my attention. I always had a passing interest in health, but now there was a new urgency. My outlook on all things health-related took on a new meaning. I started to ask questions and read books and newsletters about health in general and the heart in particular.

Life Style and Self-Study

I did not want to admit it but my life style had caused my disease. I used to talk about good nutrition, regular exercise, relaxation, and spiritual issues. It is interesting that as soon as we re-frame our perspective and decide on a new way of living, how new knowledge and people come into our lives.

My life style changed when I discovered the writings of an innovative cardiologist in Dr. Stephen Sinatra, an alternative medicine physician, Dr. Jonathan Wright, a wonderful profound thinking nutritional physician, Dr. Joel Fuhrman, and other physicians and researchers/writers who see healthy living as the norm. If we learn, understand, and do the basic requirements of good nutrition, selective supplementation, moderate exercise, and prayer/meditation, then our self-study should payoff with a healthier and longer life. And that’s what we all want.

Apples Make the Difference

In studies reported by Frank Shallenberger, MD, in his Real Cures newsletter, those in the study group who ate five or more apples per week significantly improved their breathing. How about this: there are over 450 different nutrients in a fresh apple. Researchers are searching to identify the benefits of all these many nutrients. Does this prove that old proverb was right? “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” The average weight of an apple is 242 grams, contains 126 calories, and has significant dietary fiber. This fruit will certainly fit in the diet of everyone.

Availability of Apples

Apples are everywhere. They are grown around the world with almost half grown in (you guessed it) China . The United States is second with more than 6% produced here. Apples are hardy and transport easily. Most are consumed raw, but are also found in prepared foods. There are hundreds of varieties of apples; which means that you should be able to find one to fit your taste. An apple can fill you up so it is a good food to help with weight reduction. This wonderful food can be eaten as part of a meal or just as a snack.

The research on the nutritional value of apples is gaining importance. One study lead by Dr. Blechman entitled “Eating apples may make breathing easier” and published in Muscular Development; found that people with pulmonary problems seemed to improve when they ate apples regularly.

Glycemic Load of Apples

This is another testament to the importance of basic foods to aid in the prevention and improvement of certain diseases. Apples have a glycemic load of 9, which is very low, on the International Tables of Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load Values. This index was created to measure the rise in blood sugar levels after eating certain foods. High blood sugar levels contribute to various diseases. So the overall health value of apples is clear. Apples are the kind of food that you can hardly eat too much of and you can’t say that about many foods.

Apples and Apple Juice are not the same

When we think of apple juice we tend to think of a healthy drink. Well of course it is more nutritious than beer or wine, but not as good for you as fresh apples. Bottled and canned apple juice are usually loaded with extra sugar and that’s not good. The apples used to make it are mostly the fallen ones found on the ground. You can imagine what processing and additives need to be added to the mixture to produce safe clean apple juice.  Fresh apples are healthy, nutritious, and tasty. Apples are digested more slowly than apple juice and therefore the phytochemicals they contain are more easily absorbed into the blood. That’s why apples make the healthy difference.

Sources:

Blechman, S. et al. (2000). “Eating apples may make breathing easier,” Muscular Development, 37(5):35.

Shallenberger, F. (2008). Real Cures, Norcross , GA.

Quillan, P. (1999). Immunopower: Full spectrum nutritional protection. Nutrition Times Press. Carlsbad , C

Food: What’s It All About

As children most of us were told to “Eat your vegetables. They’re good for you” or a similar motivating statement. Sooner or later we noticed that is not what grownups do. They usually don’t eat their vegetables. Yes, there may be small salad included in the dinner meal. Or maybe some canned corn. But adults eat what they like – what tastes good to them. Fresh vegetables seem to be an afterthought. But why do we eat food? What is purpose of food? Overwhelming scientific evidence from hundreds of studies confirms that food, the right kind of food, can help keep us healthy and also help us get well when we are sick.

Something Better than the Standard American Diet

Joel Fuhrman, M.D. in this best-selling book, The End of Dieting: How to Live for Life, criticizes the Standard American Diet when he states: “Chronic diseases have been dramatically on the rise not merely because we’re eating an animal-product-based diet, but also because the grains and other plant-derived products we regularly consume are refined and processed, making them nearly devoid of fiber and their essential, fragile micronutrients.” Despite being one of the richest countries in the world, we are also one of the sickest among modern societies. We spend more on health care than anyone else. We have lost sight of why we eat food in the first place. The purpose of food is to maintain health. And natural raw foods are the healthiest. Dr. Fuhrman proposes these: greens, beans, onions, mushrooms, berries, and nuts/seeds. Most American grocery stores have a wide variety to choose from.

Eat to Live Long and Well

When we change our priorities and decide that our goal is not just to live long, but to live well, we can use food as medicine. As we start to eat more fresh vegetables and fruits and nuts and less meat and processed/packaged foods, we minimize our chances of coming down with one of the dreaded catastrophic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.

Fresh Raw Foods

Eating fresh raw foods also will lead us to our ideal weight. And our weight will stabilize automatically over a period of weeks and months.  We all deserve to live a long, vibrant and healthy life. The choice is yours. When you start to eat for health instead of eating for taste and convenience, good things will happen for you, you will feel better, and you will eventually lose the weight you need to lose.