Sunday, 9 September 2012

Shield Yourself with Love


Click to go back to the main menu for Mickie Kent's Love Your Mind, Body and Soul Series

“What's the point in a reward if you ain't around to enjoy it?”
— Hans Solo

My father always told me that age was a matter of arteries, not years. A big advocate of health being the fountain of youth, he always had a toddler's zing of energy. How about you? Do you jump out of bed full of energy in the morning? Are you able to get through your days without feeling tired or depending on energy drink or sugar fixes to keep you going? If you answered NO to either of these questions, then experts say there is a huge possibility that something isn't right inside your body.

In a comprehensive and somewhat alarming study, the Environmental Working Group discovered that the average person is exposed to thousands of chemicals over their lifespan. Moreover, they claim that toxicity begins in the womb. Unlike previously thought, the placenta apparently doesn't protect the developing foetus from toxins.

The study demonstrated an average of 200 industrial chemicals in umbilical cord blood from 10 babies born in 2004 in hospitals in the United States. In other words, the umbilical cord blood of these children was found to contain pesticides, consumer product ingredients, and even wastes from burning coal, gasoline, and garbage.

The study also indicated that as we age, the levels of these chemicals and contaminants only continue to accumulate. Researchers at two major laboratories found an average of 91 industrial compounds, pollutants, and other chemicals in the blood and urine of nine volunteers. All in all, a total of 167 chemicals were found in this one small group.

The eye-raiser was that, like most of us, the people tested do not even work with chemicals on the job - they didn't even live near an industrial city. Of the 167 chemicals found, 76 cause cancer in humans or animals, 94 are shown to be toxic to the brain and nervous system, and 97 cause birth defects or abnormal development.

So how do you know if YOU suffer from a "toxic" state? Here are a few known symptoms:

  • Headaches
  • Lethargy
  • Fatigue or loss of energy
  • Depression
  • Sensitivity to perfume or odours
  • Joint pain
  • Weight gain
  • Allergies
  • Chronic Infection
  • Memory loss
  • Insomnia
  • Sudden anger
  • Frequent colds
  • Nervousness and anxiety

With continued exposure to all this toxicity, neuro-toxins often trigger the expression of a disease that you may have a genetic predisposition for. Although this seems like a "doom and gloom" scenario, awareness of the dangers can be a very powerful thing. Even though we can't live all live in a oxygen "bubble" the rest of our lives, knowledge of this info can help us all be more healthy.

Experts emphasise we all need to be aware of our surroundings and understand how normal everyday living; eating, breathing, drinking can effect our health - or worse yet, making you sick without you even knowing it.

One of the best things you can do to protect yourself from this clear and present danger is eat clean, healthy non- processed foods and exercise consistently. However, some experts go further in their claims, to explain that this may not be enough. You also need to be aware of what you put ON and INSIDE your body. Even everyday items like soap, shampoo and even make-up can cause toxicity. This is why it helps, so it's claimed, to pro-actively detoxify your liver, which is your body's primary fat-loss organ, and cleanse yourself at the cellular level.

The experts stipulate that the good news is that you can reverse the damage and enjoy a noticeable increase in your energy and vitality, and experts claim this isn't about a quick 5-hour energy surge but rather energy that keeps you going all day without stimulants. Imagine being able to wake up feeling alert and ready to start your day without relying on energy drinks.

However, I always advise seeking medical advice from your regular doctor (who will know your personal medical history) before setting off on any type of fast or juice diet. Nevertheless, the problem is the mainstream media and health care system is still playing "catch-up" when it comes to alternative methods.

Another example of an alternative healing method comes from the mid-1930s. A doctor was able to detect and measure the existence of etheric energy (life energy, chi, etc.), which he called orgone - and it's this orgone energy has tremendous significance to human health.

The majority of us are quick to dismiss the idea that humans are sustained by an invisible "life-force," or pranic energy, (the Chinese refer to it as Chi). We tend to shrug off such notions as mere spiritual fancy, despite confirmation from acclaimed scientists such as Albert Einstein that this "vital life-force" does indeed exist. Some claim this is because we don't like to believe what cannot be quantified, and understandably so. But experts in this field claim that this life-sustaining energy was being observed and measured as early as the 1930s.

So, what does life-force look like under a microscope? In the 1930s, Dr. Sigmund Freud theorised that the way humans express their emotions and sexuality is a direct reflection of an energetic "something" existing within them. His peer, Dr. William Reich, expanded on Freud's theory and claims he identified through measurable observation just what this "something" is. This biological energy, which does indeed express itself as emotion and sexuality, could actually be seen under a microscope.

This energy, which Dr. Reich called Orgone energy, manifests as a glowing blue colour, and it surrounds every living cell, tissue and organ. Expanding his research, Dr. Reich observed this glowing blue energy field emanating from every animal, human, plant - even mountain ranges carry this blue, aura-like phenomenon. Proponents of his work are quick to point out that Dr. Reich's observations were made years before the first satellite photos confirmed that a blue-glowing energy surrounds the Earth.

In an attempt to harness the power of Orgone energy, Dr. Reich ventured into the realms of science fiction. He built an Orgone Energy Accumulator, a 6-sided metal-lined box that captures and contains life-force energy from the atmosphere. This unique device was shown to charge seeds with restorative energy, thereby speeding plant growth.

It was also shown to accelerate the healing of burns, cuts and other wounds, and was even able to repress the symptoms of chronic illnesses such as cancer. Patients sat in the centre of the Accumulator, breathing Orgone energy into their heart and lungs. The claims were that, overall, the device exhibited a healthy effect on the blood, tissues and organs of his subjects.

His supporters say Dr. Reich was on his way to fine-tuning a way to detoxify radioactive waste. He had also developed a small motor that ran off of Orgone energy, and had even tapped into a way to influence weather patterns using this biological energy. However the reason we haven't heard of Orgone energy, his supporters claim, is due to large medical establishments (charged with a history of suppressing the dissemination of natural healing methods by conspiracy theorists) launching a massive character assassination on Dr. Reich and his studies in 1955.

His supporters also compare Dr. Reich's imprisonment to Galileo's imprisonment for his "radical" idea that the Sun was the centre of the universe. Galileo's unorthodox ideas were eventually proven accurate, just as scientists around the globe are continually confirming Dr. Reich's, his supports say.

It's believed that scientists are discovering just how susceptible our health is to geopathic stress. When the Earth's magnetic energy is low - a result of building, construction, and poisons such as toxins, chemicals, fertilizers and landfills - it affects our life-force energy. For instance, geopathic stress can lower your melatonin levels, causing disrupted sleep and depression.

So how is Orgone energy said to enhance your health? It's claimed that Orgone energy will:

  • Eliminate toxins, poisons and radiation from the air
  • Improve breathing problems, especially those associated with asthma
  • Promote natural health, energy levels and well-being
  • Prevent headaches and migraines
  • Stop WiFi signals from causing you harm
  • Enhance your overall health

The health claims say that researchers have discovered that Orgone energy can neutralise the harmful effects of geopathic stress and help cure many health conditions. You can improve the vibrational energy in your work or home by wearing a pendant or jewellery, or strategically placing Orgone-infused objects around your house, workplace, neighbourhood or car. It's believed you can also protect against dangerous electromagnetic radiation from electrical appliances, cell phones, and lap-top or desk-top computers. You can purchase Orgone energy products from an online retailer, or ask about it at an alternative health store near you.

Take up the fight against disease

It's been said that against the horsemen of the body's apocalypse, exercise is your sword, and diet is your energetic shield. And the power of the mind, to which the brain acts as a conduit, uses both as your weapons in the fight against negativity and disease.

Read about the future of the brain.

Take diseases like diabetes and cancer as an example. It's a fact that by the time you're actually showing any symptoms, all you're seeing there is the tip of the iceberg. The damage that has been done under the surface, the part you never saw, built up over time, and now curing the problem is even harder. As the saying goes, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure". But, experts warn, we've forgotten how to listen to our bodies. It's about understanding that no one can really know us as we can know ourselves; we have insider information to our bodies that we often ignore. The first principle behind all the greatest thinking of the ancients is to know thyself. It is interesting though how so few of us can manage it.

In learning how to listen, we need to ask ourselves some important questions. What are your eating habits and where are they taking you? However, some of us might recoil at this question, or whenever we hear the word "health" that comes after it - the mind conjures up images of bird seed, panting in the gym, and being eternally hungry as you jealously watch other people eating Big Macs.

Thus some experts prefer the word "longevity". They suggest that this word makes us feel more comfortable. It gets interesting when we stop imagining pain and start imagining the quality of your life extending. For example, in Britain it is not just life expectancy which has gained longevity, but healthy life expectancy. The proportion of life spent in good health is increasing, and a race has started to unlock the genetic clues behind living to 100 years.

An easy key to living longer

We all want to get as much out of life as we can, and many of us are interested in any information we can find about increasing longevity. One secret experts share for living longer is the nutrient known as ascorbic acid (more commonly known as vitamin C).

Ascorbic acid is believed to be one of the best anti-ageing nutrients to take for a lifetime. It is one of the body's main protectors against toxins, carcinogens, invading micro organisms, and stress of any kind. There's just one problem: Our bodies are born with a genetic defect that makes it impossible for us to produce ascorbic acid on our own. Instead, we have to depend on outside sources in order to provide an important defence to help keep us optimally healthy.

Nutritionists say that textbooks of human genetics and paediatrics have repeated this incontrovertible fact for almost a century, but somehow they've managed to entirely neglect its full implications for optimal health, anti-ageing, and longevity.

Tens of thousands of other species make their own ascorbic acid in their livers or kidneys. Their ascorbic acid production increases when they ingest a toxin or carcinogen, when their bodies are invaded by viruses or other micro-organisms, and whenever they're placed under any stress, such as extremes of heat or cold, emotional stress, or sleep deprivation. Why? Because ascorbic acid is one of Nature's primary stress fighters and detoxifiers in nearly all animal species, including birds and fish. Without the ability to make ascorbic acid, humans are missing a major built-in biochemical defence for an entire lifetime. And without dietary ascorbic acid, it's thought we'd all be dead in a matter of weeks.

Where do people live longer and why?

American researchers conducted a 10-year study of over 11,000 adults between the ages of 25 and 74. They concluded that men who took (only) 800 milligrams of ascorbic acid daily lived six years longer than men who took only 60 milligrams daily. Similarly, in a study of over 19,000 adults ages 45 to 79, those with the lowest plasma ascorbic acid levels were twice as likely to die over a four-year time period as compared with those with the highest levels.

However, with all the evidence, only a minority of anti-ageing enthusiasts are using optimal amounts of ascorbic acid for health and longevity. Generally those that do, are taking 1 or 2 grams once or twice a day. Proponents of the nutrient's anti-ageing properties say that if you're a serious follower of anti-ageing principles, you will "get it right" and use bowel tolerance levels of ascorbic acid.

Bowel tolerance is the "copy Nature" concept of ascorbic acid supplementation originated by Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling. It means taking as much supplemental ascorbic acid (sodium ascorbate, calcium, magnesium ascorbate, and various forms of Ester-C will all do the job) as your body can absorb. Your gastrointestinal tract lets you know how much you're absorbing, and then how much is too much by producing excess gas. If you don't cut back on the amount you're taking, the excess gas will continue to escalate into diarrhoea.

The problem with taking too many vitamins.

Many healthy adults 40 years old or older can take 1 to 2 grams of ascorbic acid twice a day with no excess gas, but when you're coming down with something, or when you're under significant stress, experts say you can take considerably more. With the flu or very bad colds, many people can take 5 to 10 grams two or three times daily before their bodies tell them they're taking too much.

Although there's nothing new in the quest for longevity. Ancient Chinese and early modern European alchemists dreamt of an elixir that would give perpetual life. But it is only in recent times that the dream has captured masses of people, with millions following diets and exercise regimes in the hope that they can put off dying for as long as possible, with some even questioning whether you really would want to live a century. If we are just adding years to life, rather than life to years, then we may not have so much to look forward to, some say.

Is living longer better?

Nevertheless, the current statistics in Britain suggest that there is a 1.4% chance of scoring a century in age terms. Our survival is governed by the "force of mortality" - the archaic expression for the chance of dying each year. Each year, an average adult ages, this unavoidable force increases by around 9%, so that every eight years your chance of not making your next birthday roughly doubles. But as the United Kingdom has got safer and healthier, the force-of-mortality has been decreasing for decades, so that life expectancy has been rising at about three months a year.

As it does, it seems as we are becoming divided into two camps - those ageing with attitude and those who are constantly seeking the secrets of youth. Ageing with attitude is the new battle cry of Britain's growing band of Baby Boomers - born between 1946 and 1964 - who refuse to be principally defined by their date of birth. On the other end, we Brits spend multi-millions on anti-ageing products and treatments. Sales are rocketing as both men and women pursue the Holy Grail of youth at a time when the UK has more over 60s than ever before - making them the fastest growing groups in society.

The quest to reverse the human ageing process.

It's odd to think in statistical terms we have been essentially ageing only nine months for each year that passes, but assuming these improvements in health continue then as the mortality force decreases, longevity of life will increase. Such projections into the future are always controversial (and include many other factors). Some believe that the mortality and life expectancy calculations actuaries and statisticians rely on have been too optimistic.

However, there are many examples of "older" people defying society's expectations of them and the myths of growing old. Take your pick: A 101-year-old man who refuses to retire from his job, or the 96-year-old lady who holds the record as the oldest yoga instructor still giving class. And with nearly 12,000 centenarians in Britain today, that number is expected to rise as more people reach 100, and so, too, are scientific theories increasing about life expectancy and how they compare with the experience of those who have managed to pass the 100-year mark.

Surprising ways to live to be 100, MSN UK
Ways to live to 100/MSN UK
Although what drives the process of ageing is still relatively poorly understood, scientists have found that long-term healthy living can add five years to a woman's life and six years to a man's, while a Swedish study showed that factors such as being overweight, smoking and excessive drinking do make a difference to people aged 75 or more. Health living meant participating in at least one leisure activity and having a good circle of friends, said the researchers. But MSN UK has published 10 surprising ways to live longer, claiming that if we want to live to a ripe old age, it's not just about eating five a day and stopping smoking. It's about the brain, or more specifically, the mind.

While looking after your physical health is very important, those who live to a ripe old age tend to have other things going for them, MSN's article claims. In a nutshell, their outlook and personalities set them up for longer life. MSN's article publishes these "happy" traits labelling them as the real secrets of the ancients. Tips such as being sociable and having grounded optimism are things I've written about before, while the MSN article also writes that being selfless has a large impact on how long we live.

Six ways to live to be 100

Naturally, genetics plays a role in how long you live, but research also indicates that the way you think may play a bigger role on their life expectancy than your genes. Most people over 100 years old are in surprising good mental and physical condition - in fact researchers have found that many are happier and healthier than many who are in their 50s and 60s. The good news is no matter what your age is, if you start living right now, you'll live happier and healthier than you have before.

The 10 habits of healthy ageing.

Researchers have learned that once you start living what has been termed as the "centenarian lifestyle" the benefits you receive will keep increasing. Researchers also found that the biggest difference between people that lived to be 100 and others in the population was learned behaviours - this means that you can start living like a centenarian just by adopting some simple habits. Follow these 6 habits to live a happier, healthier and longer life.

  1. Complain less about your health: Be very positive about your current state of health and downplay the bad stuff. Cultivate a sense of gratitude and give blessings for any of the health that we have and the state of our health. Staying positive about our health is the best way to maintain it.
  2. Never stop learning: Be an avid learner and enjoy your interests and passions. Read, complete puzzles or brain games and teasers on a daily basis, watch educational programming to help you keep mentally sharp.
  3. Be optimistic: Those who enjoy life the most are three times more likely to live a little longer than those who enjoy it the least, a study of ageing suggests. Love life despite the difficulties. Gain a happier outlook, it will also help reduce anxiety and depression. In addition to a positive outlook on life, be more accepting of circumstances of which you have no control over. When you have worries don't worry about them. Don't sweat the small stuff; let go of the things you can't change and focus on pursuing what you can change and what makes you happy. Get satisfaction out of life's little pleasures and focus on what you do want rather than on what you wish was different.
  4. Be more satisfied with your financial situation: This doesn't mean you have to be rich to live longer - you just have to be more satisfied what what you have. It's easy to get stressed about money; but one thing to remember is that no matter what you're situation is, there are many things you have to be grateful for. Don't compare your financial situation to other people, there's nothing faster than that to dent your happy outlook - be grateful for what you do have. Experts say this will raise your vibration and help you make space for more money to come to you.
  5. Cultivate your social relationships and protect your independence: Live your life to the fullest by participating in social activities and retaining your role in society. Thus will give you strong social relationships to lean on when you need support. Relish your independence and refuse to give up control of your life - it will give you the freedom to participate in society by engaging in social leisure activities. Remember how important friends and family can be to your well-being. Don't take people for granted. take an active role in pursuing interests with others who share them as well. Don't just let things happen; do whatever is necessary to maintain your independence - do that to protect your sense of self.
  6. Keep healthy habits: Healthy habits can add years to your life. If you're interested in living to be 100 years old or more, you can do things that are proven longevity boosters.

    Grow younger by breaking bad habits.

    For example you can eat less refined salt and sugar. Move around. Exercise regularly. Try and maintain a good level of mobility. Take good care of your teeth. Go to the dentist regularly. Have the basics covered so that you can make sure you maintain a good level of health. Here are a few more key ones:

    • Load up on fruits & veggies - it adds 5 years.
    • Workout often - adds 2-4 years.
    • Have an engaging hobby - adds about 2 years.
    • Floss your teeth regularly - adds more than 6 years!
    • Take regular vacations - adds about 2 years!
    • Have sex often, which releases feel-good hormones and adds about 5 years.

    Just for fun, how about combining all this into one by going on a surfing vacation to Mexico where you workout, have sex and eat papaya, or go for a romantic second honeymoon to Istanbul and sample the healthy Mediterranean cuisine while walking around one of Europe's largest cites.

What psychologists and scientists have discovered over the last few years is something that might be described as the meaning of life. Not generally in a spiritual way, but it seems that evolution has given a longevity advantage to people who are nice to others. Scientists call it the "helper's high" - said to be similar to the high that you get after exercise, but it lasts longer.

Even more good news is there are truly amazing things happening in the biotechnology industry regarding your longevity. Within a few years now, you'll be able to map your personal DNA sequence for a fee and see pretty much when and how you will die of old age. Liver failure at 72? We'll start growing you a new one using your liver stem cells.

Scientists are claiming that what's coming out of that biotech world is real now, not just theoretical, and mind-blowing. They're talking borderline immortality, based upon the theory that your cells reproduce and replenish, because of something on your DNA strand called "telomeres". But when the telomeres run out, it's believed you can't replenish any more, and you die. Adherents to the this theory are now working on ways to make your telomeres everlasting. Meanwhile enzymes researchers believe that the ageing process is nothing more than a severe enzyme deficiency, and that ageing can be delayed by taking enzyme supplements. They claim the key is taking the right quantity and combination of high-quality systemic enzymes, and are pushing for medical advancements in this area.

The extend-life camp say it makes sense to extend your life to be around for these new technologies, and to live long enough for the price to come down and not succumb to some disease like cancer (many people are said to die of "old age" when they actually die from some sort of cancer). So, are there any options open to us to change that outcome?

The statistics for cancer are truly frightening. The World Health Organization has estimated that cancer incidences will increase by 50% by 2020. One in three people is said to be affected in some way by cancer. By all reasonable measures, conventional medicine has failed to cure this disease since modern medicine declared war on it in the seventies - despite billions of hard cash spent, the cases of cancer are only rising. Experts claim it's one of modern medicine's biggest failures.

What could possibly have gone wrong? Is there another way? A way everyone's missing? Let's start with what we know about cancer. Consider this analogy: if your immune system is your biological security service, cancer is a security agent who's gone rogue; an agent that no longer obeys orders from command, and instead just does its own thing.

It's no wonder why our own immune system refuses to fight cancer: it won't fight an organism it presumes is one of their own. Experts say that a tumour forms as a result of your immune system not knowing when to stop repairing damage. Stem cells keep rushing to the affected area even when the damage is repaired, and the excess tissue is a tumour.

Crucial to our understanding is that the tumour is a symptom, not a cause. That's why only around 15% of tumour cells are cancer cells. And yet, modern medicine focuses on cutting and burning tumours away, and measuring tumour size as a means of declaring success or failure in cancer treatment. Some oncologists claim this makes no sense, or that it makes sense if you're a medical doctor who's had approximately ZERO training in nutrition. And nutrition, some are claiming, is where the answer is to be found. Thus, a little background to set the scene, again, based on what we know about cancer:

  1. Cancer is a modern disease. It's really only been prevalent in the last 60 years (since the Second World War). So wouldn't it be reasonable to understand what changed 60 years ago to give us a clue about cancer's birth? So what happened in this post-war world?

    What some are suggest happened is that agriculture became mechanised. People moved to the cities. Women became fixtures in the workplace due to the war, resulting in both couples working in the city, and nobody at home to buy fresh groceries and cook a fresh meal each day. Enter convenience food.

  2. Cancer is a HUMAN disease. Wild animals do not get cancer, period. The only animals to get cancer are those in captivity or pets or wild animals who have eaten our leftovers or processed feed.

So cancer is a modern disease found only in human animals. What's happened to humans only, and only in the post war years? Answer this, the experts say, and you have the cause of cancer. And when you know the cause of cancer, you can stop it. It seems to make sense. But what IS the cause?

The importance of food

“You can't outrun a bad diet.”
British Journal Of Sports Medicine

Nutritionists have tried to answer this question by using a simple example (and that we're familiar with): a liquorice twist. Recipes got handed down for various things for centuries, for good reasons. Because our ancestors knew things. Tens of thousands of years of trial and error taught them that certain nutrients had certain healing properties. Our ancestors may not have had smartphones, but they weren't completely backward or you or I would not be living today. They survived. So experts say, we should give them credit, and not write them off as savages.

Their wisdom has been labelled as primitive wisdom in some circles; some call them the secrets of the ancients that we are re-discovering having lost along the way with modernisation. Some believe in this respect we "threw the baby out with the bathwater" and that we need to revisit the wisdom of the past to see if we can be relearn things once lost.

The example of liquorice is just one of many; real liquorice root is said to aid several health conditions, such as stomach ulcers, a sore throat, and high cholesterol (when eaten in moderation). Our ancestors knew this. But raw liquorice tastes dreadful, so they blended it with sugar cane and the liquorice twist was the result: a tasty treat for children. But in the post war era, some bright spark discovered a way to imitate the flavour of liquorice with a chemical. And this chemical (aptly titled: artificial flavouring) was a heck of a lot cheaper than liquorice root as an ingredient.

The post-war consumer was all about value (had to be just coming out of a war), so people bought the cheapest liquorice twist, which was the one that tasted exactly the same as the more expensive brand that used real liquorice. So the real liquorice twist manufacturer went out of business, and the food manufacturers' profits soared as this clever new way of tricking peoples' taste buds gave them pricing power.

So let's take a look at what our booming post-war society accomplished here, taking the simple old liquorice twist as an example:

  1. We took OUT the good stuff (liquorice). BAD.
  2. We put IN the bad stuff (chemicals), going from bad to WORSE.

Nutritionists now warn that this over-dependence on processed foods has led to our immune system going haywire. They warn that liquorice twist is just one example. This applies to all foods. A few decades before we became desensitised to the phrase "artificial ingredients" on food packaging when it should have been raising a big, red flag. Conversely, we looked at organic food with suspicion, as if it was some kind of fad. However, organic food is not a fad, it's just the way food always was before we messed with it.

Foods with most pesticides
However, when we purchase organic food, we should always aim to make sure that it is also locally (if not seasonally) sourced. Some food manufacturers sell organic produce that has been grown a continent away, and thus still has the same effect on the environment in regards to shipping, storage and the like. I prefer to eat food from the same soil I walk on, and will always endeavour to purchase my real food from local farms and markets - and in fact it works out cheaper in the long run. And although there is inconclusive evidence that eating organic food might not make you healthier on its own, it will cut your exposure to pesticides. Moreover, there were many reasons why people chose to eat organic, including animal welfare or environmental concerns.

Should you go organic?

Leading scientists from the Stockholm Water Institute recently announced that we might be forced to adopt a vegetarian diet in order to cope with water shortages. They argue that with an extra two billion people expected to be alive in 2050, there simply won't be enough fresh water to support animal farming, which requires 5-10 times as much water to produce the same amount of protein as plant-based foods. Some argue that in a world with a growing population and diminishing resources - with animal farming responsible for greenhouse gas emissions as much as motorised vehicles - that it might be more logical to feed plants directly to people rather than to animals who are then killed for the meat.

Others say that if animals are farmed organically, rather than in a mass factory-line fashion, there wouldn't be an overuse of energy and water. But whatever the reason for choosing a more sustainable diet, proponents of organic food say it should simply be referred to as food (or real food), and anything else should be the thing that causes suspicion - labelled as "artificial food". Certain responsible food manufacturers are making things the way they used to (the Paul Newman brand does a real liquorice twist; how people are allowed to advertise anything "liquorice" without any liquorice in the product defies belief) but it costs more.

However, nutritionists say that's the true cost of food - and what's more, that's the cheapest healthcare money can buy. You may have a full stomach with cheaper foods, but in reality you're starving your health to death. The experts give the analogy of your body as a computer. When you buy a computer you treat it well. You keep it from harm and make sure no nasty viruses contaminate it. But you can buy a new computer. You can't buy a new body (as of yet). Arguably, the reason quality of living has risen in Britain is because more people are now aware of the importance of food.

Read more about diet and exercise.

Human longevity has been affected beneficially due to this rising awareness (and of course advancements in medicine trying to repair the damage being done in the first place) that the consumer is in control of what they eat. If the consumer is in control, then the remedy is simple. Don't buy their product, and the corporations will stop poisoning the population. And prices will come down for real food. So you have to stop the poison going in. But that's just one half of the battle. The other half is to ensure you're putting the right things in you instead, and there are natural foods that can optimise your health and provide you with the energy you need. Food is also becoming more important with increasing antibiotic resistance; it is important that we turn our attention to new ways to combat microbial infection and the properties of food.

Need to know about the energy of food?

Some experts also believe that eating correctly has an effect on spiritual growth, and the concept of "eating spiritually" has been around for millennia. This theory works along the lines that every food has a specific energy that can be matched to our own unique vibes; and so certain foods will be more beneficial to us than others, in addition to its general nutritional benefits. Others claim that we also have to have an affinity - or like - the food we eat; so the theory goes, even we the food we eat is healthy, if we "hate" the taste of it, that emotion could literally turn the food to poison as we consume it.

So when we pay attention to what we eat and are more consciously aware when it comes to the foods we put in our bodies (and even the meditation and exercise we do), the deeper our connection to our soul (and by extension the universe) will be. Proponents to this way of looking at eating believe it eliminates the need for "dieting", counting calories, or even eating for energy. To get healthy, and to get happy, we need to become experts in many different areas - and it shouldn't just be about losing weight, the focus needs to be on overall health.

Our lives aren't optimised for healthy living. Long commutes, extended working hours and too much time behind a screen prevent us from being active. And more often than not, the meals we eat are designed to be prepared quickly, and contain huge amounts of hidden sugar and fat. It all adds up to weight gain, and a higher level of obesity in the UK than ever before. Who can blame us for putting on the pounds - and looking for a quick fix when it comes to shedding them?

The trouble with weight loss is there is only one way to achieve it in a healthy, sustainable way - and it's been around since dinosaurs were staying trim by running after their food. If you use more energy than you're taking in, you will gradually become slimmer over time. If you want to lose weight safely, there are no short-cuts. And it shouldn't be about fad diets and getting skinnier than our friends in shortest time possible anyway. It's all to easy to put all the weight back on - and more - soon afterwards.

Moreover, there is even evidence to suggest that people can be over weight yet physically healthy and fit and at no greater risk of heart disease or cancer than normal weight people. This doesn't mean that obesity is not a health issue - some believe thousands are dying due to obesity daily - it means that health is more than just the way we look. While it's believed that obesity may be a contributory factor to the onset of certain diseases, other research indicates that on the reverse end of the scale, thin people can be unhealthy, too.

Although the bonus of eating well is a loss in weight, if you are one of those people that can eat anything and not put on weight, it doesn't necessarily mean you are free from risk of disease. There are people termed as TOFI - thin outside fat inside - where the amount of visceral fat around their organs (unseen fat) is in high amounts. Scientists have also discovered that a type of fat labelled as "brown fat" is a good thing because it produces lots of heat by burning calories. Unlike white fat, which clings to our hips and expands our ageing waistlines, it's believed that brown fat keeps the weight off.

The consensus is that the key is being "metabolically fit", meaning no high blood pressure, cholesterol or raised blood sugar, and exercising. This suggests that being healthy is not simply cosmetic; there should be more emphasis on long-term health and nourishing our bodies with wholesome food that gives us masses of energy, makes our skin clear and protects us from disease. And as our awareness of the importance of healthy living rises - giant food companies are getting in on the act. Even chocolate companies and confectioners want to be seen as promoting healthy living.

Some believe that in the last 40 years, the food industry has hijacked your brain and choreographed temptation. Going by the neuroscience that suggests our brain has a hedonistic response to certain foods (making them addictive) giant food companies created our food cravings and then made this type of food more easily accessible - and in larger portions. Some argue that the invention of the "supersize" portion in the US helped create a toxic food environment via fast food outlets changing social norms over the way we eat - and not simply what we eat. Now with food prices rising, the complaint is that portions are getting smaller with the price remaining the same - thus we are paying more for less.

Presumably the reason that food and drink companies are more attracted to this kind of subterfuge than other types of business is that it's easy to quietly and subtly adjust, for example, the number of chunks on a chocolate bar or the amount of yoghurt in a pot without too many people noticing. Some see this as yet another swindle of the food giants influencing the way we eat as it suits them and their revenue. But the issue isn't just businesses being businesses and clawing for extra profits by whichever means possible.

With popular food brands wishing to seem healthy, the food industry is jumping on the bandwagon to make money off the disease of cravings and gluttony they helped to create. So-called processed health foods are fattening, too. A smoothie can have as many calories as a soda drink; some soda drink companies even make smoothies that we think are good for us (the Innocent Smoothie brand is owned by Coca Cola) - while lower fat doesn't necessarily mean lower calories. This means that the consumer is fooled into thinking they are eating and drinking healthy, when they are anything but.

Coffee v smoothies: Which is better for you?

It seems illogical that we believe the packaging, so why do we do this? Experts say that from a psychological point of view it makes a lot of sense. We tend to look at food in binary terms - there's good food and bad food. The basic premise is that when you're good on one aspect, people think you must be good on every aspect. So if a food is organic, or gluten-free, people tend to categorise the food as being a good food overall, and as a result they're going to think it's less fattening - and this isn't always the case.

Some experts call this the "health halo" around food that is perceived to be healthy, but in fact has just as many calories as their "unhealthy" counterparts - and sometimes even more. For example, a fresh sandwich from Subways can have more calories than a Big Mac, or processed foods marked as "low-fat" may be low or reduced in fat, but still be high in calories or have high levels of sugar or salt.

Why has Sweden dismissed a low-fat diet?

The food industry know this very well, and have used the opportunity to market food as healthy, because more and more people are interested in eating well and more healthily - and yet unhealthy obesity levels are still on the rise - because these are the people more likely to be misled by the health haloes. Thus powerful people and the food giants they represent are not only making money off this issue of our health which they helped to perpetuate, but they continue to control the way we way we eat. Some experts believe that the paradox of low fat food and high fat people is going to get worse.

We underestimate the calories in healthy foods, because we subconsciously categorise food into simply good or bad. If the experts are right when they say that the food industry knows this, and is cashing in on it - can we ever trust them to help us fight unhealthy obesity when their profits are at stake? Some argue that the food industry puts the onus on the individual because it takes the spotlight off them, but according to the scientists the key issue is the sheer amount of calories we're consuming. The food industry knows a lot about people's behaviour, they use it to their advantage to sell their products, but everyone has a part to play, and what is fundamental is changing people's behaviour. Some doctors believe the entire culture around eating needs to change to make it easier to make healthy decisions, with a tax of fizzy drinks and a ban on "junk food" adverts aimed at children.

Pick up your shield

Mickie Kent on Health

Mickie Kent on Health
Love Your Sleep
Consume Life with Love
Function with Love
Get Physical with Love

Food is an important part of our lives. Science suggests it's a fact that connects us all. Out of all the things we recall most fondly about our childhood, food always comes top, because our enjoyment of food is rooted in the past. This is not a new discovery; it seems that many of the things that are essential for life were known by the ancients, things that our modern civilisations have forgotten.

As already mentioned, some have called this primitive wisdom; these are the fundamental truths of life that put them in harmony with nature through obeying her nutritional, physical and spiritual laws, and which we are now re-discovering. We can't understand how we got to where we are today, if we do not know educate ourselves to the history that led us to this point. Our body has a history, too, and we might need to retrace our steps to see how we came to the health we enjoy (or don't enjoy) at the present time.

Modern civilisation has many things to admire, but the dark side of its so-called nutrition comes with it in a package. Often the fake foods that carry its malnutrition are manufactured to have drug-like addictive qualities, giving credence to the argument that the consumer is really NOT in control. It peddles the illusion of ease with its elevators and office chairs, but science is showing how detrimental a sedentary lifestyle is to our lifespan. Its televisions and radios and educational systems constitute unparalleled systems of mass media that embed its ideologies within the minds of its students. Television's harshest critics call it sulphuric acid for the brain.

Read how television affects young minds.

In all great spiritual traditions of the world there appears some form of the idea that most human beings are sleepwalking through their existence. Enlightenment is identified as waking up. Evolution and progress are identified with an expansion of consciousness. We may advance technologically, but if we are not advancing mentally that we are regressing - which is dangerous, because the more technologically advanced we become arguably the more consciously aware we need to be of the responsibility in using them.

We perceive conciousness as the highest manifestation if life. The higher the form of consciousness, the more advanced the form of life. Among our species we carry this same principle even further. We identify increasing maturity with wide vision, greater awareness and higher consciousness.

Click here to live consciously.

Given the urgency of the situation, and the desire to live well ourselves and see our friends and family and neighbours live well, we also have the internet, our local chapters and meet-ups, and many ways to propagate wisdom through the superior and more humane force of persuasion, and this may just be our salvation - in an ironic twist, the gift of modern civilisation, perhaps finally beginning to heal itself. If we can use the advancements of science responsibly perhaps there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Indeed for people who refuse to jump on the enlightened bandwagon, and fail to be more of conscious of their bodies and what they eat may mean that natural selection may indeed begin operating in favour of traditional wisdom; only the fittest will survive.

Yours in love,

Mickie Kent