If you are reading this page, you are probably interested in maximizing or regaining your health or the health of a loved one. The good news is that optimal health can be easily attained by almost everyone. In fact, most of the obstacles to health that any of us face during our lifetime are caused by our own behavior - especially unhealthy food choices.
Health is best described as an optimal state of physical, mental, and social well-being, with the emphasis on optimal. The requirements of optimal health are very simple and available to virtually anyone. They consist of a diet consisting exclusively of minimally processed plant foods, regular physical activity, and sufficient sleep. These requirements are the same whether you are sick or well.
Your body is not your enemy - quite the contrary. Your body is your greatest ally on the road to optimal health. The human body strives to build and maintain health 24 hours of every day of your life. Even when it encounters obstacles that it cannot completely overcome, your body works ceaselessly to try to produce health.
The TrueNorth Foundation's goal is to help you understand the basic principles that govern the processes of building and regaining health and maintaining it throughout your life. The scientific literature is very clear about what kinds of food choices and behaviors contribute to optimal health. The debate is long over. Unfortunately, important scientific evidence often conflicts with aggressive marketing messages that promote the very same addictive, high-caloric foods that undermine our health and happiness. Until very recently, the biggest threat throughout our eons of natural history as humans, was food scarcity. Because of that scarcity, we have adapted to seek the richest food in the environment and expend as little effort as possible to do so. We must use this new knowledge to avoid the “pleasure trap” of our modern food environment and make more intelligent choices for ourselves if we want to maximize our health.
Achieving Your Health Potential
Most of us want to live as long and as well as possible. Heredity, diet, activity, rest, sleep, psychology, and environmental factors all contribute to both how long you will live and how healthy and vibrant those years will be. While certain aspects of your heredity and your environment are outside of your control, there is a great deal you can control, and it is the Foundation’s goal to help you understand and take action on those things to the greatest extent possible.
To restore or build your health to its maximum current potential, you need to provide yourself with all of the requirements of health. At the same time, you must avoid, or at least minimize, the things that can compromise health: environmental stressors and your own self-destructive behaviors. Whatever your current condition, adopting the diet and lifestyle practices we recommend will almost certainly improve it.
Creating the optimal conditions for health makes sense no matter what your current state of health. It may seem like dark humor, but even if you have a grave, life-threatening condition, you don't also want to be suffering with headaches, heartburn, constipation, and skin rashes. The goal is to have the highest quality of life possible throughout your life, whatever length that may be.
Requirements of Health
The four major components of healthy living we must pursue for optimal health are:
1) diet: what and how we eat;
2) environment: how we select and modify our surroundings;
3) activity: how we exercise, rest, and sleep; and
4) psychology: how we view ourselves and interact with others.
We must learn to identify the specific requirements, as well as the stressors, for each of these four categories. Only then can we formulate effective strategies that lead to optimal health.
Heredity and its accompanying genetic predispositions can be a significant health factor, but it is not everything. A large percentage of disease is caused by lifestyle choices, independent of genetic predisposition. Putting it as plainly as possible, when it comes to the diseases that respond to diet and lifestyle modification, you are almost always the primary cause of your problems.
For example, you (like everyone else) have a genetic predisposition to become inebriated if you drink enough alcohol. You may be more genetically predisposed to drunkenness than the next person, or you may get drunk on a comparatively very small amount of alcohol. But you will never get drunk at all unless you drink some alcohol. The same is true for all conditions that respond to diet and lifestyle modification. Regardless of your genetic predispositions, if you engage in enough unhealthy behavior (whatever “enough” means for you individually), you will very likely develop the associated conditions. And at the same time, if you don't engage in the unhealthy behaviors, you won't get the conditions. Simply by stopping the unhealthy behaviors that lead to health problems, in many cases those problems will improve or resolve.
Taking the Next Step
Now that you know the basic requirements of health, we encourage you to explore further and to get more detailed information about creating and maintaining optimal health from the topic links to the right: Healthy Living, Diet, Exercise, Stress/Social Pressure, and Sleep.
In some cases a medically supervised water-only fast is recommended to accelerate healing in conjunction with a whole plant-food diet, free of added salt, oil and sugar. It is only through consultation with a physician that a patient can discover if fasting is right for them.
To learn more about how fasting may help in managing health, please go to the Medically Supervised Fasting section.