Saturday, 2 August 2014

Got Ultrahealth?

Do you have ultrahealth?

That is, a state of health where you are not simply 'free of disease', but you look and feel your best, where your body is functioning at it's prime and you wake up happy, bright eyed and ready to take on the day?


Well, maybe you need to take a look at your culture.

Okay, wait, let me explain!

A lot has changed since the 1980s, when Leslie Kenton published 'Ultrahealth', a predecessor to the health books that flood our current market. None, however, have ever been so visually striking, or as ahead of their time, as Ultrahealth. Kenton touches upon something that many books/websites etc. seem to overlook, and that is images of worseness in the media. 

'Worseness', you say?

While I'm enthralled by wellness and the habits that cultivate it: healthy eating, yoga, meditation, exercise, stress management, natural cosmetics, a clean environment - you name it! -  there are the habits that promote the opposite of wellness: drinking, smoking, drugs, bad foods, excessive work, sedentary lifestyles, chemicals, pollutants, and, believe me, that list is a long one. It's also the list that most people do or surround themselves with the items on, and it's also the images you see in popular culture.

So, while 30 years ago, Kenton was pointing out that cultural norms such as smoking and drinking are considered the height of urban sophistication, not much has really changed.

Maybe the vices are a little different today. For instance, despite growing scientific evidence suggesting that dairy intake is, absolutely, not good for human consumption, causing problems such as cancer, osteoporosis, inflammation, practically irreversible acne if consumed during key puberty years (see: nutrition facts for a break down of contemporary scientific studies), celebrities are still paid huge sums of money to endorse dairy consumption, claiming that it's good for you, implying that it's normal and cool and sexy, and that you can't achieve these things without a tall, cold glass of milk. (Oh, and yes, as someone who follows a plant-based diet in a small town, I can personally say that not consuming it does make you weird, but, when you look around, do you really want to do what everyone else is doing?).

So often, on TV shows, characters are obsessed by certain junk foods - for argument's sake here, let's just say cupcakes - and will apparently consume vast quantities of them, while not participating in any wellness behaviours. The actress/actor playing said character, however, clearly does not do this. They clearly go to the gym. They clearly eat well. But, if you're not obsessed with health, rather than sugary foods, what's the main thing you take away from this?


I'm not saying don't eat cupcakes. Or drink alcohol. Or whatever. Just, that, sometimes we need to re-evaluate what normal is.

Right now, 'normal' is not going to make you look good in your shorts. Nor is it going to stave away illness and have your body functioning at it's best.

Normal isn't giving you peace of mind.

So, take a look at your cultural norms. If you don't like them:

Create new ones.

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