Your Perfume Makes Me Cry

A chiropractor acquaintance of ours is allergic to my perfumes. Actually so is my husband. Sneezing, hacking, gasping, watery eyes, and not the 😂 kind. As I originally thought it was just men being men, turns out there’s more to it. Here my friend, Jessica Hoogendorn, naturopath and CNHP, explains:

“Did you know that sensitivities to chemicals in perfumes, soaps, carpets, and other things has a name: Multiple Chemical Sensitivity.

“It’s another problem stemming from leaky gut. A healthy immune system is able to handle these irritants! The problem occurs when toxins and other pathogens have leaked through the inflamed intestinal walls, and entered our bloodstream. Our body becomes overburdened! It starts shutting down or attacking itself.

“Adrenal fatigue, allergies, food sensitivities, anxiety, insomnia, hormonal problems that occur when we reabsorb estrogen (cysts, etc.), brain fog, asthma… Much more! It’s such a long list!!!

“It’s GUT HEALTH!!! Hippocrates knew what he was talking about when he said that all diseases begin in the gut. If anyone is still scoffing at the thought, you have a pretty closed mind! There are doctors and scientists and researchers everywhere who are publishing facts about gut health, how diseases are related to it, and how poor gut health happens.

“It is the very reason why auto-immune diseases begin. Lupus, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, myocarditis, iritis and thyroiditis are some of the members of this ever-growing category of mysteriously incurable auto-immune diseases.”

Disease is no mystery, it’s big business. The American Cancer Society, for example, reportedly has in it’s charter the resolution to dissolve the Society in the event a cure for cancer is found. Small wonder the Society, like big pharma, is not interested in a cure, as they are sustained by millions of dollars in sales and research funds annually. Sick people will pay to get well, but wellness is not derived from adding synthetic pharmaceuticals into already struggling biological systems. At best, symptoms are alleviated in the short term, while toxins are building up over prolonged use. The consumption of pharma’s antibiotics, either prescribed or OTC, play an unholy role in the slow kill of populations worldwide.

Your body has been created to recover magnificently, if only you will give it the nutrients it needs. You are the governor of your health. You choose your diets and lifestyle, upon this we cannot improve. The universe is comprised of natural laws, and historical precedent has shown that violating them necessarily ends in tears, or worse. It is the method by which we learn, and thereby we thrive. If you are not feeling strong and vigorous 95% of the time, something is off kilter. Leave it that way and you can reasonably expect to crash, probably sooner than later.

Your Perfume Makes Me Cry

Why Should I Even Try?

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The long dark days of Winter can tempt me to feel like not even trying. Since Spring weather has arrived, though, I’ve been enjoying walking with friends, and it’s been such a blessing. It’s good for the body, good for the soul, and good for keeping up relationships. If you can walk, you should. Here’s why:

Walking helps reduce the onset of Alzheimer’s and dementia, according to a University of Kansas study. In fact, the University of Kansas Alzheimer’s Disease Center has recently begun the most comprehensive study to date, on the role exercise plays in cognitive health. Walking improves overall mental peace, by giving your body an outlet for daily stressors, stimulating production of endorphins and neural cells.

The Journal of Psychiatric Research showed that walking even 30 minutes a day improves our outlook and reduces depression. We can survive, or we can thrive.

A six-month study done by Duke University has shown that walking beats running for prevention of diabetes. The walkers were found to be six times more efficient than the runners in usage of their blood sugar. Better glucose processing is easier on the pancreas as well.

Walking contributes to spinal health, strengthening back muscles and improving circulation along the spinal column, thus reducing back pain. The American Heart Association has recognized that daily low intensity exercise is as effective at strengthening the heart as is more impactful working out. Overworking the heart muscle is not advisable, and each person must know their limit. Low-impact aerobic exercise, however, is an excellent way to strengthen the heart, improve circulation and lower blood pressure. Walking also improves lung capacity, thereby helping to oxygenate the cells more completely. This is critical for cellular function, especially for detoxification processes. Accumulation of toxins is one of the leading causes of disease.

The Glaucoma Research Foundation has found that walking significantly improves eyesight, by lessening the pressure that builds up inside the eyeball when we sit for long periods. Exercise stimulates the visual cortex in the brain as well.

Our grandparents intuitively knew that taking a walk after a big meal was the thing to do. Science has demonstrated that walking improves digestion and elimination processes, thus lowering risk of colon cancer. According to research, it even improves the survival prospects of someone diagnosed with such cancer.

The Arthritis Foundations recommends walking to support bone and joint strength. Sitting can lead to loss of bone density, increasing risk of fractures and breaks. This is one of those use-it-or-lose-it examples. Like muscular development, when we demand performance of the body, our body miraculously responds by generating more mass to meet the demand.

The most productive walking, for weight loss and muscle tone, is that pace right before you need to break into a jog. The faster you go from there puts more impact and chance of strain on the body. If you’ve been sedentary all Winter, or since the turn of the century, start with a stroll. Something is certainly better than nothing. The more we sit, the more we mentally stagnate.

Homework for you…get up off your bum and take a walk. No one can do it for you. If you don’t have any get-up-and-go whatsoever, I can help find you some fuel. But you are the the driver of your vehicle; yours is the engine.

#ineedenergytoday #walkingforpleasure #whyshouldieventry

Why Should I Even Try?

Who Do You Think You Are?

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Image via Flickr by Alexander Day

 

Here’s a question: Are you what you think you are? An Old Testament proverb declares, “As a man thinketh, so is he.” I expect that applies to us ladies as well. How about this one: are we really what we eat? The correct answer is in the affirmative, it is impossible to be otherwise.

A startling figure was reported in The Guardian, in that, “About 85% of Americans do not consume the US Food and Drug Administration’s recommended daily intakes of the most important vitamins and minerals necessary for proper physical and mental development.” This is a 2015 metric, though I don’t see the state of affairs has changed much, from my own research. For example, french fries remain the number one vegetable consumed by Americans, some 28 pounds per person annually. And let’s just gloss over the approximate 180 pounds of sugar…for now.

The Guardian article recognizes that “hidden hunger” (micronutrient deficiency) wreaks havoc on our systems because we do not appear hungry, we appear filled out or even pudgy. If we don’t look emaciated and weak, it follows that we don’t necessarily move toward dietary changes. But the fact remains that body mass is clearly not synonymous with nutrient density. It’s one thing to consider our own body, quite another to feel the weight of responsibility for what we teach our children to consume on a daily basis. As a mother, this is an ever burning question for me. Am I giving my children the best building blocks that I can, or am I placating their demands for something of far less quality, content to set them up for a lifetime of disease?

Long-term illnesses and chronic discomfort have compounding effects, if we don’t clear things up quickly. In my own practice, I look at daily dietary intake, as this will give me a great idea as to what may be being set up in the body. Garbage in eventually equals garbage out. Sometimes, the real problem is that the garbage actually doesn’t come out; it remains lodged in the G.I. tract or in organs and fatty deposits. Over time, this equates to an ever-thickening toxic soup under our skin, clogging our veins, crossing the barrier and poisoning our brains. Little wonder that we’ve lost our get-up-and-go, or that our children are dulled vessels of apathy.

Nutrition, nutrient density, nutrient-rich foods…not the sexiest of conversation starters. But converse about such things we must, if we would live and live well. In her 2009 article, “Gut and Psychology Syndrome”, Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride observes that so-called mental disorders in children are very frequently the symptoms of unrecognized physical illnesses. She writes that, in addition to suffering from environmental contaminants, children also “cannot digest and absorb their food properly and have severe nutritional deficiencies. As a result they are unable to learn, unable to function in society, to play sports, to make friends, to fit in.” The good doctor underscores my earlier point, that it is impossible to reflect anything other than what we consistently feed ourselves. And let’s remember, that aforementioned government recommendation is widely considered to be the barest minimum for survival.

So the final questions for the moment are: Are we thriving, or are we barely surviving? And are we clipping our children’s wings at the same time?

Who Do You Think You Are?

Diabolical Diabetes

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Image via Flickr, by Paulo Etxeberria

 

The dreaded “D-words”: devils, demons, diseases, diabetes. I can’t speak for everyone’s spiritual condition…but I can nearly guarantee that, if you’re reading this, you are diabetic, pre-diabetic, or know someone personally who is. That’s how close this particular disease is to us, one degree of separation, and small wonder. Though it seems an acceptable evil nowadays, like dental caries and tonsillectomies, diabetes is the stairwell to a dungeon of miseries. Amputation, blindness, heart disease, kidney failure, and nerve damage can all be awful expressions of advanced biological systems failure, preceded by constant blood sugar imbalance and rampant insulin overproduction. The sad part is that the suffering is unnecessary. Imbalances can be balanced, overproduction can scaled back. Life can be good again.

Rooted in Wheat and Sugar

According to chiropractor Bruce West, diabetes is rooted in the increased consumption of refined wheat products, paired with the sedentary lifestyle of the western world. In his book, The 45 Day Health Turnaround, Dr. West states, “This disease is caused by eating processed foods loaded with wheat, sugar, and corn syrup, all the while staying on the couch and avoiding exercise.” If that’s you, this may be your wake-up call.

What’s the quick fix? Get more exercise; oh, and remove wheat and sugar from your diet. Easier said than done, I know; the typical English-speaker swallows roughly 125 pounds of sugar every year. And we’re not referring to heavy whole-meal or sprouted grain breads made (usually) at home, many without yeast, as these do retain nutritional value. Rather, let’s identify the troublemaker as the light-as-a-cloud, refined-then-refortified, loaves and pastries of simple carbohydrates that stock the public pantries. If you are in your best health and fitness ever, an empty carb treat once in a while has no immediate peril. The pre-diabetic, however, is already on the precipice of disaster. Less wheat products, less sugar, more physical activity, these are the new rules.

Those three new rules threaten to put the kibosh on “enjoying life” for half my readers, I suppose. Unless, of course, you’re desperate for pain-free longevity. Some of you dear readers have already recognized something is way out of balance; there’s a huge difference in how “old” you feel today, in surprising contrast to how “alive” you remember yourself being, maybe only a few short years ago. If you’re not yet convinced wheat flour + sugar = disease, try removing only these two items from your diet. You may find this alone to be near impossible, as sugar shows up everywhere in processed foods. If you can stick to the wheat / sugar fast for two weeks, take note of how you feel. Is your energy longer-lasting? Is mental clarity sharper? Keep on this fast for as long as you can. You may want to get your blood sugar levels tested as you go, for a more analytical metric. Dr. West goes on to say, “without exercise and the elimination of, or dramatic reduction in, wheat intake, you simply will never overcome diabetes. And conversely, with these two factors and the right supplements, you can be drug-free within 90 days.” That’s quite a prognosis, flying in the face of the conventional prescription meds model. But what have you got to lose? What could you regain?

Daily exercise seems to be an insurmountable hurdle for some. For me, I don’t mind it; but my husband, for example, only gets excited about physical activity if it involves a game or socializing. Find your inspiration. Promising to hit the gym in the morning, then waking up and not going breeds guilt. Guilt is not conducive to improving health. If you cannot muster the energy to crawl toward your goal, at least fall in the general direction; 20 minutes of Wii Fit is not too meager a beginning, if that’s all a body can take. You inhabit an amazing vessel, in that it will not develop until you make impossible demands of it. Consider the immobility that is overcome within the first year of life, when a newborn goes from struggling to hold its head up, to standing triumphantly, their relatively huge body balanced atop cute little feet and toes. That first year of development is an expression of unfettered faith in action. Over the course of a lifetime, that faith is hammered, attacked, and otherwise eroded, by means equally spiritual and physical. The infant who observed people walking upright, having no reason to believe he or she was ineligible for such a feat, has become so invaded by defeatist programming that the adult limits itself. No external forces need be imposed any more; the adult no longer believes in an ability which the infant never questioned. The joy of living, jumping, and running, has been usurped by the comfort of sitting, watching, bingeing.

The problem for the diabetic is a transparent one. The body is not managing insulin production well. The human body was designed to heal itself. Most of us were not born with critical deficiencies, weren’t brought into the world needing assembly and batteries. The healthy child of a healthy mother arrives a specimen of glowing health. And with good feeding and care, this little person should be able to go on for decades, requiring minimal maintenance. But what we see in this country, among our own people, is not good feeding and care. We see an accepted ethos of medicating and chemical micromanagement. Prescription medications are inherently deceptive, and should be approached with caution. There may yet be a need for antibiotics, for example; a few I know who survived this winter’s flu onslaught believe their lives were saved by them. Fair enough, but we cannot survive in an anti-biotic state forever. The prescription fallacy plays out when we think a problem is resolved because the symptom’s discomfort is alleviated. In reality, if we maintain the same poor diet and lifestyle choices, the ailments persist. More accurately, they are quietly worsening. The next wake-up alarm could be louder, with no snooze button.

The Need for Change

The statisticians suggest that more than 30 percent of Americans are trending toward obesity. Many overweight diabetics and pre-diabetics are given misleading information as regards weight loss. Whether they are advised by medical professionals, or they come to their own conclusions, losing weight is often seen as the priority first step toward healing. But this is not necessarily so. Granted, maintaining a healthy body to mass ratio is a good thing; but weight gain may be as much a symptom of chemical or hormone imbalances as it is it’s own problem. Joel Fuhrman, M.D., in his book, “Eat for Health”, observes that excellent nutritional intake has “profound effects on improving pancreatic function and lowering insulin resistance over and above what could be accomplished with weight loss alone.” Dr. Fuhrman advocates a high-nutrient diet which, in my experience, very few people are willing to follow. This has as much to do with belief as it does effort and willpower. If you are a believer, then you’re already aware of the never-ending quest for a greener-green, a more “organic” whole food. All this adds up to time and money, and even the crunchiest of us are susceptible to taking short cuts for expediency.

As long as people generally believe they’re doing okay, no crippling aches or pains, people don’t change. We see it in nations as well as in the individual. All too frequently, the desperation level must become hellish before we are motivated to repent. Nowhere is this as obvious as in how we satisfy our appetites. It becomes an issue of philosophy, perhaps of morality. Before naysayers poo-poo such notions, spend a few years watching a loved one knowingly and willfully destroy his or her health right in front of you, not caring enough to make the effort. No matter the validity of their reasoning, you’ll find your morality, and your exasperation threshold.

Nutrient-rich eating is the ideal, without question; in fact, it is how our ancestors survived and thrived since the Flood. Unless we grow our own veggies from heirloom seeds, we take your chances at the grocery store and growers markets. Purists resolve to be on a first-name-basis with their growers. It’s people who do the planting, after all; people feed other people.

Finding What Works

What if “the best” produce is 30 miles from home, or more, and you work in the opposite direction anyway? And what if you’re already maxing out your window well with potted herbs and peppers? Vitamin and mineral supplements were created for such reasons. Most Americans are barely getting the minimum recommended daily allowance of the essentials; going for optimum health requires intention and focus. If fresh, raw, whole foods are the vehicle to longevity, nutritional supplementation can be seen as the insurance. But again, you’re looking for high quality plant-based natural products to put into your body, to serve your essential functions, which requires more diligence on your part. The old question arises again: isn’t life worth living? Aren’t you worth thriving, not merely existing?

Balancing our internal systems through proper diet, exercising our muscles, lungs, and brain — these are the simple keys to happy longevity. This is the straight and narrow path to health, physical, emotional, and mental. Deviation from this protocol, neglecting the fundamentals — these are the slippery slopes into the abyss of discomforts, diseases, and miseries. Some of us who leave “the path” in our youth, with cavalier disdain for self-discipline, return to the high road later in life, licking our wounds. Some never make it back to optimal health at all, struggling for decades under the likes of those above-mentioned horrors. A few leave us altogether; their stories and wisdom remain unknown to us.

We gain much by being vigilant over our wellness, and we have much to offer to those around us as we do. If you know you’re sliding down the slope, you can dig your heels in right now, with the determination to arrest your own disability and destruction before it’s too late. The good news is that, while there is yet breath in our lungs, it is not too late to make changes. Small improvements add up to the renovation of a life. Today’s the day.

Diabolical Diabetes

Monkey Do


I always found amusing the age-old monkeys image where each monkey covers its eyes, ears or mouth. It was almost as if to my childish mind, that some monkeys were smarter if they kept their opinions and strategies to themselves. They just might live longer, perhaps even get ahead of the troop. I have spent many years being an observer. It means that much time was spent on the sidelines, maybe even more than actually engaging in the game of life. But it is not enough to observe. Life is for living.

Observing life from the back of the room is advantageous to a point. Many of us would do it simply to steer clear of criticism or social aggravation; others of us would choose to not expose our own ignorance by keeping our mouth shut and our hands off the table. Some of us would even go so far as to let others talk long enough until they have enough words upon which to choke themselves. I have been at all three stations at least once in my life. A shrewd and critical surveyor of the characters around me. But it bears repeating: life is decidedly for living.

In the last several years I have noticed a willingness to connect with people… People who generally didn’t get me or otherwise were difficult to handle. You know the ones, those people who aren’t like you, the not “my kind of people” people. But we do ourselves and society at large a great disservice by harboring distrust to the point of seclusion. We stunt our own growth. And we limit the collective growth of humanity.

One of my favorite Biblical verses is James 5:16, “Confess your sins one to another…”. In broad strokes, I take the verse to mean that we should lead open and compassionate lives, to the enrichment of each other. Confessing sins, so to speak, is another way of being real and honest about who we are, warts and all. If you can forgive me my errors, I can forgive you yours. And if I can’t handle yours, I’m either vainly proud, unrealistic, or both. This verse, to me, goes in tandem with another more easily (even haphazardly) slung-about maxim: “Judge not, lest you be judged.” The clarification of this latter verse is for another day, let it be enough here to compliment the former.

The soul who sits back in observation is seduced into hiding, maybe believing it is better than some of the souls in its company. Such a temptation leads to false impressions of superiority, or worse, inferiority. Verily, we should not think more highly or lowly of ourselves than we are, for this leads to hiding, observing. But when we connect with one another, when we observe and engage, we remove vanity, prejudices and false pretenses. We cannot point the finger outward for too long before recognizing we must point the finger inward as well. We may be different on some things from those around us, but we must also recognize we are so very much the same. Self-preservation is no longer that desperate and overbearing need any longer. We are free, for we know the truth. And this makes us all the healthier.

Monkey Do

Blessings & Curses

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You’re not good enough. You’ll never do it. You’re a dreamer. You’re not getting any prettier. You could stand to lose a few pounds. You’re not the kind that succeeds. You’re too skinny. You’ll just keep failing like you always do. You make me so angry. Have you had enough of this?

Sticks and stones do far less cumulative damage, generally speaking, than words. The above line of declarations being decidedly deconstructive, they do make firm a general theme: someone is good for nothing. Whether it is true or not is immaterial, the recipient begins to believe. All the above statements have been pronounced over me, and I suppose over many of you dear readers. The words of influential people in our lives most certainly have an influence upon us, like it or not…believe it or not. The math checks out. So let us learn to put this knowledge to good use, to our advantage.

The science behind affirming ourselves is simply this: we give weight and consideration to everything spoken to us. Whatever washes over our brains has an effect; therefore we should be highly selective as to what we allow to wash over us, making sure we sparkle and not wither. The purpose of speaking to ourselves is to edify ourselves, to encourage ourselves in truth. If we do not know truth, then herein lies the first endeavor. Once we are persuaded of the truth, we can shamelessly affirm the truth over our very lives, bolstering our footing, expanding our circles of inspiration and influence.

Our lives are programmed, for good or for ill, most influentially during our first decade of life. Any destructive or fruitless programming accomplished during this early season will hinder us for the remainder of our lives, just as any positive programming will serve us forever. This is why ascertaining the truth is imperative, affirming the truth as it applies to us individually is liberating. Let us agree on two things.

The reprogramming of one’s headspace is a monumental task, made more difficult the longer we neglect to commence in earnest. It is a process of unlearning and re-learning, from darkness to light. In the second place, it is a task most assuredly worth beginning, for the obvious fruits it must necessarily produce. A record may only play according to the grooves placed upon it, whether sweet music or dissonant mental aggravation. We have an opportunity to smooth away the initial destructive grooves by the repetitive application of those desirable grooves.

“This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.” [Deuteronomy 30:19] This verse encapsulates a reason why one might choose to practice the discipline of affirming herself as something that she heretofore has believed she was not. It is a form of the prophetic, calling that which is not yet as though it is already. In time, the reflection of the affirmation appears in the mind, then in the body. In due time, the reflection has become the word made flesh, no longer a reflection at all, but the substance of that which was once hoped for. Faith comes by hearing, so we should be sure to listen to ourselves and to others with longevity in mind.

Blessings & Curses

Short & Sweet

No, this is not an autobiographical post; those should be longer and tend to disprove sweetness.  This is, however, a post about the most addicting substance on Earth, namely sugar.  “Most”, not because of it’s strength, rather it’s ubiquity.  Sugar is present in the majority of our grocery store processed food comestibles; would that world peace had the same clever marketing team.  But what do we know of these mono and disaccharides, these cute cubes of sweetness on the cafe table, this organic free trade GMO-free juice from vegetal cane?  Let us make a brief survey here.

The western world, in 2017, is notably well-apprised of the benefits and drawbacks of sugar consumption, even within common core educational facilities.  On the pro side, sugar is…well…sweet.  It makes what we like to eat more likable perhaps.   There is also food preservation, a February 2006 article in Scientific American explains how sugar (and salt) may be used “to inhibit or prevent growth of food-borne pathogens such as Salmonella or Clostridium botulinum when properly applied.”  Whereas salted pork legs, such as jamón serrano, are enjoyed without licking off all the salt used in the curing process, the same discretion seems less likely when sugar is used.  I’ve seen occidentals consume a jar of sugar-preserved fruits, then drizzle the remaining liquid over bread or pancakes or ice cream.  If a jar of pickled cucumbers was only mildly seasoned, I maybe could stomach drinking the liquid.  Maybe.  Sickly sweet preservation syrups go to my head, not to mention my teeth; this is the result of growing up in a culture that has only very recently given in to sugary sweets…promoted by the west no less.  Mother had a special treats cabinet for which she alone kept a key, doling out one square each of a Hershey’s chocolate bar, per week, to my siblings and me.  One.  That’s how sugarless we were only thirty years ago in South Korea.  Salt, conversely, is heavily used and shows up everywhere in my culture, from soy sauces and kimchi preparations to lunch table condiment racks.  No surprises here.

“All things in moderation”.  Whoever said that should be widely celebrated.  Actually, as my husband now points out, it was Ralph Waldo Emerson who said, “moderation in all things”, but, being shuffle-averse, we rarely quote it so.  We are not, as a species, averse nearly as much as we ought to be to liberally stimulating ourselves with heaps of sugars for all of our waking hours.  The known health fallout ascribed to over-consumption of sugar are before us constantly.  William Dufty, in his 1975 classic, Sugar Blues, shouts from the rooftops: “It has been proved that (1) sugar is a major factor in dental decay; (2) sugar in a person’s diet does cause overweight; (3) removal of sugar from diets has cured symptoms of crippling, world-wide diseases such as diabetes, cancer and heart illnesses.”  Doctor Nancy Appleton’s 1996 offering, Lick the Sugar Habit, lists the following direct effects of sugar consumption:  dental caries, hypertension, hyperactivity, long-term lethargy, headaches, poor mental function, depression, allergies (including food), poor digestion, constipation, asthma, psoriasis, candidiasis, PMS, reduced immune responsiveness, shall I continue?  How about blindness, cataracts, anxiety, appendicitis, emphysema, pregnancy toxemia, eczema, cardiovascular disease, hemorrhoids, varicose veins, Crohn’s disease, kidney stones, cystic fibrosis, arthritis, osteoporosis, gall stones, multiple sclerosis, irritable bowel syndrome, accelerated aging and premature death?  Oh, come on, just a few more:  atherosclerosis, pancreas damage, hormonal imbalance, and all manner of ailments associated with fermentation in the digestive tract.  This is a partial list, for brevity.  The above publications are well-established, the truth is out there, the truth is old.  With direct effects such as these, those little cafe packets should come with at least a warning: sprinkle responsibly.

It has been said that the single easiest thing the average person can do to improve his or her health is to add a single raw vegetable or fruit to their daily diet.  An apple a day.  Then add another, and another.  We consider adding good habits easier than striving to break bad ones, crowding out the undesirables being the idea.  I have found this to be true for me.  If we are unwilling to do the very least to improve our health, we really should expect no sympathy when, sure as bears sleep in the woods (family friendly blog), we succumb to the natural consequences of our inaction.  God will not be mocked, we cannot reap except what was sown.

Short & Sweet