This week I found out that a mother at my daughters’ school has passed away. She had cancer. I did not know her, but we have kids of similar age and have over the last many years exchanged smiles and a bit of banter on our way in and out of school. It left me feeling completely deflated. Here I am, trying to optimise people’s health and wellbeing and then what happens? People like her who are young, vibrant and so very alive are dying.
Those of you who know me also know that I decided to leave my career as a finance lawyer after the death of my parents to cancer. During the intense last year of my parents’ lives, I was too afraid to read anything about disease, let alone cancer. I felt that everyone around me was succumbing to some awful chronic ailment. I was scanning people’s faces for signs of decline.
Then for some inexplicable reason I quite literally tripped over a book called “Tripping Over the Truth: How the Metabolic Theory of Cancer Is Overturning One of Medicine's Most Entrenched Paradigms” by American science writer Travis Christofferson. This book was the first of many more about health and disease that I have devoured. I have not read a single novel since then, which is completely out of character for me.
What this journey has given me is a sense of empowerment, I am no longer afraid of disease and I have learnt that there are powerful ways in which we can prevent, but also, although much more difficult, reverse disease.
This has become my mission. I want to help as many people as possible navigate the health and wellness space so that we can together stop the rise in chronic disease we are experiencing. If we don’t do something now, the outcomes for our children will be even worse.
The most interesting and also most empowering part of this journey is that it did not take me long to conclude that chronic conditions, ranging from Type 2 diabetes, to heart disease, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and cancer to name just a few, can all be prevented and also treated in similar ways. The baddie in the game is our modern lifestyles - modern convenience food, exposure to toxins, chronic stress, insufficient focus on sleep, sedentary behaviour, not enough exposure to natural light and too much of the unnatural sort - you get the picture.
This is by no means my way of apportioning blame on individuals for not living “well enough”, quite to the contrary. It is nearly impossible to live well when compelled to follow the strong forces of our modern world.
Neither does this make me a luddite that wishes to hide in a cave in some remote, unspoilt place.
No, I want us to embrace all the wonderful science and technology that is becoming available to us. If we can all gain access these advancements, our future as well as the one for generations to come will be simply brilliant.
I also want us to embrace nature. We have for too many years thought ourselves cleverer than nature itself, creating a sleek and highly advanced world which in fact is silently killing us. Nothing beats a walk or run in nature or a swim in the sea or in a beautiful lake. Why do we opt for the treadmill and a chlorinated pool in the basement? Don’t get me wrong, these modern conveniences have an important role to play in our lives, but we should not forget the real thing.
So join me in feeling empowered. We can by embracing science and technology and finding a deeper connection with nature (and ourselves) equip ourselves in fighting the onset of chronic disease.
We live in the most interesting of times, where we can and should influence our own health and wellbeing as well as that of our loved ones. Preventative healthcare is the future.