In our first post we talked about why we started Promoting Good Health, what we wanted the website to stand for and what we wanted it to do for you. We also introduced you to one of the principles of Promoting Good Health: Professor Alf Poulos. In this post, we introduce you to the other: Dr. Stephen Hardy.
A personal message from Stephen:
I went to university because I wanted to cure cancer. I started my career looking at what caused potentially cancerous cells to switch on and grow. While I learnt much, I couldn’t find a way of making my research practical for those with cancer. The problem was the timing. A cancer has typically been growing for between 2 and 9 years before symptoms appear and the Doctors become aware of it. By then, the rules have changed. The only way my research was going to be useful for people with cancer was if I could come up with a drug that went backwards in time, to stop the cancer from developing in the first place. It was the biological equivalent of shutting the stable door after the horse had bolted. By the time people had cancer it was too late for a clinical treatment based on stopping the cancer from getting started. So I went from wanting to cure cancer to learning everything I could about how to prevent potentially cancerous cells from getting out of control in the first place, as that was the only way to tackle cancer that made any sense to me. I wasn’t alone. About that time (the early 1980’s), other researchers were proposing that around 80 % of cancers were preventable, with 35 % being related to diet and the rest being due to attitude and lifestyle factors. I’ve seen nothing since to suggest these estimates need changing.
The quest to discover how to prevent cancer took me in surprising directions. I went to university because I wanted to defeat a rogue cell called cancer. But despite all my research I was left with more questions than answers. What made the cell go rogue? Where did the signal to go rogue come from? Did the signal come from the cell itself or from outside? Why did the surrounding cells allow it to go rogue? Does the environment trigger or encourage the cell to go rogue? How does the body spot rogue cells and what does it do about them?
So how do I distil my 30 years of scientific study and questioning into a principle you can use? Well here it is:
Health is a function of your attitude and your surroundings.
To explain what this means we need a bit of background and a slight diversion:
Healthy cells make healthy tissues. Healthy tissues make healthy organs and healthy organs make for a healthy you. Cells are a lot like children. If you want your children to grow up big and strong, to play nicely with others and have a happy, healthy and fulfilling life, what do you need to do? Anyone who is a parent can answer this one. You need to give them good food; you need to make sure they get plenty of rest; you need to talk to them and listen to what they tell you; you need them to listen to others; you need to give them the best education you can; you need to create a happy, healthy and supportive home for them to live in and you need to make sure their surroundings and environment are safe.
Cells aren’t any different. Feed them right, teach them right, listen to what they have to say and give them a safe and supportive home to live in and most of the job’s done! But as with anything, the Devil is in the detail. So let’s take this a little further.
Some have suggested that all diseases are caused by one of two things:
If you don’t give your cells all the food, nutrition or resources they need, or the food you give them is of poor quality, they can’t do their job properly. If your cells aren’t talking to one another enough or being honest when they do talk, they can’t do their job properly. If your cells are being exposed to poisons in the environment or have to live in toxic surroundings, they can’t do their job properly. If the cell’s waste products aren’t being removed or being removed quickly enough, they can’t do their job properly. And if they can’t do their job properly, they may get sick; they may break down; they may miss something they shouldn’t or they may become so selfish they break the rules and go out and get what they want without any thought for anyone else, just like a cancer does…
Earlier we said: Healthy cells make healthy tissues. Healthy tissues make healthy organs and healthy organs make for a healthy you. Let’s turn this around:
A healthy you needs healthy organs. Healthy organs need healthy tissues and healthy tissues need healthy cells. You are made up of trillions of cells that all have to be fed and kept safe if they are to do their jobs properly and get along with one another. So what is good for your cells is good for you. Look after your cells and they will look after you. You need to be a responsible parent to your cells.
So eat right, look after yourself, exercise, don’t put toxic substances, chemicals or drugs into your system and drink plenty of water. But that’s not enough. Your cells, tissues and organs can’t be healthy if they are living in a toxic environment. So we can’t talk about keeping you healthy without also talking about keeping the environment healthy because that’s our home. It’s where we live. Eating the best food and living in a pristine environment still isn’t enough however. You also need the right attitude. A bad attitude is tied to bad health. Negative thoughts attract negative people, expectations and experiences. If you surround yourself with negative people, then you will pick up negative thoughts and ideas. If you have a negative attitude you focus on what can’t be done rather on what can be done, you focus on what you don’t have rather than giving thanks for what you do. Your thoughts do indeed shape your world.
Hopefully you can now see why focusing only on the rogue cells or on the cancer is missing the point and why, ultimately, you will be a reflection of your attitude and your surroundings.
Through Promoting Good Health we want to help you not only stay healthy but realize your full potential. We want to give you information you can use to make the most of life. To do that we need to range widely in the topics we discuss. Sometimes the topics may be specific: “How do I keep my immune system strong and healthy?” “What is Cancer and how do I avoid it?” “What are the potential health risks caused by toxic chemicals in the food chain or the environment?” Other times the topics may be broad or philosophical: “How can we look after the environment?” “How do we maintain biodiversity?” “How do I spot negative thoughts and self-destructive behavior patterns?” While we will range widely, they will always be a common theme and thread: Healthy cells, healthy body, healthy mind, healthy lifestyle, healthy attitude and a healthy environment. All are essential and interconnected.
We also want to be provocative. We want to get you thinking. We want you to get involved. So through the site we may ask questions, pose a challenge or start a debate. We want you to get involved because life isn’t a spectator sport. We want you to get involved because the more you participate, the more you understand. We want you to get involved because that’s how you will become happier and healthier, which is why we set up Promoting Good Health in the first place! Many centuries ago the Greek philosopher Aristotle (384 BC – 322 BC) said “You are what you repeatedly do”. It’s still good advice.
Until next time, stay happy and healthy.