It’s not unusual for me to receive questions like:
Do you recommend any homemade toothpaste recipes? Or
It is very difficult to find organic food in South Africa; do I have to eat 100% organic?
What do you think of activated coconut carbon/ charcoal as a water filter?
These are valid concerns for people who want to embark on a healthier path, but I don’t think worrying over little details like these is a good use of your time.
I would love to be able to eat everything organic, who wouldn’t? But that’s simply not realistic for most people and obsessing about it is simply not healthy.
One way to understand this logic is to apply the 80/20 rule; a concept first introduced in the early 1900s by Italian economist, Vilfredo Pareto.
In the 80/20 rule, Pareto observed that 20% of the population owned 80% of the land in Italy. By looking at his garden, he noticed that 20% of the pea pods in his crop contained 80% of the peas.
These observations led to what we know as the 80-20 Rule, “the law of the vital few”, or the principle of “factor scarcity”.
We observe that most of our results (80% or more) are derived from only 20% of our actions.
Most people spend too much time on that 80%. They may spend 95% of their time and energy on things that have minimal impact on the outcome they seek.
Although this is debatable, I would say that most of the concerns of health-conscious people fall under the category of “less significant” when it comes to achieving real results.
In other words, they spend too much time worrying about the 80% instead of getting the 20% right.
– Which is better, reverse osmosis or distilled water?
– Should I invest in a Kangen water system?
– I heard papayas from Hawaii are GMOs. Should I worry?
– What do you think of infrared saunas?
– There’s a new kind of blender that is supposed to extract more nutrients, should I buy one?
I’m not saying these questions aren’t valid, or that we shouldn’t care about things that could potentially harm our health. But in the grand scheme of things, it just isn’t possible to control every single thing.
And in the end, only a few things that you do for your health will genuinely matter and save you from degenerative diseases. Focus your energy on the things that matter most, and try not to worry about the rest.
So, what are the inconsequential aspects of healthful living that people spend way too much time debating, practicing, controlling, and worrying about? (Some include highly controversial but unproven theories in natural health circles.)
• Exclusively eating organically grown produce.
• The best type of water to drink (when you otherwise have access to clean water).
• Exercise more than one hour a day.
• Avoiding wireless Internet and cell phone radiation.
• Using organic ingredients when making junk food recipes (organic sugar vs. regular sugar in a pie, for example).
• Wearing organic clothing.
• Hot and Cold Therapy.
• Conspiracy theories like “chemtrails.”
• Relocating to another country with a more pleasant climate.
• Walking barefoot on the grass at dawn or “grounding.”
• Eating clay.
• Drinking wheatgrass juice, without changing the rest of your diet.
• Removing mercury fillings.
• Ear candling.
• Colonics or colon cleansing.
• Urine therapy.
• Eating according to a system that categorizes you in a particular type (Ayurveda, Chinese system, blood type, or other.)
• Powdered vegetable mixtures consumed as smoothies.
• Seeking “wild” foods.
• Adding salt to water.
• Debating which kind of salt to eat (instead of reducing overall consumption of salt).
• Drinking a gallon of water per day.
• Avoiding shampoo or soap completely.
• Cold showers.
• Supplemental enzymes.
• Fluoride in tap water.
• What type of blender to use.
• Consuming turmeric daily.
• Most supplements and superfoods.
Personally, I don’t spend much time worrying about the points mentioned above. It’s not that they can’t be done, but I think their benefits are unproven, marginal, not worthwhile, or even unrealistic in some cases.
Sometimes the cure is worse than the disease. Removing mercury fillings can lead to toxic material leaking out. That’s why I’ve chosen to keep the few mercury fillings I have.
A lot of people worry excessively about certain things, like removing fluoride from water, if the water has been treated in their area. But when you look a little closer, there isn’t much solid science to support the claims of the anti-fluoride activists linking fluoride in water to a host of diseases, like cancer.
It’s all a matter of perspective. I have found that overall, most people focus on the little details without grasping the big picture.
In my next article, I discuss the 20% of actions that do matter. In other words: where we should aim our attention.
*This piece is adapted from an article written by Frederic Patenaude.
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