Wellness Paradigm

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The Wellness Paradigm addresses the body as an innately intelligent, self-governing and self-regulating being.  When that being is exposed to the appropriate environment it will express optimal health.  The Wellness Model endorses a pro-active, deliberate approach to living that encourages lifestyle behavioral patterns that ensure the provision of all elements considered essential for optimal cell function, while simultaneously avoiding those elements known to be inherently toxic to cell function.  The objective is to observe, support and encourage nature – not suppress, manipulate or interfere with it.

The Wellness Paradigm recognizes that sickness is not the opposite of health – but rather the absence of health.  Just as darkness is the absence of light – not its opposite.  The only way to brighten a room is to add light, not reduce darkness.  Likewise, the only way to get well is to increase health, not fixate on reducing sickness.

The objective of the Bonfire Health Program is to empower individuals with the knowledge of a genetically congruent lifestyle (“what to do”) and equip them with the lifestyle strategies proven to get the best results (the “how to do”).  Our purpose is to create Well People.

Healthful Living: There is No Age Limit to Wellness

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“Oh, I’m too old for that.” Too old for…what? Bungee jumping? Okay, that may be true. Helicopter snowboarding in Alaska? Yeah, maybe. But too old to be healthy? No way!

We’re designed to be healthy – it’s that simple. The genetic code built into every cell of our bodies is programmed to move toward health.

Every Bite We Take
Every day, every moment, with every decision or action we make, we are moving toward health or away from health. This is based largely on the lifestyle choices or behaviors we choose to engage in (or choose not to engage in). This ebb and flow is happening literally on a day-to-day and moment-to-moment basis. This is true of children and adults alike.

Every cell in our body – approximately 100 trillion of them – has been genetically programmed to strive toward health, toward optimal function. For example, when a person stops smoking, although there may have been decades of toxic stress on the body in general and the lungs in particular, the body will immediately begin the move toward healing the cells and tissues of the body that have been damaged from the years of abuse. Lung tissue begins cleaning out the build-up of tar and nicotine that has accumulated over the years, and the microscopic hair-like cilia within lung cells begins to reappear. The body’s drive to be healthy and to heal itself is nothing short of miraculous.

Once we understand that the body has a built-in drive to be healthy, we can leverage that tendency by simply choosing appropriate lifestyle behaviors that support the body’s efforts, and avoiding ones that undermine our health – and here’s the best part: this can be done at any age, and as Dr. Kratka is fond of saying, “It’s never too late to do the right thing.”

Three Critical Concepts:

1.  A decision not to live a life of known healthy habits is a decision itself to be unhealthy. Yes, that’s a strong statement, but it’s also very true.

2.  Wellness is a process of ongoing lifestyle behaviors or habits that support the body’s move toward health. Wellness is not defined or determined by going to doctors, getting checkups or having “preventative” diagnostic tests performed. Having a colonoscopy or EKG does not make a person healthy – it simply allows for early diagnosis.

3.  Both health and disease are additive or cumulative processes. This means that just because you don’t have an immediate consequence to choosing right or wrong lifestyle behaviors doesn’t mean those lifestyle choices are not creating positive or negative changes within your body’s physiology – they are; they just might take months or years to manifest. In the case of right behaviors, this is what we call Compounded Wellness.

The Choice is Yours
For example, to choose to drink optimal amounts of pure water every day is a decision that moves the body toward being healthy, no matter what your age or current state of health. To choose nutrient-poor, processed food over nutrient-dense, fresh food is a decision that moves the body away from health. By the way, “away from health” means toward disease. These are two great wellness lifestyle choices that people of any age can make every day.

Effort and Payoff
Yes, it takes effort to consistently engage in health-promoting lifestyle choices. Yes, it takes time to develop new, good habits (good habits are just as hard to break as bad habits). Yes, some days we don’t feel like “working out.” Yes, there are times when we want to reach for convenient die-fast food. But, what’s the trade-off? Talk to people with terminal diseases – they’ll always say the same thing, “I’d give anything to have my health back.” You don’t have to give anything – just your effort.

If you don’t take time to be healthy, you’ll have to take time to be sick.

Holistic Living: The Whole is Greater Than the Sum of the Parts

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“Man is made by his belief. As he believes, so he is.”
-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Holistic living refers to making choices based on the concept of holism: that the value of the whole of an entity is greater than the sum of its parts.

Author Mark Penn (he coined the phrase “Soccer Moms”) has described our current society as one that has become more and more willing to design our personal life based on our beliefs.

There has been a continually expanding and powerful trend occurring with people looking for a more holistic lifestyle. People are looking to looking to live a fuller, more complete life.  Gone are the days of Oliver Stone’s classic movie “Wall Street,” featuring cut-throat workaholics as heroes.  Work-obsessed stock traders seem like a distant past as much as bell bottoms and disco balls.

Today, people are seeking out a more balanced success.  A positive work life with a balanced family life with personal happiness is the new goal.  And that starts with health.

Living things are holistic by nature.  The energy in a living system is not one that can be created by its parts.  Seventy percent water, 20 percent minerals, 10 percent protein, fat and nucleic acids are very difficult to cajole into a living, breathing, reproducing organism.  The power of holism is seen in the emergence of dreams and passions, of complex language and elegant movement.  The human body is a holistic entity that produces outcomes vastly beyond what could be expected from its parts and plumbing.

Holistic Living and Health
When it comes to our health, holistic living means evaluating how each choice we make in our life impacts our health.  The belief system of the medical paradigm is born out of a reductionist viewpoint.  Reductionism is the opposite of holism.  It means looking at the part, rather than the function of the whole.  Reductionist thinking has created a system of health care that is focused on treating the disease of a person, rather than helping a person get well.

The Bonfire lifestyle recommendations are holistic in that they are comprehensive.  We recommend that you purposefully evaluate all aspects of your lifestyle in how they impact your life and your health.  Your body has a broad range of specific needs, or essential elements, that it requires for health.  While people have come to understand how activity and nutrition are critical for health, this is simply the tip of the iceberg.  Human contact and social interaction, ongoing learning, and exposure to healthy environments are all examples of critical components of a healthy lifestyle.

Becoming a person that understands that humans are by nature holistic beings will lead to lifestyle that supports health rather than regularly treating the body as if it is a collection of parts.

Choosing Wellness – How Your Values and Beliefs Impact Your Overall Health

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None of us enjoys being forced to do anything.  None of us enjoys feeling helpless when things are taken out of our hands.  Let’s face it – we’d rather face the consequences of our own actions any day, good or bad, than be handed a fate that we had nothing to do with creating.

Here’s the good news – when it comes to developing a lifestyle for ourselves, nobody else can force anything upon us.  Sure, everyone can present us with information, options, opportunities, and even ultimatums, but none of those in themselves frame our lifestyles.  It is not until we decide on what’s been presented and take action that our lifestyles begin to be shaped.  We always have the option to do nothing; oftentimes that is the easiest option.  For instance, when you get an electric bill, you have the choice to do nothing.  But of course, there are consequences for a lack of action on your part.

All of us value survival, reproduction, and the pursuit of pleasure.  These are simply ingrained in our makeup as humans.  Those values will automatically cause us to choose certain options when we are faced with particularly pressing decisions (e.g. “Do I get out of the way of the charging rhino or stand here and see what happens?”).

However, there are other less reflexive decisions that we are faced with every day that we see and respond to through the filters of our beliefs – sets of internal rules created by what information we choose to accept as truth.  Our beliefs govern the decisions we make, which generate our actions, which become our behaviors, which ultimately produce our lifestyles.  This is why just believing “something” is not sufficient to create a well person’s lifestyle – it’s not just that we believe, but more importantly what we believe.  Our choices are driven by our beliefs.  They give us more control over our lives than even our genes do – what are we giving our genes the permission to express by our everyday lifestyle choices?

Sir Anthony Hopkins, in an interview with SUCCESS Magazine, shares that his innate values, his influences, and his choices moved him from “trouble child” to career actor of over 50 years.  He had no choice but to believe something throughout his lifetime, but it’s what he believed that caused him to take the actions he did, which over time created the lifestyle he now enjoys.  He could have chosen to believe that his problems as a youth would keep him out of touch with society forever, but instead he harnessed what was seen as his “problems” and chose to create productive expression out of them.  We’ll notice also in the interview that the lifestyle he built includes the professional and financial life that many of us recognize, and also encompasses his physical and mental well-being that isn’t often publicized.

In examining our present beliefs, how they have produced our current lifestyles, and how we might modify them to obtain results we want, let’s ask ourselves questions such as:

• What exactly do I believe about eating, moving, and thinking, and their importance in life?

• Who taught me what I know and believe about them now?

• Are there people achieving better results in any or all of those areas who might have a different belief than me or the people I learned from?

• What do they know that I don’t?

• Will I accept what they know as truth, replacing what I believe to be true now, and incorporate it into my every day decision-making?

• Am I doing anything in my life that is in direct opposition to what I believe is my purpose for being alive?

• How can I better align my beliefs and actions with that purpose?

In achieving or maintaining control in our lives, let’s validate our beliefs against our purpose and, as Brian Tracy discusses, be true to ourselves and act as though it were impossible to fail.

We can all enjoy lifestyles of wellness if we will choose to believe what has produced wellness in those who are already living it!