Bective Abbey, County Meath, Ireland*
However, within broad categories are many, many nuances.
Practicing wise measures in addition to the big three may be necessary to maintain health.
Many people eat well, exercise, and abstain from smoking and still get cancers, autoimmune diseases, migraines, asthma, ADHD, and other conditions. Perhaps their basic good health caused those issues to occur later in their lives, or makes the condition less problematic, or allows the individual to weather the treatments more efficiently. But research is showing us that health is an individual and complex endeavor, one that relies on an unpredictable mix of our personal genetics and our environmental exposures to chemicals that began before we were even born. Yes, that's correct. Our health can be affected by our parents' or grandparents' exposures to certain chemicals. So sometimes, the big three are not enough.
HealthTwisty is all about those subtle nuances - the synergy of genetics and environment that can lead to susceptibilities to impurities such as artificial food dyes; cosmetics containing estrogen-mimicking chemicals; dietary staples, like wheat; or particulates in air pollution. These individualized susceptibilities can be why one family member is diagnosed with ADHD, another develops an autoimmune disease, and a third suffers from migraines. Modern medicine can treat each of those conditions with different medications, but sometimes, there may be a common cause, like an allergy to gluten, that can address these issues more simply and healthfully.
Having a basic education of food ingredients, food marketing, and and the overall political realm in which we live is also important to health.
HealthTwisty spends a lot of time thinking about and researching the larger political and commercial environments in which our food, air, water, and healthcare systems reside. Sadly, the foods and cosmetics we purchase, the water we drink, and the laws we are governed by are not always conducive to good health.
And then there is social justice. Some individuals cannot even practice the big three, which means they are still in the dugout when everyone else is running the bases toward home plate. Living in food deserts or polluted areas, not having the cultural or language skills to critically evaluate food advertisements, or lacking knowledge about the provenance of ingredients leads many people unintentionally to make choices that could negatively affect their health and that of their families.
Individuals have to be educated and active consumers.
Even consumers with high levels of formal education are not always aware of how difficult health and prevention can be because they may not have thought about their individual susceptibilities. Parents may assume one of their children is "just that way" when she exhibits behaviors that are markedly different than the other kids in the family, when, in fact, that child with behavior issues may have allergies to chemicals or susceptibilities to certain food ingredients. Adults may accept headaches as a routine part of life without realizing that a food or ingredient causes them.
Therefore, the goals of HealthTwisty are awareness and education, followed by action. Sometimes, the action is at the individual level - you may decide to eliminate artificial colorings from your family's diet, or shop the perimeter of the grocery store and avoid packaged foods. Sometimes, the action is political - you may decide that consumers have the right to know if the salmon they eat has been genetically modified so you sign a petition or call your congressional representative. But always, the action is important.
Because it means you are in charge.
And there you have it. HealthTwisty. Because being informed is not enough. You need to do something, right?
* What's with the castle? This picturesque photo represents HealthTwisty because it illustrates health - a small herd of animals living off of grass and clean air, and learning from our history. On a personal level, that photo represents wonderful family memories and the hospitality of far-flung friends.