Friday, February 6, 2015

The Quest For Perfect Health

Way too many people have approached me to promote vitamins, and food supplements supposedly containing ingredients not only able to improve health, but also cure dreaded diseases such as cancer, heart problems and diabetes. I fancy that if I were to stand in the street right now and toss a stone randomly, there's a good chance that I'd hit a promoter for a direct-selling company. There are many such companies in Malaysia; all with big claims on the potency of their products. These are usually made of "pure" ingredients of the highest quality—typically of herbal origins—and prepared through very sophisticated processes.

I read with interest that a tiny pill, weighing a mere few grams, contains the same amount of the plant-originated ingredients that would otherwise be found in a few kilograms of that plant in its natural form. I see this as cutting out of an escape route for the would-be consumer; it's like saying that one has no choice but to consume the pill, because to get the same amount of the potent ingredient in its natural form, one has to consume a few kilograms of the plant.

This post is not an attempt to cast doubts on these products. After all, I haven't tried very many of them myself, and am therefore unable to prove, or disprove, whether or not these products actually live up to the manufacturers' claims. Despite reading this recent article about herbal supplements, I'm still convinced that at least some of them can do some of the things that they're supposed to do.

Nevertheless, even if I'm convinced that some of these products can actually help to improve my health, I don't fill up my cabinets with an assortment of vitamins and herbal supplements in pursuit of the perfect health. To be honest, it's not really a question of affordability; and it's not that I don't want to be healthy. Rather, I think as far as health is concerned, there is just no end to it—there is no such thing as "perfect health", and any attempt to achieve it is apt to end in vain. I try to do the things that I can, for however long that I can, to maintain and improve my health, in the hope of preserving the quality of life that I have. The point is that I will try to do just about enough to remain healthy, but without sacrificing too much of the things in life that I enjoy doing. 

So although I'm aware that simple sugars are not so good for my body, I still have my weekly ABC at Tun Fuan Park, Bukit Padang. I still indulge in a bit of KFC and McDonald's occasionally. I drink coca-cola and eat junk food too. But to counter all those, I maintain an active lifestyle—I run, I swim, and I bike a great deal. If I have to refrain from indulging in the things that I enjoy in life for the sake of living a few years longer, I see no point in living longer. For there is really no point to live longer if I can't enjoy living.

It's not that I'm not doing anything to remain healthy. To the herbal supplement promoters, who think that I'm an idiot for not consuming your products when I can afford it, let me hasten to tell you that I am keeping myself healthy by indulging in sports; perhaps not so much in the things that I eat and drink. It is to me, a kind of balance. I realise, of course, that instead of exhausting my body, it's much easier to consume herbal supplements and multi-vitamins. If I die earlier, it's OK, I'm satisfied. Honest, I am satisfied!

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