We hold power To help or harm
Reprinted with permission from
Copyright (c) 2005 Lebanon Daily News
All Rights Reserved,
By Janet Frick
Most of us come into this world with a perfect body. We
arrive thin and healthy, free of doubts, fears, worries and bad
habits. We arrive brimming with energy and potential. We arrive
excited and curious, ready to learn.
Our perfect body is the most miraculous, self-healing
organism. It has a heart that beats approximately 72 times per
minute, pumping over six quarts of blood through 96 miles of
blood vessels the equivalent of pumping 6,300 gallons of blood
per day. It contains a seamless digestive system capable of
turning nutritious food into energy for all the major systems
and recognizing what foods have little or no value and ejecting
them from our body.
Our perfect body has trillions of cells with millions of
trillions of communicating connections. The largest organ in our
perfect body is our skin, which has millions of pores acting as
our cooling mechanism.
Our perfect body arrives with a genetic blueprint on which we
can shift walls, open and close doors, enlarge the spaces and
extend the roof, giving it skylights or solar panels. Our
blueprint tells us where we came from, but not where we are
going; our blueprint includes our talents, abilities and
desires, but it is only a blueprint.
Our perfect body in a perfect world would function at 100
percent, 100 percent of the time. It would take in only
nutritionally dense foods, turning these healthy foods into
healthy blood, muscles, bones and new cells. Every day, it would
take in the Earth's elements (sun, clean air and pure water) and
use them to rejuvenate and refresh its systems. Our perfect body
in a perfect world would be relaxed mentally and physically
serene, content, without tensions, stresses and worries.
Our perfect body has two sets of cells, lean tissue and fat
tissue, in perfect balance. Our muscles are our lean body mass
and these cells not our fat cells use our energy. Our fat tissue
insulates us and helps to maintain our body temperature. Our
muscles, not our weight, help to determine the amount of energy
we need each day. Someone who is overweight is simply a lean
person with an extra coat of fat tissue.
Many parts of our perfect body also metabolize energy. Our
brain and nervous system have the highest priority for energy
and use more energy than any other organ.
Weighing only 3 to 3 and 1/2 pounds, our brain uses
approximately 600 calories (of a 2,000 calorie diet) per day;
our heart, beating 10,000 times a day, and our lungs, breathing
in and out approximately 8 times per minute, use 300 calories;
and our stomach and its 26 feet of intestinal tract use about
Our liver, which processes chemicals, makes cholesterol and
blood glucose, and our blood system, moving along a 60,000-mile
route in 80 seconds, use 250 calories; our bones and muscles,
which weigh the most, hold everything together and give us our
physical movement, use 500 to 800 calories; and about 100
calories are used by our miscellaneous parts our ears and eyes
and our hormone, enzyme and immune systems.
Our perfect body never gets a day off, never goes on
vacation. Unlike our house, we cannot shut down the heating and
cooling system to clean the ducts. Unlike our car, we cannot
take our body to a body shop for new filters, spark plugs and
Although our brain manages everything in our body, its power
source is the food we eat. The brain, as well as all the other
organs and systems, is affected by everything we consume,
whether it's organic fruits, vegetables, dairy products and
whole grains or caffeine, sugar, nicotine and alcohol. The first
group supports a perfect body; the second group destroys it. Too
much fuel or not enough both compromise a perfect body.
Every minute we are alive we are either supporting a perfect
body system or compromising it. Unlike a car, which simply will
not start when something goes wrong, our heart will continue to
beat while diseased; our blood will continue to flow while
becoming sluggish in our narrowing pipelines; our brain will
continue to think even when it is chemically altered or
compromised; and our lungs will continue to breathe though
blackened with tar.
Our perfect body is the most complex and smoothly running
piece of machinery with interconnecting systems ever devised.
The wrong fuel or too much of the right fuel, the wrong drink,
smoke and neglect of exercise as well as emotional stresses
through negative thoughts, destructive habits and self-defeating
ideas, toxins in our body, toxic relationships in our lives,
chronic stresses, unresolved tensions and ill-defined anxieties
all will chart a lifetime of deteriorating physical and mental
health, widening the chasm between our perfect birth body and
our imperfect, faltering body of today.
So, just for tomorrow: Drink when thirsty, eat when hungry,
exercise when depleted of energy, sleep when tired, work till
accomplishment, play and laugh often, resolve to think good
thoughts, say nice things, do good deeds and eat good foods, and
let's reward our now imperfect bodies for rewarding us with
Frick is executive director of the Mental Health Association
of Lebanon County.