What Is Disease?
A Vegan Health Article from All-Creatures.org

These vegan health articles are presented to assist you in taking a pro-active part in your own health.

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By Keith Nemec, M.D.

Disease, simply put, is a departure from health. When your body is healthy, it functions just as God meant it to. This is truly amazing, because as we study the concepts of homeostasis, or balance, we see that our body is created to keep perfect balance. Guyton’s Medical Physiology textbook defines homeostasis as “maintenance of static, or constant, conditions in the internal environment.”

Every second, countless chemical reactions are going on in your cells and are so orchestrated by God that they maintain perfect harmony and balance, each reaction affecting another. But if this homeostasis is broken, the body begins to go out of balance; breakdown, damage, and disease begin. If this normal balance is not regained, disease eventually leads to death, which is the cessation of all functions. As we look further into what disease is, we can see that disease is the opposite of what God intended.

In the garden of Eden, Adam and Eve were perfect. They walked and talked with God, and they were made in His image. God created them whole in body, soul, and spirit. They would have lived forever in this state, just as we will in heaven. Then came Satan, and along with the moral and spiritual fall of man came departure from the physical perfection and wholeness that God had intended. Once spiritually perfect, now spiritually dead; once a perfect mind, now corrupted with fear, self-awareness, and stress; once a perfect body, now imperfect and open to pain, sickness, disease, and death. So disease, in simple terms, is all that is opposed to God — as darkness is to light, so is disease to health.

In the same way that homeostasis is the perfect control mechanism that balances and checks all systems and functions of the body, disease is the breakdown of this perfection into the opposite — imbalance and imperfection.

A study of disease leads us to the modern germ theory, in which Louis Pasteur stated that specific diseases are caused by specific germs. This led to the consequent realization that specific drugs could destroy specific germs and eliminate the diseases they could cause. Additionally, it was discovered that simply washing hands between surgeries (which was never done before) drastically decreased the mortality rate.

We have lived the 20th Century with this theory, and the results of it have been tremendous, greatly reducing the number of deaths due to infectious diseases, especially bacterial. But now we have to rethink our theories of disease cause and correction, as the major causes of disease and death are now related to diet and lifestyle. The Number 1, 2 and 3 causes of death are heart disease, cancer, and stroke.1 All of these can be affected greatly by diet and lifestyle changes, without drugs or surgery. In recent years, infections caused by new antibiotic-resistant bacteria have caused a surge in the number of people dying from infectious diseases that previously were under control. Why? Because we have overstayed the dominance of the germ theory and drug treatment for sickness and disease.

Pasteur’s contemporary, Bernard, believed that it wasn’t the germs that caused the diseases but rather the weakening of the tissues — i.e., the immune system. The two theories can be compared by a simple illustration: Let us call the garbage in a garbage dump the “weakened tissue” and the rats and flies the “germs.” According to Pasteur, the rats and flies caused the garbage to appear; but according to Bernard, the garbage caused the rats and flies to appear. Bernard thought that it wasn’t the seed (germs) but the soil (immune system) that caused the disease. This makes more sense as seen in all the successful alternative health-care treatments operating by this premise around the world. On the horizon is the dawn of a new form of health care that will focus its energy on the prevention of disease rather than its cure.

Doesn’t it make more sense to teach people how to stay well or whole, as God meant them to be — rather than waiting for them to break down with disease, and then trying desperately to fix them with tremendous time, energy, effort, pain and suffering, anxiety, and fear? Doesn’t it make more sense to teach our children not to touch the stove rather than being excited that we know a great plastic surgeon who can reduce the amount of scarring to the burned hand? It seems ridiculous, but this is what is happening in our country. People are doing whatever they want, eating whatever they like, and waiting until they break down; hoping it won’t be them, or that their genetic constitution will be like the man who can smoke and drink and live to be 100.

Let us stop all this haphazard health-guessing and out-of-self-control foolishness, and start once again on our journey of health and wholeness. Not only will this add years to our lives, but it will also add life to our years. Also remember it is our responsibility to teach our children. “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it” (Proverbs 22:6).

I believe the next twenty years will usher in the heyday of sickness and disease. AIDS is just the tip of the iceberg. Not only will viral diseases like AIDS and Ebola take a tremendous toll on life, but so will the already-mentioned increase in antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections. These will join heart disease, cancer, and stroke, already on the rise. There will come a day when doctors will have nothing to offer us, and we will be left with no alternative but to return to the plan God had for us, the plan of wholeness in body, soul, and spirit. This is when prayer, attitudes, decisions, commitment, lifestyle, and diet will all come together in achieving total health = wholeness. This will be discussed in more detail in subsequent chapters.

But let me just say that if our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, and we are called to take care of these temples, we can use God’s wisdom in achieving the task. His wisdom started in Genesis, telling us how to eat; it progressed in Leviticus, teaching us how to prevent sickness and disease; in Psalms and Proverbs, it taught us that our minds, attitudes, and actions all play an important part in our total health. The new covenant erased the old in regard to our relationship with God — it was by grace and no longer by law — but it did not erase the wisdom in maintaining our health and wholeness. The spiritual plan was replaced in the new covenant; the natural plan was not. What was naturally good for Old Testament people, then, is also good for us today.

Excerpt taken from the book Total Health = Wholeness: A Body, Mind and Spirit Manual by Dr. Keith and Laurie Nemec. For more information go to Total Health Institute http://www.totalhealthinstitute.com.

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All-Creatures.org Health Position and Disclaimer

We began this archive as a means of assisting our visitors in answering many of their health and diet questions, and in encouraging them to take a pro-active part in their own health. We believe the articles and information contained herein are true, but are not presenting them as advice. We, personally, have found that a whole food vegan diet has helped our own health, and simply wish to share with others the things we have found. Each of us must make our own decisions, for it's our own body. If you have a health problem, see your own physician.