Life is all about choices but without knowledge, there are no choices.

Free seminars at Arkansas State will give you a chance to acquire knowledge which will empower you to take charge of your health.

Life is all about choices but without knowledge, there are no choices.  You can choose to learn and make your own choices or you can let someone else make them for you.  Either way, it’s your responsibility because the outcome is yours.  When it comes to your health, that choice can make the difference in the quality of life you choose to live.

            Only you can make the choice as to whether you will eat a carrot or a donut.  If you want the carrot, you may have to put special effort into finding it.  Only you can make the choice as to whether you will watch television for hours or get into an exercise program, take a brisk walk, read about how to take care of your health or read a novel (sometimes a healthy choice).  You can turn it all over to an “authority”, and that is also a choice. 

            Health destroying choices are easy to make.  It is easy to follow the crowd and live on fast and junk food.  It is everywhere available.  It is easy, in the short run, to make unhealthy choices—eating the quickest, cheapest, readily available processed and fast foods.  Yes, it is easy to vegetate on the couch and watch television, allowing yourself to be brainwashed into unhealthy habits and taking on the mind of whatever is presented there.  In the short run, these are easy choices.  It is easy to follow the crowd, telling yourself that everyone does it and not to do it is “weird”. 

            However, the poor health that results in the long run is anything but easy.  If we wake up, we come to realize that the diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and inflammatory conditions that are rampant are the result of the fast and easy choices being made by an unconscious population.    

            When it comes to health, it seems most people hand over their choices to a physician—one who is trained to use drugs and surgery to treat everything from mild disorders to devastating diseases.  They are doctors of medicine and so that is what they give you.  Most of them are unaware that nutrition, exercise, the way we think and look at life are all important to regaining your health.  They are as unconscious as the rest of us.  They have learned that a disease or disorder requires a drug and as one doctor told me they “go by the book”.  We need to take a look at who wrote the book!

            Many people think they have no choice in their condition of sickness because “it runs in the family”.  New learning about genetics and our DNA, which we have previously thought was written in stone, has proven that we can actually change our genetics with our good choices.  Our DNA responds to the way we think, talk, the way we look at the world and our lifestyle choices.   If we constantly tell ourselves that what we have is inherited and there is nothing we can do about it that is the way it will be. 

            A good friend of mine always thought he would live long and healthfully because “My parents both lived actively into their nineties”.  My friend took it for granted that he would also live like his parents.  He took no notice of his health, chain smoked, ate anything that fell into his path, which was mostly junk.  Apparently he changed his DNA because he died a miserable death gasping for breath at age 75. 

            You can start to learn about the different choices you can make to improve your health by attending a series of Tuesday night seminars at ASU Heber Springs.  You can become empowered to take charge of your own health and turn down choices which don’t make sense to you. 

            On October 8 at 6pm, Dr. Richard Matthews will lecture on the many faces of inflammation.   We are learning that inflammation is involved in unexpected places like heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and it is sneaky.  A recent experience with a family member has taught me a few things about inflammation and I am eager to learn more.

            You think you don’t have time to attend a health seminar?  You are reasonably healthy and have everything under control with medicine?  You keep over the counter pain pills handy and you are able to go about your daily routine.  I don’t have time for it either (post season baseball) but my health is important to me.  If I am in town, I will be there.  I may not agree with everything that is taught but I will learn from many sources and make my own decisions.  If you learn, you can make choices. 

            You health is your responsibility.  The choices you make will influence your health and vitality.  I hope to see you there in room 152 at the academic center, ASU Heber Springs.  It begins at 6:00 pm-Tuesday, October 8th. 

Upcoming seminars will be Oct. 22, November 5 and November 19.

(Janice Norris lives in Heber Springs, has a B.S. in home economics from Murray State University, owned and operated health food stores in Illinois and Heber Springs, and wrote a weekly column in Illinois for 15 years. She can be reached at