The only material possession we each have from birth to death is our body.

No other material possession can give us more misery or more pleasure. Sadly, many people take far better care of their car, house and pets than their own body. We can buy, sell or survive without a car or house. We can adopt other pets. But we each own only one body to abuse or nurture.

Life is hard enough when we are healthy. We all will die. But until I die, I eat, I exercise, I sunbathe, I walk, I sleep to stay lean and healthy. Why suffer?

Preventing disease is always better than treating disease. Most U.S. hospital beds would be empty, drug companies’ sales would plunge if we all get serious about living healthy.

Would a car owner put water, dirt, diesel fuel into the gasoline tank and expect the car to run? Disease has two causes: too much bad stuff and not enough good.

I saw both my mother and my dad suffer severe illnesses for decades, largely because of junk food, not enough exercise, not enough sunshine, not enough good sleep, too much stress! I do not want to suffer the hell they endured.

I took my mother to a nutrition doctor in Houston in 1975. He asked her, “Why have you done this to your body?”

From that day on, 43 years ago, I have committed myself to being healthy. I have learned from hundreds of articles, books, documentaries, speakers, conversations, my own experiences...always more to learn.

Cooking food usually destroys much of the protein, as well as many of the assailable vitamins and minerals, along with enzymes (the life energy) and phytonutrients.

Raw plant foods have many phytonutrients — natural plant chemicals necessary for health. Cooked food is dead — slow poison! Enzymes begin to degenerate at 106 degrees Fahrenheit and die at 118 degrees Fahrenheit. Best never to heat raw plant foods over 105 degrees Fahrenheit.

I consume no cigarettes, no booze, no soda, no coffee, no street drugs, no prescription drugs, no meat, no dairy, no processed food, no restaurant meals, no cooked food. I largely stopped eating meat and junk food in the 1970s, dairy in the 1980s and cooked food in 1998. My main food every day is several blended smoothies containing over 20 ingredients — flaxseed, garlic, ginger, raw apple cider vinegar, carrot, other medicinal herbs, chile pepper, greens...I also eat lots of fresh fruit.

I exercise one and a half hours almost every day at home. I have ridden in no car for 16 years. Sometimes I ride the city bus, but I walk mostly. I sunbathe naked most days all year around. Most nights I go to bed around 9 to 10 p.m., and I get up after 6 a.m.

With much help from many people, I woke up! I changed!

Don Schrader