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The 95-5 Rule to Health Success (Based on 80-20 Rule)

Have you heard of the 80-20 rule? You probably have. If you haven’t, it’s pretty simple and powerful:

An Italian economist named Vilfredo Pareto came up with what is known as the “Pareto principle” in the 19th century.

What he found was that:

80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population

He discovered that this disparity was widespread. For example, he observed that 20% of the pea pods in his garden contained 80% of the peas!

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Later the Pareto Principle has been expanded to business, and it’s commonly understood in business that:

80% of your sales will come from 20% of customers

Or computer programmers know that if they fix 20% of the most commonly reported bugs, they in turn fix 80% of the crashes.

In health and in life, I’ve also found the Pareto principle in action. But instead of being 80-20, the proportion seemed to be even more extreme, more like 95-5.

Here are some observations:

– Only 5% of the things you can do could bring you 95% of your long-term health and happiness.

– We generally spend 95% of our time on things that bring us no real long-term results!

Generally, we spend too much time on little things that don’t matter that much, and not enough time on things that REALLY matter.

And what’s crazy is that almost every single health author out there wants you to believe that this 95% that only brings you 5% of your results is SO important. And they make you forget about the 5% that really matters.

What’s this 5% that really matters? Here are some of my finding:

Your diet. Mostly or all raw. Low fat, fruits and vegetables —  avoiding grains, meat, dairy, refined foods, oils and salt.

Your exercise program — getting in at least 30-45 minutes a day on average and paying attention to all elements of fitness (cardio, strength, flexibility, etc.)

Your sleep — Getting enough (usually 7+hours for most people).

Access to clean water, pure air, getting enough sunshine, etc.

Avoiding drugs and stimulants —- prescribed, or illegal. Including coffee, cacao, alcohol, etc.

Emotional poise, healthy relationships, love, etc.

Eliminating stress from your life

Expressing your creativity, your talents, doing something you love

There are a few more — these are called the “essential aspects of life”. And these are the things that really count! This is the 5% that gives you 95% of your results.

But what do other authors want you to spend your time on? Largely on unproven practices and techniques, and little things that can bring you tiny benefits, but nothing in comparison to the “big guns”.

Here’s a few of these possibly time-wasting health practices:

– Seeking a particular kind of “special” water

– Many superfoods and supplements

– Insisting on consuming all-organic foods, while taking other drugs and stimulants

– Walking barefoot on the grass at dawn

– Eating clay

– Seeking organic beef, organic fish, organic dairy (instead of not consuming these products in the first place)

– Drinking wheatgrass juice, without changing the rest of your diet

– Drinking your own urine

– Using colloidal silver

– Getting your mercury fillings removed (for the most part, it can be more dangerous to remove them)

– Ear candling

– Powdered vegetable mixtures

– Supplemental enzymes

– Colonics and enemas

The list is endless actually. Most of these practices are either unproven, and some can be downright dangerous. Some of them can be beneficial, but the benefits are so small compared to the essential elements of life I mentioned previously.

But the main thing is that they distract you from what’s *really important*, which is the 5% that makes all the difference!

Are you getting distracted?

Are you spending your time and energy researching things that don’t really make a difference?

Instead of spending your afternoon researching on the Internet about the latest supplement that could *possibly* improve your health, why not go for a hike?

Instead of spending $300 a month on “superfoods”, why not hire a personal trainer to get you in shape? Or spend that money on fruits and vegetables?

Why not actually make some changes that will *really* make a difference?

And by the way, the reason why these things are not popular is that most people already know about them, but are not doing them!

Focus on the 5% that matters, and health will follow.


Frederic Patenaude
Frederic Patenaude
Frederic Patenaude has been an important influence in the raw food and natural health movement since he started writing and publishing in 1998, first by being the editor of Just Eat an Apple magazine. He is the author of over 20 books, including The Raw Secrets, the Sunfood Cuisine and Raw Food Controversies. Since 2013 he’s been the Editor-in-Chief of Renegade Health.

Frederic loves to relentlessly debunk nutritional myths. He advocates a low-fat, plant-based diet and has had over 10 years of experience with raw vegan diets. He lives in Montreal, Canada.