Health and Wellness
I was lucky because I grew up in a family that prioritized health and wellness. My grandmother was ahead of her time and used nutrition and holistic healing methods even before they were popular. I now carry on the traditions of nutritious eating and holistic healing in my own family.
I want to share with you the most important and yet simple things you can do to improve your health and wellness. I love this post on "The best six doctors". It really is the staple of any healthy person. Here are some tips on what I discovered about some of the basics to stay healthy:
Although this seems easy to do, you have to remember that most of us don't breathe correctly and are rarely breathing clean air.
Spend as much time in nature as possible and take deep breaths from your belly, filling up your lungs completely. Breathing deeply enables our body to cleanse itself and release toxins. If you meditate, try to meditate outside. Inhale deeply and exhale deeply counting to 10 each time. If you do this 3 times a day, you can increase your metabolism.
Air out your house occasionally. Open the windows and let the fresh air in. Air can become quite toxic in our homes based on trapped dust. Change out your air filters in your home periodically. Put some plants in your home since they filter the air for you. They give off oxygen for you and you give off carbon dioxide for them. It's a symbiotic relationship.
Air fresheners, scented candles and Potpourri create smells using chemicals that are toxic to breathe. Throw these away. Things like fresh flowers or diffusing essential oils are better ways to create a fresh smelling home.
Our bodies are made up of 65% water. We need to drink plenty of good water to be healthy. Not ice tea or drinks that contain water - just pure water. Water is also acidic, so add lemon or apple cider vinegar to neutralize it and create an alkalized ph level in your body. Tap water has sodium fluoride in it. Sodium fluoride is a neurotoxin. In 2016, sodium fluoride was officially classified as a neurotoxin in the world's most prestigious medical journal and it is listed right up there with arsenic, lead and mercury. Most filtration systems don't pull it out. Pure mountain spring water is the best since it doesn't contain sodium fluoride. It does contains calcium fluoride which is a naturally occurring mineral from fluorite. Pure mountain spring water also contains essential minerals that our body needs for good health.
Of course exercise. Get your body moving. Please don't think that you need to hit the gym or do a 5 mile run to get in shape. Just remember to move your body. There are small things that you can do, such as when you go shopping, park in the back of the parking lot just to get yourself walking further. Walking and gentle strengthening exercises will help you immensely. A light jog has multiple benefits since it will get you breathing deeply, which affects your internal systems in a positive way.
The body needs sunlight, yet too little sunlight is just as bad as too much. Skin cancer scared everyone into cutting out sunlight and wearing sunscreen 24 hours a day. This is now causing other health problems because of Vitamin D deficiencies.Try to get 15-20 minutes of natural sunlight, without sunscreen, to give your body it's D nutrients for the day. Vitamin D supplements do not work as well and are not absorbed into the body easily.
We are told by experts that we must cut down on our salt intake. This is true. But most of us get too much of the wrong kind of salt and not enough of the good kind. Natural salt is a mineral and acts as an electrolyte to keep the body hydrated. Table salt should be thrown away as it is processed and bleached. There is no trace of minerals left in it and it is not good for you at all. All packaged or canned goods contain high amounts of this sodium and should be reduced in your diet. Sea salt is good but our oceans have been heavily polluted so they're not the best choice. Himalayan salt is the best. Check out www.himalayancrystalsalt.com for the importance and significance of original Himalayan salt and how it's acquired to retain its natural mineral elements.
I find that eating correctly is one of the most important things we can do for our health. Even more important than exercise (although exercise is important). There are so many diets out there right now in the world that it gets pretty confusing as to which one will work for you. You've got Atkins, Mediterranean, The Zone, South Beach, Paleo, and many other random diet plans that promise to make you healthy slim and trim. Guess what, none of them will work for you. Maybe all of them will work. It's not the diet plan, it's the drive and motivation to get healthy or not. Do you really need that type of regimen? Do you need health experts and doctors telling you that too much sugar and salt is bad for you? Of course not, you already know that. Most people look to these diets to be "the one" that magically transforms their body with little work. Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way. Don't diet! Change the way you look at food. Food is fuel and you can find ways to pick your favorite healthy foods and make great recipes with them.
Living foods are best, that means foods that are raw, not processed or cooked. Most important are fruits,vegetables and nuts. Next you have your lean proteins and eggs, and finally your grains and legumes. Unfortunately, most of the nutrients have been stripped from modern day soil leaving us nutrient deficient. Take a look at incorporating Superfoods into your diet since they are packed with valuable nutrients that our bodies need.
To really get healthy it is important to purify your body periodically from all the toxins we are exposed to daily and to eat tons of organic fruits and vegetables. Extreme diets are not sustaining. Learn to incorporate healthy choices into your eating habits.
1. Start by Detoxing - The fastest way to detoxify the body is to fast. I try to fast once a week. This enables the body to eliminate the need to focus on processing foods and allows it time to rejuvenate, heal, and repair the cells. A 3-day fast triggers the process of Ketosis in which the body uses fat cells, rejuvenates other cells and clears out the old junk your body has been storing. And of course deep breathing and moderate exercise help the process along.
Cleanses can be good. Just pick cleanses that are natural and not too extreme. There are some really good cleanses that use natural foods to cleanse specific parts of your body. Anytime you're detoxing, your liver has to process the toxins out of your body quite quickly. It can overburden your liver so be careful and drink a lot of water to help your liver flush out the toxins. Get all organic. Organic means that they were not sprayed with pesticides and were not genetically made in a lab.
Cut Out GMOs - I highly advise you to cut out all Genetically Modified Organisms(GMO) as they are toxifying to the body. Grocery stores use particular numbers in identifying their produce. Look for the item number to begin with a 9 which signifies organic versus the number 4 which is conventional produce. In clinical studies, rats were fed high amounts of GMO foods and they contracted cancerous tumors. According to the movie "Forks Over Knives", which I highly recommend, when rats with cancer were fed animal protein, the cancer spread. When they were fed plant based protein, the cancer reduced. Plant based nutrients are definitely better at healing the body than animal nutrients. In further studies, animals were given GMO foods and natural organic foods to choose from, and the animals were instinctively drawn to the food made by nature, not the GMO food made by chemists.
Reduce or Eliminate Meat and Dairy - The meat and dairy industries are multi-billion dollar businesses and have spent years convincing us that their products are important for good health. Everyone knows that inflammatory foods cause health problems, such as chronic diseases and cancer. Well, guess what, meat and dairy cause major inflammation in the body. Milk allergies have the highest percentage of allergies in the world. Humans are the only species that continue to drink milk past infancy and from a different species. Cow's milk is full of hormones designed to make a baby cow a big cow. It is not formulated for humans. Then you add steroids and the chemical ridden anti-biotics that kill good and bad bacteria, and you can understand why it's not the healthiest thing that we can put into our bodies. In fact, most meats will have this problem. The meat industry is also responsible for more environmental problems than fossil fuels. If you are interested in taking care of the the environment, check out the documentary "Cowspiracy". It was very enlightening. Reducing these foods and replacing them with more fruits, vegetables, legumes and nuts, is far better for your health. If you eliminate meat entirely, check with your doctor or nutritionist as to which foods and vitamins will be good nutritional replacements.
Reduce Sugar - This is kind of a no brainer, but most of us find this one the most difficult. Most sugar substitutes are worse the the sugar itself and have been found to cause cancer. Based on my research, Stevia Leaf Sweetener is the best sugar substitute available today. I have found great recipes online that use Cacao, Coconut Oil and Stevia, to make the yummiest treats. Coconut Oil is a natural anti-biotic and targets bad bacteria. Add some almond butter and you have a Reese's Peanut Butter cup style chocolate treat. Replace the coconut oil with coconut milk and you get hot chocolate. There are tons of recipes online so check them out. Cooking and baking are not my thing, but I found these recipes are quite simple to make.
Start Juicing - Juicing allows nutrients to go straight into your body, by-passing the digestive system. Juicing organic fruits and vegetables is a great way to get large amounts of nutrients into your body without having to eat large quantities of produce. These organic nutrients allow the body to detoxify itself. I'm not a breakfast girl, nor do I enjoy eating a lot of fruit, so I have a protein shake in the morning and add plenty of fresh organic fruit so I can get my daily intake in first thing. Fruit is very cleansing for the digestive track. You can use coconut milk or almond milk to make it even more tasty. Adding yogurt gives it that malty shake feel. I make this shake for my whole family, this way they get in their daily fruit requirements. I started off using chocolate almond milk and chocolate protein shake and once they got used to it, I have slowly switched to less chocolate and more veggies like kale. They don't even know they're eating it.
I personally had a problem digesting gluten so I went gluten free 5 years ago. I really wanted to go vegetarian but I loved beef and was stumped on how to do it. So I stopped making excuses and just did is very slowly. That way I could adjust, as well as my body could adjust to the changes. I cut out only beef for one month, then I cut out chicken for one month and then finally fish. I did my homework though. I learned that I needed to take my multi-vitamins plus a b-complex to compensate for the nutrients that meat provided. I also learned that by combining rice and beans, it would substitute the same nutrients that I would get by eating meat. So I could have a taco filled with rice and beans and that was my meat. Also, my protein shake has 21 grams of protein so it's like having a steak for breakfast. The first thing to happen to me after going vegetarian was that my body detoxified itself. I woke up early with more energy than I have ever had in my life. I also felt an enormous amount of mental clarity. It was an amazing feeling. I eventually used the same process to cut out dairy and go vegan. There are so many great meat and dairy substitutes these days, that I don't even miss the animal products and I feel great that I am part of a new culture that refuses to support killing animals for food. I notice a lot of young people started off vegan or changed to a vegan diet and I think the culture is changing slowly.
Find what you love that moves your body and do it. Here again, I purify and balance.
1. Physically detoxify the body - Exercise detoxifies the body through several methods: First, when you sweat, the body detoxifies itself through the sweat. Next, if you do an exercise that makes you breathe deeply, as in a type of cardio, deep breathing in the lungs provides an outlet for the body to release toxins as well. Drink a lot of pure water as it helps rid the body of toxins.
2. Balance - Pick an exercise you love and do it a little every week. If you don't exercise at all, don't choose to start by hitting the gym 5 days a week. Start small and work your way up. Over commitment or intensity of the workout are the number one reasons people often abandon their workouts.
I love Yoga and I do it 3 times a week but I don't go overboard on the intensity. I do gentle 15-20 minute workouts that move my body to increase my flexibility and build bone mass. Any resistance can help increase bone mass since we lose it with age, we need exercises to keep the bones strong. Standing on one leg until it starts to be difficult builds bone mass in that leg. Holding a push up position builds bone mass in your arms. Easy, yet gentle.
If you're looking to lose weight, you may have been taught that only heavy, sweat inducing, exercise will do the trick. In my experience, it takes eating better and exercising more, and slowly the weight will come off. When someone has gained excessive weight past what is considered healthy, than they have changed the "set point" of their body. Quick diets or rapid exercise regiments can take off weight fast, but then the body thinks it is in starvation mode and looks to store food and reset to the original weight. Slowly changing how you feel about food and exercise and slowly making healthy choices, allows the body to readjust to it's ideal weight.
Mother nature has an interesting way of providing everything the human body needs to live a healthy life. Man has used plants as a source of medicine for thousands of years. Plant-based foods have the power to heal, if we know how to use them. They provide us all the nutrients our bodies need to heal and function properly. Unfortunately, man has toxified the environment through pollutants in the air and soil, added contaminants to the water, and altered the genetics of our food through manipulation of seeds, resulting in reduced plant nutrients. Since our plants have been compromised, Essential Oils are a great way to harness the purity and the power of plants for healing. They are processed in a way that sustains the plant and retains it's powerful medicinal properties. Make sure to get high level oils from trusted sources. Companies like Do Terra or Young Living provide high quality oils. Inexpensive oils you find in the stores are cheaper because they are diluted and processed in a way that loses their efficacy. That's the reason why they are cheaper! You get what you pay for. Pharmaceutical companies start off with the same plants but then add chemicals so they can package it and sell it for high dollars. It is the chemicals that cause side effects in people. All natural products rarely cause side effects to the extremes that you see with the drugs circulating today.