No matter what age you are, what your current level of health or what kind of lifestyle you lead, the building blocks for health are the same. The only question is how you apply them and how committed you are to gaining health.
Having just spent the last couple of weeks with the flu, I am reminded of the importance of reviewing these once in a while and looking at where I may have been limiting my own health. There's always room for improvement and I am always learning new things. But, here's a start...
Eat a healthy diet
There is not one perfect diet, however, there are several components to any diet that are important. What follows is a list of some of the most important factors when choosing a healthy diet.
- eat lots of fresh, organically grown vegetables along with some fruits
- for those who eat meat, the best choice is grass-fed and/or organic meats
- small quantities of whole grains, that have been soaked before cooking or prepared as a sour dough. See Sally Fallon's Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats
- include quality fats
- For salad dressings and other non-cooked oils: cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil, avocados, nuts
- For cooking – organic butter or ghee, lard (both ideally from grass-fed animals), coconut oil
- regularly include bone broth
- limit sugar, white flour, and other processed foods
- take a quality multi-vitamin or even better, drink nourishing herbal infusions
- eat fermented foods like (unpasteurized) sauerkraut, yogurt, kimchi
Like diet, exercise is very personalized for each person, anywhere from a simple walk around the block to yoga to some form of high impact exercise. What’s most important is to move the body. In addition, some form of resistance exercise is important to build strong bones, think weight lifting, gardening and other activities that resistance against your body.
Get plenty of good quality rest
In our culture, its not uncommon to get only 5 or 6 hours of sleep each night. Our bodies need closer to 8 hours of sleep each night. The good news is you can catch up by sleeping 9 hours for two or three nights in a row. It is better to rearrange life to allow for regular sleep. You’ll feel better, have more energy and have better overall health.
Smile and feel joy
The goal here is to feel good within. Smile even if you don’t feel like it. Emotions actually follow thoughts. Perhaps you’ve heard the expression, fake it ‘til you make it. This is a perfect application. Smile, think positive thoughts and you’re likely to feel better. Or better yet, perform a “random act of kindness”. You’ll feel better and someone else will, too.
Consider herbs for health
Herbs are an easy solution to many common ailments and injuries. With herbs, its easier to know what your taking and have more control over your own health. Remember to take good quality herbs to make sure you are getting the best medicine.
Use supplements as needed
Depending on where you live and what you eat, you may need supplements for Vitamin D3, magnesium and possibly other items as well. Many sources recommend up to 5000 IU of Vitamin D3 daily from fall until spring. It’s a good idea to have your doctor check your Vitamin D-25 hydroxy levels. You can learn more about Vitamin D on the Vitamin D Council website.
Magnesium is important for absorption of Vitamin D3 and calcium. Our food supply is often deficient in magnesium which can lead to a shortage in our bodies. Most people are more in need of magnesium than calcium. Symptoms of possible magnesium shortage can include insomnia, muscle cramping, muscle twitches, menstrual cramping, anxiety, and constipation. Recommended forms are magnesium citrate and magnesium glycinate. Citrate is more bowel loosening than glycinate.
I know, this one can be difficult to achieve. After all, our modern lifestyle pretty much guarantees a certain level of stress. Sometimes the easiest thing we can do is find a way to de-stress in a short span of time. Perhaps try one of the following for five minutes:
- watch nature for a few minutes
- close your eyes and breath deeply
- take a short walk