Unless you’re immersed in it daily, the amount of health information out there can be intimidating and overwhelming. With so much dietary and wellness guidance, a lot of which is contradictory or seemingly impossible to stick to for any length of time, even the person with the best intentions can end up taking a back seat in regards to their health. So rather then provide you with another detailed examination of a particular health topic, I’d like to make it simple this week and give you 10 key areas to focus on that I feel most health professionals would agree on.
As I recommend to my clients, think about the concept of “crowding out” rather than change. As you adopt new habits, eventually these new habits will crowd out the old ones without the need to constantly focus on them. In other words they will become as automatic as the old habits, leaving no room for your previous ways to survive in relation to how you care for your body, mind and spirit.
So take each step, one day, one week or one month at a time, and see for yourself how each one makes you feel in terms of your energy, vitality, clarity and overall sense of well being. Although not listed in any particular order, feel free to start where you’d like or even take on all of them at once if that works best for you.
1. Water – Depending on your age, up to 90 percent of your body is made up of water. Without water, you wouldn’t survive. Pure, mineral-rich, chemical-free water will dramatically alter your health. Get your water tested to determine what type of filter to buy or better yet, locate a natural spring in your area where you can obtain pure drinking water regularly. Invest in a shower filter as well to eliminate the chlorine that your body is directly absorbing through your skin.
2. Grains – It’s quite simple. Only consume whole grains, substantially limiting or eliminating those that contain gluten. White, processed, flour, bread, pasta and even rice are not only stripped of their own nutritional properties, they actually rob you of your body’s mineral stores to properly digest them. Gluten is a protein that our body can’t properly break down, which impairs nutrient absorption and can lead to other ill effects. Gluten-free whole grains include millet, quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat and brown rice.
3. Greens/Vegetables– The majority of your diet should consist of big hearty whole leaf greens and vegetables (including sea vegetables which contain 10 times more calcium than milk). Greens are made up of chlorophyll, which contains magnesium, a trace mineral many are deficient in. Greens have the power to heal, balance, and prevent illness. They are packed with calcium, iron, vitamins and minerals and are a key source of energy.
4. Raw/Live Food – Cooked food can have an altered molecular structure, which is often deficient in nutrients. Raw, live, unprocessed whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, sprouts, nuts and seeds, sprouted beans and grains, and dehydrated foods can provide increased energy, clear skin, optimal digestion, weight loss/maintenance and a reduced rate of heart disease. At a minimum, try to have 50 percent of your diet consist of raw, live foods.
5. Organic – Do not underestimate the value of organic foods. Real organic foods can contain more nutrients and assist us in avoiding chemical sprays, synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, insecticides and other food production practices, which can do wonders for our health and longevity. Higher food costs now can mean lower medical and health bills later.
6. Fewer Animal Products – Unless you can guarantee the source of your animal products and the farming practices utilized (which most of us can’t), consuming animal protein that has been injected with hormones, antibiotics, growth stimulants, tranquilizers and other drugs can contribute to vitamin and mineral deficiency from a diet lacking in plant nutrients. Quality plant sources of protein include nuts, beans, flax, spirulina, chlorella, and quinoa. Soy and seitan are also good sources of protein, however due to genetic modification (soy) and the negative effects of gluten (seitan), I don't recommend these as primary sources.
7. Sugar/Caffeine/Alcohol – These substances can all be addictive and can be major contributors to weight problems, adrenal fatigue, yeast overgrowth, lack of energy, spiritual disconnect, and a host of other health problems. Natural sweeteners, which should only be enjoyed occasionally by healthy individuals, include xylitol, stevia, mesquite meal, raw honey, raw agave nectar, coconut syrup, maple syrup and dates.
8. Detoxification – I personally believe that once or twice a year, everyone should give their body a rest and do a five to 10 day juice cleanse to repair and rejuvenate the entire holistic system that makes up the human experience – mind, body and spirit. On a daily basis, a greens juice provides an easily absorbable means of consuming vegetables, while healing, eliminating toxins and preventing health issues.
9. Superfoods – Goji berries, raw cacao, bee pollen, maca, spirulina and many other superfoods are some of the most nutritionally rich foods in the world. They can help you heal and prevent disease, lose weight, acquire important plant based nutrients and live longer. Enjoy them as a snack or add them to a juice, smoothie or cup of tea on a daily basis.
10. Spiritual Practice – Incorporate a daily practice such as meditation, yoga, breathing, creative expression, act of service or other activity that allows you to balance the mind, calm emotions, live in the present moment, connect with your internal being, connect with others, and live a peaceful life.
Published On: March 24, 2011