Considering the massive amount of conflicting health information the supposed experts constantly and casually toss out to the public, I thought it would be a good idea to offer up an alternative route to healthy living that consists of common sense, simplicity and is backed by the personal experience of someone who isn’t getting paid to write about it.
Health is a serious matter not to be taken lightly, but also should not be an overwhelming concept to adapt. If you take your health lightly chances are that you are either one of those poor souls who doesn’t know any better, or one who just doesn’t care. Whatever the case may be, if you have any desire at all to improve the quality and length of your life without having to make a constant effort to keep up with the latest trendy wellness how to’s, consider the following.
Aside from advances in western medicine, we have always for the most part had the tools and resources to achieve optimal health within our reach. We got ourselves into deep trouble when we began making drastic alterations to our food and lifestyle without caution or question, and this is why we need to go back to basics and learn from the past.
Every area of our lives is prone to becoming toxic, and restoring your health requires healing. If you can learn how to heal and then practice it, healthy living will become muscle memory.
Food for thought
A healthy diet should be top priority focusing on quality and balance. Quality being natural foods that have not been stripped of their nutrients or made toxic in the growing or raising process.
It is no secret that I am an advocate for healthy food and animal welfare, but it might come as a surprise that I did not even know what organic food was until I was nineteen years old. This is partially because of how secretive our food system is in the states, but also due to how naive we have been as consumers to just blindly trust that everything we purchase is always going to be safe and healthy without ever questioning it. This nonsense and corruption has been going on for over sixty years. However, since the public caught wind of what’s been going on and began to develop an appetite for clean food, supply and demand has served us well and has been driving that demand in the right direction for the last ten years, pushing organics into the mainstream.
One general misconception people have about food is that when it is identified by a specific name it automatically falls under the unhealthy category, but the truth is that healthy food is just made of healthy ingredients. Yes, this means that your burger, pizza, and taco all have potential to be incredibly nutritious sources of fuel depending on what the are made of and it all comes down to the simplicity of avoiding toxins.
The best way to avoid a negative consequence is to avoid a dangerous risk. When you put chemicals in your body that are unnatural that it doesn’t recognize or know how to process (because it wasn’t designed to) you run the risk of acquiring a variety of serious health issues that range anywhere from chronic disease and obesity, to infertility and cancer.
Your body doesn’t care what color your food is, so there is no logical reason to ever eat food coloring, and because food can be flavored naturally there is no need to use artificial chemicals to sweeten or flavor food. In order to keep hormones balanced, conventional animal products that contain artificial hormones and antibiotics should be avoided as often as possible. Most of the necessary nutrients that enable a body to function properly are easily obtained through organic vegetables and fruits, as opposed to conventional produce that is doused with toxic pesticides and grown in microorganism depleted soil that is incapable of providing sufficient nutrients to plants, which in turn cannot provide sufficient nutrients to you.
If you have reservations about organic food quality because you don’t feel that the certification standards are high enough, other options would be to either grow and raise your own food or join a community supported agriculture and get to know and trust your farmer. I would encourage both of these for the simple fact that they support both your local economy and the environment, and at the same time shine a light on the self sufficiency of small scale farming.
Clean drinking water is hard to come by these days, and because unfiltered tap water can do serious damage to your body at the expense of hydration, filtering is a must. Filtering your water can dramatically reduce pollutants like heavy metals, pesticide runoff, fluoride, chlorine, arsenic and nitrates, which have all been found in municipal sources of drinking water. There are many affordable filtration systems out there from under the counter and counter top to pitchers, and are definitely something to consider.
Binge drinking is obviously bad for you, but there are benefits of drinking alcohol whenever it is consumed in moderation. The antioxidants found in red wine are good for the heart, help prevent blood vessel damage and reduce bad cholesterol. Beer contains a good amount of potassium, magnesium, vitamin b12 and folic acid, and the favonoids found in the hops that are used to brew it play a major role in cancer prevention. As with anything else, the quality of an alcoholic beverage should always be stellar in order to reap the health benefits it has to offer.
If you’re like me your morning ritual is centered around coffee and followed by continuous drinking throughout the day. Because coffee and tea have been known for their medicinal properties such as immunity support, liver protection and reduction of free radicals, we should continue sipping, but also remember to prioritize quality. Conventional coffee and tea are among the most heavily chemically treated crops in the world, so you will want to choose only organic leaves and beans.
It should not be news to anyone that inhaling smoke into your lungs is bad for you. So if you absolutely must smoke tobacco, try to smoke a natural pipe tobacco or an organic cigarette that doesn’t contain any chemical additives, and if in an effort to quit nicotine all together you find yourself with a vaporizer, use an e-liquid that is natural, without any artificial flavors or propylene glycol.
Vitamin and herbal supplements are a great way to insure that you are getting the necessary amount of nutrients you need, as well as target specific health issues for either prevention or treatment before turning to pharmaceutical drugs, which only treat symptoms and never actually get to the root problem. As with everything else your supplements must be good quality, free of unnatural additives and used in accordance with a healthy diet, not as a substitute for one.
A basic rule of thumb for keeping your skin healthy is to avoid putting chemicals on it. Your skin is transdermal, so everything that is applied is absorbed into the bloodstream. There are so many great natural skin care products out there that work wonders and will save both your skin and the contents of your wallet. Another thing to avoid in the quest for healthy skin is excessive sun exposure, which leads to premature aging and the risk of developing skin cancer. There is a small window open here due to the fact that ten to fifteen minutes of unprotected sun exposure is the best way to get sufficient amounts of vitamin d, just remember to lather up with sunscreen after such time has passed.
One outrageously common misconception about fitness and physicality is that if you are skinny you don’t need to exercise and if you appear to be overweight there’s no way you could possibly be in shape. These are both ridiculous and untrue. This should go without saying but regardless of where you are physically at any given time, everyone needs to exercise. Physical activity improves overall health and can reduce the risk of disease. It will also leave you with more energy, an uplifted mood, in a more relaxed state of mind and allow you to sleep better at night. If you do exercise regularly but have a tendency to over do it in the gym you may want to consider taking it down a few levels. You don’t have to work out to the point of becoming injured or sick. That isn’t good for you. What also isn’t good is to sit around for extended periods of time without moving, but because many of us often do exactly that we need to make a conscious effort to engage in a minimum of thirty minutes of moderate-intensity exercise every day.
There are many simple and accessible ways to detoxify your living space. House plants for instance remove toxins like formaldehyde and benzene from the air we breathe and can reduce stress by calming the nervous system. Natural household cleaners should be the only household cleaners, because they get the same job done without loading every surface in your home up with dozens of harmful chemicals. You can also make all purpose cleaners from ingredients found in the kitchen that work just as well and cost significantly less. Switching your bedding from synthetic fabric to 100% cotton will reduce the amount of chemicals released into the air, and washing that bedding weekly along with dusting your ceiling fan blades can wipe out a plethora of irritating allergens.
Struggling to gain control of the mind is something that we all deal with at some point. Unfortunately, some people have to deal with it under more serious and occasionally life threatening circumstances, which calls for more attention and professional help than the average person would need, but speaking in terms of the average person there are some pretty common sense ways to help improve your mental state that only require small amounts of discipline and action.
Incorporating a daily routine that you can stick with will give you a sense of control over your life. Set attainable goals for yourself and don’t panic whenever you don’t instantly achieve them. Think about and do things that put your mind at ease. Take lengthy, frequent breaks from social media and media in general if you feel that it is negatively influencing your life. Read, watch, or listen to things you are interested in learning about as well as things that make you laugh, and surround yourself with people who genuinely care about you.
It took me well over twenty years to discover how simple healthy living can be, even in a toxic unhealthy world, and because I was capable of improving my own health this way I know that anyone is capable of doing the same.