There are so many fascinating ideas available to us and an endless amount of information available to us when it comes to being healthy. But what are the kinds of strategies that that are the “can’t miss” ones that can help you feel your very best?
Here’s a manifesto of tools for staying healthy that can really help you feel happier, being healthy and more in tune with your internal world.
1. Hydration and H2o
We’ve heard the “drink 8-8oz glasses of water each day” for years. But few people discuss how vital and life-giving the quality and structure of water is to our body. Drinking 64oz of tap water (filled with chlorine, fluoride, and environmental particulate) does us little favor. Go for the spring water or filtered (there are many variations but GO clean) You are not just what you eat – you are what you drink.
The muscles that move our body are 75% water, that our blood plasma is 82% water, our lungs are 90% water, brain is 76% water – and even our bones are 25% water! it is the foundation for our lives. Today, 80% of us are suffering from chronic dehydration, and many of us mistake hunger for thirst.
Chronic dehydration is the underlying contributor in the cause of pain, chronic pain and nearly all degenerative diseases that plague our health from heartburn and arthritis to colitis, cholesterol, and cancer. They all can be prevented by increasing water intake on a regular basis. Humans need more than four pints of water each day. Water is used for digestion, detoxifying cells, watering the lungs, keeping the body alkalized and a host of cleaning duties, and not all water is created equal.
To renew our bodies from chronic dehydration, the recommended 2-3 liters of water a day, structured with a little bit of real salt. Not the white iodized table salt we otherwise known as sodium chloride, but the highly mineralized natural salts like grey Celtic salts or pink crystal Himalayan salt, which he calls the Queen of all Salts.
2.Connect with Nature
Too many of us live indoors, we become accustomed to being inside that we miss out on feeling connected to nature, the weather, or where our food comes from. Lack of time in the sun means you’re not getting your Vitamin D, which is necessary for many, many important functions in the body, including all your hormones. Our indoor habits lead to feelings of depression and stress. Meanwhile, a walk on the beach, the mountains, or in the woods, provides a bounty of negative ions that balance our circadian rhythms, slows our heart rate appropriately, and creates a sense of peace and wellbeing in the body. Take a picnic lunch. Go for a hike on the weekend. Make it a priority to reconnect with the greater world beyond the hustle and bustle of life, the great outdoors. It will increase your awareness of our belonging to the Earth.
3. Eat Your Vegetables
Did you know that a traditional Japanese diet today consists of some 11-15 servings of vegetables? Knowing that there’s a multitude of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other nutrients available in these rainbow-colored foods should be all we need to hear to get on the veggie bandwagon, but sadly, so many of us just don’t eat them. These colorful plant foods contain antioxidants, which scavenge free radicals (causing cellular misfire and aging), aid longevity and youthfulness, and fight cancer. They cleanse the blood, keep you hydrated and utilize healthy sugars to support the liver, regulate cholesterol levels, and promote healthy elimination. It doesn’t hurt that they taste delicious either! Make it a goal to put a rainbow on your plate. Challenge your taste buds and add a salad and two types of veggies with dinner, and some fruit during the day or as dessert. Invest in plant nutrition to Live Vibrantly. If you are looking to bridge the gap, I can help!!
4. Love Your Gut:
Perhaps you or someone you know has experienced this: noticing your digestion is slowing down. You feel more bloated, or gassy. Your favorite foods are giving you heartburn when they never caused an issue before. You read about how bad so many foods are: gluten, nightshades, dairy, eggs, sugar, fruit, and so you decide to remove the offending foods. You feel better for a while, until something else is causing your gut to complain. Outside of developing a true allergy later in life to a well-loved food, there’s often one real reason why you can no longer eat the foods you’ve always eaten: your gut bacteria has hit an all-time low. Many factors contribute to this and healthy gut bacteria. We have become so dependent on antibiotics and so germ-a-phobic that many of our everyday habits work against gut health. Eating probiotic foods like kefir yogurt, kim-chi or sauerkraut, kombucha or bone broth are good ways to restore your good bacteria levels. Getting outside and playing in the dirt (camping, hiking, gardening, flag football) now and again, helps too.
Are you aware of your breathing? Unless you have a cold, and suddenly you can’t breathe comfortably, or get the wind knocked out of you and you just can’t catch your breath, most of us pay little attention to this important automatic activity. Our breath not only oxygenates the entire body, it rids toxins and gives life to our tissues. It also helps
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us to process our emotions. Ever notice how you breathe when you’re angry, or happy, or sad? Your breathing rate will change in how your emotional state is working. It also helps with digestion. Many yogis go to class not just for a good workout, but to spend an hour breathing and feeling fully embodied. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda, when we breathe through our mouths, we age the body. But when we breathe through our nose and do so efficiently, we access the lower lobes of our lungs where our anti-stress hormones get activated.
If you want to make sure your entire body and soul is experiencing the benefits of good health, breathe!
6. Express Yourself
Traditional approaches to health recognize the fact that emotions play a foundational role when it comes to health and disease. There are seven emotions that have a direct effect on our biology. They are sadness, anger, grief, timidity, fear, and fright. While such emotions cannot contribute pathologically, they do however play a vital role for a well-balanced Being. When we do not allow ourselves to feel what we feel, we let go of hope for, or love the body we have, the emotions we keep under lock and key can erupt like volcanoes, and if they don’t, long term suppression creates illness and imbalance in the mind, body, and spirit. Don’t put on hold for a single moment, the chance to be authentic with yourself about who you are. By expressing yourself you are not only freeing up your conscience, you take a spiritual load off your physical shoulders.
We do not get enough sleep, yet this is a critical cure too much of what ails us. Our minds work better, we digest our meals better, we process stress and emotions more appropriately, and we just feel better about life. We grow and repair and rejuvenate our whole body when we sleep. Lack of it can lead to chronic issues of hypertension, create markers for diabetes, obesity, and other health conditions. 8-10 hours of quality sleep is futile for a healthy lifestyle!
8.Fueling with Fat
Our brain contains 76% of its structure as water, it is also composed of a high concentration of fat, and the best way to maintain proper brain function is to get that fat (like omega 3 and saturated fats) from our food. But it doesn’t just help keep us smart. It’s old news now that saturated fat doesn’t contribute to cardiovascular disease after all, it plays a key role in our heart health. Loss of saturated fatty acids in white blood cells
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damages their ability to recognize and destroy foreign invaders, such as viruses, parasites, and bacteria. It’s also required for calcium to be effectively incorporated into bone. Certain saturated fats, like those found in butter or coconut oil, all function as messengers in the body that directly influence our metabolism, and the release of insulin.
Did you know? The right fats in your diet can also help you burn off unwanted body fat. Fat in the diet makes for a greater sense of satisfaction after meals, and even helps fight inflammation.
While this may be the most technologically advanced age we live in, it is also most certainly the era of the couch potato. When we make a priority to be on the move every day, whether we decide to hit the gym, take a bike ride, catch a yoga, tai chi, or dance class, or go for a 30-minute walk around the neighborhood, we are treating our temple with love. With movement, we keep our lungs and cardiovascular system in check, and the more we challenge the body gently, the fitter and the more amazing our body becomes, and I’m not talking about looking hot in a swimsuit, but literally more capable and comfortable. When we exercise, even a good walk, cleanses our lymph system and helps our body to naturally excrete toxins, waste and unnecessary weight or aches and pains. Try making it a habit to commit 20-30 minutes every day to moving and enjoying your body. I promise it will love you back!
10. Time Out!
One of the oldest, most beneficial methods for self-care. Is to quiet the mind, and align our brain, and allow us to feel more at ease, more fully present, and deeply rested is meditation and prayer. While many religions and philosophies have endorsed prayer, contemplation, and meditation, it need not be tied to any dogma. Sometimes just closing your eyes and becoming aware of your breath can being a deeply calming influence over the whole mind-body experience. Even just 10-20 minutes a day can work wonders for your entire sense of self. Many masters have spoken this truth: if you’re too busy to take 10-20 minutes just for you, then you’re just too damn busy.
Health is an ongoing creative adventure that often leads to some interesting twists and turns and is always asking us to pay attention and keep waking up to what it means to be alive and vibrant in this world.
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Warm Regards, Kim Rackham * NouriShe’ www.kim.rackham.com