As we mature the majority of us begin to value how essential having good health is for quality of life. Nowadays you’ll be hard pressed to find anyone who is not plagued by a terminal illness or does not know someone in their family, friends, or acquaintances who is dealing with the consequences of bad lifestyle choices or perhaps even what seems to be a bad stroke of luck. Our bodies’ are a complex culmination of the emotional, mental, spiritual, and food choices we have made over our lifespans. It is very easy to get focused on heathy eating and forget that there is so much more that feeds disease including the mind, emotions, and spirit. Even beyond consideration of holistic wellness, optimal health should also include considerations of each of the essential body parts functioning at their best. So not only are you in great physical shape, your teeth are strong, your gums, hair, nails, feet, arms, organs etc function at their best. When anything in our bodies goes awry in just one part it’s amazing what a profound affect it can have on our general well being, livelihood, and ability to perform at our best. That is because each part of our bodies’ inform the whole and vice versa. So as you consider optimal nutrition and what is the best fuel for you, I challenge you to also pay close attention to any other signs that your body is giving you that you may require some TLC.
When you take preemptive measures it will require that you spend extra time and money to maintain a lifestyle that promotes optimal health, but remember that it’s a worthy investment. Wouldn’t you rather add extra time in for flossing that pay for expensive dental work when you have gum disease? Or modify your diet now and avoid diabetes that plagues your family rather than have a limb removed altogether later? The costs of taking your wellness for granted are steep and come with a much higher price tag when things get urgent. In addition to looking at your own habits, knowing your family history is invaluable and essential to ensuring that you stay on the path of optimal health. If you know what diseases an ailments your parents or grandparents dealt with you can take measures now to adjust your lifestyle so that you never have to worry about carrying on that disease legacy. Below are ten simple things you can do to ensure that you are living optimally. These are just suggestions, but these guidelines should help you get an adequate idea of habits you can improve or add to your daily routine. Prevent now, prosper later! -XoXo Raw Girl
- Adequate Supplementation. Eating a well rounded diet that provides your body with adequate nutrition is essential but given our hectic lifestyles we still may fall short of what our bodies’ need. One way to ensure you have all of the right fuel is to supplement using super foods or high quality supplements. If you are a veggie lover, B12 should be on your list, and you may also include a multivitamin, green algae or grass powders, probiotics, flax or algae based omega-3 supplements and others depending on your body. It’s important to get tested regularly by your doctor and rectify any imbalances you may have so that you prevent long term illness.
- Regular Exercise. This is a no brainer, but it’s amazing how quickly this habit for optimal health goes out the window. I know you feel like you don’t have time, but carving out a mere 30 minutes daily to exercise will do wonders for your health, boost your energy, and keep you younger and happier thanks to the serotonin boost. Find a way you love to move and stick to a routine that works for you. If your bored with your workout, change it up and bit and venture out to try fun alternative forms of exercise. Pole dancing, anyone? Whatever floats your boat, is great as long as you commit to #MoveThatBody.
- Practice Mindfulness A.K.A. Manage Your Emotions By Any Means Necessary. We often greatly underestimate the power our emotions have to keep us healthy. Emotional wellness is key in long term health and learning healthy ways of managing our stress keeps us from adopting unhealthy disease inducing habits like overeating, smoking, alcoholism etc. There are many ways to keep your emotions under control but they all involve a daily commitment to a practice of mindfulness. Breathing helps, as does meditation, prayer, or yoga. Find something that makes your spirit sing and commit to it as the daily food for your spirit. Your soul needs food too, and the more you feed it the more peace, health, and happiness you will find no matter what life throws your way.
- Take Care of Your Teeth. Just in case you didn’t know, the health of your teeth and gums is a huge indicator of your overall well being. If bacteria in your mouth is not kept under control in can enter your bloodstream and cause infections or even heart disease. In addition gum issues and infections may be an indicator of problems with your blood sugar levels. Loosing teeth later in life is sometimes an indicator of osteoporosis, and loosing teeth before the age of 35 may increase your risk for Alzheimer’s disease. Moral of the story? Mind your mouth now, and avoid health complications later. Flossing daily, brushing your teeth, regular cleanings, and using a mouthwash are ways you can care for your teeth now and prevent health drama later.
- Eat Whole Foods and Read Your Labels. You should know this by now, but diet does play a huge factor in changing your destiny and moving your compass towards optimal health. I’ve interviewed a bunch of healthy men and women over seventy about longevity and all of them were able to completely outlive their genetic history and avoid diseases that plagued there parents and grandparents by changing their diets. We have yet to see the full implications of eating genetically modified foods, but the signs are already there that it’s taking a negative toll on lifespan and the quality of health of many people. No matter what your diet, these days you have to go out of your way to avoid anything that is not really food. Read your labels and avoid non organic meats, fruits and veg, processed and packaged foods, refined sugars and salt, and unhealthy oils whenever possible. Although the cost of your groceries may increase, there are always ways to get savvy and find a bargain. Remember that eating to live now, is a definite investment in your personal healthcare plan, and the good news is you get to reap benefits immediately.
- Schedule Regular Checkups. When you get centered on a more holistic lifestyle or GO VEG, you may find that you are sick less and less if not at all, and are able to manage health crises with your own intuition and natural cures. We get caught up sometimes in calling our primary doctors the big bad wolves, because of the prescription drugs they peddle for any ailment without dealing with the root cause. And they “the big bad wolves” think that a lot of us veggie lovers have gone completely mad with our juice making, medicine avoiding, organic loving ways. The thing is, medicine has it’s place and is still incredibly useful for all of us to assess deficiencies and catch illnesses if we commit to regular exams and checkups. You should be checking in on yourself regularly, but it is nice to get a blood test that can let you know where you may be deficient and cue some adjustments in your diet or daily health regimen. Every doctor has his or her place, so make sure even if you are like me and love the woo-woo back to nature medicine route, you still engage in regular checkups with your doctor.
- Know Your Status. Sexual health is a huge issue and continues to grow in importance as the number of people infected with sexually transmitted disease is on the rise, and a large majority of people are completely unaware of their status. It is incredibly important for you to take precautions necessary to guard your sexual health, and also ensure that you engage in regular testing. Do you know your status? If you have not been tested and are sexually active, know that by avoiding testing your are playing a very dangerous game. Also ensure that once you do know your status you take the precautions necessary to avoid STD’s. Bad news is there are tons of STD’s nowadays that can be transmitted even with use of condoms etc. so just take care, use your intuition, know the status of your partner, and engage wisely.
- Maintain Colon Health. Colon health is most likely the number one wellness issue in America today, period. The majority of diseases begin with the accumulation of waste in our colon or our “bodies’ sewage system.” When I interviewed Bernando LaPallo who is a 110 year old raw foodist and asked him what he does to maintain a healthy colon he gave a great answer which was if you eat fruits and vegetables and avoid unnatural foods, your colon health will take care of itself. It’s true that the majority of problem begin when our colons get clogged with unnatural or toxic foods that get stuck in your colons as impacted waste and slowly but surely start to cause health problems. Beyond just eating good whole foods there are other things you can do to regularly to ensure your colon is not becoming a cesspool for disease. For some ideas check out this past post: “#1 Health Issue in America: Maintaining a Healthy Colon“.
- Monitor & Value Adequate Sleep. Sleep is another precious commodity we undervalue in our culture. We are obsessed with “grinding,” getting ahead, meeting deadlines, and sacrificing vacations for promotions. It’s important to make sleep a priority so that you can be the best you everyday. Not only does sleep affect our performance, learning retention, and brain functioning, sleep plays a major role in boosting our immunity, weight loss, preventing the onset of many diseases. The best way to get adequate sleep is to attempt as much as possible to stick to a sleep schedule and go to bed and wake up around the same time daily. To learn more about sleep check out this episode of my radio show “The Power of Adequate Sleep,” in which I interviewed Dr. James Maas, an internationally renowned sleep expert.
- Engage in Regular Detoxification. Conducting regular fasts, or embarking on a detox every now and then can do wonders for your health. Your digestive system gets some time to rest, and as you detoxify your body you are taking time to rid yourself of toxins that could have later built up and caused illness and disease. Regular fasting or detox does not have to be crazy and intense, it can be yearly, monthly, or as needed, it’s just one additional way for you to pay it forward and prevent problems before they arise.