The dawn of a new year means renewed inspiration and attention to health and well-being for many folks. Losing weight, exercising, eating better…. whatever your resolutions may be, I invite you to explore my keys to good health. Here’s to your best year yet!
Eat only whole, seasonal, preferably organic foods. A whole food means just that: you are consuming a whole, natural, unrefined food. Egg whites are not a whole food; consume the whole egg. Fruit juice may sound healthy, but it is very high in sugar and lacks the fibrous part of the fruit. White flour was once whole wheat before it is refined and bleached. Packaged and processed foods may claim “low fat” or “all natural,” but they may have refined flour or hydrogenated oils/trans fats. Eat out of the box. Shop the perimeter of the store. Visit your farmers’ market. Eat REAL foods. If you can’t pronounce the ingredients, don’t eat it.
Aim for balance in your life. Too much stress, eating the Standard American Diet of fast foods or processed foods, skipping meals, too many drugs (prescription, over the counter, recreational, whatever), too much sugar, too much booze…. all of this makes your body acidic. Your body should be slightly alkaline, and when you consume acid-producing foods like caffeine, too much meat, and excess sugar, your body becomes acidic, creating a welcoming environment for viruses and bacteria to flourish. Pain and degenerative diseases such as osteoporosis, cancers, arthritis, etc. begin to take hold in an acidic body. Your body wants to maintain a state of homeostasis and will deplete your calcium and magnesium stores to offset acidity. Get plenty of green leafys, and explore some of the spirulina/chlorella green food powders on the market. Incredibly alkalinizing and high in micronutrients.
Maintain healthy gut flora. Digestion is the key to good health. If you’re not digesting properly, you’re not absorbing important nutrients and fatty acids from your food, and your health will suffer. You may experience cravings or overeat. Maybe you’re constipated (are you pooping every day, at least once?), or you’re gassy or bloated. Your inner ecosystem is a delicate balance of bacteria, and when this balance is upset (due to… you guessed it: stress, poor diet, too much sugar, parasites, pathogens, bacteria), bad bacteria can proliferate, causing candida overgrowth and unpleasant symptoms. Try a good digestive cleanse (see previous posts for candida and parasite cleansing), then follow up with a good probiotic for several months. 80% of your immune system is in your gut, so healthy gut = strong immunity.
Perform some sort of meditation or relaxation every day. Start with 5 minutes in the morning, and 5 minutes in the evening, working up to 20 minutes twice a day. This could include deep breathing, meditation, yoga, chi gong, or tai chi. Massage helps too.
Get at least 9 hours of sleep every night, in a dark, quiet room: think cave. This has been shown to help repair the entire body and reduce illness. Your body heals and detoxifies while you sleep.
Finally, replace worry with action. Worry is a signal that something is off balance in your life. What is it, and how can you fix it? Go ahead. What are you waiting for?
Mary Vance is a Certified Nutrition Consultant and author specializing in digestive health. She combines a science-based approach with natural therapies to rebalance the body. In addition to her 1:1 coaching, she offers courses to help you heal your gut and improve your health. Mary lives in San Francisco and Lake Tahoe in Northern California. Read more about her coaching practice here and her background here.