Health is subjective – you may feel totally fine, be active, and then one day just drop dead. So were you actually healthy?
I see and hear this all the time – “I feel great!” or “I’m fine.” Yet these people take prescriptions for something or another, or they get the flu and colds every year, or they have never felt what it is like to be exceptionally healthy – and herein lies the issue – if you’ve never felt it, you won’t know what is possible. Most people have to become very ill in order to make a significant change – most people have to be desperate. Maybe they’re losing their minds (as I was). Maybe they are given a death sentence. Maybe they’re obese. I don’t know – but most people don’t find an actually healthy LIFESTYLE that works until they’re faced with dire consequences, if they find one at all.
Most people wonder, why change if nothing is wrong? Well, you don’t necessarily know something is wrong. We are led to believe that it’s totally normal to get colds and flus, and to have bowel movements once every few days, and it’s not. We’re led to believe that aging means gaining excess weight and losing our energy, becoming stiff, wrinkly, and covered in cellulite.
But it doesn’t mean that, at all.
I saw a great video recently that talks about common sense. There is really no such thing – the guy in the video is right. Our common sense – the COMMON thought, is that certain things are healthy for us when they are not. The common lines of thought are ludicrous when it comes to health.
People want a simple answer to fix them, because health is “complicated.” Health is actually simple – once you know all the factors, it’s completely simple, but UNLEARNING everything we’ve been taught our whole lives is the complicated part.
I’ve been studying health and well-being since I was a teenager, but specifically raw foods, living foods, plant-based foods for almost 8 years now. I have had an interest in it almost my whole life, and the more I learn, the more I see it pointing to a simple formula. And it all comes down to this: We have completely forgotten our nature.
You can’t unlearn everything in a day or a month – you have to be patient and learn with time. Start with the most simple things. I still am learning constantly after years of living this lifestyle – I have tried many different things, some work, some do not – I don’t beat myself up over it. If something comes up, I question what I’ve been doing differently. I question what I am not doing. I learn, EVERY day, about something new, whether it be nutrition, physical movement, something about brain chemistry – with our access to the internet and libraries (even if your library doesn’t have something specific, you can ask them to get it or do an interlibrary loan!), we really have no excuse not to learn all the time. Even when I am driving, I’m learning, from podcasts and audiobooks. While hiking, walking – whenever.
The key to learning is to develop an intense curiosity and dedicate yourself to YOU. If you put yourself first and become amazingly healthy, you have all the energy and vigor to help others. To help others you have to have compassion, and to have true compassion you must take into consideration ALL living beings (including yourself).
So to start simply, what can you do?
- Remove all animal products from your diet. These are acid-forming, cruel, unnecessary, mucus-forming, and detrimental to your health. They are hard to digest, also. If you are concerned about protein, don’t be – if you are eating enough, you will get enough protein. You just need a wide variety of plant-foods. To develop muscle, you need to move your muscles. Eating protein-rich animal products will not grow your muscles – moving your body will. If you are really concerned with getting more protein, simply eat more plant food. There are also raw vegan protein powders, which are not necessary but they are available.
- Get your body out in nature, fresh air, and get your bare skin on the earth (walk barefoot, on sand, dirt, anywhere natural), and your skin must get sunlight. I don’t mean baking in the sun, but you MUST get sunlight on your skin, and NO sunscreen. Your body will not get vitamin D through your face or hands, or even all year unless you live certain areas of the earth – the sunlight must hit your torso, back, arms, legs – this is where most vitamin D is produced. Do not wash your skin with soap except where necessary, like your butt, under your arms, etc, but you can actually wash off the vitamin D you’ve received – it takes about 48 hours to absorb into your blood stream. If you can’t get sunlight on your skin year-round the next best options are to take a vacation every winter to somewhere that you CAN get it, move somewhere that you can get it year round, a sunbed used sporadically (not to tan), or a vitamin D3 supplement. There are vegan versions. Still get daylight and sunlight even in winter months, as much as you can, as it helps regulate hormones. SAD lamps help with this as well, but will not create vitamin D.
- Avoid acid and mucus-forming foods. This includes animal products, grains, cooked oils, processed foods, and more. Seeds are better than nuts – almonds are the one non-acid-forming nut. You don’t have to avoid nuts completely but seeds are the better option on a regular basis.
- Focus on omega3-6 ratio. Omega-6 is inflammatory – and while we need some of this as protection, we need the omega-3 to balance it out. Things with a good ratio are hemp, flax, chia, walnuts. Most nuts are too high in omega 6. Leafy greens are also very high in omega 3.
- Eat your plants locally and in season as much as possible. Go to farmers’ markets and learn to forage the wild foods in your area. These are much better for you than the wilted produce at the grocery store that was probably picked weeks ago.
- Choose your water source wisely if possible. I am lucky to have well-water where I live. Otherwise invest in a good filtration system or at the very least get a good water filter. Avoid plastic bottles. Use glass.
- Move your body as much as you can. Stop SITTING all the time. Sitting is killing us slowly. Sitting also puts kinks in our body. I saw a documentary the other day about parkour, and one of the people in it said that when he observes a city scene, everyone is doing one of three things – walking, sitting (including driving), or shopping, and it’s true. I guess eating is another thing, but people are either sitting and eating (generally garbage), or walking and eating, which is mindless.
There are ways to sit that are not as harmful, check out the Movnat website for their free ebook which includes good sitting postures. Sitting at a desk all day, or on the couch playing video games, are not included.
- If you have smoothies – CHEW THEM. We need to have saliva mixed with our food to help with digestion and avoid bloating. Chew everything until it is MUSH. This will allow your body to digest better and reduce bloating.
- Choose a type of movement that you adore. You don’t have to “work out” – for movement, it has to be something you adore or you will dread doing it and end up sitting again. I do martial arts. I love it so much. I have interest in learning parkour and natural movement. I hike all the time around my home. Even just walking in nature in general. You don’t always have to be doing something that gets your heart rate up – but MOVE. If you can’t think of a way to stop sitting, clean. Listen to something motivating, or something you learn from as you move. Stop driving everywhere – walk, take the bus and stand up the whole way, switch your job to something that isn’t stationary. The more you move, the better.
- SLEEP. Apparently the best hormone regulation happens between 10pm-2am. Even if you can’t get to bed at these times, make sure you are sleeping enough. 8 hours is always recommended, but I think that is a bare minimum. Your brain just can’t function at its’ highest capacity when you are tired.
- Stop cooking your food. Focus on RAW foods as much as possible. If you’re going to cook any foods, steaming is best.
- Focus on FIBER. This means PLANTS. Focus on CARBS. This means PLANTS. Avoid oils. Salt (unless unrefined in TINY quantities – the best way to get sodium is from plants, seaweeds, etc, and not refined, but depending on your situation, you might not be able to get all you need this way, so a very small amount – 1/4 tsp of unrefined salt will help you). You should be having bowel movements many times a day, and easily. If you can’t poop in about 10 seconds, you’re constipated, and having that stuff stay in your system is a bad sign.
- Question EVERYTHING. If you take advice from someone and it doesn’t work for you, really delve into why. Keep your mind OPEN. It’s like jumping out of an airplane – if you don’t open your parachute, you will crash. Same with your mind – when you keep it closed, you will be on a collision course to nowhere.
- Take what makes sense and eliminate the rest. We can learn from everyone. Listen to your gut and your intuition (which becomes very sharp when you’re truly healthy). When that lightbulb comes on, you are on the right track. When I read about raw foods I just KNEW to my VERY CORE that this was my answer, and I was right. It made so much sense. Everything else was a struggle.
- You have to WANT it. This is the most important aspect – if you don’t truly want health, you won’t get it. As I said at the beginning…it usually takes something really awful to get you to undertake a massive change in lifestyle. Most people practically have to die to really start living. Do you want to get to that point? Because even if you’re not there now, based on the state of health of most people, you’ll probably get there, a lot sooner than you’d think. That’s the direction most people are headed. So even if you don’t change now (CHANGE NOW), remember these words. Accept that you are not a victim, and take charge of your own health. You have that power. You have to believe it.
These are just simple things to START with. There is an unlimited amount of info out there. A lot of it is conflicting. Listen to your intuition, though – what makes SENSE to you, and what doesn’t?
Considering our world now, we might need to compensate with certain things. B12 is lacking in our soil, therefore we lack it. Don’t kid yourself and think it’s abundant in meat – those animals you are eating are likely getting a B12 injection as well. Magnesium is lacking in our soil. We are in a constant state of receiving toxins from the air and our environment. We can do the best we can in modern times, but these 12 steps I listed are a great START. You do NOT have to do things overnight. It is an OVERWHELMING task to unlearn all the crap you’ve learned your whole life. But you CAN. Just star where you are.
Even after all this time, I do have issues that come up sometimes. With enough investigation and patience, I always figure out the CAUSE.
Usually EXCESS is the cause of our health issues. You can guzzle green juices forever but there won’t be much use unless you can absorb those nutrients. Your health issues are almost ALWAYS caused by something YOU are doing.
A lot of people feel like victims of their circumstances and health problems. I was one of them. And I’ll tell you right now – once you realize that you are in charge of your health and that you can heal yourself, it is SO so so empowering. This is not about blame or shame – it’s about empowering yourself. This is YOUR body – why give your power to someone else? YOU can heal yourself – and actually, it’s when you get out of your own way that the body HEALS ITSELF. Just like a cut on your hand will heal with no help, or your bones will mend on their own, so to will your internal organs and the rest of your body heal when you take away the things causing those problems.
Empower yourself. Learn constantly. Don’t settle for “here’s a pill” (unless it’s temporary or something nothing to do with food, like Lyme, or Rabies…you get the point, there’s always exceptions – I am talking about typical, chronic health issues).
Don’t listen to common sense. COMMON sense isn’t working for people. Do what MAKES sense – it’s far more beneficial.