A healthy life involves much more than just eating healthy, it involves adopting healthy lifestyle measures including regular relaxation, exercising to control weight and to optimise overall fitness levels, as well as getting a great night’s sleep. This page will look at improving these aspects of your health and well-being and more. One of the biggest health challenges facing us all in the 21st century is stress, we lead busy lives and have become increasingly time poor. Trying to optimise our health and well-being without understanding stress and its affect on our health is foolish, so this page has plenty of information aimed at getting you to identify and deal with the stresses in your life in a positive way.
Here are some quick links that will take you to different pages of interest:
- Health On A Budget
- Healthy Food Choices
- High Value Foods
- What Is An Antioxidant?
- Dietary Supplements
- Lifestyle Changes
Are you Managing Your Stress or Managing To Stress? Practice regular relaxation or meditation techniques to assist in the control of stress, tension and anxiety. as well as to help improve your mood. This will help you to eliminate self-doubt and negativity by increasing your self-esteem, and instill self-control and peace of mind. How To DE-Stress is an article I wrote a few years ago to help people learn how to relax and to DE-Stress more effectively.
After practicing naturopathy for many years, I started to realise the value in educating our patients in ways of engaging in regular relaxation or meditation techniques for many reasons. I also discovered that most patients found it relatively easy to implement a healthy diet for various reasons such as for weight loss/maintenance, to heal a disease they may have, to boost the immune system or one of several other reasons.But when it came to implementing a regular program of relaxation, whow, didn’t I notice some resistance!
Most all patients we see in our clinic present with a physical complaint such as eczema, arthritis, allergies, infections and many more complaints. I have found that many people also have varying self-images and suffer from stress to many varying degrees. Some patients are highly anxious and will find it very difficult to relax under any circumstance, others live in a continual low-grade level or chronic stress. Others view the world as a dark and negative place, and experience many varying moods throughout their days. Anxiety can really affect your health, and is something I have personally struggled with for many years myself. I overcame my anxiety with relaxation exercises which I do several times weekly, and a little later on in this article I will share my “secret” with you. It pays to Cultivate Your Calmness if you suffer from tension or anxiety, and many know all too well about tension and stress in their lives. If you can assess yourself periodically then you will be able to see if you are heading into a stressed-out state and will be able to take the appropriate
action to avoid Mood Disorders.
There is no greater enemy to your physical health than a negative self-image or living in a continual state of stress, and any program of self-improvement includes a regular program of relaxation and meditation to free the mind from tension, stress and anxiety. Here is an article entitled 6 Things That Make You Happier which may be of benefit.
It is a know fact that most people end up falling back into the same patterns of living that caused them to develop their health problems initially, but why? Because of negative emotions, emotional trauma as well as living stressful lives, factors such as these can all play a significant role in the continuation of a person’s health problems. And does Western medicine address these issues? Not really, it is only concerned with the physical symptoms a patient presents with. If person does mention the word “stress”, “anxiety” or mentions an issue with his or her mood then a drug is conveniently prescribed or the patient is referred to a psychiatrist. (for stronger drugs usually)
To optimize your outcome at the basic nutrition plan, I highly recommend you work on improving your resistance to stress, in addition to overcoming your emotional issues. Sometimes it helps to seek expert guidance if you are caught up in emotional trauma or if you feel that there are emotional barriers which may be preventing you from moving on. Pharmaceutical drugs are NOT the answer in most all cases, we have seen way too many patients who were prescribed drugs many years ago for anxiety or mood swings and who are now so addicted that they can’t stop taking the pills every day for fear of withdrawl issues. And the underlying issues? Well, they are still there – unresolved.
Lesson 2: Control Your Eating Habits
It is amazing how little attention we generally pay to what we eat, when we eat and how much we actually eat. Try not to eat to same foods day in, day out – but vary your meals. It is also good advice to recommend that you eat smaller meals more frequently, because this will allow a better control of your blood sugar and insulin levels. Too much insulin in your bloodstream may cause you to become dizzy, confused, develop headaches, and feel generally miserable.
Meals should be kept simple, and for the first few weeks or month or two of your diet transition I’d recommend that you eat several smaller meals more freuently for several reasons. as mentioned above but also because it will more easily allow you to break the cycle of eating TOO much, or just a few large meals three times daily. You will be able to control your appetite (and weight) better if you graze lightly. Learn to eat what I term “instinctively” rather than routinely. You will need to eat some protein, perhaps like an egg, a piece of chicken, turkey or fish, or some nuts or seeds, along with a vegetable such as a piece of celery, cucumber or capsicum (bell or red pepper). This will help to prevent hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and greatly aid in the stabilizing of your blood sugar. The bonus here is that your moods will become more stabilized as well as your ability to resist that sweet treat.
What you will find is that your sleep will improve along with your mood, your cholesterol will noramise more easily and yor adrenal glands will be able to regulate the stress hormone cortisol much more easily. And all this can be achieved just by eating smaller (high quality) meals more frequently, about 5 to six meals per day.
This would have be one of the most overlooked areas of health and well-being – getting a great’s night’s sleep. I recommend that you aim for at least seven to nine hours of sleep. Before you get to bed, avoid snacking on grains and sugars, avoid TV right before bed and don’t use any loud radios or devices like mobile phones to wake you up.
Keep the room temperature quite mild and comfortable and get to bed as early as possible! Your adrenal glands need a deep and refreshing sleep and the hours between 10.00 pm until about 2.00 am are probably the most important as far as sleep is concerned. For more information on these and other sleep suggestions, see my article on Insomnia
Do you go for walks every day? At the bare minimum, a half an hour walk each day is probably the very least you would want to aim for. Do you carry too much weight and desire weight-loss? Then you will want to get out and about for at least one hour each day. Some patients I see have not exercised for years or are very unfit, that’s OK – just begin your exercise program with periods of ten minutes of activity several times a day, you will soon build up a small level of fitness on which you can build more and more fitness.
You will find that truely amazing things begin to happen once you start to eat a healthy and well-balanced diet, start to improve your sleeping patterns and in addition get out there and start to exercise regularly. Are you a Type 1 or 2 diabetic? By adopting the measures of diet and exercise in particular you will find it a lot easier to balance your blood sugar levels, and remember, without a regular exercise program you will most probably find it quite difficult to control your diabetes without drugs.
Swimming is a fantastic way to exercise but I have found is not for everybody! Some people like me don’t like to swim however, but prefer to walk, yet others prefer to cycle everywhere like one of my best friends. What’s you favourite? Is it walking, swimming or cycling or a combination of all three of these exercise modes? As long as you are active very regularly and move your arms and legs vigoursly for one half to one hour per day you will be on the right track. I’ve always maintained that you can’t make a vegetarian a meat-eater anymore than you can turn a person who likes to walk into a swimmer. You need to find you exercise niche, and the main thing to remember is that it does not really matter, as long as it is an activity that you love, you will get the results!
What you may not be aware of is that there are more important issues at stake as far as your health is concerned – rather than just “giving up”. I have found that smokers (in general) would do well to first become focused on their health in general. There is no point stopping smoking if you eat take-out three to four times a week for example. Did you know that sugar and products containing a high content of sugar are potentially more dangerous to your health than smoking cigarettes?
Why not improve your diet first, reduce your drinking of alcohol (smokers are often drinkers) and get rid of that sugar laden diet before you attempt to stop smoking? You will find it a lot easier, because smokers often have multiple vitamin and mineral deficiencies, which, when corrected, will give the health a tremendous boost. This boost will make it that much easier to quit the habit. Doesn’t that make sense? It sure does to me
I have always recommended the reduction, minimisation or cessation (if possible) of pharmaceutical drugs. The most problematic drugs in my opinion are the antibiotics, but also the anti-ulcer and anti-inflammatory drugs like Voltaren (Diclofenac). Pharmaceutical drugs are not safe, contrary to popular opinion. If you are you taking a drug like Tylenol (paracetamol) then you will want to support your liver’s function, because drugs such as this can be quite liver toxic indeed.
Why not minimise the use of pharmaceutical drugs, and look at safer natural medicines? There are many natural alternatives available for most of the common health complaints that people present with.