“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” – Hippocrates
As I have learned in my journey, health is holistic. If we put all our efforts into one area, such as exercise, we will hurt ourselves in other areas of our life, such as nutrition, relationships or finding what really feeds our soul. It is key to address both our diets and our lifestyles. It doesn’t matter if we eat the best foods possible—if we aren’t moving our bodies and engaging in positive relationships, our efforts will go to waste. My approach is simple: give your body the nutrition it needs and make positive lifestyle changes in order to sustain the healthy and active life you want and deserve. Once we learn the right ways to nourish our mind, body and soul, everything else will fall into place. Here are my basic tips for how to maintain a healthy lifestyle:
Keep it simple. Challenge yourself to lessen the amount of processed and prepackaged foods in your kitchen. For an extra challenge, keep foods you eat to five ingredients or less. Being more proactive about what you put in your shopping cart will help you create health-conscious habits over time.
Eat mindfully. Eat with intention and purpose. One way to do this is to consciously chew your food instead of swallowing it whole so you can savor all the delicious flavors. Be mindful what you put in your mouth and the healing effects it has on your body. When we start to make a connection with food, we begin to become more aware of our own nutritional needs and what we want to put on our dinner plate.
Eat local. Get to know your farmer and local farmers markets. This is a great way to get nutritious produce on your plate while supporting your local farmers and economy and connecting to the community. Better yet, if you’re a real go-getter, start your own garden!
Move your body. Exercise, whether it is light or intense, is an important part of your overall health (mind, body and soul). Becoming more active can help you get more in tune with your body. Did you know that exercise is one of the best medicines to fight depression? (And it’s free!)
Relaxation and self-care. This is all about respecting your body. We only get one body, and how we choose to care for it will directly affect what life we live. Nourishment isn’t just about nutrition; it is also about listening to our bodies and showing it a little TLC every now and then.
Decrease stress. With many demands throughout the day, every day, from what seems like every area of our lives, this can be a tough one. However, stress can have serious, harmful effects on our bodies. So, learning how to decrease the amount of stress in your life is one of the most important things you can learn to increase for optimal health.
Have fun. Make time for the things that really get you excited! What are you passionate about? What would you do if you had a day free of all obligations except having fun and enjoying life? There are many health benefits to taking time for leisure activities that truly make you feel alive and happy. Some of these benefits include decreased stress and anxiety, better sleep and digestion and strengthened connection with others.
True health and happiness is a lifestyle.