A healthy lifestyle is a big topic. Many misconceptions and fringe opinions arose around it. Such lifestyle is not for everyone, because not everyone has a motivation and passion to walk that path. It requires attention, willingness to learn, to change one’s daily behavior and endurance.Many would want it but lack of time or because other passions or life interests doesn’t leave much room for it. In such case it is good to be in relationship where other person shows such interests, in that case one needs only to support it and be eager to change habits. Without will to change, nothing can happen. Some of course may be born into culture where healthy eating or other activities are normal and they just embrace it naturally, unfortunately most people are corrupted by western culture nutritional patterns that strongly degrade health. However no matter of situation, everyone can make some small changes to increase one’s life experience by feeling better and staying healthier, one just must want it!
What is a healthy lifestyle?
There is no strict definition or code of behavior to state that by doing this or that you are leaving a healthy lifestyle. Some may have strong opinion about how it should look like, but it’s still only a personal opinion, one within millions. My stance on that topic is, that everyone is different, everyone has own interests, own abilities, own needs so there could be no universal way of healthy lifestyle. So what is a healthy lifestyle anyway? My definition is: It’s a way of life, where one loves to feel great, stay healthy, live long, enjoy the life and loves/respects his body. In other words such person will deliberately choose foods, actions that are believed to be healthy, trying at the same time to avoid things that are detrimental to health. People living a healthy lifestyle can use stimulants like alcohol or others occasionally, but for the most of time they prefer to feel sober, clean and well with themselves. Of course you can find here many crazy, orthodox people, but that’s normal in every way of life, here is no different. But because such people exist, it doesn’t mean that the healthy lifestyle is defined by them, those people are just flashy about it, hence easily visible. Again, this phenomenon is observable in all group movements, religions, political opinions, etc. Don’t let such people distract you from the benefits and wisdom (can be found everywhere) of a certain path. Healthy lifestyle doesn’t mean sacrifice of pleasure, but an attitude when one feels most pleasure by doing the best for his or her body and mind. When common reason is applied, one can recognize that unhealthy patterns are ones that are destructive, not an occasional action. Our bodies have a strength to take a beating of unhealthy lifestyle and endure it for decades till it brakes. Occasional “unhealthy” things are not a problem. And if one listens to his/her body and loves the life, he/she can find sometimes that things that are considered unhealthy may be a great fun and fun is always relaxing, which strengthens psyche and in the long way your body. So healthy lifestyle doesn’t mean resignation of fun!
Does a healthy lifestyle protects from illnesses?
Unfortunately it doesn’t. However it can prevent from many chronic diseases, decreases significantly risk of many civilization illnesses, can heal lot of minor and sometimes some more serious ailments. Even with serious diseases it can increase chance of getting well again. Healthy lifestyle does improves ones health however it gives no guarantees, especially that there is no best recipe for it and most people learn it as it goes. Also, it can’t prevent us from many negative civilization factors but it can decrease their influence over us. Increased vitality, energy, psychical and body strength, possibly prolonged and more healthy life – those are perks that one can achieve. But healthy lifestyle can’t be treated as universal cure, there isn’t such.
I know from my own experience that strong change in my diet bettered my energy, motivation, creativity, improved my skin, lessened lot of some small chronic issues (a classic medicine was absolutely not working, while natural and holistic approach brought a great change). I’m still in process of recognizing which factors to avoid, what to change in my life, what suits me and what harms me. A body and its relationship to environment is so complex and so individual, that one must prepare for long life study and constant improvement of the lifestyle. It does work, it does make ones life better! But it isn’t a panaceum!
What are elements of a healthy lifestyle?
1) Rational, healthy nourishment
It’s a base of healthy lifestyle! Here we meet with various propositions, wonder diets, food recommendations, lots of philosophies what nutrition type is the most appropriate one. I can’t give you the right answer only my opinion, what works for me.
First, I am no vegetarian, no vegan or any of the sort. As a biologist I must say that human organism isn’t made for plant food only. Our digestive system and teeth form shows that we are omnivorous species. There was a different, herbivorous human species in the past but it got extincted… Besides, omnivorous and carnivorous species developed a high intelligence that is needed for adaptation and hunt. Of course intelligence isn’t limited to those groups but still, most people find carnivorous animals most suited for pets, because of their intelligence and… mental kinship. It doesn’t mean that vegetarian or vegan way of life is wrong. But it isn’t for all. However, meat consumption should be decreased in comparison to popular way of eating. But maybe I list some general rules, which I observed work the best (most of anti-cancer diets are based more or less on those rules):
a) meat should be limited and eaten mostly once for a few days or oftener in smaller amounts then it is usually done; in certain conditions meat should be avoided completely (but not necessary indefinitely), more fish (fresh ones, not those bought as already frozen!) in a diet is a good idea;
b) we should eat as much as we can non processed (raw) or low processed food; in other words, alive food is a good food (I mean plants of course); cooked and slightly processed meals are ok and sometimes needed; you must work it out on your own but if you have access to raw fruits and vegetables (preferably organic ones! if not – “normal” products are better then none), use them frequently, nothing can replace them;
c) don’t avoid oils, in fact use lot of flax oil, olive oil, canola oil and many, many others, sometimes animal fat could be also ok, but in lesser amount; proper amounts of food, even with lot of oils, won’t get you fat, in fact you can even loose weight!
d) decrease usage of saccharose (refined sugar), it drains your body from calcium and destabilizes enzymatic balance in your system, often promoting inflammatory states and other pro-cancer processes; but natural sugars (in fruits and vegetables) are ok, because they either have low glicemic index or glucose and saccharose that are present, have other substances that neutralize their negative influence; eating more of fruits or drinking fresh juices helps to satisfy craving for sweetness and lowers taste tolerance of refined sugar (everything seems to be too sweet!);
e) decrease usage of white flour or any product with gluten (it’s easy with increased consumption of fruits and vegetables, one have no need to eat so much bread), even if you are not obviously gluten intolerant; gluten can penetrate our body (it’s not normal situation but it happens frequently because of tissue erosion in our digestive systems), accumulate and probably due tissue adhesion it can produce auto0immune diseases (that’s only a suspicion, not a fact, nevertheless there is also a hidden versions of gluten intolerance which is wider spread); just try out and see if there is any improvement, I did and it was
f) listen to your body, it knows well what it needs, if you have cravings for sour foods, go for it, if you want a steak badly, go for it; however it can be applicable when one nourish himself rationally and can recognize natural craving from addiction (sugar, coffeine, salt, all substances that in greater amount destabilize our physiological system or induce neurologically pleasurable feelings are addictive!)
Notice that above guidelines are very, very general and they can change with certain circumstances. For example: combination of food types may be important; persons with physically active life have different needs from those who work more with their mind; it is important where one lives, in which climate zone, what seasons of the year we have and above all, personal condition matters. All that influences what one should eat.
2) Healthy, positive, stable mind
It is scientific fact that our emotional state influence our endocrine system, which is also firmly tied to immunological system. Stress hormones induce fight response, prepare body for injuries, rapid healing, quick muscular reaction, which is fine when it is needed, however our body is flow with such hormones even when we don’t need that response, due to a stress. Prolonged stress exhaust body, destabilizes most of processes and works detrimentally on general physiology. In other words, body is focused on reaction, causes normal reaction like digesting or excretion to slow down, so it can’t get enough resources being also within state of increased metabolism, producing metabolic toxins. Negative feelings of resignation, depression slow down immunological response, especially NK (natural killers) cells, which are first response in most infection and also when getting rid of cancer cells. Our mental state produce cascade of reaction within organism so it is not indifferent how we feel, how we manage our emotions, if we are optimists or not. Body state can influence our mind state but also mind state can influence our body functions greatly. Meditations and other relaxing techniques or positive attitude to life, high self esteem, satisfaction from life – all that impart your health, so one must care about it as well.
3) Healthy body movement
It’s not surprise that movement is a healthy factor to our organism, however it is not indifferent what kind of movement. There are many exercises or physical work that rather overload our body abilities causing negative effects in the long run. But lack of body motion is also detrimental to our health. Body fluids needs our muscle to work. Unfortunately, we are differentiated when it comes to the love of body movement, so not everyone will be happy to run every morning. But everyone has own favorite physical activities, so find one and make sure that you have time to work on them.
4) Caring about health, controlling it, using various healing methods if necessary
Healthy food, lot of exercises and mentally positive state isn’t a guarantee that you won’t get sick. Around us there are many dangers, from microbes, viruses, toxins (in the air, food, water, cosmetics, in house, garden). One must be aware of his body regenerate abilities and not overstretch it. Every person has own limits so one can smoke cigarettes all their long life staying healthy, while other, with small amount of nicotine fumes from others can get sick, even when living healthy lifestyle… Variety here is great, so one must know which substances to avoid. Also when harm is done and body fails, it is also important to know various healing techniques or at least know where to look for a good help. Unfortunately most people think that taking medicine will do the trick and often does… for awhile. On the long run it poisons our body so with increased drug consumption toxins level in body rises, producing strong negative and chronic effects at later age. Those are often hard to heal or impossible to heal by official medicine. However there are many, many other therapies one can try. Sure, most of them can prove inefficient, but some can really help you. I saw many times when simple massage, acupressure and reiki healed something that was not curable for standard medicine (only anti-pain, anti-inflammatory, anti-symptom drugs, nothing that really heals, but even burdens body on the long run). Sure, standard medicine has its place and can be great when looking for strong, quick fix, but on the long run it has troubles with real healing, so in order to be in control of one’s health, knowledge how to help yourself is important. Of course, because there are no sure authorities here and lots of traps, makes that control difficult, but it is still possible. There are literally thousands of thousands of various healing techniques, choose one that seems most promising and possible to use (and relatively safe!) and use it. If it works, learn more. If not, dig further. You will find something that works for you eventually if you have stamina and motivation to look. If you have no interest in that direction yet you still want to try alternative medicine, look for specialists, good centers that can help you.
I personally like to use combination of magick (energy healing, visualizations, affirmations, theurgy, rituals and some few others), herbs (preferably prepared at home, they are much more potent! also infused with proper energy!), relaxation techniques, massage, yoga, Chinese cups, acupressure, some supplements and proper diet.
If you are about to start to change your life in that area and don’t know where to start, I recommend reading Anticancer: A New Way of Life. This book shows you easily and interestingly scientific basics of healthy nourishment. I red it and I am thrilled, all my other family members red it and are thrilled as well. No craziness, just tons of facts with scientific literature list on the end of each chapter that were used for this book, served in light, comprehensible and swamping manner. There is no need to write here more about it, read reviews on Amazon!