Healthy living requires a relatively large commitment, but with such a huge reward. There are so many factors that contribute to our overall health, because we are complicated creatures! It has been speculated (or proven depending on who you are and what you believe) that we evolved from apes. From my vast experience with primates (during Calgary Zoo field trips in grade school), it would appear to me that apes have a pretty laid back life, not a lot of things to worry about, nothing but time. In fact, it makes me think about The Jungle Book and Baloo’s “bare necessities” of life mandate – not a care in the world (now that I think about, Baloo is a bear, but I think of him as an Ape…random). I may have either proven Darwin wrong, or proven evolution right – because most the humans I know don’t feel like they live a simple life. Our lives involve so much and it requires a 4G network and at the very least 8 gigs of space to prevent heart attacks. Grocery stores must be open 24 hours to accommodate our needs, and it’s actually more time efficient to send a text message (written completely in abbreviations – obviously) than to muster up the strength to engage the muscles of our vocal cords. But yet we’ve managed to incorporate into our busy and technical savvy lifestyle an element of concern for our health. Seriously, you can look like a super model if you take one single pill, and all it takes is one universal workout machine to have a 6 pack. Or perhaps even our idea of health has “evolved” over the years.
I have been on a journey with my health and it has been a primary goal in my life to understand and appreciate a truly healthy lifestyle. Perhaps healthy isn’t even the correct word anymore, and maybe whole is a better word. After 27 years, a lot of tuition payments and a lot of experiences, I’ve learned a lot of things. Somethings are book knowlege, and I’m incredibly grateful to have had the opportunity to go to school, but far more useful are the experiences I’ve had. I may not have all things figured out, but I’ll always continue on my journey, because I am certain it will take one full lifetime for me to write my book. But when it’s written, I’d like it to say that I lived a healthy, wholesome life. I look forward to sharing my tidbits of information, my thoughts, opinions – with hope that perhaps natural selection can slow down just a little bit.
I think people are often too intimidated to make lifestyles changes, partially because we are human, therefore we don’t like change, but mostly because we don’t even know where to begin. When people ask me about trying to become healthier, I often feel like they are inclining more towards a new exercise program or ramping up an exisiting exercise program than about changing their diet. Although incredibly important to our well being (and a HUGE personal interest), exercise really isn’t the first step I think the majority of people should be making. Don’t get me wrong… Health Canada recommends 60 minutes a day, 7 days a week, of activity for an adult, and more for children. If you’re not getting this minimum activity level, then yes, you need to incorporate excercise into your life or ramp up your activity level. However, our bodies are 70% affected by our diets and only 30% affected by our activity level, so our primary concern should be our diet. We’ve all heard the motto “everything in moderate”. Well, I love it and I hate it. When looking at our diets, it is absolutely true, we could have 100% perfect health if we followed this phrase. All foods in moderation will supply us with the nutrients, vitamins, minerals, energy, and enzymes that we need to survive. The issue is what we consider food. If you are interested in making changes in your life, then the first and foremost thing you need to do is completely eliminate all non-food items from your diet. Perhaps this is easier said than done, but this is the key to your success. Non-food items include these: All artificial sweeteners, perservative, dyes and nitrates (ALL of them). These are chemicals, proven carcinogens and foreign to our bodies. It is impossible for our bodies to digest them or use them, and incredibly challenging for our bodies to eliminate them, therefore they turn into toxic waste. The same thing can be said for any altered oils/fats. This would include hydrogenated oils, which are easy to eliminate from our grocery shopping now that legally they must be listed on all food labels, this also includes cooking or baking with fats and oils that are heat and light sensitive (perhaps a good topic for the future). This also means eliminating ALL refined foods. Unfortunately, when we look at this very short list of non-food items, it is devastating to think that they comprise the base of the standard North American diet. This would mean that no, not everything is healthy in moderation, there are, in fact, things that need to be taken out of your life and diet, and eliminated permanently and completely. Luckily, with some education and research, it’s very easy to learn about alternatives, for example replacing your Splenda with agave nectar and your table salt (sodium chloride) for sea salt – just to name a couple. It’s also very convenient when your sister delivers fresh baking and prepared healthy meals in a basket on your door step (but perhaps that is only me…).
We’ll look at the challenges, and how to find some victory in the future!