"To keep the body in good health is a duty... otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear." ~Buddha
"The body is your temple. Keep it pure and clean for the soul to reside in." ~B.K.S. Iyengar, Yoga: The Path To Holistic Health
If your health fails, it can overshadow everything else that’s going on in your life. From relatively minor health issues such as aches and pains, lethargy, and indigestion to major health problems that can threaten your existence, health can really impact happiness and stress levels.
It's important that we make taking care of our physical bodies a priority. The topic of caring for our physical bodies is huge and certainly cannot be tackled within one blog post. I do however want to start out my blog by giving you a sense as to where I am coming from in regard to health and wellness of the body. I feel very passionate about the neglect that most of us are showing our bodies. In particular, I am passionate about the American lifestyle, diet and political system that is allowing the poisoning of it's people. I will keep this post to some high-level points and get into more detail in future posts.
There are a myriad of things that we can do to maintain a healthy physical body. I'm not an expert by any means, but I would like to address what I feel are key areas...nutrition, sleep, exercise and the elimination of unhealthy habits.
Nutrition...You Are What You Eat
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” ~ Hippocrates
My interest in nutrition really came to the surface and accelerated when my dad was told that he didn't have much time left, that his prostate cancer was killing him. I knew that eating healthy was important, but I was blown away by the amount of information available pointing to nutrition as the ultimate cure for most any disease or ailment. Wow, why aren't we being told that nutrition is the most important medicine? Why aren't we being told that people are curing their cancer through nutrition (coupled with a comprehensive mind, body, spirit approach)?
Go into the average public school in America and take a look at what the children are eating. Whether they take the school provided lunch or bring their own lunch, the vast majority of children are eating hardly anything of any nutritional value...it's truly appalling!!! If I go on a field trip with one of my kids I really have a hard time believing what I am seeing these children eat for lunch. These children are the future and they are eating mostly processed food filled with sugar, preservatives and other poisonous substances.
This is only captures a glimpse of the overall picture, because for most of us the breakfast, dinner and snack options no matter your age, are not much better. Our nation is on a course of self-destruction if we don't correct our food supply and change our eating choices.
The most important thing we can do when considering taking care of our physical body is to pay attention to what we are putting into it. We need to give our bodies whole foods that are ideally organic and non-GMO, free from dangerous pesticides. What do I mean by whole foods? Whole foods are foods that are unprocessed and unrefined, or processed and refined as little as possible. Foods like fruits, vegetables, grains, meat and dairy. Ideally, I recommend eliminating animal products and eating vegan as much as possible. My family is not 100% vegan, but a majority of our meals are vegan. Refer to my recipe tab for some of our favorite recipes.
In my section on documentaries and videos worth your time, I've recommended several pieces that are very informative in the area of food and nutrition. I would strongly suggest that you take time to view some, or all, of these works. They have the potential to radically change your life for the better! I will include more detail in future posts on this very important topic on food.
In addition to making good, healthy food choices, it's important that as we are preparing our food that we consciously Infuse love into it. Another important step is to bless your food before eating it. Thoughts become things, infusing love and blessing your food changes the molecular structure of the food. Refer to my blog post on the rice experiment for proof on how our thoughts/words can impact our food...you just gotta see this, it's a powerful example of how our thoughts change the molecular structure of our food.
Savor the food you eat and take your time. Pay attention to flavors, textures, and smells, even the mechanical act of eating can soothe our bodies and reawaken us to the sensations of being alive. How long has it been since you’ve taken time to savor and be present while you are eating?
If you have a favorite mealtime blessing or example of how you infuse love into your food, I would love to hear about it. Do you have a favorite vegan recipe? Please share your ideas in the comments below, so we can all learn from the successes of each other.
"Make sleep a priority. Give yourself permission to sleep. Our bodies heal, restore and regenerate themselves while we are sleeping. Sleep is when our soul refreshes our body."...Deepak Chopra - I love that...sleep is when our soul refreshes our body.
Sleep is a significant health concern and just as important as nutrition and exercise. While we sleep at night, we heal and recuperate from the wear and tear of our day. We've all heard that adults should get on average 8 hours of sleep each night. Well I don't know about you, but this is a challenge for me. I average between 6-7 hours of sleep each night. I tend to be a night owl, so it's definitely an area where I could use improving.
The consequences of sleep deprivation to our health and quality of life can be devastating. Lack of sleep is not only a potential health hazard; it affects the safety of everyone on the road and at the work place. The cost of sleep deprivation is estimated to be in $50-$100 billion per year. Accidents, injuries, fatalities, learning issues, high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, obesity and diabetes are all linked to sleep deprivation.
Sleeplessness can lead to imbalances in the release of stress hormones, such as cortisol. Other potential consequences are weakening of the immune system, risk of a variety of chronic illnesses as well as psychological effects, such as memory loss, mood swings and depression. Sleep deprivation may also have a significant impact on one’s life expectancy.
There is compelling evidence that a healthy sleep routine can contribute greatly to one’s physical and mental well-being as well as the quality of life in general. Getting sufficient sleep ranks among the best defense mechanisms we have to stay healthy and handle our stress. We function and perform at our best when we are well-rested. We are also less prone to reach for drugs or alcohol to get high or numb ourselves when the going gets tough. With enough rest, we are more likely to stay healthy and well all around. One proven way to help get more quality sleep is to exercise regularly.
Have you ever heard the expression "use it or lose it"? If you don't use your body, you will surely lose it. Your muscles will become flabby and weak. Your heart and lungs won't function efficiently. And your joints will be stiff and easily injured. Inactivity is a health risk.
Our bodies were meant to move, they actually crave exercise. Regular exercise is necessary for physical fitness and good health. It reduces the risk of heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes and other diseases. It can improve your appearance and delay the aging process.
Incorporating a varied exercise program at least 3 times a week including cardio, weights and stretching are important elements to keeping you body fit, active and healthy. I plan to include future blog posts on the topic of exercise, including some guests posts from experts in the area of exercise.
Eliminating Unhealthy Habits
In order to maintain a healthy body it's important to eliminate unhealthy habits. Habits such as excessive alcohol consumption, smoking, overeating, excessive caffeine, stress, etc. These bad habits are destructive to our bodies.
There are a lot of tips and suggestions for how to go about eliminating a bad habit. Each habit depending on it's variables, may each require a different approach in order to be eliminated. I will discuss some tips and tools in future posts regarding establishing healthy habits and routines.
I once heard someone say that a serene mind needs a healthy body to carry it. Show your body the same compassion that you so willingly show to others.
"We are not a human being, we are a spirit having a human experience." ~ Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.