THE HEALTHY HAPPENED WAY
It doesn’t matter how many hours you spend on a treadmill if you don’t eat right – you can’t outrun a bad diet. It doesn’t matter if you eat the world’s healthiest foods, but don’t love your body as you should, it will not perform at its best. Your health will suffer regardless of how many green juices you drink a day if you are under a lot of pressure and your anxious mind is constantly battling. Those, along many others, are the reasons why I advocate a holistic philosophy, one that connects the mind, body and soul. A holistic approach to life is about taking care of oneself on all levels whether it’s physical, emotional, social or spiritual aspects of well being. It’s an ongoing journey continuously searching for more answers and striving for a better and healthier life.
Your mind, body and soul are all connected.
Filter out the negativity. We get it regularly from everywhere: media, coworkers, bosses, friends, family and strangers on the street. Refuse it. Get away from it. Surround yourself with people who encourage and challenge you, who push you forward when you come to them with new ideas, no matter what, and who wishes you only the best in life. Negative thoughts are toxic. Remember.
Stress. We live in a society where our lives are so fast-paced and hectic that it almost becomes a competition to see who is the ‘busiest’. However, when trying to be the ‘best’ at everything, we are likely to put our health on the backburner. I know from the frenzy of everyday life that it’s not always easy to find time each day to escape and rejuvenate, but even closing your eyes, connecting to your breath and observing the mind for five minutes a day can dramatically transform the way you approach your daily life. Take a break and don’t feel guilty.
Mindfulness. Learn how to manage your thoughts instead of being overwhelmed by them. Being more engaged in the present moment can improve your attention and concentration and give you more insight into your emotions, which will do wonders for your well being in all areas of life. When you feel like life is taking over, stop, rest and rejuvenate.
Love unconditionally. The power of love plays a vital role in the body’s natural healing process. Give more importance to valuable relationships in your life and become comfortable with the idea of self-love. Look at it as a matter of unconditional self-acceptance, appreciation and compassion for oneself. You are good enough, just as you are.
Sleep. Aim for at least 8 hours most nights. Establish a relaxing bedtime routine and try to stick with it – going to bed and waking at the same time each day can be very beneficial to your well being. Your body loves regularity.
A rested body is a healthy body.
Nutrition. Nourish your body from the inside out. Our body thrives better on whole foods; those are the best sources of nutrients, antioxidants, fiber, healthy fats, and protein.
Move your body in ways you love. Daily exercise and other forms of your favorite activities are important not only for your physical but also the emotional well being, but don’t take it to extremes! There’s no need to push your body to the limits day after day. The key is to stay active. Choose the form of exercise that puts a smile on your face.
Move your body, because you love it. Not because you hate it.
Natural skincare. Adopting a more natural approach to skincare and what we put on our body’s largest organ is a natural extension of choosing to eat more healthily. Parabens, chemically manufactured preservatives, thickeners, colourants, fragrances, fillers, alongside many more ingredients, are packed into so many of the everyday beauty products that we use on a daily basis. As consumers we must keep an eye on what exactly we are putting on our skin. However, remember when it comes to beauty, what’s on the inside counts. If you only focus on what foundation to wear, but don’t care what you are putting into your body, then you are left with beauty that is ultimately unconvincing and unsatisfying.
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HEALTHY HAPPENED PHILOSOPHY ON FOOD
Regardless of what healthy eating fads may grace the press and your social media feed, the best judge of how you should eat is yourself. I encourage flexibility with eating healthy and making it a realistic lifestyle by going back to basics and eating healthy food as close to its natural state as possible for optimum health and well-being. There are no labels, because sense of freedom is very much important.
Listen to your body and give it exactly what it needs.
In a nutshell, my food philosophy follows the main naturopathic principles: nothing processed, predominantly plant-based with plenty of healthy fats, organic and Fairtrade whenever possible. So whether you are interested in tweaking your diet with new holistic options or are ready to completely overhaul your eating regime, the following principles will be a good place to start. Remember, you do not have to change it all overnight – the key is to make sustainable changes that you can stick with.
LIMIT or AVOID any processed and refined sugar (soft drinks, candy, pre-made baked goods, things in a box/wrapper/container, etc.), table salt (sodium), processed and chemically treated foods, saturated and trans fats, ‘healthy’ market items such as ‘fat free’, ‘low fat’, ‘reduced sugar’, etc.- these are all still processed foods and most are loaded with artificial sweeteners, preservatives, and food colorings. Be mindful when eating natural sugars such as those find in fresh and dried fruit, honey, maple, etc.
Our body knows how to deal with natural food, but processed foods are foreign.
EAT MORE natural foods, mostly single ingredient ones like dark green leafy and other vegetables, fruit, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, spices and herbs. When/if consuming animal protein – opt for organic (chicken’s diet is very important for the quality of eggs) free-range eggs (e.g. small farms), grass fed quality meats, wild caught fish, etc. Base your diet on plant foods to get the most nutrition possible. Choose organic and local whenever you can to limit the exposure to pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics and hormones in your food. When that is not possible, always wash or peel veggies and fruit.
DO NOT fear the fat, but instead, choose a good kind. Fat in the diet will not only help to absorb the fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K), but also contribute to maintaining the optimal cell activity. Be sure to incorporate moderate amounts of good fats into your diet, such as avocados, coconut oil, almonds, chia seeds, etc. Good sources of omega-3 include ground flaxseed, flaxseed oil, walnuts and walnut oil, animal products such as fish (e.g. salmon, sardines, etc.).
PAY ATTENTION to the balance. Balance each meal with enough non-starchy fibrous vegetables, good fats, quality protein and carbohydrates coming from grains (naturally without gluten), legumes, starchy vegetables or fruit.
BE AWARE of your portion size. Yes, even when you are eating healthy food, it is still important to be mindful of your portion size.
CHECK the label. If you are unable to recognise at least one ingredient in the ingredient list of the products you buy – DON’T buy it! All grocery stores are stuffed with processed, chemically modified foods, so let’s not support and encourage that.
BALANCE IN EVERYTHING. After all food is one of life’s greatest pleasures. Have fun with food, indulge in a treat occasionally and give yourself permission to enjoy your favorite meal once in a while if you consciously support your body around them. Healthy eating should not be about deprivation – it is about making good choices most of the time for sustained success.
REMEMBER. We are all metabolically different and it explains why a diet that works well for one person may not be working for another. Therefore, stop comparing yourself to others and be confident about the way you feel and what works better for you.
GET to know your food. BE interested. BE critical. TRUST yourself. BE confident.
Just a small switch opens the door to greater changes.