Only supplement where absolutely necessary.
Synthetically derived supplements cannot bypass the body’s genetically programmed response to process and absorb natural ingredients. Natural, living beings require natural living inputs for true sustenance – in the case of all mammal life, food, sunlight, water and medicinal herbs.
Human beings, regardless of technological advances, have not become more suited to synthetic substances produced in laboratories. We have added certain ingredients to vitamins and minerals to make them more “bio-available.” But the body still prefers real food, real plants, organic materials. What we find and cultivate naturally will always be best. As an example, short periods of exposure to protected sunlight a day will produce vitamin D, reduce cholesterol and oxygenate the lungs. This is still preferable to synthetic vitamin D3 treatment. However, should extreme deficiencies exist or lifestyle patterns cannot be changed immediately, supplementation will be recommended in the short term within reason. This is the approach we need to take to our health. Use a walking stick when limbs are damaged, but focus on strengthening bones and muscles. Then the stick is only a temporary support and the legs can continue to their original function. Continue with the stick, and soon other biological systems will become adversely affected. Health will be undermined and the stick will not be able to address all the negative results.
Eat whole-foods, grown with respect and consideration for the environment.
Natural health is the only approach to healing the body that has endured and proven successful where synthetic pharmaceutical approaches have failed. Year after year, research indicates that health supplements have the greatest benefit as an addition to a diet that is as nutritious as possible. Food cannot be replaced as the body’s preferred fuel and co-factor for vitamin and mineral synthesis. Diets based on whole-foods, quality and correct amounts of red meat, a balanced selection of vegetables, whole grains, purer, oxygenated water, medicinal foods, sprouts and selected fruits is the foundation of optimal nutrition. Regardless of supplementation, food will always form the basis of our health.
The same can be said for any organism on earth: naturally derived inputs are required for naturally-processed outputs. In the same way that an internal combustion engine found in our motorcars, factory engines etc needs key inputs to run effectively, we need certain ingredients for our bodies to function at their peak. When whole foods are grown with respect for the environment, they consider that we are also affected by the air, water, soil and ecosystem we live in. Whole foods, grown and eaten with love nourish us holistically. Other animals and life forms, irrespective of their size or proliferation affect us, as we affect them. The more we process our food, disregard our environment and ignore our natural design, the more we harm and destroy ourselves. We are part of a system and we need to consider this when making our choices.
Keep moving with some moderate physical challenge daily.
The human body is a system of levers designed for movement. Prolonged (from 40 minutes upwards) periods of sitting send a message to the brain that something is wrong. In response, the brain deactivates energy burning enzymes, primarily located in the waist and posterior in order to conserve fat for illness or injury. Immune function is proven to be at its peak during moderate heart rate stimulation. It has also proven to be its lowest during no physical exertion and at risk when heart rate is above 70% i.e. the heart is being overtaxed and more free radicals are generated than protective antioxidants.
Endurance athletes age prematurely and often die from heart attacks due to consistent cardiovascular stress. In contract, the Japanese population follow a diet highly varied in ingredients (50 or more different food types in small quantities daily) and undertake moderate activity throughout their day. They also decrease their caloric consumption 15% for every decade over 30. These are interesting principles we can learn from. The body requires exercise in moderation every day, with some challenge. Simply taking the stairs, going for your morning walk and doing it briskly so that your heart beats faster equates to challenge. This needs to occur every day and our lifestyles need to reflect our design for true health.
Rest at the end of every day and invest in loving relationships.
Sleeping is the only time the body’s cells regenerate. Without sufficient sleep that follows optimal patterns, leading to the deep REM sleep (rapid eye movement), cells will be deprived of energy restoration and healing processes. Insomnia and poor sleep are debilitating occurrences and need to be taken seriously. The body keeps a sleep clock. Every hour that we miss is recorded as a deficit and our positive balance quickly runs out. It is very difficult to rectify this without making significant changes. Interestingly, the body doesn’t record sleep “credits” and oversleeping can be just as damaging as under sleeping.
Just as students studying for major exams do much better when they receive sufficient sleep, so each human being performs better in every kind of daily activity when their sleep has been adequate and refreshing. City light, rooms lacking ambient temperature, stress and poor dietary habits (including eating a large late supper) are all triggers in poor sleep quality. We need to sleep well. And the infamous slogan, “sleep when you’re dead,” should rather read, “die without sleep.” In addition to healthy sleeping patterns, research increasingly indicates that happy people are healthier and for human beings to be healthy, we need to have healthy and varied relationships with others. These take time and effort, learning how to forgive, apply boundaries, make good choices in the people we spend our time with and allow to influence us. Never underestimate the power of close interpersonal relationships.
A quiet mind and a healthy spirit replenish the body.
Change to: There is an undeniable connection between the body, mind and spirit. All three facets need to be considered for true health to be a reality. A wellness programme must regard the key facets of a person and address ways to restore health to each part. Effective changes occur within the reality of each person’s life. And sometimes, a lifestyle needs to be changed itself. If a vocation or field of work is creating real unhappiness and disjuncture in the soul and spirit, no amount of organically grown food or specialist health supplements will restore joy. Only a change in work will. So in everything, all needs to be considered.
As a practical example, It is not enough to look at our food, but disregard the quality of our sleep. Or consider our weight, but only focus on calories and ignore nutrition. Ultimately, every decision that we make should consider that we think, feel and connect spiritually. For all parts to become well, we focus on all of our parts as a whole, not in isolation. We are mind, body and spirit. True change needs to address the way we think, feel, and connect.
Find out more in my book: Good Food Matters