Being healthy is mostly an inside job. Of course, genetics counts for about 50% of the equation according to many experts, but that means the other 50% is what we do every day.
Good health is a priority because it affects everything else: your financial life, relationships, even your spiritual life. And right now when many people are going through financial difficulties, health remains a priority. Being unwell is expensive.
Thankfully, having good health is possible for most people if they’re willing to make small, everyday choices in that direction. Here are a few of those choices.
* Eat a whole foods diet. Avoid food that comes out of a box, if possible. (Of course, exceptions are beans, rice and things like that!) A good rule of thumb is, would your great Grandmother recognize it as a food? If not, don’t eat it.
If possible, eat eggs and meat that come from healthy, locally farmed animals. These often cost less than their counterparts in the grocery store.
* Include lots of raw foods in your diet. You don’t have to become a raw vegan (and I don’t believe extreme diets are a good idea in the first place) to enjoy the benefits of raw foods. Just eat raw fruits and vegetables at every meal and for snacks, and you will greatly increase the amount of beneficial vitamins and minerals in your diet.
photo credit: mrhayata
* Get plenty of exercise. Exercise has innumerable health benefits and also is a mood elevator and alleviates stress. Don’t think in extremes here either. Get outside and walk the dog, play with the kids in the park, go for a walk, choose a parking spot far away from the store, go up the stairs, do bicep curls with light weights while you talk on the phone and do other tasks. Make moving your body a part of your daily routine. Even a couple of Pilates moves first thing in the morning before the kids get up will start the day off right.
* Get out in the sunshine every day. While it’s not good for your skin to bake in the sun, getting about 15 or 20 minutes of sun exposure each day will cause your body to produce the vitamin D it needs. Sunshine also regulates your mood and your sleep/wake cycle (meaning you’ll sleep better and wake more refreshed).
* Find ways to temper stress. Stress contributes to some serious health problems. If you find yourself worrying too much, learn to rein in your busy thoughts. They aren’t you – they’re just chatter, and can be ignored. Calm and focus your mind with deep breathing and allow your thoughts to just flow past without giving them too much emphasis. Learn to stay centered.
* Make probiotics a part of your routine. These can be found in yogurt and kefir and other fermented foods like kombucha, sauerkraut and kim chi. Many cultures throughout the world realize the importance of fermented foods for well being and longevity.
* For minor ailments, use herbal remedies instead of over-the-counter or prescription drugs as much as possible. There are effective herbal treatments for many ailments that have fewer risk of side effects than pharmaceuticals.
Maintaining good health isn’t about taking medication or running to the doctor for every ailment. It’s about striving to avoid the need for drastic measures. Taking care of our bodies pays off in spades. We’ll be happier, we’ll play nicer with others, we’ll make more money (studies show healthy people earn more and have happier relationships), we will reduce our risk for disease and live longer.