Living holistically, is more crucial than ever today. We live in a world where we value material objects over things that keep us alive, like our food. What is living holistically? It's looking at your health as a whole puzzle rather than looking at one piece alone. Mental, emotional, physical, rest, hydration, and nutrition.
Keys to Living Holistically (Using Paul Chek’s Principles from How to Eat Move and Be Healthy)
- Just Drink Water
- Rest (Sleep)
- Grass-Fed, Free Range Meats
- Eat Organically Grown Vegetables
- Meditate, Breathe
One of the essential steps in living a holistic way is to first look at what you can change in your own life. We must be aware of the need to change for change to begin to happen. Food journaling is a great way to track our food and beverage intake. Since most of what we do is unconscious, we have to become aware of our behavior. I recommend a week of just recording what you ate or drank for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You'll be surprised at what you are putting into your body (I know I was). From there starting small, with what can you can control. It can be simple as replacing soda with water, replacing chips with nuts or fruit, or walking around the neighborhood. All changes happen from one decision, that is to live a healthy life.
Just Drink Water
"The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step"-Lao Tzu.
Let us start with one of the most important things, hydration. When trying to change, most people try to do a complete 180 when they fall off the wagon and end up doing a total 360 (better known as yo-yo dieting). The reason being is that once you form a habit, you have a neural pathway ingrained, which is set off by specific cues. Think of Pavlov and his dogs trained to salivate at the sound of a bell. For example, if you drink soda when having lunch, the cue for drinking soda would be eating lunch. This means you would have to recognize or to become aware of the cue and actively choose water. Eventually, the goal is to cut out all soda and sugar-laced drinks ultimately—still, it’s best to remember when starting start with one thing. Then move on to the next area of your life that needs improvement, imagine you are building a home out of bricks. Each brick represents the right decision made on the dream of your new life.
Ah, sleep, the thing we spend half of our lives doing but not realizing how important it is to our health. In sleep is where repair to our bodies and minds happens. Between 10:30-2, our body begins to repair, and between 4-6 is where the brain repairs itself. Inadequate sleep is linked to weight gain, poor concentration and productivity, risk of heart attack, linked to depression, increased dysfunction, and poor immune function (1,2,3,4,5,6,7). Like they say the best things in life are free, sleep falls into that category.
The next area we look at is your diet. I don't like the word diet because in today's vocabulary, it usually means a temporary fix. When in reality we should be focused on real lasting change, in simpler terms lifestyle. I believe the reason most people eat unhealthy food is that we think food is merely calories in and calories out. When we holistically look at our food, we see it in the division of proteins, carbs, fats, vitamins, minerals, nutrients, and phytonutrients. These are all essential building blocks of the human body. It is said that the skin of the human body replaces itself every 27 days
(9)and the body is an entirely different thing after 7-10 years (8) Basically, you are an ever-changing being and the food you eat ultimately becomes you. So, if you eat "junk" what does that turn you into?
Grass-fed/Free Range Meat
To begin the lifelong road of health. Start with the small changes that you can maintain. Life is a marathon, not a sprint. The way to a healthy and life requires healing, and like most things, the process takes time. Learning what works with our body and what doesn't. So how to change your food. For those who meat, I would start off with eating organic, free-range, grass-fed beef. The next best option is hormone and antibiotic-free, and the worst being commercially raised meat (a topic too deep to go into in this article). The reason I recommend starting with changing the meat source is how the animals live their life is what we ingest. If they are in cramped quarters, eating high inflammatory foods, getting sick, and living in total stress and chaos. Well, what do you think happens to what inevitably becomes meat? We ingest their sickness into our own bodies.
The next thing we look at is our vegetables. Again, like the animals, how our plants are grown is what we inevitably become. Commercially, raised plants sprayed with toxic chemicals and grown in nutrient deficient soil becomes nutrient deficient food. These are foods typically ok not to buy organically the clean 15, which are avocados, sweet corn*, pineapple, onions, papaya*, sweet peas frozen, eggplant, asparagus, cauliflower, broccoli, mushrooms, cabbage, honeydew melon, and kiwi (sweet corn and papaya sold in the United States are sometimes grown from GMO seeds. Organic would be the better choice out of these two). The dirty 12 which are strawberries, spinach, kale, nectarines, apples, grapes, peaches, cherries, pears, tomatoes, celery, and potatoes. These are foods known to have massive amounts of pesticides (ewg.org).
Next, we go into movement. We should move daily, whether that's walking, biking, hiking, lifting weights, or doing more therapeutic movements like tai chi or yoga. Its best to find a health practitioner who understands what it is your body needs and your starting point. Understand, that movement is vital to overall health and well-being. However, today's movement ideology usually falls into two categories. If we don't crawl out of the gym dripping in sweat, we didn't work hard enough, and on the other side of the spectrum that it's ok doing the bare minimum and using the gym as a social hour. Exercise in it's simplest definition should raise our heart rate and cause just enough of a break-down to elicit a growth response. We are all individuals some of us will enjoy a hard-lifting session while others prefer a long hike. You don't have to follow conventional approaches for exercise. It's best if you enjoy what you are doing.
Meditation and Practicing Stillness
Meditation can come in many forms, whether it be sitting, standing, walking, transcendental, mindfulness, gratitude, guided, breath, kundalini yoga, or Zen meditation. My coach always tells us that all paths lead to the summit. I think in the case of health and wellness, meditation falls under that perfectly. Find the practice that works for you.
Overall, living a holistic life means to live in a way that is whole. Living with nature and being in tune with your mind, body, and spirit. How we ultimately achieve health is through the small changes we make in our life. While the road ahead may seem long and arduous, it is the most worthwhile and rewarding path. Remember, the journey should be fun, and you should enjoy what you are doing. Peace and blessings to where-ever you are on your journey.
At the Kratom Library we support living a life that focuses on improving all areas of your life, your health being the most important. If you or anybody needs help with health, you can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org