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If you’ve come by Simple Clean Living, then you no doubt have been looking for ways to be healthier. Maybe you’ve been dealing with some minor symptoms and want relief. Perhaps you deal with a tremendous amount of stress and want to feel better. In order to have optimal health, there are certain things you need. Or maybe you just want to optimize your health by simplifying and cleaning up your life.
When it comes to living a healthy life, there are certain things that you must have. In fact, there are 9 things that you will need.
The 9 things you need for a healthy life
When it comes to health, what you eat IS important! You will never be able to claim the energy and vitality you want while eating a diet of junk food. The body is a machine and needs the proper food to run efficiently. Without the right food, the body will not get the proper nutrients it needs to function. Most factory processed foods are deplete of natural vital nutrients. And certain ingredients found in these products may even deplete other nutrients in the body.
The body was designed to consume whole, real foods. Those foods are rich in nutrients that the body needs to repair itself and function properly. If you consume a diet that is heavy in processed foods and don’t consume enough whole foods, the body will become nutrient depleted. The more nutrient depleted it becomes, the more you will experience symptoms. Ultimately, chronic illness will result.
You may be aware of many of the common culinary herbs used in cooking. And while herbs such as these are used to flavor the food you cook, they have other benefits as well. Nature has created it’s own type of medicine. Medicinal plants, particularly herbs have been used for thousands of years to help heal. Many of the culinary herbs you have in your cupboard come with some great health benefits.
And there are far more herbs than just the basic culinary herbs. Herbs were the “go to” form of medicine for thousands of years. The type of allopathic medicines used today have only been around for a little over a century. With the rise and power of the pharmeceutical companies in the US, herbalism was essentially shut down, In 1904 the Council on Medical Education was formed to standardize medical education. The CME took the focus off of herbal healing traditions and many herbal schools were forced to shut down. American herbalism education collapsed.
In the 1960’s and 70’s there was a revival of interest in folk herbalism. This was the result of backlash against the practices of western allopathic medicine. That revival has grown and today, herbalism in the US is booming.
We must get back to using more of the plants that were used throughout civilization to heal, and relying less on synthetic drugs that the body struggles to utilize effectively. Increasing knowlege and use of herbs in daily life is one way to make that happen.
The human body cannot survive without water. Approximately 60% of the body is made up of it. In fact, water is so vital for human existance that a person can only survive 3-4 days without it.
Water helps to flush out waste from the body. It’s helps to control the body temperature through the production of sweat. Water helps to deliver oxygen throughout the body and helps to regulate blood pressure. It lubricates the joints and helps the digestive system function properly.
The bad news is that as many as 75% of Americans may be in a chronic state of dehydration. If you feel fatigued or have brain fog often, start drinking more water!
Unfortunately, we live in a time when so many people live a primarily sedentary lifestyle. And while most people know that they should be getting up and working the body, they just don’t as often as they need to. Over the past 30 years, advances in technology have most people sitting far more than they should. Just two generations ago, our ancestors did much more physical work than most people do today. They simply didn’t have the same modern conveniences that we do today. Those conveniences have cost us! The body was designed to move regularly. But sedentary lifestyles not contribute to health issues. Sitting too much raises risk of heart disease, obesity, metabolic syndrome and diabetes. It can also contribute to an increased cancer risk, back and neck pain and mood issues such as depression and anxiety.
Exercising regularly helps to detoxify the body, work the muscles and give you increased oxygen. You simply cannot be healthy if you aren’t moving regularly!
I talk about stress a lot on this blog for a reason! Stress is a silent killer, and most people today face chronic stress. As much as 90% of all disease is related to stress. And most people do little to manage stress effectively. No, scrolling social media on your phone does NOT count as a way to relieve stress! Stress management MUST become a daily practice if you wish to live a health life. With so much demanding your time and attention, planning ways to actively reduce stress should become a mandatory part of your daily routine!
For some strange reason, buring the candle on both ends to get more done is talked about almost with a sense of pride today. But sleep deprivation is a legitimate threat to your health! Most people will skip a full night sleep to get more done. But actually, people who are sleep deprived get far less done than those who get a full 7-9 hours of sleep a night regularly. Plus, not getting adequate sleep can cause memory issues, depression, anxiety, and can cause you to reach for sugary, unhealthy foods. Too little sleep can also lower your immune system function, raise blood pressure, cause decreased sex drive and increase your risk for diabetes and heart disease.
Everyone will have a night now and again when they don’t get 7-9 hours of sleep. But that should always be the exception, and not the rule. Make sleep a priority!
Connection to others
With all of the advances in technology today, it is surprising that with as connected as we are digitally, we have become very disconnected personally. More and more people struggle with feelings of loneliness and isolation. Often, when people do gather, they have their nose buried in their smartphone or other gadget and don’t take time to talk to and connect with those in the same room. To make matters even worse, we are now seeing extreme deficiencies in healthy, non-sexual touch because of this lack of connection. Isolation and touch hunger can have a profound impact on your health.
Social isolation and loneliness raise levels of stress hormones. This can increase inflammation and increase risk for heart attack and stroke. It also increases risk of type 2 diabetes and dementia. Of course, those who experience extended periods of isolation face greater amounts of depression and suicide attempts than those with a strong support network.
The blue zone areas of the world are the areas with the most people over 100 years of age. One of the big factors in the longevity of the people of these areas is a strong sense of community. These people are very active in their communites and are well supported by family and community members.
Do what you can to schedule time two days a week to spend time with family members or friends!
Time in nature
Since the first days of man, we’ve spent a great deal of time outdoors in nature. But for many, a sedentary indoor lifestyle has become the norm. This is causing people to spend less and less time outside. I recently wrote a post about the health benefits of being out in nature. Spending as little as 5 minutes outdoors in green space can have a profound impact on your stress. 15 minutes can significantly reduce levels of cortisol, the stress hormone.
Plan time outdoors several times a week. Get in the sunshine, go for a walk or hike, garden or find some other way to soak up the benefits of getting some vitamin N!
I saved this one for last because it’s probably one of the MOST important parts of living a healthy life. You are what you think, and most people have no idea how much their thoughts and beliefs impact their health. If you struggle with a lot of worry or overwhelming, negative thoughts then pay attention! This type of thought creates a stress reaction in the body. In fact, it’s the number 1 contributor to chronic stress!!!
The good news is that you have control over what you think. And if you’ve been thinking negatively for awhile, you can begin to change that. It takes practice, but you can overcome even a lifetime of negative thinking!