It’s Not a Diet; it’s a Lifestyle
Updated: Jan 15, 2020
It's About You
Take healthcare into your own hands. Be an active participant in your health. Once you have the smarts, nothing can stop you. A good place to start shifting your perspective is the way you think about illness and health challenges. Let go of the old paradigm of dysfunctional medicine that treats only the symptoms, and become your own personal investigator.
Getting to the root of your issue, whether it’s arthritis, IBS, depression, acne, cancer—you name it—will make your road to wellness so much clearer and your efforts so much more effective. From there, you will start to see patterns. Your body is made up of interconnected systems. An imbalance in one system has a cascading effect on all the other systems, often resulting in inflammation and disease. Think of each principle as a way to take care of the universe inside you.
Sometimes you’ll require a practitioner who can focus on YOUR physical needs; other times an expert to guide you through the pain you hold in your heart is necessary. Either way, it’s all integral to your well-being. If you’re ever facing a health challenge, instead of relying on one doctor to guide your health, get a second opinion from a functional medicine doctor who will look at your whole system rather than simply your symptoms.
Put Out the Fire
Chronic inflammation is your body’s confused (and damaging) immune response to a barrage of environmental toxins and physical and mental stressors. Inflammatory foods include wheat, gluten, cow dairy, factory-farmed meat, sugar, coffee, soda, energy drinks, and processed foods.
Go with Your Gut
Did you know that about 70 percent of your immune system lives in your gut? Here’s the very best advice I can give you for improving your overall health: focus on your gut. You’ll experience better immunity, efficient digestion, glowing skin, improved clarity, and energy. Help your gut a hand by feeding your body whole, unprocessed, plant-based, nutrient-dense foods. A healthy lifestyle—reduced stress, more exercise, less exposure to environmental toxins, and proper rest—supports good gut bacteria and keeps the harmful bacteria under control. T
Get Your pH in Check
The body maintains a delicate acid-alkaline balance. Everything from healthy cells to cancer cells to soil quality and ocean life are affected by pH. A basic understanding of how our bodies maintain an alkaline range is important for good health. Your body works extremely hard to create pH balance. When we make poor diet choices or are burdened by a toxic, chemical-rich environment, our bodies have to work harder to create homeostasis. Through diet and lifestyle, you can help your body attain pH balance.
Juice to Live
The next time you need an energy boost, reach for a fresh vegetable juice or smoothie. A nutrient-dense green juice is a terrific way to experience an instant blast of sustainable energy. Green smoothies are fantastic, too. And adding healthy fats such as avocado or raw almond butter to your smoothie will help you feel satisfied longer.
Understand Animal Products
When evaluating the health consequences of animal products, we must also consider the way they were raised and treated. How an animal is cared for from birth to slaughter affects your body. Unhealthy animals create unhealthy food. Avoid factory farmed animals like the plague. Eat only pasture-raised meat, poultry and eggs. Reduce your consumption of meat to two or three times per week. Choose palm-sized (3-4 oz.) portions.
Ditch Cow Dairy
Removing or reducing cow dairy is one of my top recommendations for better health. Cow dairy is inflammatory (the root cause of many chronic diseases); and the growth hormones in dairy (e.g.,IGF1) can stimulate malignant cell growth and proliferation. We as humans can not digest daily anyway. Switch to goat dairy and specifically goat milk kefir and raw goat milk cheeses.
Choose organic fruits and veggies as much as possible. There are more than eighty thousand chemicals in the world today; eating them and putting them on our bodies impairs our immune systems. The EWG’s Dirty Dozen Plus list lays out the most highly sprayed fruits and vegetables, while their Clean Fifteen lists the least sprayed produce.
Dispel the Myth
Going organic and Non GMO can be expensive, only it you let it. Get creative with cost-cutting strategies. Buy in bulk, grow your own greens, shopat your local farmers’ market, purchase your food from companies such as Premier Foods Group and Open Pasture Meats, and buy a gently used juicer are all easy ways to save. Also, get cooking. Cooking meals from scratch in bulk and storing the leftovers will save tons in the end.
Feel Free to Indulge
If you’re worried about giving up all your favorite treats, don’t be. I still enjoy all of favorite foods like nachos, pasta, pizza, hamburgers; they’re just healthier now. Reach for dark chocolate instead of a pint of ice cream.
I didn’t get here overnight. I had plenty of support from friends and enough research to know that what I put in my body is what I’ll get out of it. When working in an office setting, watching my coworkers eat doughnuts and drink soda, I was eating my sandwich I made at home and drinking whatever I wanted in my thermos. Nobody knows what's in your YETI. Besides - WHO CARES? This is your life. You can do this! Your family and friends will soon catch on. You’ll see.
Plan and Prepare
Meal planning is the key to home-cooking success. Start collecting recipes online and in cookbooks and planning three to four days of meals so you can shop accordingly. Once you get home from the store, prep as much of your food as possible, especially produce for salads, snacks, juices, and smoothies. Cook large batches of soups and stews, and freeze second helpings for easy meals later.
Get Your Zzzz's
Without proper sleep, your body cannot fully detox and repair itself. Optimal hours: 7 ½ - 9. If you’re having trouble sleeping, exercise, exposure to natural sunlight, and cutting out caffeine by around 10a.m. can help you get some shut-eye. Switch to green tea or Rooibos tea, pull back on the alcohol and drink it earlier with food (alcohol disrupts melatonin and blood sugar). At snooze time, keep your room cool, block out all light, turn on some white noise or a fan, and give yourself time to wind down.
Move and Shake
Your lymph system, which carries away waste, needs you! Unlike your heart, it doesn’t have a pump. Exercise is the pump. It doesn’t have to be difficult, and you don’t need to join a fancy gym. Sometimes brisk walking or Yoga is best. Work smarter, not harder. Choose weight-bearing exercises to strengthen your bones. Exercise also lifts your mood, improves libido, boosts your energy, clears your mind, and so much more!
Opt for natural skin-care products, and try to cut down on the number of products you use daily. Your skin is your largest organ, and much of what you put on it, you literally drink in. Find out the toxicity levels of your favorite cosmetics and personal care products at the Skin Deep Cosmetics Database. When toxins, chemicals, and poisons build up, you break down.