A Simple Start To a Healthier Life
If you are anything like me, changing eating and health habits is no easy task. Just thinking about all of the facts and information that need to be learned, the requirements to follow and changes that need to be made to your family’s lifestyle can easily cause you to give up on health altogether.
Designing Healthy Habits
I believe it is incredibly hard for people (especially parents) to find ways to fit health into their daily lives. Most of the time you find yourself thinking “I don’t even have time to do the dishes, and I have to catch up on work, and my kids need help with their homework…” The list of things you have to do tend to push health to the back-burner.
People today are so stressed and overworked, that health is usually an afterthought, but if you knew that your health could give you more energy, save you money, or even simplify your routines, you might be encouraged to make health and well-being one of your priorities.
Getting the Right Information
It is no secret to most people that health is important. We know it’s a bad decision to eat at Mcdonalds or live off of potato chips, but what we don’t know is how to change the lifestyles we have lived with for so long. Even more difficult, is the lack of nutritional knowledge in the medical field. Unless you are going to a nutritionalist, your doctor is not likely to know much about eating right or health management. In fact, nutrition is not a required course of study in the medical field, and most US doctors have no nutritional background whatsoever.
Knowing this, it’s important to realize that you are responsible for learning about health and taking responsibility for it. This does not require an immediate knowledge of all the facts. Most of us know that fruits, vegetables, nuts and water are a staple for a good diet, and most of us know that fast food is severely detrimental to our health (if you haven’t seen it, watch “Super Size Me.”)
Start by forcing yourself to recognize the things in your life that are poor health habits. You may not be ready to change all of them yet, but it’s important to acknowledge them and accept that changes need to be made.
Examples of How Poor Health Can Make Life Harder
Poor nutrition has been proven to be the cause of tons of health problems. Equally, good nutrition has been proven to be the key to healing most health problems (even if they already exist!) The good news is, even if you have never lived a healthy lifestyle, eating right, and even getting moderate exercise can reverse existing illnesses!
Research has found some very interesting side-effects of poor nutrition, and I’m sorry to say these facts do not get enough publicity. This is partially due to the power-hold that US chemical and drug companies have over media and the medical field…
Did you know that it is estimated as many as 60% of the population are allergic to cow’s milk? Research showed that allergies and asthma in children are often caused directly by diary products and that many young adults and teenagers are effected by these same allergies differently (for example, as you get older, you may develop severe acne as opposed to asthma). Allergies to milk have also been shown to create behavioral problems in children and may be the cause of most child eczema.
Research has also shown that children with ADHD showed significant improvements in concentration when they received a daily omega-3 supplement. High doses of Niacin have been proved to cure chronic depression, eating healthy foods is proven to increase your energy, daily meditation or exercise reduces anxiety, including lots of water in your diet is a natural detox routine that omits harmful toxins from your system and makes it possible for your body to absorb nutrients better… The list of benefits to good health is truly endless.
Baby Steps: Finding a Problem & Setting a Goal
I would like to share our first steps toward a healthier lifestyle in hopes that it will help you find a small goal to set for yourself. I had just finished watching a documentary, “Food Matters,” and was feeling incredibly guilty about our eating habits, but also very overwhelmed by all of the information about what you should and shouldn’t do.
After some thought and self-realization, I picked one small goal that I felt was something important to our lives. I intend to continue to pursue this goal until it becomes so habitual that we don’t even think about it. I read that most of the population are severely dehydrated (in fact, I once ended up in the hospital from this very problem!) Recognizing that not drinking enough water is a VERY serious problem for our family, I decided this would be our first goal.
Today, we drink at least 1 liter of water before putting anything else in our body. That means we wake up in the morning, and the first thing we do is drink at least 2 glasses of water. Normally, the first thing I would do is start the coffee pot! We all know the 8-glasses a day rule, but I believe it’s easier to ignore the numbers and focus on the time and place.
Ask yourself questions like, “when do I have the time and ability to access water?, Should I consider buying a few bottles so I can have them in the car, at my desk, or wherever I will be? How often do I normally drink water, and what am I drinking instead of water? Am I drinking things that have no benefit or are detrimental to my health? How can I eliminate or reduce drinking these things?”
It is important to ask yourself what ways you can fit a new health change into your life, or how you could use it to improve your lifestyle. Also consider the benefits of that change. Drinking water will give you more energy, it will remove toxins, it will help you absorb more nutrients, it will reduce or destroy problems with constipation (which can also cause headaches), if you are replacing sugared drinks, it may improve the health of your teeth and gums, reduce addictions to caffeine, etc.
Some Fun Ideas for Small Health Changes
There are a multitude of ways to encourage yourself to be more active or eat better. Here are some simple ideas:
- Try parking your car further away to encourage more walking.
- Maybe your kids are wrapped up in video games: Try buying Wii fitness and making games a family activity.
- Walk where you can and save some gas in the process.
- Buy a pack of sidewalk chalk and play some hopscotch with your kids.
- Spend some time meditating or relaxing during your lunch break, or before bed.
- Set your phone alarm to vibrate every two hours to remind you to drink a glass of water.
- Start the day with an apple and some nuts instead of sugared cereals or breads.
- Don’t deprive yourself, try eliminating teas and sugared drinks, but keep your morning coffee, or reward yourself once a day with a smaller quantity of the drinks and foods you like.
- Keep a journal or blog about your health findings and routines. Sharing with others is a great way to recognize successes, and learn new things.