Optimum Health - Rule Number 1
Health is multifaceted, and according to the World Health Organization, “is a state of physical, emotional and social well being and not merely the absence of illness or disease.” It is also our ability to bounce back from disease and problems. The two most commonly referred to types of health are physical and mental health.
In a person who experiences physical health, their bodily functions are at their peak performance due to regular exercise, balanced nutrition, and adequate rest. Physical well-being involves pursuing a healthful lifestyle to decrease the risk of disease. For example, maintaining physical fitness can protect and develop the endurance of a person's breathing and heart function, muscular strength, flexibility, and body composition.
Mental health, on the other hand, refers to a person’s emotional, social, and psychological well being, and is largely dependent on a person’s perception of their experiences. Like physical health, mental health is not simply the absence of depression, anxiety, or another disorder, but the ability to enjoy life, bounce back after difficulties, balance life, adapt to adversity and feel safe and secure.
Physical health, emotional health, social, and even spiritual health are all interconnected. Mental illness can affect your body via weight change and bodily function, and physical illness can affect your mental state. It’s very important to view and treat health as a whole. While no one thing will work for everyone, there are three simple rules you can live by that will maximize your health, and make you feel better every day. I’m going to be going over each one of those rules in depth over the next few weeks, so be sure to check our blog regularly and follow us on social media for updates.
Rule Number 1
Eat Better - You Are What You Eat
It should come as no surprise to you that one of the fundamentals of optimum health is a well-balanced diet. A balanced diet can mean different things to different people because we all have our own goals and dietary needs or restrictions. Perhaps your best fit is a low carb diet because you’re trying to lower your blood sugar, a high protein diet because you’d like to feel full for longer and build muscle, or a plant-based diet because of how nutritious it can be. Ultimately, consistency is the key to whatever diet you choose to abide by. It’s best to not look at it as a diet either, but rather a way of life that you adopt and follow in the long term. Whichever route you choose to take, ask yourself, “Can I sustain this indefinitely?”
Do be sure to eat wholesome, real ingredients, and avoid processed foods as much as you can. Processed foods have too many artificial additives, and are usually full of sugars like sucralose and high fructose corn syrup. Both of which can be quite harmful to your metabolism if consumed in excess, specifically, they can lead to pre-diabetes or type two diabetes. They also feed the bad gut flora which inhibits the growth of good gut flora. Good gut flora is necessary for proper digestion, a functional metabolism, and provides a barrier to pathogens, thereby improving your immune system. Alcohol consumption and tobacco use are also detrimental to your overall health. When it comes to alcohol, do so in moderation, but stay away from sugary mixers.
Keep in mind that the food you eat influences how you’re going to feel, and it even impacts your hormones too. A raw salad is going to reinvigorate you, while a cheeseburger and fries are going to make you lethargic. Here’s a good article about optimizing hormones. Spoiler alert, it’s all in your food choices and how you manage stress. Stress management happens to be a rule of mine that I'll be covering in the next couple of blog posts.
Below are some great food options you should be having on any diet, unless you’re vegan:
- Above ground vegetables
- Oils - coconut, olive, and avocado
And if you’re fit, active and respond well to carbs:
- Whole grains
- Starchy Vegetables
For dessert, stick to fruits with lower sugar totals. You can also eat foods that have been made with alternative flours and sweetened with natural sweeteners, like monk fruit or stevia. I happen to know a brand of cookies you may love, the name even takes after a cute little animal. Seriously though, if you’re going to have dessert, do it mindfully, and choose better options like ChipMonk Cookies or eat a protein bar like RX Bar. If you like to bake, you can also experiment in your kitchen. Make desserts using almond or coconut flour and use sweeteners like erythritol, stevia, allulose or monk fruit that won’t affect your blood sugar. We sell a blend of monk fruit and allulose that is, in my opinion, the closest thing to sugar you can find with almost no negatives (don’t eat more than 40-50 grams of the sweetener at a time).
Recap: Choose foods that are wholesome and as minimally processed as possible, stay away from junk food and tobacco, and limit your alcohol consumption. The easiest way to take care of yourself is to watch what you put into your body, so be mindful of what you eat.
The next post will cover rule number 2. Move and exercise. Until next time everyone.