Changing your life is not an easy thing to do. We become so accustomed to “our way” of doing things, that finding a ‘new way’ is daunting and may feel overwhelming. The first step is to make up your mind to give it a good go. Find your motivation. For many, it’s a new diagnosis. For others, it’s a perceived health issue with a loved one. Perhaps you’re pregnant and want to have a healthy child. But all for all of us, living a cleaner, more organic, authentic, healthy life has benefits that are immeasurable.
Health is defined as the “general condition of a person in mind, body and spirit, usually meaning to be free from illness, injury or pain.” The only way to achieve, and maintain health is to pay attention to your Self, and make adjustments throughout life. Physicians and medications are great additions to our arsenal in our quest to feel good. But you cannot expect to take a pill to effectively deal with everything in life.
So how do we begin this journey? We’ve found our motivation. We’ve made up our minds to make positive adjustments in our lifestyles. What next?
Education. You must educate yourself about your medical condition or situation. Ask questions of your physicians. Check out books from the library on the subject. Getting information from the internet is great, but only if you know the site is reliable and the information accurate.
Find a doctor you trust. Your goal is to be healthy while taking a few pills as possible. Together with your physician (if your physician respects your goal) there’s a good chance that with real lifestyle modifications you can decrease the amount of medication you take on a daily basis – and feel better.
Enlist support from family and friends. It’s much easier to avoid refined sugary snacks if they aren’t brought into the home by your spouse. It’s more difficult to “cheat” when everyone at the table knows what you should (and shouldn’t) be eating. And it’s nice to have someone at the physician’s office with you, to ask questions that you might not think to ask…or just be there to talk things over after the appointment.
Plan a trip to Whole Foods (or other natural health and food store). Whole Foods (WF) has a large selection of organic options for just about any diet. Diabetics require a low carbohydrate diet. Young children might benefit from a limitation in refined sugar and wheat gluten. African Americans, Asians and Hispanics will likely have a problem with cow milk products, where goat milk is probably a better option. I prefer unpasteurized goat milk bought locally from a farm (because the stores do not typically sell this product). The taste is *exactly* the same as fresh cow’s milk…but is better for people of color.
WF has a computer system and (mostly) knowledgeable and helpful employees that will direct you towards products that might fit into your life well. There’s a prescreened selection of bath/body products (some of which contain questionable ingredients, so you still have to read labels). And the meat is always antibiotic and hormone free. Sure it’s expensive, but worth the expense if you’re serious about changing over to organic diet and are unsure how to sift through the items on the shelves of Target, Walmart, or other common grocery stores.
After you’ve established the products you like, and product lines become familiar, you will likely be able to find many of those same brands at other stores for less money. But at first, it’s easier to plan a few hours a WF a couple of times a month…and acquaint yourself with all the organic choices available.
Clean you living area. Get rid clutter. This includes:
- toiletries and personal items that are not consistent with your new lifestyle. A good start would be reading the ingredient lists on all of your lotions, shampoos, conditioners, creams, and giving away (or throwing out) anything with parabens, phthalates, BPA, and a long list of chemicals as ingredients. Use the ingredients page as in initial guide to assist you.
- photos of people/events that don’t serve you well. We all realize how weird it feels to have photographs of your family in your bedroom…”looking” at you all the time. Well, that same sentiment occurs any time you see a photo of a person or an event. Do you ever find yourself reminiscing about a wonderful day on vacation after glancing at a photo of yourself on a beach? If you allow people, or events, to hang on your walls, or sit on your mantle that evoke feelings of despair or any other negative emotion – get rid of it. Put them in a box and pack them away. Or, if you have the guts…throw them away.
- if you have the money, consider disposing of old, flaking pots and pans. Every time you cook, you are eating little flakes of that black non-stick coating…and that can’t be good for you. Cheap plastic has been shown to leach damaging chemicals into foods that serve as hormone disruptors, and should be avoided. Replace old coated pots/pans with new, safer, stainless steel versions. Replace plastic with safe plastic or glass.
- Take inventory of your household contents. Decrease the amount of vinyl (shower curtains) and opt for PVC free versions. Carefully choose furniture and carpeting. If you have the money, consider switching out your mattresses (or at least pillow cases and bed clothes) for organic versions. Be careful of new flooring, pressed wood, new cabinets, etc. as they may contain high levels of formaldehyde, and that will exacerbate any health condition.
Stop bad habits. This includes smoking, drinking to excess, illicit drug use, and prescription drug abuse. You cannot be healthy when you bombard your body with all of these toxins all the time. I think stopping cold is the best way – make a decision and do it. If you need assistance with this task, enlist the support of established professional groups to assist you.
Throw out toxic toys. It’s amazing how many toys are made from questionable substances…and our children literally ingest these poisons. You must take these toys away. Most of the toys are probably not being played with anyway, so why have the toxic clutter emitting it’s poison in our baby’s environment? Opt for more natural/organic choices. Wood toys not treated with pesticides. Paint that does not contain lead (and this is sometimes not a given). PVC plastic toys. Realize that electronics have their own potential danger with EMFs, so limit the use of these items – which includes cordless phones, hand held video games, iPads, smart phones, etc.
Drink fresh water. Sometimes the water that comes from the faucet is not “fresh.” So it’s a good idea to check your city’s water quality to determine if it’s worth the risk of drinking. Also keep in mind that many bottled water companies simply collect tap water, and sell it as bottled “drinking water.” Read the bottle and be sure that the water has gone through a filtration process as least. Or better yet, filter your own city water much easier.
Get as much outdoor time as possible. Sunlight is healing, and helps our bodies activate essential vitamins. Sunlight is good for our mental health or spiritual health as we connect with a very powerful light source. Fresh air is healing. And the very act of making a conscious decision to go outside for our health helps keep us motivated. The Earth helps absorb electrons from our bodies, and returns electric balance to our bodies. And our wake/sleep pattern is refined if we are able to tell the difference between day and night in this world of 24/7 artificial lighting.
Stop eating out. You cannot know what’s in your food if you don’t prepare the food. There are exceptions and special times where it’s worth the risk. But, overall, eat out less. And when you do eat out, make better choices. McDonald’s is out, period. As are other typical burger/fast-food joints. If you’re serious about your health, or your child’s health, you must control what is ingested.
Above all, stop acting like what you eat, and what you rub into your body is not affecting your health. With over 500 chemicals making up some “fragrances” that are added to common cosmetics, you have to realize that at least a few of those chemicals have the potential to make you *very* sick. The cosmetics industry will argue that “yeah, we know, but it’s such a small amount, that it is insignificant.”
But, it’s not a small amount if you use the product twice a day, every day, combined with 10 other products with dangerous toxins, every day. These substances can bioaccumulate, and a small dose becomes a massive dose. It‘s no wonder why our fibromyalgia is flaring up, or our son has autism-like symptoms. Breast cancer in African American women is typically more aggressive and acquired earlier than Caucasian women, so we need to be more careful, and vigilant. We are no closer to preventing breast cancer than we were 40 years ago – despite all the hoopla of Susan Koman and pink ribbon paraphernalia. The reason being, the powers that be are not interested in finding the CAUSE! Race for a cure sounds great…but race to PREVENT is so much more rewarding!
This means that YOU must take charge of your own health. You must make changes if you want to feel good, look good, and live a long healthy life!