“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”
Although Hippocrates died almost 2400 years ago his words hit me like a ton of bricks right now!
We live in a time where there is a pharmaceutical product to treat most illnesses down to the most benign. In a world where there is a drug to treat “restless legs” one has to wonder what is the motivation to treat something so minimal. Well look around. Pharmaceutical corporations like Merck, or Bristol Myers Squibb are making a killing as we struggle to pay for the medication they tell us we need!
Generally everyone is fatter and sicker than we have ever been but there are more drugs to take. So what has increased with our waistbands and medical bills? The amount of processed TRASH available for purchase at what seems to be a low price. All brought to your grocery shelves by other corporations designed to have only concern for there bottom line not your health, safety, bottom line or bottom size.
The healthy body is a delicate balance between interacting systems (digestive affecting endocrine affecting immune). A balance that is achieved through the fuel one chooses. Whole foods produced by the planet contain the complex arrangements of nutrients the human body needs not the bag in the store with the ingredient you can’t pronounce. Think about it… neither type of corporation is served by giving you the real deal because it would reduce profits!
I don’t mean to fear monger because there is no need. But there is a need for a healthy concern for one’s own health. Because the truth is no one will be motivated by that alone like you. I don’t know if Hippocrates foresaw our current situation, but I can’t help but feel like he sensed the potential for us to be led away from nature by profiteers.
I think this page would have made Hippocrates smile but I’m satisfied if you can find some things that pave your path to wellness.
Step 1: HYDRATE.
First things first. The first and probably most important step to wellness is good hydration. But water when introduced at the right times can have extra benefits. I suggest starting where I start here. You will feel and see immediate results from your morning gulps. Implementing any of these practices will increase your total hydration.
2 or more glasses of water every morning upon waking helps to activate internal organs. This also promotes digestive regularity.
1 glass of water 30 minutes before a meal also helps to regulate digestion.
1 glass of water before a shower or bath helps to lower blood pressure. Bonus! This will help you ease into sleep
1 glass of water before bed staves off stroke or heart attack.
Step 2: RESET.
This is where cleanses, and detoxification come in. The point here is to zero out your body and start from scratch in a sense. The technique here is to keep your system doing minimal work while maximizing metabolism of waste and toxins. Any holistic/herbal cleansing or detoxification process that works will do, so try a few, or ask for suggestions if you’d like. Here is what I do for a good reset.
Fasting is a great and I think one of the simpler ways to reset for those who can muster the self discipline. This may take a few attempts and that is ok. I do a water fast. Two days in which I only drink water (distilled is your best bet for minimum impurities). This fulfills both objectives of this section. Ones body is only processing liquid giving the digestive system a much easier job to do and allowing the body’s workhorses to settle into equilibrium. This also allows the body to devote more energy to processing out older waste products without adding more.
Detoxifying can be done during fasting or after. I like to combine fasting and Detoxification because I reason that its a good idea to coax built up toxicity up and out while not adding to it. All in preparation for it to be swept away on the next step 🙂
- Lemons help with detoxification and they combat internal inflammation, the culprit in many disease states. Plus cancer fighting antioxidants! Add the juice of half a lemon to your water.
- Herbs function as fabulous digestive aids because of their fiber content and soothing effect on the digestive tract. A perk is that the herbs have their own unique properties. Add to water and blend, juice or just eat them.
- Ginger Also combats internal inflammation, has a calming effect on the stomach and protects its lining by inhibiting acid secretion. Brew a tea by steeping peeled ginger for 15+ minutes.
All these can be added to water during your fast but consuming these things are a good idea anytime. The benefits are the same, so have fun, mix and match, eat or drink!
Step 3: Nourish
This is where the magic happens. Here we fill our bodies with beautiful nutrients and essential enzymes. This is also where we help to sweep our digestive tract of all the nasty residuals that can gum things up and slow digestion indefinitely. I do another 2 days of just jam-packed smoothies to build up the reserve. But nothing is set in stone so definitely feel free to tweak.
Smoothies are my goto next step because they are essentially pulverized nutrients and fiber. Throwing nutritious veggies and fruit into a smoothie does part of the work for your body. Chewing doesn’t seem like much work but every digestive process requires energy. Energy that is provided by our food. This Boosts input as you will definitely be able to consume more liquified food than solid. While maximizing absorption by reducing the energy requirement from your body to extract nutrients.
Try this one: 2 bananas, approximately 6 collard leaves, 1tsp natural unsweetened peanut butter, small piece of peeled ginger, any nut milk, Ice *optional
Juice is another way to maximize nutrient absorption while minimizing energy output. Here your drinking pure nutrients, no fiber. Your body does almost nothing but absorb nutrients that it doesn’t even have to extract. The name of the game for both smoothies and juice is to get as many veggies in as possible. I use fruit almost purely for flavor. We want to minimize sugar intake.
Try this one: 1 cucumber, 2 beets, 1 apple, a few parsley sprigs.
Complex carbs/whole grains are fabulous GI tract sweepers. The soluble fiber creates the matter that we call poops. This matter and the texture of it are important because it acts like an intestinal push broom, clearing its walls to absorb nutrients from food. The insoluble fiber causes the intestines to produce a sort of lubricant that eases the whole process. Bye bye constipation and irregularity!
Try these: Oats, wild rice, whole grain pasta and bread, flax seeds (ground flax can be added to anything, sprinkle in oatmeal!)
Green food contain chlorophyll the green pigment which we know is integral to photosynthesis. What many don’t know is how fabulous this “plant blood” is for us humans. Its very similar to our red blood cells in structure and function. Lending itself as perfect materials for blood cell synthesis. It also helps to oxygenate and alkalinize the blood. A 1, 2 punch for disease (more on this later). The benefits here go on and on (more on this later too).
Try these: Kale, collards, broccoli, asparagus, sprouts!
Eat the rainbow. By this I mean eat all of mother earths colors. This may seem silly but what do you think gives fruits and veggies their colors? Pigments of course. Other pigments, just like chlorophyll are made up of different nutrients that can even interact with each other when combined to boost benefits. So instead of painstakingly studying the nutritional value of them all as well as results of combinations. Just keep it colorful an you will keep your body happy.
Step 4: Maintain
This is the coming together of all of the other steps. Keeping them and the benefits that make them key parts of the process in mind makes the diet portion of this step simple. Have one of those nutritious smoothies for breakfast or lunch. Incorporate green food and the rainbow into your dinner paired with a complex carb or switch and do the reverse there really are no rules as long as you feel good right?
Diet is a critical part of maintaining the balanced state that you have now created for your body. This is easy once you are familiar with the other steps. I feel the best I have ever felt now that I have cut out animal products and although I advocate a vegan diet I realize this is not realistic for everyone. With that said, animal products should make up absolutely no more than %80 of your total diet. Don’t believe the hype! The small protein pay off is not worth the animal fat and hormones your body has to contend with to get it. There a plant based complete proteins some of which are more protein dense ounce for ounce. Think quinoa!
Wellness practices are designed to integrate mind and body in a way that produces calm and promotes wellness mentally and physically. I personally believe that as long as you have a practice that keeps you active and one that promotes mental well being your set! They don’t have to be combined into one practice. If you sketch to keep from pulling your hair out and dance to stay active, the cumulative affect should be the same as a yoga session.
Try these: Yoga! meditation, massage :-), dance, basketball, acupuncture, music, whatever works
Revisit step 2. From time to time it is a good idea to reset. Even with the perfect vegan diet we live in a toxic environment. So some level of toxicity is unavoidable and natural at this point. I reset as needed based on feedback from my body. As your body becomes used to feeling tip top you will become better at recognizing when it is time for detox… Promise.