Creating the foundation for a healthy life

Why has preventing disease become so complicated in our society?  It’s not that complicated.

“To consider a different example in the health care market, many Americans do not eat a balanced diet. That group makes up a larger percentage of the total population than those without health insurance. See, e.g., Dept. of Agriculture and Dept. of Health and Human Services, Dietary Guide- lines for Americans 1 (2010). The failure of that group to have a healthy diet increases health care costs, to a greater extent than the failure of the uninsured to purchase insurance.”
– from p.28 of the Supreme Court’s Ruling on Healthcare

If you want to prevent illness and promote health, here are 3 things you could incorporate into your daily regimen.

Eat Right.  Whatever that means for you and your body – Farm to table in as few steps as possible.  Some guidelines:  Plant based diet with foods close to their natural form.  Avoid processed and packaged foods.  If you can look at your plate and determine how many steps it took for your food to get to you on one hand, you are likely in good shape.  If you love meat, then go for it.   Just make sure it’s organic or free range; or at least free of growth hormones.  Try to use it as a flavoring rather than the main staple of a meal.

Enjoying your food is part of it too.  For me this means sharing meals with family & friends and not worrying about the details.  Orthorexia (obsession with healthy eating, seen often in my field) is a road I personally never want to go down, although I have flirted with it transiently.  Overeating and restricting are very similar beasts – and there seem to be a lot of both in our society.  Creating a healthy relationship with food is as much a part of eating right as avoiding trans fats.  Food addiction and obsession are a way out of being present in your body.  Because really, are you being very present when you scarf down three slices of chocolate cake?  My guess, probably not.

Move your body.  You know the drill.  What is your favorite activity?  Do more of it.  Join a frisbee league, pick up basketball, surfing or walking with friends.  I really think that if you can be active by doing something that you love, it becomes a bit of soul food as well.

Reduce Stress.  Whether it is your current lifestyle or your approach to your life.  Stress reduction is a necessary part of healthy aging, disease prevention and health promotion.  When do you feel your heart rate and blood pressure go up?  Do less of that, or learn how to change your reaction to the storm (certainly a work in progress for me).

What fuels you to live the life you love, age well and support your own well being?