Guest Author - Carolyn Chambers Clark, RN, EdD
Natural and holistic living may seem difficult in this high-tech, low-touch world, but it can be accomplished with a little effort and help you prevent many dis-eases.
Think of how the pioneers did it and you're on your way. To accomplish a natural living surrounding, use organic foods, obtain daily fresh air and sunshine, use natural fabrics, get enough sleep and rest, exercise every day and use safe self-care remedies.
Eat well with organic food for prevention of disease and healthy dieting at its best
Diet is the antithesis of eating well and eating naturally. If diet means restricting what you eat, you probably take in enough calories and healing foods, and will put yourself at risk for dis-ease. Making fruits, vegetables, fish and soy the basis of your menus is the closest thing to a healthy diet you can get. Your body needs the fiber, vitamins, minerals, enzymes and other substances we have yet to identify in fruits and vegetables that we already know cures or assists in the prevention of many illnesses, so don't limit them. To lose weight, make fruits and vegetables the cornerstone of your diet and you'll ward off diabetes, heart disease, cancer, gallstones and more. Nothing is sweeter than a handful of raisins or a ripe banana unless your tastebuds have been overstimulated with candies, cakes, pies, etc. Get back to natural living by weaning yourself off these phony sweets and learn to love a baked apple, a banana stir-fried in a little oil or fresh coconut is very healthy. All whole fruits are very sweet, and very satisfying, unlike artificial sweets like candy or sweeteners like NutraSweet that make you want more.
Add a little organically-grown and produced soy (for protein and more protection) and you'll lose weight. Add a handful of nuts and seeds and you'll have even more protection. A couple meals of small oily fish a month provides more protection. That and about a gallon of water a day and you'll look young, feel young, be young. Want some grains? Eat brown rice, whole grain organically grown breads and cereals that don't have sugar or additives added. If it has more than whole grain and water in it, avoid it.
Eating well and holistically today means using organic foods that haven't been tainted with pesticides (associated with cancer, Parkinson's and other conditions) antibiotics (that weaken your immune system) and other toxins that can bring on symptoms, stress your liver and kidneys and make the symptoms you already have, worse.
You can find organic foods at health food stores, at some farmer's markets, and if you're lucky enough to live in a rural area, at some local farms. Due to the increased interest and demand, even some super markets carry organic foods. My local supermarket carries organic lettuces and salads (pre-washed and ready to eat!), organic broccoli, organic corn, organic peas, organic celery and more. Ask your produce person and check the canned aisles for canned organic vegetables. (Fresh is best, but if you can't get it, choose organic canned over non-organic canned.) Also, look in the frozen section for organic fruits and vegetables. If your store doesn't carry them, ask the manager to stock them for you, then be sure you buy them. The more people demand them, the more organic foods that have been holistically grown will be available.
For a holistic and natural life, use the fewest processed foods you can. Whole foods are always more healthy. Since nonorganic food is sprayed, waxed, genetically-engineered, and who knows what else, organic is safer. Also, if you're eating meat or poultry, the animals are often mistreated, misfed unsafe food, and often full of infection from being penned too closely, which is why they have to be shot full of antibiotics. You can eat that piece of organically grown chicken or organic apple skin and know it's safe.
Okay, so it seems more convenient to get take-out, but think of the possible salamonella and other toxins it may carry, (check out the kitchen of your favorite restaurant if you don't believe me), not to mention the high-fat, high triglycerides, somebody didn't wash their hands before handling your food, and the high price you're paying. Also, you have to wait in line for it in a highly stressful environment. If you order by phone, by the time your food arrives, it could be the wrong order, cold or tampered with.
Instead, aim for a holistic and natural living experience. You could be home, listening to your favorite music, maybe cooking with your family or honey, enjoying the tastes and smells. Turn off the TV and computer. Who needs more stress? Teach your kids to cook, too. I thank my husband's mother every day for teaching him to cook! Think how you'll be preparing future husbands and wives who can cook healthy foods and share cooking responsibilities with their spouses. Cooking is not only one of the great nurturing and calming activities around. It can also be pretty romantic and erotic. Think about sharing a lick of tomato sauce from a spoon or feeding your partner a grape or apple slice. Divine!
Fresh air and sunshine are part of a natural life and provide holistic benefits
Be sure to breathe from your abdomen to get enough oxygen to your brain and body. The best place to do that is getting outside daily and sitting, walking or working outside in the fresh air and sunshine. If you live where the air is polluted, think about moving. Is where you are worth the possibility of asthma, cancer, Parkinson's and more that polluted air can bring? Choose to live more simply in a less crowded and less polluted area. Find what you love to do and establish your own online or inhome business. You'll be happier and healthier, too.
Sunshine is necessary for your body to get enough vitamin D and also may be important to healthy eyes. Make sure you don't get it between l0 a.m. and 2 p.m. and wear a hat to protect your skin and eyes. (Indirect sun will do the job of getting your eyes the exposure they need to natural light). Recent research says sunscreen may not really block the harmful rays, so it may be safer to cover yourself (and make sure your family does, too. That doesn't mean a see-through polyester cover, but perhaps long sleeves and long pants of cotton.)
Sun is also important to elevating mood. That's why people in northern climes get SAD, a form of depression because they don't get enough sunlight. If you're moving, you might consider moving farther south so you can get more daytime sunlight.
Use natural fabrics for natural living
Wear cotton, linen or silk for fewer allergies. Don't use polyester carpets, bed linens, curtains or towels, all of which can contribute to allergies. Hard wood floors or tile are a lot better for you and there is no place for vermin to hide there, either, like they can under carpeting.
Get enough sleep and rest for a calm, natural living life
Get off caffeine. You don't need it. Wean yourself and you'll see how perky and bright-eyed you wake up once you do. Especially don't have caffeine at night. It will limit your quality sleep.
Avoid watching television, especially anything that's shocking or upsetting like the news or shows with violent content. Same goes for reading or working on the computer. Read a good book. It'll make you grow. TV and computer games won't.
Reserve at least half an hour for yoga, easy stretching, listening to a relaxation tape, warm bath and maybe cuddling with that special someone prior to sleep. You'll rest better and wake up with a smile on your face.
Exercise every day the natural way for a holistic experience
The pioneers built homes, walked miles, grew all their own food, went hunting, cooked and preserved their own food. Start a garden, even if it's only in a couple of pots on your terrace or balcony. (You can even have an indoor herb garden if a terrace or balcony isn't available!)If you're lucky enough to rent or own a home, be sure to start a garden. Get an organic gardening book at your local bookstore or nursery and go to it. You can find out a lot of information from your local county cooperative extension service. They often offer free classes and will answer questions about plants over the phone.
A recent study showed gardening is as good as any other form of exercise for keeping you fit and what a holistic experience! Gardening is also satisfying to the soul and calming to the mind and provides the sunshine and fresh air you need. Nothing you can do provides so many prizes. You get to see seeds you planted sprout, you can listen to birds sing and feel the warm sun on your back, when you pick the produce you'll feel a swell of self-esteem and pleasure. Eating something you've grown is like no other experience. It boosts your self-confidence and brings a smile to your face.
Hugs are good exercise, too, and are healing. Get at least 10 hugs a day to stay young, healthy and self-confident.
Use safe self-care remedies for natural living
Before there were big drug companies, people used home remedies. They knew how to use herbs and other substances because information about how to use them and what results to expect were handed down by word of mouth or old books.
Instead of listening to the ads on TV about what will cure this or that symptom, and bugging your doctor to write you a prescription, check out many of the ideas provided below for safe, self-care. Remember, every drug has many effects, not just the one you're taking it for. Herbs are potent too and must be used correctly and in the correct situation. If you choose the more natural route of self-care, make sure you educate yourself fully prior to using herbs or essential oils and share what you've learned and what you plan to do with your health care practitioner.
Also, check out the advantages of eating foods as a holistic healing practice. Think of everything you put into your mouth as a medicine. That way, you'll be less tempted to eat fatty and sugary snacks and greasy burgers and fries. They simply aren't medicine. Now a juicy apple, a crunchy piece of celery or a succulent strawberry is, and your body knows it.
Good luck on your path toward natural living. Enjoy!
Catch my e-books at Health Tips & Charts for Women
and A Perfect Body: A Holistic Plan
and Healing Vegetables
For more information, click on my other books below...they cover many topics and are listed in the following order: assertiveness, menopause, weight loss, self-care for 20 chronic conditions, integrating complementary procedures into traditional health care, encyclopedia of complementary health care practice, holistic nursing approaches to chronic conditions, group leadership, creating a climate for power learning, health & wellness promotion in communities, being a wellness practitioner