Congratulations on taking the first steps to a healthier, more balanced life! You can be healthy and achieve the life you’ve dreamed of simply by adding some simple healthy habits.
I was too. And so was my family.
We had indigestion, were dealing with skin rashes, not sleeping well, etc. Yes, we needed some healthy habits!
The doctor’s solution was to prescribe drugs. These helped sometimes… for a little. But they didn’t really fix the problem. And we later realized that this was not a very healthy option… there can be a lot of side effects that go along with those drugs.
- dizziness; fainting; slow heartbeat; troubled breathing
- unusual tiredness or weakness; blisters; chills; fever
- general feeling of discomfort or illness ; muscle aches; peeling or sloughing of skin
- red or irritated eyes; redness, tenderness, or burning of skin
- sores or ulcers on lips or in mouth
Dr. Andrew Weil, in his book Health & Healing, puts it this way, “Here is the major practical failing of modern allopathic medicine: the kinds of drugs it favors and the ways it puts them into people are very dangerous.”
So we asked ourselves, are there safer, more healthy options? How can we be healthy and live healthy lifestyles? How can we reduce, and in many cases eliminate, our dependence on prescriptions and even many over the counter drugs?
Much of the difference for us has come with a few, simple, healthy habits. By habits I mean things we do every day (or nearly every day).
Drink enough water
This is maybe the easiest healthy habit of all, and arguably the most important. Our bodies are composed of approximately 87% water which we are constantly losing through respiration (breathing), perspiration (sweating), and elimination (the bathroom!). I start each day with a full glass of water… within one minute of my feet hitting the ground from getting out of bed. This alone has made a huge difference in my ability to stay hydrated, especially in winter when the air is cold and dry. I’ve even heard of other persons recommending 1 liter (about 1 quart) of water at the start of the day. A general rule of thumb is to take your body weight and divide it by two and drink that many ounces of water each day.
So if you weigh 150 pounds, drink approximately 75 ounces of water per day.
One thing to watch out for when it comes to water is fluoride. There have been growing concerns over fluoridation. Fluoride is found in some municipal water supplies, toothpaste. If you’ve not heard about these concerns before, check out the video below:
People who want to live a healthy lifestyle shouldn’t approach food choices as “what do I have to give up” but instead begin to establish healthy habits that will “crowd out” the unhealthy ones. This is the process we’ve used to improve our family’s health… a process which continues to this day.
For a more in depth look at some of the easy steps you can take today to begin eating healthy, check out our healthy food guide post.
Sensible Sunshine Exposure
Healthier lifestyles include sensible sunshine. Sunshine not only improves mood but initiates the production of Vitamin D in your body. Vitamin D is important in maintaining overall health and in the prevention of diseases such as osteoporosis and some types of cancer. “Sensible” is the key word. Since sunscreen blocks the UV rays necessary for vitamin D production in the skin, limited exposure without sunscreen is required. This could be as little as just a few minutes. For more information, see the book “The UV Advantage” by Michael Holick.
Get Enough Rest
Rest, especially a good night’s sleep, has been one of the hardest healthy habits for me to implement. I like to stay up late, but that’s not necessarily good for my health. Current thinking is that the best bed time is 10:00 – 10:30 PM. This allows the body adequate time to enter its natural healing cycles during the middle of the night. Staying up too late is not a healthy option… it can interfere with the body’s natural rhythms which can lead to illness.
It’s unlikely in our modern diets to get all of the nutrients we need from food alone. I take what’s called a “whole food” vitamin. Multivitamin supplements can help to fill the void in achieving proper nutritional levels. Whole food vitamins are derived from food sources as opposed to being synthetically produced in a laboratory. Nutrients we tend to be lacking, in general, include vitamin D, iodine, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids. Taking a good multivitamin is a healthy habit can help supplement your daily intake of these and other important nutrients.
Take a walk during your lunch break or in the evening when you get home. Take your bicycle to the library instead of the car. Simple choices like these can become healthy habits that, when repeated week after week and year after year, have a significant impact on your health. I have personally found tremendous benefit in just taking about 8 minutes each morning for some gently stretching and body-weight exercises (push ups or squats are great).
Dr. Michael Holick, The UV Advantage