I am often asked, “How do I improve my health?” That is a very loaded question with many different answers: what is healthy for one person may be detrimental to another’s health. Simply put, what’s healthy for me may not be healthy for you. It is easy to tell someone to exercise, get more sleep, and eat healthy foods; however, very often, that is not enough. I would have to spend some time with you to get to know you and give you the best answer of what healthy looks like for your body, to find the best way for you to improve your individual health.
For example, there may be underlying issues that prevent you from achieving your exercise goals, which means that getting exercise may not improve your health—rather, it could damage it. Also, the healthy foods you eat may be doing your body harm.
So, the first step to finding out how to improve your health is to understand what is best for your body. Here are three ways to do just that while laying the foundation to major health improvements:
1. Get a Food Sensitivity Test and Seek Holistic Advice
It is a good idea to seek alternative health advice, and a practitioner specializing in food sensitivities is a good person with which to begin your health journey. Approximately 10%–20% of people are known to have food sensitivities; however, I think that number is actually a lot higher. There are so many possible symptoms that can be traced back to food or environmental sensitivities. Digestive issues, such as gas, bloating, heartburn, and irritable bowel syndrome, are common signs; other symptoms may include:
- Issues with weight
- Joint pains and aches
- Skin conditions
- Heart and lung problems
- Hearing issues
- Dark circles under the eyes
- Sinus problems
- Mood swings
A food elimination diet can help you discover your food sensitivities by cutting out the foods you suspect are causing reactions. This method may only give you some answers, and there may be other foods you should avoid.
Bio-energetic feedback is a form of applied kinesiology and muscle testing that can help you detect chemical, environmental, food, and other sensitivities on an energetic level. There are many holistic practitioners who specialize in different health modalities, including bio-energetic feedback. It can be helpful to see different practitioners for the best alternative health advice for your needs.
2. Learn to Cook
One out of every four Americans eats fast food or takeout at least once daily. Eating healthy begins with what you cook, and people often fall into unhealthy eating habits when they don’t know what to eat. Most restaurants don’t have a person’s health in mind, and fail to provide the necessary nutrients for a person’s individual health needs. Unless you build a relationship with the chef, how do you know what ingredients and cooking methods are used?
Cooking your food is an important way to control what you are eating, especially if you have food sensitivities or other health issues. By cooking your own meals, you will be able to use only the ingredients that are best for you.
Some easy meals to start with may be breakfast smoothies and soups; these are easy, nutrient-dense meals that require little time and energy. Warehouses and department stores typically have sales on high-end appliances, such as high-end blenders or food processors, which actually make cooking meals, especially smoothies and soups, easy and fun.
3. Take Time for Yourself
How often do you really take a break and unplug from the high-paced world? Many people will get home from a long day at work and watch an hour or two of TV. People with office jobs are continually exposed to the electromagnetic fields from computers and other electronics. These frequencies can put stress on your pineal gland and reduce melatonin levels, which can deplete your immune system and result in sleep problems, stress, and chronic fatigue.
I recommend taking time to be totally alone. Try to take a 30-minute walk, five times a week. It will help to reduce stress, heal the endocrine system, and improve digestion. A walk in a forested area or park is best; plus, these areas can help cleanse toxins from your body. A restorative yoga class is also a proactive method to relax and obtain mental clarity.
So, to sum it all up, your health doesn’t start with eating and exercise; there are other components that are also important. How you improve your health is about being an active participant and knowing what’s right for you. Continue to ask questions and grow. It is all about education and seeking alternative health advice to complement the direction you receive from any health practitioner—even your doctor!
Sources for Today’s Article:
Berzin, R., “If You Do Nothing Else to Get Healthy, Do These Three Things,” GreenMedInfo web site, October 22, 2014; http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/if-you-do-nothing-else-get-healthy-do-these-three-things.
Schlosser, E., “Americans Are Obsessed with Fast Food: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal,” CBS News web site, January 31, 2002; http://www.cbsnews.com/news/americans-are-obsessed-with-fast-food-the-dark-side-of-the-all-american-meal/, last accessed December 2, 2014.