Healthy eating
I've noticed something interesting about our weekly email updates that we send out to our subscribers. Whenever we send one that focuses on something like improving relationships, or financial balance, fewer people open the update than when we send one that directly addresses a specific physical health topic like healthy eating, or fighting disease.

From a marketing standpoint, you might say that in that case, it would be better not to focus on those topics. But this defeats the purpose of our main premise of holistic living - that is, that everything is connected!

While most people may think that being healthy simply means eating foods that are good for you, and getting enough exercise, in fact, we feel that True health goes much deeper than that.

Yes, it includes eating good foods - but that doesn't mean avoiding fat or simply eating more vegetables. It means eating REAL food, that is whole, minimally processed, sustainably raised, and full of the wide variety of nutrients that humans need to maintain health. This is true whether you are vegan, vegetarian, or omnivorous.

Regardless of dietary preference, in order to eat healthfully, you need to make sure you are eating foods that are clean and fresh. Vegetables should be organic or naturally and sustainably grown, and eaten as fresh as possible (picked from your own garden is best!), meats and animal products should be from animals raised in a clean, humane, and sustainable manner.

This means that the animals should be allowed to get regular fresh air and exercise, and they should be fed on their natural diet - which for most meat animals involves grass, plants, and sometimes seeds,  nuts, insects, worms and grubs, etc. (Note to all you responsible eaters out there: Chickens are not naturally vegetarians, despite what you see on the packages of organic chicken in the supermarket! And no, eating organic doesn't have to be crazy expensive.)

Good health also means getting plenty of exercise - but not just any old exercise. The right kind of exercise should challenge and strengthen your body in ways that are functional. It makes no difference if you can bench press 300 lbs if you get winded climbing a staircase, or throw out your back taking a suitcase down from a closet shelf. An effective exercise program for optimal health should include intervals of various intensity to strengthen your cardiovascular system, strength training using all of the muscles of your body (such as in yoga or chi gong), flexibility and range  of motion exercises, and functional movements you use in daily life, such as some forms of calisthenics, walking, climbing, and other common movements that most humans use regularly.

Just because you go to the gym for an hour a couple of times a week and use a few weight machines doesn't make you healthy. When exercising for health, your goal should be not just weight loss, but a fit, toned, strong, flexible, and pain-free body.

Another factor in good health is getting enough sleep. We just posted about that a few weeks ago, so I won't recap it here, but be sure to check out that post to learn just how important sleep really is for your health, and some helpful tips for getting more of it!

But that's all probably stuff that you think of already when you think of health. What about the other facets of health? If you're going to be truly healthy in a holistic sense, you've got to address some areas of your life you may not readily associate with health, but here at New Holistic Living, we do!

For example, would you consider someone to be "healthy" if they eat well, work out a lot, and are very lonely and have no friends or significant relationships at all - or have only very destructive and negative interactions with the people in their life?

I wouldn't.

I also wouldn't consider someone to be healthy if they have great relationships, a great career, and a healthy body, but they have no control over their financial spending whatsoever, and are carrying thousands of dollars of credit card debt, while struggling to pay their huge mortgage.

Not only does financial imbalance cause stress (a huge factor in ill health, as we all know by now), but it also can cause problems in relationships, poor choices in diet and other lifestyle habits, and other issues detrimental to your physical health. (Check out some of our previous blog posts in the financial balance category for some helpful tips and ideas for balancing your finances.)

There is no such thing as health in a vacuum. As we often emphasize - and with good reason - everything is connected. Every choice you make in your daily life affects some area of your health in some way.

This may sound scary, or overwhelming, but it shouldn't. Instead, think of it as empowering. You have the power to make a difference in your health - for worse or for better - with each choice you make. You don't have to be perfect - you just have to make more choices that are good for your health than those that are bad for it!

Holistic living means making conscious choices to live a happier, healthier, more balanced life. That's what we're here to help you do, so I encourage you to visit us often, to check out our resources, and to subscribe to our weekly updates. And when you do, I encourage you to open and read them on a regular basis - even if they don't sound like they're about your definition of health.

Remember that it all connects together, and the more you educate yourself on how to make healthy choices in each area of your life, the healthier you will be - in all ways.

To your health!


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