However, rather than feeling overwhelmed, I think all of this information can be a good thing - provided we use it wisely and for good...
For example, one thing that all of us now have instant access to - which even our parents' generation didn't - is information on how to live healthier. We no longer have to entrust our health to corporations or the medical industry.
While it is of course always wise to consult with a qualified medical professional for any serious illness, there are many ways that we can improve our health naturally and take preventative measures to reduce our odds of needing medical treatment in the first place. And with the growth of the internet, we now have access to loads of information on how to care for our health in this manner. The trick is knowing how to separate the good and useful info from the less helpful stuff. (By the way, that's what I aim to do on this blog, so please check out our archives to get the facts on important health and holistic living issues!)
But besides just reducing your risk of disease or living longer, there are a number of other reasons to consider taking more of an interest in your health. Below we explore 5 reasons why it is a good idea to learn more about how to live healthy and embrace a more holistic lifestyle - not just for yourself, but for the community around you, and for the planet!
The rate of change in all of our lives has increased astronomically over the past couple of generations. All this change has led to - you guessed it - stress.
Stress is now widely recognized as one of the main contributors to poor health in developed nations. And it's not getting any better. Even with all of our technological advances, it sometimes feels like we have less time than ever before. Our fast-paced world has led to an epidemic of convenience. From "convenience" (aka junk) foods, to less time moving and exercising during our regular daily routine, and even less time interacting with our loved ones, we are suffering from an over-abundance of convenience - and our health is paying the price. Because even with all this "convenience," we aren't spending the time we need actually taking care of ourselves, listening to our bodies, or treating them to the nutrition and rest that they need.
It's time to take a step back, and see what all of these conveniences are actually costing us. Even just taking the time to cook a healthy meal from scratch a couple of times per week can go a long way towards improving your diet - and cooking itself can even be a stress reliever, if you approach it the right way. By all means, embrace modern technology when you need it, but don't let it take over your life.
Take the time to cook for yourself, spend time around the dinner table enjoying your family, and move your body as much as possible throughout your day. These 3 simple changes alone can make a substantial difference in both your physical and your mental health.
2. Speaking of Technology...
In today's world, we are surrounded by modern technology 24-7. Televisions, laptops, I-pads, cell phones - there is no escaping them. The average adult spends nearly 2 hours a day using a cell phone, and according to a recent report by CNN, teenagers spend an average of 9 HOURS PER DAY just using social media on their phones!
All of these devices emit electromagnetic frequencies (EMF) that can impact your health - and no, that's not a myth. In fact, Apple even includes a warning in their Iphone user manuals about spending too much time with the phone next to your body.
A few symptoms attributed to exposure to EMF include:
- Joint & muscle pain
- Decreased attention span
- Memory loss
- Difficulty focusing
If the average household has 7 active devices (not a stretch by any means) that are used daily, imagine how much exposure to EMF you are being exposed to...
It's not a joke, and fairly little is known about the long-term effects of these relatively new technologies on our health. Educate yourself on this topic, and my advice is, until we truly know how safe these devices are, at least moderate your use, and don't sleep with your cell phone or Ipad next to your bed, or with a TV in your bedroom.
3. There Is No Cure for Greed
This article isn't about the evils of the pharmaceutical industry or prescription drugs (I address that plenty elsewhere), but there is no question in my mind that drug companies are not on your side - they're on theirs. And all the hype you hear about searching for "the cure" for certain diseases? That's all it is - hype. After all, how much money would the pharmaceutical industry make if no one ever got sick??? How much money would they make if they created a drug that actually cured a disease so people didn't need to take the drug anymore?
That's right - not much. (Or not nearly as much, anyway.)
Unfortunately, a couple of decades ago the prescription drug companies got wise to the fact that humans love a "quick fix." Since then, drugs have been created for everything from high cholesterol to erectile dysfunction to toenail fungus and beyond - and many of these drugs have worse side effects than the original ailment they were created to treat!
Still, we all would just rather pop a pill and believe the problem is solved. But instead, we are creating more and more problems for our health with every pill we pop. The drug companies may be able to fool humans, but they can't fool nature. Taking a drug to suppress the symptoms of a problem in your body may suppress the symptoms indeed - but that's all. The problem persists, and eventually, even drugs won't be able to keep you alive. (Statins are a great example of a drug that basically does nothing except suppress symptoms - contrary to popular opinion, they do not reduce your risk of dying from heart disease, and in fact, they may even increase your risk of other diseases such as diabetes.)
The truth is, many of the diseases we face in today's modern world are caused by our lifestyle choices. And taking a pill does nothing to change your lifestyle.
The "cure" for high blood pressure? It's not a drug - it's exercise! And eating better. And not smoking.
The "cure" for high cholesterol? It's not a drug - it's living a healthy lifestyle that reduces inflammation and deals with stress in a healthy way.
The "cure" for Type 2 diabetes? Guess what? It's not a drug - it's eating healthy (cutting out sugar and simple carbs, eating clean protein and lots of veggies) and getting plenty of exercise! (Well, that's how to prevent it anyway - which of course, as we all know, is the best cure of all.)
I will venture to say that you will likely NEVER see a drug-based cure for any of these diseases - or any other common disease of the modern world. There's just not enough money to be made in curing something. That's why it's up to you to take care of your own health, and hopefully prevent these diseases from happening to you in the first place.
4. True Health Includes Your Community - And Your Planet
An interesting thing happens when you start to consciously take care of your health... You realize that you are not an island! For example, when you start to look for organic produce, you often discover that the most cost-effective way to buy organic is to buy locally. Shopping from small local farms and farmer's markets not only provides you with fresher and healthier food that hasn't had to travel all the way across the country to get to your kitchen, but it also supports your local community, and encourages the production of more local, fresh, organic foods! You'll begin to develop relationships with people you never would have come into contact with if you weren't looking for healthier choices. You will learn where your food comes from, and develop an interest in how that food is raised and grown, as you find that the health of the food you eat translates into your own health. You will start to gain a sense of all the wonderful connections that exist between you and what you eat and the world around you.
And, for the things you can't find locally, you can also take advantage of today's technology to shop for these items online - and choose to support companies that care for the earth, the environment, and the health of their customers. You can find just about anything you can possibly imagine online these days. You can shop from and support companies that make cruelty-free products, natural beauty products with all plant-based and organic ingredients, vegan-friendly clothing - or clothing made from pesticide-free materials, or whatever else is important to you.
Taking responsibility for your health through conscious shopping choices can also help benefit the health of the community and the planet where you live.
5. Holistic Health Is Up to You
We talk a lot about holistic health on this website, and in case you are wondering, the American Holistic Health Association excellently defines holistic health as "an approach to life":
“Rather than focusing on illness or specific parts of the body, this ancient approach to health considers the whole person and how he or she interacts with his or her environment. It emphasizes the connection of mind, body, and spirit.”
When you look at health from this perspective, it is no wonder that no doctor and no drug can ever give you this form of health. You are the only one who is living your life! YOU are the only one who truly knows "the whole person," and how you interact with your environment. You are the only one who knows how it feels to live in your body - and the only one who is able to get better at listening to that body, and determining exactly what it needs and when.
This means that you are the only one who truly can determine the state of your health. Educate yourself, learn all you can about real health, and discover how to use holistic practices to improve your health, lengthen your life, and get more joy and fulfillment out of every day that you have on this beautiful planet!
With that said, I will say farewell for this year, as I'm heading off to visit family next week for the holidays. But I'll be back for the New Year refreshed, energized, and ready to start off another year of sharing the truth about health with you, my dear reader!
In the meantime, I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy, and holistic holiday! :-)
* Please note: I am not a doctor nor a healthcare provider of any kind, nor do I play one on TV. You should not stop any medical treatment without first discussing it with your doctor or other qualified healthcare professional. You can use this information as a starting point to begin educating yourself about natural and holistic health, but please don't take this blog post as medical advice.