“To keep the body in good health is a duty… otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.” ~ Buddha
Hey Guys and Gals,
If you are a regular subscriber you may have noticed that I haven’t posted in a while. I have missed you all and I have missed writing. In this post, I am going to get very personal. I generally like to keep things as light and humorous as possible, but sometimes things in life are not full of rainbows and sunshine. Okay, here goes…
On April 11th, 2017 my father had a stroke. He survived but his life and my family’s lives are forever changed. The stroke left my father paralyzed on the left side of his body and he now has to rely on several different medications to basically stay alive. Two of his medications are blood thinners to help dissolve the clot in his heart that caused the stroke and the others are to help strengthen his heart and keep his blood pressure down so that he doesn’t have another stroke or a heart attack.
My sister Tairi, Dad, and I in November 2016
After spending a month in the hospital he is currently living in a skilled nursing facility. My father is in his early 70’s and up until this happened he easily could have passed for someone in their 50’s. If you are wondering why I am telling you all of this the reason is that this situation could have been prevented. Despite my father looking pretty good for his age, he was not taking care of himself. He was a long-term smoker, he was eating the standard American diet, and getting very little exercise.
Had he stopped smoking, started eating better and gotten regular exercise I firmly believe that his overall health would have greatly improved and he most likely would not have had heart disease or a stroke. He actually had to get a pacemaker two years prior to the stroke. The day he got the pacemaker was actually April 11th, 2015. Kind of eerie when you think about it.
So, yes exactly two years after receiving the pacemaker and after making almost zero changes to his lifestyle my father almost died from a stroke. My father like a lot of people is very smart yet very stubborn. His stubbornness almost cost him his life and in some ways it basically did.
Don’t be like my father. If you are not taking the best care of yourself then the time to start is RIGHT NOW. And if you are taking care of yourself already I salute you. Keep it up! You are important, your life matters and you deserve some me time.
Eating properly, exercising, and getting enough rest is not a luxury. It is a necessity if you plan on living a long healthy and happy life. This is the biggest lesson I have learned from this whole horrible stressful situation and that I remind myself of every day.
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Eating For Health
If I haven’t mentioned this already I have PCOS so I already know what it’s like to struggle with maintaining a healthy weight. I am actually quite overweight right now and I have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and insulin resistance. The reason I have these issues is related to the PCOS and obviously, heart disease runs in my family. So, I have to be even more diligent now about getting healthier.
There have been a lot of medical studies done that prove eating whole natural foods is one of the best ways to stay healthy. Fresh unprocessed foods are full of nutrients like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, enzymes, and healthy fats that our bodies need in order to function properly. Don’t just eat to feel full. Your food should be nourishing your body.
In 2014 The Atlantic published an article on this exact subject. All of the top diets were compared and guess what? Real food won. You can read the full article HERE.
One thing I am doing to improve my own health is the 7-Day Whole Foods Challenge. Even though I normally eat organic and try to avoid processed foods I can always do better. I would really love it if you would join me! I am going to be posting updates on my progress. If you do decide to join me, please leave me comments here or tag me on social media.
The healthier we are the better we will look too! A person who is healthy and takes good care of themselves and others is very attractive. Look at celebrities like Jennifer Aniston and Jared Leto. They both look incredible. I hope I can look that fit and healthy by the time I reach 40 and beyond.
Why do they look so good? Because they are celebrities that have been sprinkled with magical fairy dust from Hollywood. NO! Haha. Because they eat right and exercise on a regular basis. You don’t have to be rich and famous to be fit and healthy either. There are tons of great resources available and a lot of them are free. You can find free workouts on YouTube for example.
Books are another great resource for information on how to increase healthy foods in your diet. Fruits and vegetables are full of vitamins and nutrients that help keep our bodies healthy and beautiful. I recently began reading Skin Cleanse by Adina Gregory. I love keeping my eating habits and beauty routine simple and natural so this book is right up my alley!
Besides the ethical reasons, there is a lot of evidence to support the health benefits of going Vegan, so this is something I have been looking into as well. Jenn Miller of Jenn Reviews published a wonderful article on the 20 health benefits of going Vegan. I know for myself personally that I have noticed a huge difference in how I feel when I incorporate more fruits and vegetables into my diet and lower my overall consumption of animal products.
But, whatever diet and form of exercise you choose the main thing is to do what keeps you healthy. I hope I am not coming across as preachy or like I am trying to push some sort of ideal or specific lifestyle because this is not my intention. I genuinely want to help improve the lives of others through promoting a healthier lifestyle. This is the entire reason I started this website. I am not doing this just to be cool or to make a ton of money.
Okay, rant over! Haha! But seriously let’s all make an effort to stay healthy. It is a must if you want to be able to function in life. Being unhealthy is very uncool.
Eating healthy does not have to be expensive. If you can’t afford organic then stick to fresh fruits, vegetables, and other whole foods and ditch the processed foods. While I know eating organic is best I know that it is not in everyone’s budget. I personally feel like you are still going to be way better off if you are eating unprocessed whole foods even if they aren’t organic then if you continue to eat the Standard American Diet which is full of sugar and nasty additives and unhealthy fats.
Quick Guide To Healthy Eating
Here is a quick guide to help you get started with eating right if you are coming off of the SAD (Standard American Diet).
- Stick to whole unprocessed foods (whole grains, fresh or frozen fruit, unprocessed nitrate and nitrite free meats, etc)
- Limit refined sugar and carbs as much as possible
- Eat as much organic food as possible – pesticide residue is toxic and has been linked to cancer.
- Steer clear of artificial sweeteners and opt for natural sweeteners such as honey, stevia, maple syrup or agave nectar instead
- Drink plenty of water and herbal teas
When it comes to working out I highly recommend you choose a form of exercise that you actually enjoy doing. I used to go to the gym 5 days a week and do a lot of cardio and weights and at the time I enjoyed it. Now it doesn’t appeal to me as much. Instead, I prefer to walk or jog outdoors, hiking, body weight exercises, Yoga, Callanetics, and roller skating. I would love to get into hoop dancing as well.
If you love doing Cross Fit, boxing, running, biking, aerobics, playing sports or whatever that’s fantastic! However, don’t force yourself to do something you hate because you will be miserable and chances are you won’t stick with it. So, be and stay active doing something you actually enjoy. Even if it is only 5 minutes per day.
As I mentioned earlier there are some really awesome free resources available online:
And many others. You can also find great fitness books and DVDs through your local library. There are free apps you can download on your smartphone too.
As always, I hope you found the above helpful. If you did please leave a comment below. What are some things you are doing to stay healthy and fit?
Lora is a native Californian currently living in the Southeast. She is an artist, designer, blogger and nature lover. Her hobbies include herbalism, cooking, baking, creating DIY aromatherapy recipes, sipping wine and listening to music. She also loves to go hiking and camping.