Have you ever wondered why just exercise alone is not sufficient to make your entire existence a healthy one? I have known people who got a clean bill of health from their doctors, practiced what they considered to be healthy eating (i.e., a few veggies and fruits, meat, bread, pasta, soda, etc.), exercised somewhat, only to keel over and die from a massive heart attack or a blood clot. Have you also heard these stories? They chill me to the bone.
Changing everything at once is probably too much for most of us … it certainly was for me. I was lucky – I did enough at a given time to propel me onto the next area, and survived it! In fact, what I am most passionate about – nutrition – I only began to do in earnest a few years ago. I dabbled before that … took supplements … got counseling … did time management, ate healthy, then unhealthy, etc.
Today I do nutrition that makes sense for me and my body, some form of movement or exercise, mindfulness, spirituality, and try to stay emotionally healthy. Plus more. But it wasn’t an easy journey. In fact, at times it was all uphill. Sometimes we lose loved ones, we get a divorce, or have a fight with someone we care about – and these are stressors which can help us get off track. Not to worry – just regroup and get back to your healthier lifestyle and do not be critical of yourself – you are only human, like the rest of us!
In my course, Prevention: Holistic Strategies for Healthy Living & Avoiding Substance Use, I outline 10 different areas we can work on to achieve increasing health and vitality and avoid the trap of drugs and alcohol and other types of unhealthy lifestyle choices. In this course, we examine our diets, foods that are addictive, foods that are processed, our moods, behavior, social life, brain function, spirituality, movement (exercise in some fashion), and the all-important topic of balance.
If this list seems daunting, don’t worry – you can (and should if you are newer at this game) take things one at a time so you don’t get overwhelmed. I hate it when I am on information overload – I just (mindfully) accept the fact that it will take me some time to learn something of substance a little at a time and try not to be perfect all at once. Trust me – I’m still not perfect (just pretty good by now) and have some lapses in judgment, but I’m now doing enough consistently so that I have seen a fairly steady improvement in my health, wellness, resilience, vitality, etc.
We have another course that offers some great information called Living Healthy Holistically: How to Make Life Choices Which Result in Health and Happiness, and it will lead you into a new healthy lifestyle a little slower. This might be a good choice for you if you are more of a newbie at this thing we call holistic health. If you visit Health and Wellness Online, LLC, you will see many different courses which might appeal to you.
Please give us a visit!
Let’s get back to the original premise – why doing several healthy lifestyle choices at once is a good thing. Harvard Health discussed a very large research study involving 78,000 women and 40,000 men and followed them for 30 or so years, give or take a few. They measured having a healthy diet, at least 30 minutes a day of moderate or vigorous activity, maintaining a healthy weight, did not smoke, and only drank alcoholic beverages moderately if at all. The outcome of the study showed that when participants followed all five of these lifestyle choices, they lived much longer than those who did not, and they were less likely to die early from cancer or heart problems, etc. In fact, even if they just practiced one of these five habits, they lived a couple of years longer than those who did none, or just relied on prescription medications and/or surgery, etc. There are increasing numbers of scientific studies on this topic, too.
I am making the jump to the conclusion that these people also lived happier lives because they were healthier! That’s my assumption. I know it is happening to me and my friends and colleagues who practice healthy living choices. Another hidden blessing is that the longer I eat healthier foods, the more I want them. Unhealthy food no longer holds the same attraction for me as it once did.
Here’s a quick and easy recipe I often use because it’s healthy (if you’re vegetarian or vegan, substitute something for the meat like tofu or just make it with delicious veggies) and quick. You have to have either a slow cooker or a hot pot for convenience/speed if you’re making it with meat.
(makes 4 portions)
*one pound of beef – any cut and preferably grass fed (alternatively you can make this with
poultry and use chicken and/or vegetable broth and/or spring water)
*veggies you like such as broccoli, onions, beets, carrots, celery – choose what you like – about
2 cups or more and try to avoid using too many starchy veggies like potatoes
*spring water for the broth (fill the pot about ¾) or substitute a high quality beef or veggie stock
or do a combination
*seasons such as salt, pepper, paprika, chili powder, curry, garlic – choose what you like – about
1 tablespoon total but taste it and add more if you like
*healthy oil for browning, such as olive oil (brown at lower heat), or sesame or peanut oil –
about 1 or 2 tablespoons
*brown the meat and firmer veggies such as carrots in the oil for about 5 minutes –
if you are using a hot pot or slow cooker you can brown it right in the pot
*add the other veggies, plus the seasoning
*stir well and make sure everything has a good amount of seasoning on it
*add the broth – you may want to taste now to see if you like the seasoning level; adjust
*if you are using a slow cooker, you can turn it to the lowest setting and leave it on for a few
hours – many have timers
*if you are using a hot pot or pressure cooker like I do, I like to leave it on for about 1 to 1.5
hours so everything gets very tender and the flavors blend so well together
*serve nice and hot! You can freeze portions of this, too, for later. Since you are using fresh,
healthy ingredients, the flavors still really pop when you defrost it
I think it’s great to serve a fresh salad with several types of raw vegetables plus a diverse assortment of leaves – red and green – to get the enzymes, not to mention the nutrients and delicious taste!
I end this by wishing all of my readers a holistically healthy day! Go out and make some great choices!
Dr. Donna Poppendieck (Dr. P) has over 30 years of experience in the mental health care field. She is a seasoned college professor and instructor for providers. She uses credible, proven holistic health strategies in instruction for parents of children with mental health challenges looking for another approach as well as healthcare providers seeking to implement or understand holistic strategies.