The all-inclusive guide for achieving optimal physical, emotional, mental AND spiritual health
By Graham Mitchell, Pn2, XPS
Reality check… According to the Census Bureau there are approximately 7.5 billion human beings currently inhabiting the Earth.
Considering that among such an incredibly large number of people exists an impressive amount of cultural/ethnic, genetic, physiological, intellectual, and behavioral diversity, it is safe to say that the search for a one-phrase, simplified, cozy UGG slippers type of healthy lifestyle or diet strategy, is nothing more than the accumulation of recipe ingredients for a “cocktail of confusion”.
Bottom line… Optimal health has been achieved by many different past and current cultures that practice various dietary and lifestyle habits. However, the linking factor that allows this non-mainstream idea to be true is literally a universal truth; it’s called Balance.
If science class taught us anything meaningful at all, it was probably the understanding that in every living organisms life (on every level), survival is dependent on its ability to achieve homeostasis (yes, we went there).
Homeostasis is basically a fancy word for balance. So the simple truth is, all living things must balance the health of their internal and external environments in order to thrive.
The disturbing reality is that rather than focusing on how balance is achieved in nature and attempting to reproduce the effect in our lifestyles, a large portion of the world’s population (unfortunately as Americans we make up a bigger piece of the pie, literally) are over-indulging in a free information buffet that’s open 24/7;
From social media to blogs, news outlets to documentaries; the internet is a framework of seemingly endless information. In today’s reality, when the average person wants the answer to a question, ANY question, what do they do? “Google it!” (Well, either that or they scroll down their timeline).
Now I am a huge advocate of following well informed people and opening my mind to the latest research and new ideas. The problem however, is that most of the information about health, diet, fitness and overall wellness on these platforms is anecdotal or incomplete.
With all of the variability in human physiology, biology, and our environment as well, it is irresponsible to label one healthy lifestyle strategy superior to others without considering those variables as part of its success or failure.
There is growing research done by scientists such as Bruce Lipton that exposes a need for us to mature our understanding of our mind and body, and the effect our environment has on our physiology.
…And you thought that eating broccoli and cutting out meat and carbs were the secrets to a healthy, lean/mean fitness cuisine.
The fact is, we are only scratching the surface of understanding how the body works. When a person eats a balanced diet, lives a physically active lifestyle and limits toxins (including severe negativity or stressful states which can lead to an excessive amount of cortisol in the body), their health grade is typically A+. Now, of course by balanced I mean incorporating the foods containing the necessary macronutrients (protein, carbohydrate, mono/polyunsaturated AND saturated fats) and micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals), in the appropriate quantities for their body type, activity level and health goals, as well as understanding how food timing and food combinations can cause the absorption rates of certain macro and/or micronutrients to be enhanced or diminished.
Sounds like a lot huh?
This is one of the main reasons why quick fix, “key to success” punch-lines nowadays attempt to “dumb down” this process. The fact is, living a lifestyle that meets those criteria is not as difficult as it seems, and it does NOT require working out 5 hours a day or eating bland caveman food, nor does it require the elimination or demonization of meats, sugars or any other natural foods for that matter. It requires something far more simple and practical…
You guessed it… Balance.
Think about it, throughout history, every generation has been faced with questions about life, the universe, spirituality, health and their beliefs (remember, at one point not so long ago the world was believed to be flat, or the center of the solar system). Each time, the people of their era have thought they “had it all figured out”, and yet here we are continuing to learn new things and even “re-learn” some forgotten or overlooked fundamental truths. The eagerness of some people to close shut the doors of opportunity which lead to understanding more, or to draw grand conclusions from results of experiments and mass studies, in an effort to proclaim their theory as the gospel of our time is what I call “The emaculate misconception”.
But I’ll save that mind-bender for another time. Until then, utilize the available information out there as a means to understand rather than a tool to prove a pre-existing theory. Progress occurs when we act on the understanding that greatness is a result of expanding our minds and our preconceived human capabilities, not by defining them.