The Courage to be Healthy

Stay healthyHealth is the basis for every human achievement, even when it is poor, in which case it provides a lot less vitality and longevity than when it is good. We should do everything possible to be healthy and to maximize our potential to live and love.

In fact, health is not just a matter of vitality and longevity; it is also a matter of sanity. A sound mind is a complement to a sound body. Furthermore, the one is dependent on the other. Study many health books. They help to  define and meet your nutritional requirements much more wisely.

The body needed a balanced and moderate amount of carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, minerals, and vitamins to function well. Correlatively, the foods containing these nutrients have to be properly chewed to aid digestion and absorption (this does not apply to fiber: a type of carbohydrate that the body can neither digest nor absorb). Proper chewing reduces foods to mush and proportionally increases the effect of the digestive juices on them or the availability of the nutrients that are ready for absorption. This simple chore is at the center of life.

To start with, carbohydrates are simple or complex sugars generally obtained from fruit, honey, milk products, beets, rutabagas, potatoes, legumes (beans, lentils, or peas), nuts, seeds, whole grains, and the bread, cereal, or pasta made from these grains. Simple sugars and digestible complex sugars serve as an energy source and participate in the synthesis of DNA and RNA molecules: the genetic information and the genetic messengers that enable the organism to regenerate and reproduce. Indigestible complex sugars, better known as dietary fiber, are capable of promoting the elimination of waste through the intestine. Refined foods are depleted of this fiber, without which constipation is a predictable outcome that bodes ill. Except on festive occasions, resolutely avoid them.

Lipids include two main subdivisions: saturated, monounsaturated, or polyunsaturated fats (with a phosphoric component in some of them – i.e., in phospholipids versus triglycerides that are pure fats) and cholesterol, which is a singular fatty compound. Like simple sugars and digestible complex sugars, saturated fats and monounsaturated fats serve as an energy source. In addition, they contribute to the integrity of the body tissues. Polyunsaturated fats and cholesterol also contribute to this integrity and are used for a variety of vital functions involving the cardiovascular, digestive, endocrine, and immune systems.

A distinctive feature of polyunsaturated fats is their instability. When exposed to heat, light, or air, such as in processing, intense cooking, or prolonged everyday use, they can suffer damage and become harmful. In view of this fact, be careful to eat the foods that contain them – for example, walnuts and seeds, and the oil extracted from either – in their most natural (unprocessed and if possible uncooked) form and fresh (unspoiled) state. When cooking is necessary, as in the case of fish or tofu, which number among these foods, you can resort to steaming or baking in preference to frying and proceed with caution, while avoiding the pitfall of undercooking. Apply the same basic principles to the foods that contain monounsaturated fats, like peanuts, almonds, olives, and avocado, and the oil extracted from any of them, though these fats are less unstable than their polyunsaturated counterparts. As for cholesterol, found exclusively in animal products, and saturated fats, found mostly in land animal products, they have a reputation for causing arterial blockage and organ dysfunction if consumed without restraint. Limit the intake of them by following a largely vegetarian diet where animal flesh is the exception, not the rule. Exercise restraint in the consumption of polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats as well. The opposite, like any lack of moderation, is a health hazard.

Now proteins are various macromolecules that comprise a large number of amino acids (nitrogenous molecules that occur in twenty-two different forms). In the course of digestion, these macromolecules are broken down into these molecular components, which act thereafter as raw material or building blocks to produce new molecules or new macromolecules (polypeptides, smaller than proteins, or proteins) that suit our physiological needs in many areas: the metabolism, the blood, the mucous membranes, the skin and the tendons, the muscles, plus the endocrine, immune, and nervous systems. These molecular components act so if the body has enough carbohydrates and fats to satisfy its energy requirements. Otherwise, they are stripped of their nitrogenous part and mobilized into satisfying these requirements. This constitutes a waste of precious amino acids and a burden to the kidneys that are in charge of eliminating the free nitrogenous part after the liver has transformed it into urea. As it happened, the main sources of protein – namely, legumes, nuts, whole grains, and the bread, cereal, or pasta made from these grains, together with milk products and eggs – are also rich in carbohydrates or fats. Here the fats that matter are saturated or monounsaturated, whereas the polyunsaturated ones are not a favorable means of satisfying energy requirements, given the many other important roles they played.

Lastly, minerals and vitamins are a group of some thirty substances that complement carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins. A deficiency in one of them can hamper a bodily function and jeopardize in so doing the health of an individual. Collectively, as precursors or components of useful agents, or as useful agents themselves, they assist in numerous processes: vision, nerve impulses and neurotransmission, muscle contraction, digestion and absorption, regulation of blood sugar and of the metabolic rate, respiration, energy production, regeneration and reproduction, formation and maintenance of bones and teeth, coagulation, protection against free radicals (noxious atoms or molecules), and immunity. The usual sources of carbohydrates, lipids, and protein already supply minerals and vitamins, all the more since they are unrefined. Refining is a terrible process that depletes fibers and nutrients in foods. Nevertheless, to make sure There is enough minerals and vitamins, round off these usual sources with additional vegetables: carrots, radishes, cauliflower, red cabbage, green vegetables, leafy or non-leafy, garlic, and onions. Drink plenty of water, though not during or immediately after meals lest it interferes with digestion by flooding the stomach. Drinking water typically contains a minute quantity of minerals. Much more importantly, it has the ability to replenish the bodily fluids and cleanse the system of undesirable substances.

In the effort to be healthy, a reasonable diet is not everything. Fresh air and regular exercise ought to form part of this effort. There are two types of exercise; both require stretching, before and after, plus warmup and cooldown periods, to avoid injuries.

The first type of exercise is anaerobic, not dependent on the intake of oxygen. An example of anaerobic exercise is weightlifting. Done frequently, in vigorous workouts, it strengthens muscles and bones. The second and most beneficial type of exercise is aerobic, dependent on the intake of oxygen. An example of aerobic exercise is jogging. Done every day or a few times a week, for at least fifteen minutes (enough to markedly and sustainedly increase the activity of the respiratory and cardiovascular systems, responsible for delivering oxygen to the body tissues), it yields numerous health benefits. Besides strengthening muscles and bones, it raises endurance, improves the handling of stress, promotes good mood, boosts the immune function, reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke, and helps to prevent obesity together with disorders like diabetes and hypertension that often accompany this condition. In a nutshell, fresh air and regular exercise are important aspects of a wholesome lifestyle. They result in someone being stronger, feeling better, and probably living longer.

Be Happy?

Happiness

Happiness (Photo credit: ernohannink)

There’s always been acuriosity of what’s out there in the alternative world including the alternative therapies.  Many of them have helped over the years and will continue to do so, all in the hope to make things better for body, mind and spirit.   And it has.

What may work for one may not work for another, so the message is to keep trying until you find something that works for you.

Many say they’ve tried everything.  What is everything?  What it actually boils down to could be counted on one hand.  It’s worthwhile to keep searching, you may find that your world expands in a most amazing way by the making of new friendships and picking up useful skills for your ‘self-healing’ tool-kit.

So what to do when you’ve reached a cross-road and need some direction or could do with some healing?

Below are some basic points that have helped to lift the spirit and with practice will also help lift yours:

1.    Meditation or prayer!  Meditation/prayer is one of the greatest self healing tools available and costs nothing except a little of your time!  There are many techniques out there, find one that suits you and begin.  Put some soothing, uplifting music on and spend time in quiet contemplation, it can soothe your soul and reconnect you with the highest aspect of yourself.

2.    Aromatherapy and Essential Oils. (and pleasant surroundings, basically) Rejuvenate your spirit through blending a selection of essential oils together in an aromatherapy oil burner.  As you relax close your eyes and amble through the aromas. You can literally get away for a short time yet still be in the same place with the little ones playing or sleeping in the next room. An alternative is where you actually change your surroundings – go to a different place where the surroundings are a tonic. A chic hotel foyer close by,  a friends house, the library, anywhere else where the ambiance is delicious and a delight. Soak it up – no guilt, like a good medicine. Perhaps invite a friend to share the tonic and a cuppa.
Aromatherapy oil recipe to help relax and sleep:
4 drops Jasmine
4 drops Rose
4 drops Neroli
3 drops Lavender
3 drops Bergamot
Smells divine!  Sleep like a baby but anxiety and stress disappears, and feels like the weight of the world has lifted from my shoulders!

3.    Breathe!  Stand with feet a shoulder-length apart.  Take 3 slow and deep breaths using the diaphragm muscles.  Breathe in through the nose, and breathe out through slightly parted lips.  As you do these imagine as you’re inhaling  you are filling every cell in your body, from your diaphragm up to the top of your head.  Notice how much taller, straighter and stronger you feel.

4.    Help someone. When you help someone else the kickbacks are awesome. Beneficial ambivalence and reassurance inside yourself supersede any help  you can give to others. Its a double blessing and you come out the winner.

5.    Be in the Present Moment.  Take a few deep breaths and focus totally on this moment, right now.  Don’t miss life or watch as it goes by, hop on and enjoy the ride. It really is a roller coaster but some folks pay good money to ride. If you’re reading a book or magazine, or even this article, totally focus on the words and take in their meaning.  There is only you and this article now in the present moment. If you’re in the workplace, focus totally on the task at hand, and only this task, and what you must do in order to complete it.  Nothing else matters except you and the task at hand.

5.    Set an intention.  Be on the lookout for something new and useful, Set yourintention on what it is your after.

For example, I may want to find a book that will give me answers in regards to directing me to another healing modality or skill.  I then meditate on this intention, give it a timeframe then open my heart to it.  Lo and behold I will have a book in my hand in no time at all!  I love the power of intention – I also use intention for getting a parking space when I go shopping!

These days I rarely get sick and when I do and have a medical checkup, doctors tell me I’m actually very healthy (surely they can find something so I can get some sympathy around here!) which also includes blood test results.

I still do sadness and unhappiness well (I’m still human) though neither lasts long whereas in the past it would last many days sometimes weeks.  What lasts much longer is a peaceful state.

When using the 5 points above, my spirit lifts and life once again becomes more peaceful and joyful.