5 secrets to lasting health no expert will share
It’s simple: Just live like you are part of the planet
The key to long-lasting health is so uncomplicated that we simply miss it. As a nutritionist, I counsel people to change their eating habits for the better. But now I want to let out a secret: the fact that some basic mandates are far more important (and effective) than obsessively micro dissecting our diets and lifestyles. In fact, to gain lasting health, we just need to just go Neanderthal a bit!
The food secret
First: Stick to real food (not processed) as much as possible, as that’s the way to unconsciously (and automatically) construct nutrient-dense diets.
Second: Quit focusing on calories. Focus instead on quality calories and you’ll do just fine.
Third: Make sure you feed the body enough enzymes. The easiest way to do this is to include some raw foods (sprouts, vegetables, fruits) every day in your diet.
The lifestyle secret
Begin cooking once more. You need to take control of your plate and the best way to do that is to get comfortable in the kitchen. Nothing fancy. Just basic stuff to help you know exactly what’s going on in your body. Consciously choose foods that help you thrive and cook them to save yourself from hidden calories, sneaky sugar, excessive sodium, multiple additives and a large takeout bill.
The exercise secret
That gym (or Pilates class) membership notwithstanding, focus (hard) on increasing your mobility. A conscious increase of movement – the simple act of keeping your body in motion throughout the day – is what you need to score true and lasting fitness. I am talking about unstructured exercise – an evening walk with your dog, riding a bike to the market, playing football with the kids in the park every Saturday, washing the car on Sundays… Research is now clear that if you exercise every day, but are sedentary the rest of the day, the damage is huge. Our modern lifestyle leaves little room for our body’s natural ability to move. That alone is reason enough to lead to lifestyle diseases.
The mind secret
Accept that chronic stress is not just skyrocketing your anxiety levels and robbing you of your fair chance at happiness, but also harming your health by messing up the microbiome in your gut, thus killing your immunity and accelerating ageing. Learn to ease up a bit, be less of a perfectionist, don’t let stress pile up, find the one (or two things) that really help de-stress you (like watching a movie, or cooking or clay modelling).
Also, work on your self-worth every day. Learn to put yourself first and find a purpose in life that really ticks your soul. Because when you have the answer to ‘Why’, then your mind, body, and soul work together. You light up and actually want to treat your body well. Otherwise it’s all downhill, health-wise too.
The final secret
Kiss the ground. Yes, literally! Agreed it’s not your job to figure out (or do something about) how to feed a growing population and save the planet. That’s the burden for the policy makers and people with fancy designations and government jobs. But what you can (and must do) is to tweak your diet in a way that will support the world around you. Why? Because you and your family and your friends are ultimately part of this same world that is disintegrating right in front of your eyes. So don’t do it for others on the planet, just do it to save those you love. Yes, be that selfish. Eat healthy, eat more plants, less meat, and support and propagate organic, local and fresh produce.
(The writer is a Delhi- based nutritionist and weight management consultant. She writes on health and has also authored the book Don’t Diet! 50 Habits of Thin People.)
From HT Brunch, January 28, 2018
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