Living a holistic lifestyle is making the rounds on the internet, but this isn’t a new trend; this way of life has been around for a long, long time.
As defined by Natural Wellbeing, “Living holistically means that a person is living their life in a way that is both natural to them and the world in which they live. People who live holistically often eat organic foods, keep their mind and body active, and practice forms of stress relief such as yoga.”
Living holistically isn’t just about changing up one aspect of your life; it encompasses the entire being. This way of life is something that I recommend and practice every day.
Why Live a Holistic Lifestyle?
As explained above, a holistic lifestyle addresses every aspect of the mind and body. Instead of spot treating a problem or focusing on an issue for the short-term, living holistically is about long-term action and results. According to Natural Health College, some benefits of a holistic lifestyle include:
Overall health improvement
Long-term pain relief
Creating a routine of a well-balanced life and lifestyle
Using and ingesting safe, natural treatments that include herbs and medicines
Here are a few ways to incorporate a holistic lifestyle into your daily activities.
How to Embrace a Holistic Lifestyle
Whether you want to call it eating clean or a whole foods diet, it is important to consume natural foods that nourish the body. Eating Well shares these tips to help you understand what it means to eat in a holistic lifestyle.
1. Eat Produce
This should come as no surprise, but it is so important to have a diet full of organic fruits and vegetables. As Eating Well explains, “Eating more fruit and vegetables can help significantly reduce your risk for a number of chronic diseases, including high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity and cancer.” Eating organic fruits and vegetables can also help with autoimmune diseases, infections and boost your mood.
Superfoods are also a great way to get more nutritional bang for your buck. Some of our favorite superfoods include oranges, flaxseeds and acai berries. Click here and here for two blog posts that share more details about superfoods and where to get them.
Eating organic also reduces the amount of pesticides that enter your body. While I recommend choosing organic for all produce, there are some fruits and vegetables that are considered safer to consume when not organic; click here for a list of produce that must be organic and a list of safe foods that don’t have to be.
2. Eat Whole Grains
Carbs do not have to be the enemy. Eating white grain and heavily processed foods however, is not healthy. Many people who practice a holistic lifestyle prefer quinoa, wild rice and oats. As Eating Clean warns:
Don't get duped by "whole-grain" claims on labels though, to eat clean packaged whole grains you're going need to take a closer look at the ingredients. Whole grains should always be the first ingredient, the ingredient list should be short and recognizable, and it should have minimal (if any) added sugar.
Along with being a part of a healthy food regimen, proper whole grains can also help people lose weight and keep it off; they can also help with fiber intake and reduce inflammation.
3. Eat Less Meat
While being a vegan or vegetarian is not required to live a holistic lifestyle, eating less meat can improve health by lowering blood pressure, reducing heart disease, and helping with weight control. If getting enough protein is a concern, consume beans, legumes and nuts. When choosing meat, choose cuts of free-range chicken, grass-fed beef and wild-caught fish to avoid meat filled with antibiotics. It is also best to avoid processed meats that contain nitrates.
4. Eliminate and Reduce Processed Foods
Processed foods don’t have to be bad; in fact foods like yogurt, cheese and packaged baby spinach are all fine options. “Keep an eye out for anything with lots of sugar and refined grains, super-long ingredient lists with foods you don't recognize and anything with partially hydrogenated oils,” recommends Eating Well.
5. Limit Sugar
As Eating Well notes, “The American Heart Association recommends no more than about 6 teaspoons [of sugar] per day for women and 9 teaspoons per day for men. The average American gets about 4 times that amount—28 teaspoons of added sugar per day.”
That is a lot of sugar! The simplest way to reduce sugar intake is to cut out sodas, candies and cookies. It’s also important to watch out for unsuspecting foods like salad dressings, pasta sauces, and breads - foods where you might not think about added sugar.
Refined sugars specifically have no nutritional value, cause inflammation and can even be addictive; learn more about refined sugars in this link.
6. Reduce Sodium
Just like sugar, limiting the amount of salt you consume is part of a holistic lifestyle. One negative side effect to consuming too much salt is poor health; a high sodium diet can lead to high blood pressure, kidney disease and diabetes.
Packaged foods tend to be high in salt; avoiding them is one of the easiest ways to reduce your sodium intake. Another great tip to limiting salt while you cook at home is to cook with herbs, spices, citrus and vinegars for incredible flavor. Also, by not adding salt to your dishes while cooking or eating, you can really enjoy what whole, natural foods taste like.
7. Think About the Environment
Like I mentioned above, living a holistic lifestyle doesn’t just focus on your food’s nutritional value; it is all encompassing. One surprising benefit of clean eating is how it impacts the environment. Modern agriculture is reported to make up one third of all greenhouse gas emissions and overfishing has destroyed marine habitats.
Another positive point for eating organic produce is how it impacts the environment. Eating Well reports, “Herbicides, pesticides and synthetic fertilizers impact water and soil quality” which in turn can hurt us.
Here’s some food for thought, “A vegetarian diet requires 3 times less water and 2.5 times less energy to produce than a meat-heavy diet. Broccoli has a carbon footprint that's 13 times lower than that of the same amount of conventionally raised beef.”
While you do not have to completely switch to a meatless diet, even having “Meatless Monday” or cutting it out a couple meals a week can lead to a healthier environment.
While most people know that a sedentary lifestyle isn’t good for your health, Natural Health College explains that it can be a little more serious than that.
A sedentary lifestyle can severely impact our health. Exercise is important for both our physical and mental wellbeing and has many helpful benefits. Exercise has been shown to decrease the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and many forms of cancer.
Working out and moving your body is known to help reduce mild and moderate depression. If you’re short on time or have physical limitations, you really only need about 30-minutres of moderate exercise five days a week to see health benefits and boost those endorphins.
To keep with the practices of Traditional Chinese Medicine, I recommend Qi Gong or tai chi to promote the movement of qi and blood throughout the body.
As the Mayo Clinic explains, “Tai chi, also called tai chi chuan, is a noncompetitive, self-paced system of gentle physical exercise and stretching. Each posture flows into the next without pause, ensuring that your body is in constant motion.”
Even though you may not be working out aggressively in the gym, when you practice Qi Gong specifically, you can experience a boost in metabolism, improved skin and better overall health. Click here to read my blog on the benefits of walking for another simple, yet effective form of exercise.
Recycling energy is about recycling materials of course, but it also addresses spiritual recycling.
For the literal translation of recycling energy, be conscience of what you acquire and how much you waste. Here are 9 tips to limit waste and click here to learn about each tip from Huffington Post.
Know the rules of recycling
Stop using plastic grocery bags and get reusable bags
Make a meal plan
Use reusable containers
Start fixing items instead of throwing them away
Reduce how much junk mail you get
Don’t use disposable plates
Stop buying plastic water bottles.
You can also recycle energy through the energy you expel. Try making a point to help someone out, listen, offer advice and assist however you can.
Engaging in a Holistic Lifestyle
Eating a clean diet, moving and reducing waste are three ways to tackle methods of practicing a holistic lifestyle; check back next week for even more recommendations for embracing this type of life. In the meantime, click here to make an acupuncture appointment for yourself and get your Qi flowing.
About Green Lake Natural Health:
Green Lake Natural Health provides natural healing services and medicinal herb counseling to patients. The mission of Green Lake Natural Health is to provide customized care to patients to effectively treat their health concerns in a natural manner that restores harmony and healing in the body. Services include, but are not limited to, acupuncture, massage, medicinal herb counseling to treat conditions such as anxiety, insomnia, chronic pain and more. Proudly serving the Seattle community since 2010.