With so many confusing, conflicting and controversial information and media messages we are confronted with daily, it’s not easy to wade through it all to find the real gems of information that are easy and most importantly, really help.
There are many things you can do to improve your health, but here is a good basic starting point with significant impact.
Here are six easy tips and the ‘whys’ about them for you that you can apply right now.
Avoid the following for a few weeks and observe how you feel:
1. All refined wheat products such as breads and pasta.
Why: Not only are they poor in vital nutrients due to the refining, bleaching other processes and have very little fiber, the wheat used today is an unnatural hybrid. Many people may not be aware that they have a wheat intolerance or sensitivity. When the immune system is compromised by an allergen, it will produce antibodies which in turn can produce allergic reactions such as sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes, hay fever, bloating, digestive problems, aching limbs and muscles and even asthma and eczema. Unfortunately, many doctors do not consider this factor (food) and simply treat the symptoms with anti-histamines or convince their patients they are asthmatic and that they will be on inhalators for the rest of their lives.
About one in a thousand people also have gluten intolerance (celiac disease). Interestingly, those with mild sensitivity can tolerate the original grain of all the wheat varieties – spelt. Health food shops often carry spelt products. Read the labels to be certain they do not contain a blend of other hybrid wheat.
2. Diet drinks, sodas and foods that are artificially sweetened.
Why: It is a known misconception that anything labeled ‘diet’ is healthier for you. Nothing could be further from the truth. Artificial sweeteners such as Saccharin (Sweet’N Low), sucralose (Splenda) and Aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal) are the most commonly used even in toothpastes, cough syrups and of course, chewing gum. However, these are toxic and even contribute to obesity. Or put another way, if you are using such products, are watching your caloric intake, exercising and still cannot loose weight, artificial sweeteners could be the cuprits.
A Purdue University study published 10 February 2008 in the journal Behavioral Neuroscience reported that rats on diets containing the artificial sweetener saccharin gained more weight than rats given sugary food, casting doubt on the benefits of low-calorie sweeteners. – Natural News
Casting doubt? There is no doubt about it. Google artificial sweeteners and weight gain. If the labels state ‘no sugar’, what do you think it is sweetened with?
3. The Silent Killer – HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup)
Why: Undoubtedly one of the worst ingredients now prevalent in most of North America’s processed foods and a major culprit in myriad health problems, warnings against its use still are ignored by mainstream media and the public in general. In spite of the corn industry’s media lies to the contrary, this is possibly even worse than artificial sweeteners and in the US is found in almost all processed foods. It is cheap to produce and is toxic. It is directly linked to weight gain and the obesity epidemic in the US, but also lower IQ, and brain damage. It is also responsible for the rampant increase of type 2 diabetes, as well as liver damage, hypertension and high cholesterol and even mercury poisoning. Its use is spreading slowly across the EU and the rest of the world. Look on the ingredient list of your favourite soda (not diet soda) and chances are you will find HFCS or as it is known in Europe by isoglucose or glucose-fructose syrup.
4. MSG (monosodium glutamate)
Why: Besides mood swings, heart problems, headaches but also general feeling of malaise and weakness. Have a look at my article on MSG – Another Food Industry Myth. Soups, flavoring powders like chicken and beef, salad dressings – literally anything you do not make yourself, will have MSG under some name or another.
MSG goes by many names – an industry ploy to confuse consumers, and is found in almost all processed food. If it has an ingredient list, it will surely have MSG. The good people over at Truth In Labeling have an extensive list of names.
And here are two simple reminders that will have an immediate and positive influence in your health:
5. Walk at least 10,000 steps a day. Sounds like a lot but a mildly active person reaches this easily. Invest in a pedometer and you may be shocked at how little you actually move during a day. A sedentary person may only move 1,000 to 3,000 a day. Have a look at The Walking Site for further great information.
Why: Not only for obvious reasons, but the lymphatic system has no pump like the circulatory system has the heart. Walking is the only ‘pump’ the lymphatic system has. One may think of the lymphatic system as the garbage disposal system of the cells. It moves out toxins and cellular waste and is responsible for cells being able to function optimally. Walking is not only good for the exercise, heart and muscles but as you see, for helping the lymphatic system do its job.
6. De-stress yourself. Put your feet up and rest to relaxing music for at least 15 minutes.
Why: Because all of ‘you’ needs it. Today it is understood that chronic stress is the major trigger in most diseases and illnesses. Stress is defined as any emotional, physio or psychological shift in the body. It can be good (eustress – fun and exciting) and distress, or what is commonly referred to as the negative type of stress. Of those, there are two types of stress – acute and chronic. Acute is the short term and chronic stress is what has become a habit. It is that type of stress that will affect your health.
Common problems of chronic stress are the constant hormones and chemicals released in the body by the hypothalamus, pituitary gland and the adrenal cortex (adrenaline, cortisol etc). These can lead to diabetes, high blood pressure, headaches, liver stress, decreased cognitive performance, compromised immune system (allergies, frequent colds etc). I suggest you google stress +health.
Rest your mind and use imagery, meditation or whatever it takes to just escape from your world and ‘visit’ another peaceful place. The object is to bring the brain waves into the alpha state for optimal brain rest. A short rest in this state will be invigorating for the body and mind, which will contribute to lowered stress levels and better productivity. Keep your mind in the ‘now’ and don’t go to the past nor to any future point…be it what you have to do once you get up or your plans for next week. Just…stop. Be in the now at least once a day. Take stress management seriously.
Summary: Avoiding all processed foods will eliminate ingesting artificial sugars, HFCO and MSG as well as hidden fats and excessive refined salt. Check if part of your health problems are because of a wheat intolerance. Avoid all such products for a week and re-evaluate how you feel. Move more. Take care of your mind and de-stress – and this will have a holistic positive effect on wonderful YOU!