Back to Eden – Part – 2
In my last column, I wrote about natural ways to engage life in a bid to improve personal wellness. There was just way too much information for one article, so here is the second part.
Are you doing what you want to do in life?
Nothing enlivens the spirit more than achieving something you really want in life. Setting goals and having dreams is an important part of being happy. Once you set a clear goal and commit it to paper something special happens. That written down goal starts to communicate with your sub-conscious. It gives it something to work on. Sometimes we don’t have all the answers but once a goal is written down and thought about things start to happen.
Take Action: A simple goal setting method is to think about the future. Dream about what you want in the next five years. Imagine everything, how you look, feel and what your world would be like. Commit all this to paper. Don’t think about constraints or ways of getting them, just dream.
Once your five-year image is clear then you can work backward. What skills will you need to get there? How much time do you need to commit? Do you need more money? Break the five-year plan up into manageable chunks. You can plan every week, month and year in order to achieve that plan. Nothing feels better than knowing every day you are getting closer to your goal. That is a true feeling of happiness!
Do you eat food that nature designed you to eat? Or are you eating processed, sugar- enriched foods that have been designed to make people rich but you physically poor? Although the mind has advanced at an incredible rate, the human digestive system is still fairly primitive. In essence, we should only eat whole foods. Foods that come from nature. Foods that bring life into the body and not take it away.
Allergens are causing big problems today, as are stimulants like caffeine and sugar. Keep your nutrition simple and bare in mind your natural individuality.
Take Action: Be very careful with the following foods:
Stimulants: Sugar, Caffeine and Alcohol all cause huge hormonal responses within the body. Give your nerves and blood sugar a break and keep these foods to a minimum.
Gluten: An alarming number of people are intolerant of gluten causing problems from bloating and depression to a leaky gut and arthritis. Avoid all wheat from bread to pasta.
Dairy: This is another allergen. Many people lack the enzyme, Lactase, that is required to break down milk’s sugar, lactose. Anyway cow’s milk is meant for baby cows not humans.
Are you jacked up on coffee and energy drinks all day because you lack natural energy? Do you give your body what it really needs, like two liters of clean water? We come from nature, we are nature! Have you tried watering a plant with Coke or energy drink? The only drink that we should be consuming is water.
Take Action: Drink a minimum of two liters of water a day.
How do you prepare your food? Do you destroy it with microwaves or turn good fats rancidity by overheating natural oils? Eating whole natural food is important but the way you prepare the food can have a drastic effect on the nutrients and how it gets absorbed by your body.
Avoid Microwaves: Microwaves work by rapidly oscillating the molecules of the food. This ultimately changes the molecule structure of the food and makes it unrecognizable to the body. Recently, a study was performed by a school girl who watered two identical plants- one with cooled, boiled water and the other with cooled water but boiled in a microwave. Within days, the plant watered with the microwave-boiled water was starting to wilt and die.
Steam: Steaming preserves a lot of the nutrients and is far better than boiling.
Boiling: Boiling foods leaches most of the nutrients into the water. If you do boil, then use the water for soups and stocks.
Fry: Shallow fry with stable fats like coconut oil, butter, lard, and ghee. Never heat mono-unsaturated oils like olive oil because it turns the oil rancid.
Slow Cook: Buy a slow cooker and add your ingredients and leave for the day for a ready prepared meal after work.
Do you know where your food comes from? The healthier the food, the healthier it is for you. Do you think sick animals that have been filled with drugs make good building blocks for your body? Good foods come from good soil. Soil that is over used and destroyed with chemicals does not make a good foundation for food. Remember that the soil is alive. You can’t make healthy foods from dead soil. Also, many think that washing vegetables removes chemicals, but these chemical are designed to withstand water otherwise rain would remove all the chemicals from the plants.
How did you develop as a child? Can you still move like you used to? Are you limited in what you can and can’t do now? From the moment babies are born they are working to develop stability. We all know how flexible babies are but they lack joint stabilisation strength. First, the baby develops strength in the neck as they support their own head. Later, they manage to push up from the prone position in order to look around. Next, they start to roll from prone to supine. Later they crawl, squat, stand and finally walk. The whole process is a miracle. Babies earn their strength and stability; we don’t give it to them.
Now look at the way we train today. People ignore the stabilising muscles. Machines take stabilisation out of exercise, concentrating only on prime mover muscles that look good in the mirror but can’t stabilise a joint in daily life. Many people due to sedentary lifestyles lack even the fundamental stability that they earn as a child. It’s no surprise that people get injured during exercise.
The body is designed to move economically. We don’t just push with our arms but our core muscles and legs too. For the majority of fitness purposes, we want to utilise as many muscles as possible, this ensures maximum strength development, growth, hormonal stimulation and energy expenditure.
– Squatting: Think about sitting onto the toilet or into a chair. Ensure the thighs break parallel with the floor to achieve maximum glute engagement.
– Lunging: Whenever you walk up steps or take long deep strides, you are lunging. You can lunge in all directions forwards, backwards, sideways or diagonally.
– Dead-lifting: If you correctly pick something up off the ground with a nice flat back, then you are deadlifting.
– Pushing: You can either push things forwards in front of you or push them overhead.
Pulling: Similar to pushing, you can pull things in front of you closer or pull yourself upwards like when climbing a tree.
The above movements can be made more difficult by adding rotation or by using one arm or leg. When you exercise, it is usually a good idea to utilise all of the above movement patterns, this way, no muscle is left untouched and the body is balanced beautifully.
How do you look in the mirror? Is your posture good? How much energy do you think a bad posture requires to maintain balance? Is it time you stretched out and stopped training only the front of your body?
In a world of chairs, desks, laptops and sofas, many of us have developed dreadful posture. What makes matters worse is that most people are addicted to forward flexion exercises like crunches, cycling machines and chest Exercises. More time needs to be spent correcting the bad posture that gravity and a day of sitting causes. Here is a simple method you can try:
Ensure you divide all your workouts between equal pushing and pulling movements. Squats and press-ups are pushing movements. Deadlifts and Rows are pulling movements.
Stretching can really make you feel good but you need to question how much you should stretch. Spending 10 minutes, three times per week will never correct a tight muscle that is held in a shortened position due to sitting for eight hours per day. In order to really make gains in stretching, you need to treat stretching as a separate programme. Stretching for 3-4 times per day will yield much better results. Stretching is highly neurological. You need to make corrections to the neurological system in order to make lasting change.
Take action: Start to divide your workouts based on pushing and puling patterns, this will ensure that you balance out your body equally. Stretch only tight areas but ensure you stretch more often, only the areas that require attention. Stretching every muscle, the same time will only increase your overall imbalance.
Do you exercise too much or too little? Are you exercising from the inside out? Is the exercise you perform right for you or some model in a magazine? Exercise needs to begin at the center. You need to provide your body with a stable platform. The stronger and more stable your core muscles, the less injuries you will get and the more powerful and efficient you will be.
How much of this Health & Fitness checklist can you truly say you are practicing right now?
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