Living a natural holistic lifestyle

holistic living

A holistic lifestyle is a way of living. You have a holistic lifestyle when you incorporate healthy habits and certain practices daily in your routine. A lot of people have a misconception that a holistic lifestyle only involves the use of natural remedies and plant-based products for healing. But it is much more than that! A holistic lifestyle involves self-care, personal growth, healthy habits, and mindfulness.

For many a holistic lifestyle begins with diet. Successful eating plans need to be individualized and take the whole person into consideration. Whole foods are generally those that remain close to their state in nature. They do not have added sugars, starches, flavorings, or other manufactured ingredients. They are not primarily produced in a factory; in this way, they are the opposite of processed foods.

Whole foods are easy to find in the produce section, but other food groups are more difficult to find. Unless you are shopping at a local farmer’s market or co-op, your butcher likely has no idea where the meat he’s cutting comes from—other than maybe the general direction the truck arrived from. Even at the processing factory, they may have no idea. Often looking for the cheapest buy, supermarkets source their meat from all over the world. Not only is their meat usually from a factory farm, but it could also be from a factory farm anywhere in the world and could have been frozen multiple times on its journey to the processing plant and then to the butcher.

And the rest of the food you eat probably comes packaged. Learn to read labels and there are many descriptive marketing labels like “natural” that don’t really mean much. It takes time to learn how to read labels.

Holistic living is not just about diet, it also can include a regular exercise program, managing your weight, getting adequate sleep and taking time to practice mindfulness.

Researchers have found five low-risk lifestyle habits that are critical for a longer life expectancy. The more of these habits people had, the longer they lived. The habits were:

  • a healthy diet, which was calculated and rated based on reports of regularly eating healthy foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains, healthy fats, and omega-3 fatty acids, and avoiding less healthy or unhealthy foods like red and processed meats, sugar-sweetened beverages, trans fat, and excess sodium
  • a healthy physical activity level, measured as at least 30 minutes a day of moderate to vigorous activity, like brisk walking
  • a healthy body weight, defined as a normal body mass index (BMI), which is between 18.5 and 24.9
  • never smoking, because there is no healthy amount of smoking
  • low-risk alcohol intake, measured as between 5 and 15 grams per day for women, and 5 to 30 grams per day for men. Generally, one drink contains about 14 grams of pure alcohol. That’s 12 ounces of regular beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits.

Even if they had only one of these habits, participants lived two years longer than if they had none. And if by age 50 they regularly practiced all five, women lived an extra 14 years and men lived an extra 12. That’s over a decade of extra life!

One-third of American adults are adding holistic medicine into their health care routine, according to a National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health survey. This approach centers on the idea that there is no separation between our physical, emotional, mental or social wellness. And that to have good health, all components need to be cared for.

Adding Mindfulness is another important component to a holistic lifestyle. Whether this takes the form of prayer, yoga or meditation, mindfulness is an important part of holistic living. Take a few minutes every day to clear your mind of negativity. Draw your attention to the sources that make you happy. Practicing mindfulness is a great way to find balance and gain new perspectives.

Staying hydrated is one of the most important steps to leading a healthy lifestyle. Even mild levels of dehydration can have negative effects: from mood swings to headaches to stomach cramps. The Institute of Medicine recommends an average of 3 liters of water a day for men, and 2.2 liters for women. These recommendations can vary depending on a variety of factors— your level of physical activity, your age, even the weather. Make sure you listen to what your body needs throughout the course of the day. One easy way is to try drinking half of your body weight in ounces of water each day. So, if you weigh 150 pounds, you would drink 75 ounces of water throughout the day. If you find water boring, think about infusing your favorite fruits and vegetables. From cucumbers to mint, lemons to watermelon, add your own creative twist.

There are many more ways to incorporate holistic living into your daily life. Be sure to ask your doctor about more options to help you stay healthy and feel your best physically and mentally.

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