Many of the people I know are curious about and want to be better about living sustainably. There are a few big questions though, dilemmas more so, that hold them back. One big fear is that it will cost too much money. Another is that it will be too time consuming. Let us not forget that most people are wary of the marketing scams attached to hot topics such as sustainable living and organic products and do not trust the information provided by the manufacturer or retailer. It does not have to be this way and I do not believe that it will be that way much longer. As people make changes, they see results which gives them confidence and a sense of well being. Then they want to make more changes and keep the ball rolling, which only improves their lives, the lives of others and their environment even more.
Today I am focusing on two common ailments in modern American society: obesity and anxiety. Let’s start with obesity, even though these two struggles do go hand in hand in many situations.
It is hard to define just what causes obesity and many experts are trying to do just that every day. Saint Vincent Health, a Bariatric Weight Loss Center, lists the common factors to be:
* Physical inactivity
* Emotional or psychological factors
* High-fat / High Calorie diet
* Medical problems
I believe that culture is the elephant in the room of this list. Not only do we live in a society that selfishly celebrates everything with food but that very food has deteriorated in quality over the years. Even worse, it has gone of for so long now that when someone tries to introduce the idea of eating clean to the nation, Americans reply with anger because, as I mentioned above, they are skeptical. They are rightfully skeptical and SHOULD be skeptical because you are what you eat and my goodness, please take the time to think about what you are putting in your mouth. We’ve also been taken advantage of in our doped up state of caffeine, alcohol, high fructose corn syrup, animal fat, energy pill, prescription drug and smog consumption…it is no wonder that we are falling for fad diets and false promises of weight loss. Lauren Cahn writes for The Huffington Post about her distaste for the “clean eating fad” and I worry that she may be stubbornly overlooking the real message. It is not about judging or beating ourselves up, it is about adopting new habits to replace the bad ones. Yeah, I said it: “BAD ONES.” I know she does not like this but sometimes you’ve got to call a spade a spade.
Consider for a moment this: If we make more sustainable choices, the fear I mentioned in the introduction is real. It will take more work and you might have to spend some money initially to swap out some the bad with the good. But once you do and the habits are formed you find yourself in a wheel of sustainability that gets more and more accurate the further you take it. It becomes efficient and economical. The extra work required is good for us. We walk more and chore more. We spend a little more time washing and preparing vegetables and fruits. This all moves our bodies and keeps us busy doing wholesome things for ourselves and our environment. Even if you are not a homebody or interested in environmental issues, these things are simple and effective tools at maintaining a healthy weight. It does not mean you have to go whole hog, just try a few things and keep it consistent.
It is not expensive to grow your own fruits and vegetables and that is one of the best choices you can make.
Even if one does not suffer from obesity, I know so many people who carry a few extra pounds or do not have the energy they know they should or both. A few simple changes in one’s eating and living habits can really make that difference, quicker than believed.
Oprah Winfrey has struggled for decades now and still says that her food issues have to do with her feeling of well being. I disagree. While I do agree that the two go hand in hand, I disagree and assert that food has the upper hand. You HAVE to make smart food choices that are socially and environmentally responsible. This does not eliminate the importance of understanding where you are emotionally and doing your best to balance your food goals with your current emotional state. I will elaborate on this in posts to come.
A few quick things you can do to begin major shifts in your eating habits and body weight are:
Buy a juicer and juice daily.
Eliminate faux drinks: SODA (DIET OR REGULAR,) coffee with additives, milk, protein drinks, pasteurized and processed juice, and bottled water.
Eat as many vegetables as you can. They are the backbone to nutrition, not a compliment. If you need to cook them, go for it, but eat as many of them raw as you can tolerate.
Now, on to the anxiety issue. Some of the best treatments of anxiety involve exercise and mindless activity. It is so important to free yourself from your mind’s incessant chatter. Gardening is a one-two-punch for obesity and anxiety. It moves your body, connects you to the environment and frees your mind from all of the daily grind issues that plague us all. What is equally important is the fact that this food is better for you physically. It is not treated with ANYTHING and you can pick it fresh, ripe with all natural goodness. If you are not ready for that, do something mindless that moves your body. Go for a walk. Play solitaire. Knit a blanket or learn how to. Go drive some golf balls. Dip in the ocean. Take a metal detector on an innocent adventure.
The physicality makes sense, right? But let’s dig deeper. Why are we such an anxious society? Maybe its the pressure to succeed. Maybe its because we have so many disintegrated families. Or, perhaps, we should consider the media and its mostly diabolic philosophy. These are all cultural issues. Our culture is in danger but that does not mean we should panic. It means we should focus. While all of these cultural issues are very important, I happen to believe that corporate interests do us a lot more harm than they do us good and it is very sad that they have so much power. They top the charts of corruption and irresponsibility. The only way I know to balance that out is to live a clean life and put your money where your mouth is. Do not support something you do not believe in, even if it fits neatly into your political or religious beliefs. Listen to your intuition. One’s self and their family are the most important entities to support, with the intention of supporting your surrounding communities and world with the strength built upon that support. It does not do very much good to squander it all on yourselves.
The more you do good for yourself and others the less anxiety you feel. Move your body and your mind. Connect with and help others. Get out there and stretch your boundaries. You will grow from it and all of your family and friends will be enriched by it. My anxiety always seems to stem from not feeling like I am doing enough, not being content with myself or not feeling connected to my community. I have learned that most of these feelings stem from how I am treating myself and my body. When my body is cleansed and fed properly it treats me just right and opens all kinds of doors.
People of all ages struggle with weight and anxiety. It is my absolute belief that food is the staple of these two issues. We could flail about and try to treat exterior aspects to these problems but it begins with food. We have to eat right: we are what we eat.
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Be sure to tune in every week during the month of August, as I will be presenting my Summer Cancer Prevention series of articles, including an interview with Charlotte Gerson, daughter and protege of renowned cancer healer Max Gerson, MD!
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Love and light,