Written By April Blake
“How do I get healthy Dr Blake?” is what I’m asked on a daily basis. How do you know where to start?
There are so many things to talk about when shooting for optimum health and wellness and I have narrowed it down to 5 here:
1) Whole food – Eating food that is unprocessed and without preservatives does a body good! Our bodies rely on vitamins and minerals found in whole foods to nourish our bodies, keep our immune systems strong and our minds clear. A good rule of thumb is to steer clear of ingredient labels where the first 5 ingredients are corn syrup, fructose, hydrogenated oils, natural flavors and/or sugar in any form as these ingredients are inflammatory to the body, increasing pain, weight gain and mood swings.
2) Clean water – Our bodies are 55-60% water and many common ailments can be attributed to dehydration such as headache, constipation, dry skin and fatigue to name a few. Drinking filtered, clean water allows the body to operate optimally on a cellular level. It is generally recommended to drink 50% of your body weight in ounces per day, adding more if you are active and sweating more than the average person. Example: a 150lb person needs to drink 75 ounces of water per day to have optimum hydration. During the fall and winter months, this is even more important when the humidity drops and we spend more time indoors around heaters that dry out the air, making our need to hydrate properly even more important.
3) Restful sleep – Most people need at least 7 hrs of sleep per night to feel rested and energetic throughout the day. It is estimated that roughly 1 in 4 Americans has insomnia. Why is this happening? There can be several reasons for insomnia: caffeine, alcohol, not spending enough time outdoors, medication side effects, snoring, poor digestion, pain, anxiety and/or depression to name a few. If you are experiencing insomnia, it is recommended to stop caffeine no later than noon, avoid alcohol before bed as this interferes with REM cycles and results in frequent and/or early wakings and make sure to get into bright light within 30minutes of waking as this can help to “burn off” the melatonin that was secreted during the night and help to reset your circadian rhythm clock. If you have tried these measures and still struggle with sleep, working with a Naturopathic doctor may help to uncover and treat the causes of why this is happening to you.
4) Reducing stress – Easier said than done, right? Typically, the stress that you are experiencing does not change but the way in which you view the stress is something we have some control over. For example: when presented with a stressful situation such as an unexpected delay in getting to work because of traffic, you can choose to get angry and frustrated or you can choose to see it as an opportunity to do some deep breathing exercises to calm your nervous system by inhaling to the count of 3, holding for a count of 3 and exhaling for a count of 3. Findings ways in which to see life as an opportunity for growth and expansion instead of anger and fear allows the body to relax and heal.
5) Being mindful – Our thoughts and words have a lot more power than we think! An experiment completed on grass seedlings that been repeated multiple times demonstrates this point: a pot of dirt with 20 grass seeds was planted in equal amounts of soil in equal pots with an equal amount of water and sunlight. Each day one of the pots was spoken to with harsh words: “You will never grow, you will never produce grass, I don’t like you” and the other pot was spoken to with words of encouragement: “You will grow, you will be abundant, you will flourish” and at the end of the growth period of 20 days the pot that was spoken to with harsh words produced 3 very small shoots of grass and the pot that was spoken to with words of encouragement produced 20 vibrant and healthy shoots of grass.
The words that we say to ourselves and to others can have a big impact on health. Be mindful and kind to yourself and to others and see how your world changes!
To learn more about April Blake and the great work she does please visit here
April is offering a free, 30minute consultation for interested patients which they can schedule at her website.