Kale and blueberries won’t fix your life

kaleandblueberries

One of the most important things I have learned in my functional and holistic training is the idea of primary food.  This is food that does not go in your mouth.  I share with my clients that you can eat all the kale and blueberries you want, but if you hate your job for example, food will not “fix” the problem.  In fact you can have the perfect diet for you, but if you are dissatisfied and unfulfilled at work, in your relationships, have no spiritual practice, and don’t move your body, you will be unhealthy and unhappy too much of the time.

Most of us could use some serious work in one or more of these areas, and don’t realize just how much power they have over our ability to truly thrive.  Maybe you have the movement part down. You feel fit, have great energy, are confident in your body, etc., but are not happy with your relationships (partner, or anyone else you spend time around). Or you have a great career, and enjoy a deeply loving connection with your partner, but do not move your body in the right ways, and have no consistent spiritual practice.

Primary Food 3

These voids severely limit what I like to refer to as “background peace”.   How much noise is in the background of your life?  Do you feel heavy? Stressed out? Have existential angst? Always think about the past and future?  Worry too much?  You get my drift.  The list goes on and on and on.

In the past I used to think diet and exercise were all that mattered…now I know better. Over the last couple years I have focused intently on these four areas in my own life with wonderful results.  I have changed teaching positions at the school where I work, I have began to learn to move my body in different ways, and I have developed a consistent meditation practice.  I’m also working on the relationships in my life.  I cant begin to describe how much this has helped to increase my background peace, and reduce the “noise” in my head.

Scale

 

Its a constant work in progress, but a priority of mine and something I help my clients to focus on in their own lives.  Its also a balancing act, but balance is required.  It may never be perfect but there cannot be any gaping holes in your primary food or your happiness will suffer, a lot.  An unfulfilling career is one of the biggest contributors to unhappiness.  This is also the area most people ignore the longest, many their entire lives.  All the money in the world wont help much if you hate your boss, and/or what you do is meaningless for example.

Career

 According to a non-profit New York based research group, 52.3% of people in the United States are unhappy at work. This number indicates that millions of people everyday drag themselves into work.  What kind of toll is this taking on their health?  Stress like this is constantly being linked to all kinds of diseases.  That’s right, you can literally make yourself sick, even die, because you opted to not make a change, or actively manage your stress.  Is it worth it in the end to spend everyday doing something you don’t want to just to pay the bills?

If you enjoyed this article and would like to learn more about breaking free and owning your health, then please sign up for my monthly newsletter here. If you are ready to chat about your health goals and challenges, then you can fill out your individual health history here.  I will be in touch promptly to set up your free, 50 minute wellness session to see if my program is a good fit for you. You can also visit http://www.breakfreewellness.net to learn more about me, and my passion of helping others to not accept sub-par health.

Bart Thurman, FDN-P, INHC

Break-Free, Own Your Health

 

 

Are you waiting to be sick?

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There are literally millions of people in the world who are not seriously sick but at the same time are never seriously “well” either.  They all suffer things that keep them from ever functioning at 100% and these “things” prevent experiencing a full life. The sad truth is that most people just come to accept their suffering and rationalize it away blaming it on age or something else they cant control for example.  What they MUST realize is that they do have control! However because they do not understand this they go to the doctor and he/she prescribes a pill, potion, cream etc., and they just deal with it and see it as normal.  Trust me, its not. Some of these symptoms include:

  • Sweet cravings and roller coaster blood sugar levels
  • Digestive distress of all kinds (gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, etc)
  • Struggling to lose weight
  • Poor sleep quality
  • Low level, chronic background stress that never really goes away
  • Flat out high intensity stress/anxiety
  • Up and down energy levels including the afternoon crash
  • Skin issues

What many people don’t see is that these symptoms are anything but normal and instead are signs that your health is slowly declining and your body is malfunctioning.  They rarely tend to go away on their own and if left unchecked can lead to very serious health conditions farther down the road of life. This is because they are warning signs that something isn’t running right inside your body.  Your body is amazing and will do everything in its power to adapt and continue the fight but eventually you will break down if something doesn’t change.

Woman trying to sleep

Lets use an airplane analogy.  If the pilot see’s warning lights on the dashboard indicating there is an engine problem he is going to land and address the issue.  If he ignores the warning it isn’t hard to figure out what might happen.  Lets talk for a second about why you shouldnt ignore these symptoms:

  • Digestive problems.  Most people accept constipation, loose stool, bloating and gas as routine but they can lead to serious, deeper problems.  Everyone has heard by now how important gut health is, it truly is a place from which much of our health begins.
  • Low Libido & general fatigue.  Do you have a hard time just getting through the day? Do you crash all the time after lunch?  Is it extremely difficult to get out of bed most mornings? Is your sex drive non-existent much of the time? Again most folks see these things as rather normal and part of the aging process but they are important to address and correct in order to avoid more serious pitfalls.
  • Aches and pains.  Do you constantly have aches and pains in your joints/muscles?  This is very likely a sign of underlying inflammatory processes and might just be simply something your eating.
  • Weight problems.  Approximately 1/3 of Americans are obese and another 2/3 are overweight.  The health problems associated with being over weight are well documented.
  • Sleep problems.  Studies show that people who get fewer than 7 hours of sleep are at higher risk of death and have a harder time keeping the weight off.  Poor sleep is a sign of distress (physical, emotional, mental, etc).
  • Background chronic stress, depression, anxiety, brain fog.  We now know that cognitive & and mood disorders can be caused as least in part by inflammation inside the body.  Stress itself can increase internal inflammation.
  • Skin breakouts.  Most of the time skin issues can be traced back to whats going on internally.  Breakouts are another sign of underlying inflammation inside the body.

Hopefully the above symptoms are not something you deal with frequently but if they are there is good news.  I have read account after account of individuals who have suffered these problems as well as more serious conditions and everyone of them will tell you that there were a handful of “controllable” variables that played the largest role in their healing process.  I’m talking basic things here that just simply get taken for granted.  Things that we do not understand the power of so do not make them a priority in our lives:

  1. Exercise/movement.  We were born to move, it’s that simple.  The exciting thing is you don’t have to kill yourself at the gym to move.  Start by just finding any opportunity you can to move more.  When you do exercise keep it short (10-20 min) and include intense bursts of movement that really get your heart rate up no matter what kind of activity your engaged in. Research is showing that this type of exercise is much more effective than plodding along on the treadmill for an hour at a steady pace for example.
  2. Diet.  Eat more nutrient dense, real food.  If you give your body what it needs it will function at a higher level…the level is up to you.  Cut back on the processed, fake, sugary foods that are so abundant in our country. If it has more than 5 ingredients think about finding something else.
  3. Sleep.  Your body has to recover on a daily basis.  Deep tissue healing and recovery need to occur each night and it does not happen if you’re not sleeping.  Make sure your room is dark, take at least 30 min to wind down before going to bed, keep the gadgets and electronics out of the bedroom, don’t eat a large meal right before bedtime, and start a simple breathing/meditation practice before hitting the pillow.  Start by making sleep a priority, few do. There are many, many steps you can take to enjoy a more restful nights sleep.
  4. Manage/control stress.  Again a simple meditation practice can work wonders when it comes to stress like the 4-7-8 breathing technique (inhale four seconds, hold for 7 seconds, exhale for eight seconds, repeat for a total of 4 breath cycles twice daily at least).  Read books like, “The Power of Now” by Eckart Tolle which instruct on how to be more aware and conscious of what we are doing so we can stop negative behavior in its tracks.

Do you suffer with any of the above symptoms?  What have you tried? Please share these and any other thoughts in the comments section.

Bart Thurman

Break-Free, Own Your Health