A healthy life starts first and foremost with acceptance and love for self. We are all very complex beings and are a product of what we think, feel, focus our attention on, take into our bodies and bring with us on a soul level. In any discussion of healthy lifestyles, we should remember that our thoughts and feelings are often the primary directors in how we feel and choose to live our lives. To have positive thoughts and harmonious feelings allows one to make lifestyle, exercise and dietary choices that energize the body and enliven the mind and spirit.
The first step begins when we acknowledge our intent to live a more positive and healthy life. Our willingness to let go of old habits sets the process in motion. The next step is to educate ourselves with the highest wisdom we can find on the subject and then put it into practical application to experience the benefits. It is important to discern clearly what information is presented to you and whether or not it rings a note of truth. If it sounds too good to be true or implies wonderful results with little effort, be cautious. Today's health fad can be tomorrow's illness.
When faced with change, we often feel we have to give something up in order to embrace what is new. Although this is part of the process of letting go, it is also helpful to recognize we get so much more from the new experiences that it is worth the effort to change. We are actually embracing a new reality of greater balance and quality of life.
If we approach change with love we can decide to make a lifestyle change and in doing so we set up a permanent and sustainable way of living. In other words, when we love ourselves enough to let go of old, unhealthy habits and allow new ones to form, we benefit with better health and wellbeing for all.
The amazing thing about our body is that it goes to health and balance naturally unless impeded - if you cut your finger the body heals, get a cold your body heals. The body is designed to be youthful and healthy. It is only stress that ages the body and stress can be triggered by our thoughts, feelings, food, drugs, smoke, negative relationships, and the like.
Find ways to exercise the mind, body and soul, and you will be amazed at the vitality and energy you will have. You may wish to join a yoga group, practice meditation or just sit and enjoy a light lunch of greens at your favorite restaurant. You will be glad you did.
Please bear in mind that Internal Insights does not claim to be an authority in these matters and is in no way responsible for your personal health. You should always consult your physician in health matters that you are unsure of. We merely wish to share some research and common sense. Our hope is to inspire you to find ways to love and nourish your mind, body, and spirit.
When we become aware of our thoughts and feelings, we also become aware of choice at that same moment. When we choose our perspective, we are no longer bound by an endless stream of limiting thoughts or a roller coaster ride of negative feelings.
Meditation is an excellent way to calm the mind and body. In a conscious moment of quieting the mind and relaxing our body, we can attune ourselves to our higher wisdom. These moments begin to feed our inner selves with ideas and energy that sustains us in incredible ways.
Each of us can start the process to make choices that enhance our sense of wellbeing. From taking a moment to enjoy a sunset with a friend to experiencing an adventure through a wonderful novel, we can reclaim the gentle nature of life and renew ourselves each day.
Our bodies are capable of amazing endurance when we work in harmony with it. The physical body is profoundly resilient and capable of restoring itself to balance in virtually every area. However, when we ignore its messages and allow our personality appetites, negative ego and stress to run rampant, we diminish it's inherent ability and effectiveness.
A simple daily walk, for instance, can do wonders to improve circulation and muscle tone. A walk even facilitates the clearing of our mind and emotions. Certain practices of yoga and other energetic regimes can affect our strength both mentally and physically.
The body works in conjunction with all aspects of our being and is a fantastic vehicle that really requires simple exercise, essential maintenance and quality fuel. The rest is up to our positive attitude and awareness.
What we put in the body can sustain us or hinder us. For example, many of us retain the eating habits of our youth - a time when we are active and growing physically. Yet, in later years we consume much greater quantities of food than our bodies truly require. This is born out of routine rather than physical need. Additionally, poor eating habits from early years often stick with us and can cause greater difficulties in later years if not corrected and updated. This is only one of the challenges we face with personal nutrition today.
In these wonderful days of seemingly infinite choice, it is becoming increasingly clear we need to practice discrimination and wisdom in what we eat. It is not that any one item is bad or wrong, rather it is the cumulative effect that begins to stress and wear down the body. This, in turn, can make it difficult to maintain a positive attitude in life.
With lower energy, we lose our balanced point of power. This can then affect our thoughts, feelings, relationships, career, etc. The cycle usually comes full circle with more improper eating to offset the negative feeling. Ironically, the solution may be easier than we think. The key is our willingness to change. We can begin by balancing our thoughts and feelings, which leads us to a balanced physical body.
In relationship to the food we eat, the foods with "life force energy" provide, in general, the most overall benefit for the body. Gabriel Cousens, in his book Spiritual Nutrition, explains how we have become so confused in our approach. He shares a history of the scientific models that generally describe the body as a machine. In these models, the laws of physics are directly applied to the body - what works outside the body in a test tube is assumed to be the same within the body. However, where most people see only calories, vitamins, minerals, proteins, enzymes, etc., Cousens describes how the body can transmute food into its own needs, not following typical physics.
There is another important component and that is the understanding of vital life force - something like an apple, uncooked and sun ripened, contains energy, enzymes, structured water and other unknown things that dynamically add energy and nutrition to the body and mind. Choosing natural and unprocessed, or only mildly altered ingredients, provides the best overall source of energy. One interesting note: Some of the strongest animals in the world are vegetarian, including elephants, silver back gorillas, and cows. They get their food directly filled with vital life force energy found in the plants they eat.
The best diet (or way of eating) is the one that is right for you, just like the best exercise is the one that you will actually do. We recognize the body requires fresh air, fresh water, fresh fruits and vegetables, mental stimulation and gentle exercise. In a balanced approach, this brings the greatest harmony and sustains life naturally.
The body by itself does not specifically need drugs, tobacco, alcohol, meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, processed foods or refined sugar, salt, refined carbohydrates or refined fats. These are not good or bad items, rather, it is a recognition that a balanced body does not require these things to sustain life. Many of these items are brought through conditioning, habit, and recreational experiences. Surprisingly, the body can handle these items, yet with a cost to efficiency, longevity and quality of life.
Obviously, such a list is contrary to most current traditions and approaches and may sound rather harsh to some and boring to others. Yet when embraced, people find the greatest benefit with eating habits that provide the body with the most natural and simple ingredients. Practically speaking, most people aren't physically, emotionally, mentally or spiritually ready to take on drastic eating change. What we suggest is to become aware of what you eat, when you eat it and how it affects you. Take steps that are right for you. If you are a meat eater, you may choose to let go of red meat (or meat altogether) for a time to experiment. A vegetarian may choose to release other animal products like eggs or cheese to see how that affects them. Your body knows what is best for you and will help you if you listen.
Fasting in your routine, particularly with food, can be of huge benefit to the body. Fasting is not dieting, for example, which has a different focus and is often ill-fated since one usually resumes previous eating habits once the diet is concluded. With fasting, you remove certain items for a time period to give your body a rest and time to heal and rejuvenate. Done periodically, the body will delight in your new efforts.
Fasting may sound difficult at first because most of us think of fasting as a strict diet of water only or no food for an extended time. However, one way is to simply have fresh live fruits for a day. Or you may choose to do vegetables and their juices without any processed food or carbohydrates for one to three days. Give your body a rest and see what good can happen.
One final note on fasting, one reason many do not care for fasting is that at times, the body, having been in stress mode, will kick out toxins that have been stored once a fast is underway. This can make for some unusual, almost sick-like conditions. Rest assured, the body is doing what it needs to do and the process will pass. Just think, those same toxins are already residing in you and doing things - wouldn't you rather let them leave?
Fasting can also be done with other habits and routines where you choose to forgo certain activities for a brief time period as a way to stimulate clarity and understanding. Changing up your daily behaviors can provide a helpful opportunity to observe and determine what things are enlivening to your being and which ones no longer serve.
We decided to include a health page on our site because we feel it plays such a vital role in understanding the nature of love. In these fast paced, information filled days, it can become challenging to recall deeper and more intuitive understandings. Logic and habit frequently overrides the heart. As an example, even though we share that animal flesh is not necessary to sustaining life in the body, we also acknowledge that in certain geographical areas, meat may be the only source of food.
In cases such as this, we are reminded that the indigenous people of many lands have historically honored the animal that provides itself for food to sustain the individual or group. Unfortunately, quite the opposite is happening in our progressive, modern societies. Few people link the meat dish before them as having come from an animal and even fewer have regard for that life as having value. However, with love we can once again honor the animal that gives of itself to us.
Remember, any change in lifestyle, routine, or new "diet" can bring up many personality resistances and fears as well as many questions from within and reflections from others. It is important to research information and let your heart guide you to a deeper truth.
For example, vegetarians often field questions like, “Where do you get your protein?” or “Where do you get your calcium?” or “What about the B vitamins?” With a little self-education, these fears and concerns can easily be laid to rest.
Such an example of a common question to vegetarians is, "Where do you get your protein?" In the first place, the protein myth is something of a misnomer - the question should be, “Where do you get your essential amino acids?” A protein is really a long chain of molecules called amino acids that string together to form proteins, including muscle and other body tissues. Our bodies require 8 amino acids from food sources outside the body, all of which can be found in abundant supply in fresh fruits, vegetables and nuts.
The second part of the protein myth is that we do NOT require a high protein diet. The truth is a low protein, high natural complex carbohydrate diet provides much more efficient fuel and nutrients than the popular high meat protein, no carbohydrates diet. This is even more obvious when we realize human mother’s milk has 5% of its calories derived from protein. So when we are growing the most, forming our vital organs and bones, the body designed the perfect balanced diet; why would this be any different from the rest of our lives? In his book, Diet for a New America, John Robbins explains this understanding in greater detail.
When we pursue a healthy lifestyle, we open ourselves to a vast universe of information. There is great wisdom around us, along with many old, worn and outdated beliefs.
Love is a process of unfolding ourselves in all ways. A healthy lifestyle provides a better vehicle for our adventure. With a little patience, perseverance, and soul searching, we can enhance our life experience in delightful ways.
Willingness to go within and question our current habits and beliefs is where we begin. It is not always easy, yet we can allow our inner guidance to show us how to bring about a healthier approach and understanding to life.
For example, let us take a look at our natural and innate experience about food sources. Humanity will naturally go out to a field, remove an apple from a tree, and bite into it. Yet we do not have the same inherent desire to run up to a living animal in a pasture, bite into and eat it while it is alive. In fact, such an image will repulse the human. This is an instinctive reaction to a deeper truth of our spiritual connection with all life.
In a similar regard, we find the logical use of pesticides, chemicals and hormones as a way to increase and sustain the yield of our crops and enhance the return and health of our livestock. Yet which of us would readily reach out and ingest the raw chemical, preservative, pesticide, or hormone if it were placed in a bottle or container before us? Our natural heart-felt reaction is to not use such artificial substances. However, we take these items in every day through our food.
The intent to improve our capacity to feed ourselves and all others is noble and correct. When logic is combined with wisdom and love, we naturally find alternatives that are sustainable on all levels and with harm to none.
These are just a few examples of the many ways in which we can rethink and adjust our perspectives and create a happier and healthier experience on all levels. So, embrace what works for you and enjoy the journey.
“Food that is grown with love, picked with love, prepared with love, and eaten with love has a different quality than food that goes through those stages with a different consciousness relating to it.”
- Gabriel Cousens, MD from his book Spiritual Nutrition