Nutrition, movement, and rest. Boy, the foundation of good health sure is esoteric! These three "free" therapies are the preventative, proactive health areas most controlled and maintained by the individual. But what are the best foods, exercises, and sleeping hours? This depends on the constitution of the individual and their current needs. While we generally thrive on routine, seasonal adaptations are often required for optimal health. Click on the titles for some of our favorite suggestions from the treatment room!
You should feel nourished. The "perfect" diet is one that derives all of the necessary nutrients from food, results in satiety after a meal, and fuels your activity throughout the day. Enjoying a seasonal variety of foods, consistent meal times in-sync with physical hunger, and mindful eating are hallmarks of a healthy relationship with food. Ideally, supplements should be unnecessary and used only in times where extra nutrients are required or missing due to lack of availability. Folate before, during, and after pregnancy and Vitamin D during the winter are common examples. Bloating, nausea, cramping, acid, irregular elimination patterns, and fatigue after eating are signs that your body is not processing what you are eating. This can be due to allergy, intolerance, spoiled food, overeating, or a weakness in one of your digestive organs.
You should move freely. As we are no longer spending hours a day capturing and cultivating our food, building, maintaining, and defending our dwelling, or otherwise engaging in physical labor for survival, movement can be hard to come by outside of dedicated exercise time. Exercise should feel invigorating, release mood-regulating endorphins, and provide appropriate challenges to build and maintain endurance. As with food, a routine of exercise with a variety of pushing, pulling, and stretching movements provide a healthy balance. Dreading exercise, requiring large amounts of pre-and-post-workout supplements, feeling fatigued, depressed, angry after a session, or frequent injury are signs it is time to look for a different plan.
You should feel refreshed. Rest includes the physical rest of sleep and mental rest of pleasure. Characteristics of optimal sleep include consistent bed and wakening times, easily falling asleep, staying asleep though the night or easily falling back to sleep if awakened, and feeling rested within a short time of rising. Many factors contribute to an individual's sleep requirement, however eight hours is the average most people need to rejuvenate. Mental rest includes hobbies that provide joy and presence. One person's afternoon curled up with a familiar book is another person's weekend-warrior challenge. While routine rest is essential, it is equally important to prevent stagnation by periodically trying a new form of mental rest.