Living Long and Well: Tips for a Healthy Life
Oh, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people in my life say, “you gotta die of something.” This is almost always preceded by them doing something dangerously destructive to their bodies like eating one too many donuts when they know they’re diabetic or drinking one too many beers despite being well aware that they have failing kidneys.
The sad part about this is that I do indeed have had many people in my life die young and/or painfully because of lifestyle-related diseases. The majority of those I know who have lived to be old are not at all healthy. They are dealing with heart disease, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, gout, the list is endless. I even know people my own age who are so overweight that they can barely walk one block. I’m only 45!
My Mom is My Muse
The lady in the photo above is my mom, she’s in her mid-60s and can still climb a tree with a chain saw in one hand! She’s always been fit and has never had any major illnesses. With a bar set high like that how could I aspire to anything other than a long healthy life.
Well, I’m on a mission to be a centenarian and to do so without chronic sickness like the people in the Blue Zones do. 🤗 What are Blue Zones? The Blue Zones are the places in the world where people have low rates of chronic disease and live longer than anywhere else. If you want to join me on that mission here are some tips for you.
Eat to Live
I believe in eating organic as much as possible and avoiding foods that are heavily processed. I don’t advocate for any specific diet so long as the food is from the earth and eaten in moderation. I definitely agree that the evidence is overwhelming that too much meat consumption is hazardous to our health but there is plenty of evidence to show that eating meat sparingly, especially fish, can be beneficial for optimal nutrition. When or if you do eat meat, get meat that is farmed sustainably with our health, the health of the animals, and the planet in mind.
“In all five places, the common denominators include mostly a plant-based diet,” Buettner tells NBC News Better. “There’s five pillars to every Blue Zone diet: whole grains, greens, tuberous (sweet potatoes or potatoes), nuts and beans. The most important one is beans. A cup of beans a day could add two to three years to your life.”Dan Buettner, Author of The Blue Zones, Second Edition: 9 Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who’ve Lived the Longest
Move Your Body
Our sedentary lifestyles are killing us. The human body was made to move. Gaining weight is what most of us think of when we think of what happens if we don’t exercise but that’s just one downside of being sedentary. Lack of movement can cause you to lose muscle strength and endurance because you are not using your muscles, your bones may get weaker and you might even lose some of the mineral content. That weight gain we think of is because the lack of activity impacts your metabolism, and can cause your body to have more trouble breaking down fats and sugars. Even more so, being sedentary can weaken your immune system. COVID has shown us how deadly that can be.
In addition to healthy eating and exercise, you can promote a long life by maintaining overall wellness through being mindful in all things. I’m not a Buddist but there are many things in Buddhist philosophy that have always spoken to me. One is the tenets of the 8 Fold Noble Path: Right Understanding; Right Intent; Right Speech; Right Action; Right Livelihood; Right Effort; Right Mindfulness; and Right Concentration.
I’m definitely a work in progress and I expect to be as long as I’m alive but that is part of the challenge, to continually try to improve oneself. For me, I simply try to live a positive footprint in every aspect of my life in any way that I can. I believe the body manifests the ugliness we send out into the world so one of the best ways to live a long healthy life is just to be a good person.
Seek out joy to get those endorphins flowing, incorporate adventure to stimulate those neurons in the brain.
“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy. -Thich Nhat Hanh
Did you know that you can actually increase your mood by smiling? 😁
Smiling not only offers a mood boost but helps our bodies release cortisol and endorphins that provide numerous health benefits, including:
* Reduced blood pressure.
* Increased endurance.
* Reduced pain.
* Reduced stress.
* Strengthened immune system.
According to a paper published in the Journal of Psychological Science, research has even known that smiling can help you live longer!
Detox Your Life
One thing people often forget to think about is reducing exposure to unnecessary toxins in their environment, including watching what they use in their homes and what they put on your body.
I love Grove for all my natural cleaning needs. What you use in your home and on your body is just as important as what you eat.
I generally use concentrates for my cleaning because I try to live sustainably and I’m always seeking to reduce waste wherever possible in my life. Therefore, choosing sustainable products is always just as much of a priority for me as choosing clean products. With Grove, I can do both!
The “Dirty Dozen” to avoid are:
- BHA and BHT
- Coal tar dyes
- DEA-related ingredients
- Dibutyl phthalate
- Formaldehyde-releasing preservatives
- Parfum (a.k.a. fragrance)
- PEG compounds
- Sodium laureth sulfate
There are other things too that should be avoided or used in moderation too, like alcohol and inhaling anything burning. I know that there are herbalists out there who want to convince us that smoking trees is the cure to all that ails us but smoke is smoke, and smoke is never a friend to your lungs regardless of the source.
All that being said living a long healthy life free of disease is definitely possible. We know because people are out there doing it and people have always been out there doing it. We simply need to educate ourselves and make better choices. It’s true that we all die and sometimes there are things out of our control, no matter how hard we try, but we can still try. Why not? Isn’t it worth it?
We will all die but we don’t have to do so painfully or prematurely and that is my goal. If I’m unsuccessful, I want to be certain it’s not because I was negligent or ignorant.