The Past Is The Future: 7 Practices For A Healthy Life in 2017
What’s new for your healthy life in 2017? It’s all about bringing back the old as you ring in the new, whether it’s what you eat, how you move or where and how you direct your spiritual and emotional energy.
The way we’ve been doing it for the last 50-70 years isn’t cutting it. We can just look around and see that people are overfed and undernourished, suffering from chronic disease in record numbers and perhaps not as happy as we would expect for living in a relatively affluent and safe part of the world.
Imagine for a moment that you lived on the North American continent sometime in the late 19th or early 20th century. Chances are good that if you didn’t own a farm, you had a good-sized garden. True, you didn’t have access to many foods not indigenous to your area, and fresh produce was scarce during the winter in colder regions. Your options for food were those we prize today: fresh, local organic produce, grass-fed beef, organically raised chickens that ran around outside and the eggs from those chickens, and depending on where you lived, possibly freshly caught fish. Stone ground grains, primarily wheat and corn, were an important part of your diet in breads. Bread was actually raised, probably in your own kitchen, not shot full of chemicals to puff it up. Beans were another important staple. You preserved your summer’s bounty in cold cellars or by drying and canning.
Food was always whole and organic and didn’t need special labels telling you that. Except when you made a pie from whole fruits or found a cache of honey, you didn’t have that many sweets. Until the late 19th century when grain millers developed a new process to remove the bran so flour was easier to transport without going rancid, your bread was probably grainy and nutrient rich.
Then began the long journey toward higher and higher levels of processing and refining, transporting, pesticides and herbicides and manufactured food products that line the shelves of grocery stores, this world in which we overeat without truly nourishing ourselves.
We can have whatever we want any time of the year — and we do. Way too much of it is highly refined and loaded with added sugars with more than 56 names and with cheap transfats and highly refined oils. We eat too much protein in the form of corn-fed, fatty beef, loaded with pesticides and hormones.
And what’s more…we don’t even have to work for our food other than to sit at a desk all day to get the money to pay for it. We’re not outdoors in the weather, engaged in the manual labor that supports a high fat, high calorie diet.
So here we are in the 21st century, with books and expos on “holistic health,” talking about “natural living” and “green living.” And what is natural and green living but a return to old ways of doing things? It includes these 7 practices for a healthy life in 2017:
Pass up the packaged products for whole, unprocessed foods, local and seasonal foods, organic foods, and handmade foods like true raised breads with real grains in them.
Ferment! (for all its good probiotics) — make things like kombucha, kimchi, apple cider vinegar, pickles, artisanal cheese or bread or beer or yogurt.
Can or dry foods or make clothing from simple, natural, organic products. Spin your own yarn. Use herbs and spices in new ways, not just in food but to purify and enliven your environment or to make healing teas.
Rely less on commercial products for maintaining your physical conditioning. Get from one place to another the old-fashioned way, by walking.
Move your body as you were intended to move it, getting off your chair and laboring, outdoors when possible, at a health club when you must.
Take a break from the rush for a day each week, or even for a time each day. Turn off all electronics, and just be with yourself in the moment.
Take a fitcation, time out focused on restoring mental, emotional, spiritual and physical well-being instead of time around a pool sipping martinis. You don’t need a fancy, expensive program for your fitcation either! A camping trip will work just fine for great physical activity, simple, whole food cooking over a fire and lots of meditation time outdoors.
Your healthy life in 2017, while it may have to be a more conscious choice than it was a century ago, isn’t without 21st century perks. Now we have the wonders of fitness technology, social media fitness partners, wearable fitness, and pedometers that in addition to measuring how much we move, measure what we eat, how much we sleep, heart rate and more.
And we can fill in the gaps brought to us by 21st century living…times when we can’t camp and meditate, make 48-hour yogurt loaded with probiotics or homemade whole grain bread or get our Vitamin D from the sun because the snow comes up too high to open the door.
Perhaps frustration will set in at first with the slow pace of those old time activities, but when you get the hang of it, you’ll discover that pace is a great inducement to the a chop wood-carry water school of meditation. Add to that a good general vitamin with the extra vitamin D and probiotics to keep your microbiome in top-level condition, and you’ll get through the times you can’t quite bring all the wise practices of the old ways into your present.