Essential Principles of Health

Being healthy is so much more than NOT eating animal products.

Rather than a list of what healthy people don’t do, I want to give you a list of what healthy people do do. Many people switch over to a vegan diet and think they are protected from illness and guaranteed good health because they aren’t eating meat or milk, yet they are consuming very little of anything that is fresh, raw, or whole (potato chips, soda, french fries, and boca burgers are all examples of things that are vegan but not necessarily wise food choices to make on a regular basis).

I think it would be ideal if everyone ate essentially a plant-based diet.

However, I am realistic, and I know that not everyone will choose to be vegan. That’s fine. You can still achieve great health through abiding by some essential principles. I have studied and have tried to find out what it means to experience and have a true sense of health and wellness (not the fad diets or gimmicky health-in-a-bottle supplements) through observation of people who experience it as well as reading as much as I have been able to get my hands on.

The following, is what I have come up with so far. This is certainly not a set in stone, all-comprehensive list:

If you are “healthy” you

1. Are long (good posture, healthy spine), lean (maintain a weight that is within a “healthy” range for your age, height & gender) and strong (you have lean muscle mass and are able to lift reasonably heavy objects), your heart is strong (you are able to do a strong cardio workout, running, for example, for 30-45 minutes without stopping and not feeling winded or wiped out).
2. You have regular waste elimination (having bowel movements daily, ideally 1-3 times a day), a sign of proper nutrient absorption, assimilation, and waste elimination.
3. You are generally positive and optimistic about your life, and life in general.
4. You enjoy intimate relationships with family as well as close, meaningful friendships.
5. As a whole, you have plenty of energy to perform day-to-day physical and mental activities.
6. You have a strong immune system & get sick only a few times a year, if that.
7. After you eat, you have more energy than before; you feel light and ready to to go.
8. You don’t suffer from indigestion, heartburn, or constipation. Likewise, you don’t suffer from aches, pains, or feel sluggish, confused, or forgetful.
9. No matter your age, your skin is vibrant and youthful looking, your eyes are clear, your hair and nails strong.
10. You are limber and flexible, you enjoy and want to move your body because you feel strong and light when you do.
11. You don’t suffer from high blood pressure or high cholesterol.

Now this definition of health may seem unattainable or not realistic to some of you. I am hear to tell you, unless you are dead, there is always something you can do to become a more a healthier you.

Everyone, no matter their age, can enjoy better health by applying these principles that I have found that all healthy people do and have in common, which aren’t all diet related.

These are things that that extremely healthy people DO:

1. They more often than not, eat foods “closest to the source.”

Here are some examples:
Instead of drinking apple juice concentrate, or canned applesauce, they would eat an apple or make raw applesauce in a blender.
Instead of white bread, they would eat 100% whole wheat bread with no additives or preservatives or sprouted grain bread.
Peanut butter instead of peanut butter cups, bananas instead of banana cream pie, raw peach instead of canned peaches, you get the idea.

Foods closer to the source (think, “whole” foods) have a higher water content, fewer if any preservatives, more fiber, fewer calories, greater amounts and higher quality of vitamins and minerals. Conversely, foods farther from the source are lower in water content, contain more preservatives, less fiber, more calories, ect.

Here is an excerpt from a great book by Wini Linguivi:

I’ve found that women who consider fruit a forbidden food tend to binge on highly processed food. Denying themselves an apple or an orange just doesn’t make sense if they wind up eating a bag of cookies. So if you haven’t been eating fruit, trying having one or two servings a day. I’ll bet your cravings for processed sweets will disappear [...] Try to eat fruit as it came off the tree or vine, fresh and unprocessed. (Lean, Long, & Strong, p. 273)

2. They consume 5-10 servings of fresh, raw fruits and vegetables a day. Juicing & making smoothies can be a great (& easy) way to get in more fresh fruits and veggies.

3. Their diet is very high in fiber (going beyond just the RDA of 25 grams) that come from natural plant sources in food (as opposed to just taking isolated fiber supplements like Metamucil or laxatives) such as cooked or sprouted whole grains and legume.

4. They have a healthy relationship with food. They rarely, if ever, over eat, and generally only eat when they are hungry and stop when they are satisfied. They aren’t constantly going on and off diets (yo-yo dieting) or are in a constant cycle of gaining and losing (their weight stays stable). They can indulge in richer foods (such as a dessert) now & then & not over eat or feel shame or guilt.

5. They exercise daily and 4-6 days a week they do something structured or planned, for an average of an hour. They cross-train and are well-rounded and include cardio, strength, and flexibility exercises as part of their fitness regimens.

6. They severely limit, or completely omit the quantity of animal products in their diet. If they do eat meat, it’s in small portions, on an infrequent basis (so not with every meal, but rather once a week or once a month, for example), and is usually fish or chicken. This makes the diet extremely low in animal fats (especially saturated fats which typically raise cholesterol) and cholesterol.

7. They have a spiritual “path” and are connected to something greater than themselves. This is often connected with religious beliefs but is not always synonymous. They pray and meditate on a regular basis.

8. They know how to manage the stress in their lives.

9. They are connected to other people, have a sense of purpose and direction, and are enjoyable people to be around. They are not involved in “toxic,” draining, or abusive relationships.

10. They are grateful and show their gratitude for what they have through serving others, being humble, and cultivating a general attitude for gratitude.

***

One last thought.

We can all do better, and no one’s perfect. Everyone is at a different place, and it’s important to acknowledge that.

Good health is not a destination. You will never “arrive” there. It’s a constant process that requires vigilance and determination, but is worth all the effort.

BRING JOY TO YOUR INBOX.

Get my regular updates--a roundup of extra tips & recipes for bringing more joy to living that I don't share on the blog. A list of my most recent posts so you're always up to date + other good stuff, like special savings on bring joy ebooks & products.* (It's 100% awesome, 100% FREE.)


*This is not the same as receiving my blog posts by email. These updates are full of exclusive, not-on-the-blog content.


Comments


  1. on August 26, 2013 at 9:07 am said:

    Good write-up, any chance I can leave a link back to
    our garage website?

  2. on July 21, 2013 at 2:28 pm said:

    WOW just what I was looking for. Came here
    by searching for living healthy with heart disease

  3. on July 19, 2013 at 3:26 pm said:

    This is very interesting, You are a very skilled
    blogger. I’ve joined your rss feed and look forward to seeking more of your great post. Also, I have shared your site in my social networks!

  4. on July 18, 2013 at 11:41 pm said:

    Just desire to say your article is as astounding. The clearness to your publish is just excellent and that i could assume you’re a professional on this subject. Well with your permission let me to grasp your RSS feed to keep up to date with imminent post. Thank you a million and please continue the enjoyable work.

  5. on July 18, 2013 at 8:03 pm said:

    I’m not sure exactly why but this blog is loading extremely slow for me. Is anyone else having this problem or is it a issue on my end? I’ll check back
    later and see if the problem still exists.

  6. on July 18, 2013 at 7:31 pm said:

    Good web site you have got here.. It’s hard to find good quality writing like yours these days. I seriously appreciate people like you! Take care!!

  7. on July 18, 2013 at 7:00 pm said:

    Hi Dear, are you actually visiting this site daily, if
    so then you will definitely take fastidious knowledge.

  8. on July 18, 2013 at 3:32 pm said:

    I simply couldn’t depart your web site before suggesting that I actually enjoyed the standard info a person provide on your visitors? Is going to be back continuously in order to investigate cross-check new posts

  9. on July 18, 2013 at 3:23 pm said:

    If you desire to grow your experience just keep visiting this web site and be updated with the newest information posted
    here.

  10. on July 18, 2013 at 1:27 pm said:

    Hey there I am so excited I found your web site, I really found you by accident,
    while I was searching on Google for something else, Nonetheless I am
    here now and would just like to say cheers for a tremendous post and
    a all round interesting blog (I also love the theme/design), I
    don’t have time to read it all at the minute but I have saved it and also included your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read a great deal more, Please do keep up the great work.

  11. Miles, Trials and Smiles
    on February 14, 2009 at 3:30 am said:

    I just want you to know that I am listening to you blog. I really appreciate all the research that you have done and I have been practicing a lot of your tips, and I like the way that I feel, light and healthy, if not just pleased with my choices because I know they are good. I also loved the articles about athlete and runners, because I was worried about building muscle etc. keep up the blogs, I love em.

  12. Vegan Mothering
    on February 13, 2009 at 8:59 pm said:

    Abbie, I will answer your question in my next post tomorrow. Excellent question: how does make the transition from meat-dairy eater to vegan? I certainly would have laughed in your face if you told me even 4 years ago that I would eventually opt these things out of my diet. So stay tuned, I will tell you all about my experience with transitioning and how I made it work…

  13. Abbie
    on February 13, 2009 at 7:17 pm said:

    I really liked this post and would have to agree with your ideas of healthy. I also liked the quote. I can't tell you how often I haven't gotten fruit because of some of the diets I've read about that say to limit fruits, etc. What a shame. I'm going to try to work myself up the point where I can do a vegan diet for two weeks. I really want to give it a try and see how I feel. Do you think after two weeks I would feel the positive effects that you discuss enough to then continuously stay on it? It's like I've said in comments before, the idea of no more cheese, milk and (sometimes) chicken makes me slightly weary. But I'm willing to try for a couple weeks.

Leave A Comment

*required fields