Part seven of ADAM’S HOLISTIC LIFE MANUAL FOR HEALTHY & SUSTAINABLE LIVING.
Now we will look at some basic ideas and practices for creating a healthy body. Our body is the vehicle of our mind and experience and if we have a relaxed and healthy body it will affect our experience and capacity positively, just as the opposite is also true. If we stay healthy and fit it will affect our minds positively just like a driver enjoys driving a car that is in good condition, and has the right oil and sufficient fuel. The two main things we will look at are diet and exercise.
You are what you eat. If you eat unhealthy food you become unhealthy. If you eat healthy food you become healthy, and health is true wealth, so who doesn’t want to be healthy? Apparently, many of us, since we eat so many types of food and products that are actually bad for our bodies and the environment. Many people in the modern world eat a lot of processed food, meat and dairy products. This is not healthy in most cases. Processed food has been treated in some form or other with chemicals or radiation, is not fresh or packaged in tin cans. Such food seems not to have much vitality and can even be harmful. Though I am not a dietician or an expert I will present just a few simple guidelines and food for thought.
NEGATIVE EFFECTS OF A MEAT BASED DIET
In countries that have a large consumption of meat there are more cases of cancer. Meat contains a lot of saturated fat, which has been connected with cancer, heart disease, circulatory system diseases, obesity and osteoporosis (weak, porous bones). Meat also retains many of the harmful substances that are fed to the industrial farm animals such as antibiotics and growth hormone. These substances are then transferred to humans through the meat. Just these facts should deter anyone from eating meat if they cherish good health.
If you have tried a vegetarian meal you will know that it feels much lighter in your stomach and moves easier through the digestive system. If you are used to eating meat, this might seem to give you the feeling that you aren’t quite full. But if you are used to eating a vegetarian diet, and then eat meat, you will feel very heavy in your belly, as if you swallowed a canon ball, which slowly moves through you and constipates you. After that you will truly enjoy the lightness and easy digestibility of a vegetarian diet.
On a psychological and energetic level you will feel much better eating a vegetarian diet, once you have become aware of the negative circumstances surrounding modern meat production. Taking the dead flesh of tortured animals into our bodies is energetically not good for our body, mind and soul, especially once you develop an awareness of the negative impact on the environment, the negative karma of rearing the animals under torture-like conditions and slaughtering them to eat their flesh.
The most healthy and environmentally sound diet is a vegan diet, meaning eating no animal products at all, including milk products and eggs. A vegetarian diet including milk products and eggs has less of an environmental impact than meat, and thus is healthier. If you still feel the need to eat meat, at least reducing it to a minimum will be better for you and our planet.
To be healthy on a vegan diet it is important to eat varied. That means incorporating a diverse array of fruits and vegetables, and especially sources of protein. Here legumes, such as beans and lentils, and nuts are essential to get lots of. Eating plenty of raw food such as salads, smoothies and juices is very good since the ingredients retain all of the vitamins and beneficial medicinal qualities. Eating the fruits, salads and vegetables raw and unprocessed is the best since we will get all the fibers, and no electricity is used such as is the case in blending and juicing. And there are less dishes to be washed.☺
Nowadays it is also possible to get a healthy boost from a wide array of superfoods that are available. These superfoods have naturally high levels of vitamins and anti-oxidants that keep us healthy, vibrant of full of vitality. Besides food we have to be aware of what else we ingest into our bodies. Smoking is obviously bad for your lungs and should be avoided. Alcohol should be consumed in moderation, as excessive use is bad for our health. Any medicine or drug should be used wisely and in moderation.
Exercise is important to live in a healthy body. Staying fit, flexible and in good shape will help keep your life quality at its best. There is no need to be overly obsessed with how your body looks, but rather how it feels. One of the best systems of physical exercises for well-being is hatha yoga. Modern yoga is inspired by the ancient system of hatha yoga, which were stretching exercises to prepare the body for sitting comfortably in meditation postures for extended periods of time. If our body is strong and flexible we can sit comfortably in meditation. Yoga specifically focuses on making the back strong and flexible, which will prevent back pain later on in life. Ailments of the body, and specifically the back, can really diminish our life quality, so preventing pain and diseases is a very positive thing. But we have to remember that yoga not only works on the body but also the mind. With the right mental attitude and mindful focus on the breath and body, physical yoga can be dynamic meditation and playful prayer. Yoga is a holistic physical and mental health system and should be seen in the context of the mental and spiritual system of yoga as a whole. Information on that is available elsewhere, but Swami Vishnudevananda formulated a simple motto describing the elements of yoga:
Health is wealth, peace of mind is happiness, yoga shows the way through the five points of yoga: proper breathing, proper exercise, proper relaxation, proper diet and positive thinking and meditation.
Besides yoga, doing some cardio exercise such as swimming or running or weight lifting is also great. The crossfit exercise program is an example of a versatile allround workout. Of course, any sport that keep us physically active and gives us joy and a sense of community are also great for your health. Physical, social and mental. Other specific systems of bodywork that I recommend are tai-chi, capoeira and dancing. Talking a gentle walk in a park or in nature is actually one of the healthiest forms of exercise and is highly recommendable.Featured image by Geralt. Photo by Brittanyann Lewis
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