Living a holistic lifestyle, where the mind and body are treated as a whole, is becoming quite trendy. One contributing factor may be a general dissatisfaction with the American health care system, which is motivating people to take personal responsibility for their own well-being. At least, this was my inspiration to start rolling down the holistic path over a decade ago.
In my formal as well as independent studies, I have learned there are some “must have” items that are hugely beneficial in facilitating a holistic and healthy lifestyle. Also, contrary to popular belief, many of these items are very inexpensive. Below is my “holistic must have” list.
1) Water. And plenty of it.
Migraines, constipation and dry skin are all symptoms of severe dehydration. Drinking enough pure water is absolutely imperative! It can be overwhelming deciding what type and how much water to drink though. The book “Water the Shocking Truth” written by Paul and Patricia Bragg, offers plenty of good advice on this topic to help you make the best decision.
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I used to think that herbs were just something to sprinkle on foods to enhance their flavor. Now I realize that herbs ARE food! Some favorites that I try to always have available are garlic, cayenne and ginger. I use garlic for its antibiotic properties, cayenne for its benefits to the circulatory system, and ginger to aid in digestive issues and menstrual issues. An excellent source to learn more about implementing the use of herbs into your new holistic lifestyle is a book written by Dr. John R. Christopher, called “The School Of Natural Healing.”
3) A good blender.
This is the most expensive holistic lifestyle tool I own. It is essential for several reasons though. First, smoothies are an easy and tasty way of consuming lots of fiber and nutrients in one meal. Plus, any leftovers can be frozen into smoothie-pops, which make for a nutritious ice cream alternative at snack-time. Second, now that I’m savvy in making herbal formulas, it is very convenient to have the ability to grind the herbs to the exact consistency that I need. Also, there are other healthy foods you can make with the proper blender like, hummus! The Vitamix or The Health Master are my top two recommendations.
4) Organic, non-GMO fruits and vegetables.
This is a highly controversial topic right now but I listen to the subtle cues that my body gives me to let me know which foods are good and which foods are bad. So, I really don’t care what the defenders of GMO’s and toxic pesticides have to say. My body considers GMO’s and most pesticides to be poison so I do my best to avoid consuming them. To help you choose healthier produce, just look at the “produce sticker.” All produce items have a sticker on them bearing a four or five digit number. If it has a five digit number beginning with an 8, then that produce has been genetically modified. However, is the sticker has a five digit number beginning with 9 the produce is organic.
5) Coconut oil.
The most versatile oil I have ever used. Coconut oil has a high burning threshold, unlike olive oil, which makes it perfect for use in cooking. It works great as a face/body moisturizer as well as a personal lubricant. Plus, when used in the Ayurvedic practice of “oil pulling” it has amazing oral health benefits.
6) Chia seeds.
This rediscovered super food has been so valuable throughout antiquity that, the Aztecs used them as currency. They are the richest plant source of omega 3 fatty acids. Also, they are extremely beneficial for women because they contain boron, which is a mineral that aids the body in absorbing calcium. To learn more about chia seeds, read “The Magic of Chia: Revival of an Ancient Wonder Food“ by James Scheer.
7) Digestive enzymes.
The produce we consume today is lacking in comparison to the produce our grandparents consumed. Due to irradiation procedures our food endures on its way to the grocery store, combined with crops not being fed and rotated properly, our food is deficient in digestive enzymes. That is why produce seems to last longer than it used to. An informative source of information regarding the role digestive enzymes play in living a holistic lifestyle is, “Enzymes: The Key to Health” by Howard F. Loomis Jr.
These beneficial bacteria help maintain balance in our intestines. It is further believed that probiotics help prevent some forms of cancer, high blood pressure, inflammation and boost the immune system. Dairy Kefir and Water Kefir are known sources of probiotics.
The human body is mostly water and other fluids like lymph and mucus. It is important to keep these fluids moving so the body doesn’t get congested. Everyone can’t run marathons and some of us spend most of our time sitting in a wheelchair. Don’t let that be an excuse to stagnate. Whatever part of your body that you can move, move it and move it often! If you are not able to move at all, consider making an appointment with a Licensed Massage Therapist and/or Physical Therapist to help you out.
Having a peaceful environment is essential to successfully living a holistic lifestyle. This doesn’t mean you need to become a Tibetan monk and live in silence. It simply means that you may want to subscribe to what I call “The Drama Reduction Program.” Don Miguel Ruiz wrote an awesome book, which I found very useful, and it is called “The Four Agreements.”
Rome was not built in a day so be patient with yourself as you embark on the holistic path. Post this “Holistic Must Have” list where you can see it every day to help you stay on track. As you learn new things that help you, add them to your list as well. Set small, realistic goals to get started and you will amaze yourself!