Today is the first day of October, and for me the first day of a month dedicated completely to holistic health and wellness. After 27 years of great physical health, these past 18-months have been challenged by allergies and intestinal parasites (yum!) This is the month to return to physical health! But well-being is about more than just physical health. It is also about making sure I am in balance emotionally, mentally and spiritually. I consider this a holistic approach to health.
For the month of October, I have decided to put everything I know and understand about health and wellness into practice. So, for the next 31 days: no alcohol, caffeine, nicotine or drugs. No chemicals in food. And no processed sugar. Difficult, but possible. But beyond dietary practices comes an even greater challenge: to maintain steady exercise, good sleep, hydration, meditation and exploration. So here it goes!
Today, I will start the discussion with a look at most humans’ most basic necessities, and I believe the core of our holistic health: food and water. Water is simple: this month, I plan to drink at least 2 liters of water per day to stay hydrated and to keep my system flushed and clean. That is about double what I currently drink. To help, I keep a full bottle of water next to me at all times. Our bodies are about 60% water, so we have to keep that refreshed and clean.
For food, it can get a bit more complicated, but again I believe the simpler the better. Growing up my entire life with a preventive medical doctor as a father (Dr. Elson Haas), I could certainly write for days about the recommendations on eating I have received. For more of his ideas, check out www.haashealthonline.com or one of his classic books such as Staying Healthy with the Seasons. Truly incredible work. With all of this in mind, I like to keep it simple: Oats for breakfast, a heavy and wholesome lunch and a light dinner.
Breakfast for me (yes, every day) is oats with raisins, banana, apple, peanut butter and honey. Good energy, good health and great taste! Plus, it takes less than 10 minutes to make in the morning which gets me out the door. For lunch, I eat as much as I want (especially if I have been active throughout the day), but without any processed foods. That means home-cooked beans (lentils, kidneys, pintos, black-eyed peas…), brown rice, stir-fried vegetables (garlic, onions, zucchini, bell pepper, kale, chard, collards…) and salad (with carrots, broccoli, beets, avocado…)
Dinner is my lightest meal of the day. Why would I eat a ton of food just to go to sleep? It is important to eat well throughout the day (when I do need the energy) so that I am not starving in the evening. Then I can eat just enough to get me through my last hours of the day before sleep. Often this can be more salad, maybe 1-2 hardboiled or fried eggs and fruit. I always like to have fruit in the evenings (sliced apple, orange, pears…) as a sweet desert.
All of this can seem a bit overwhelming (especially with a busy work/school schedule) but as much as possible I try to cook up beans for the week over the weekend, as well as rice and an undressed salad. That way I can throw everything together at once, or take it with me for lunch on the road. It can also seem expensive (especially with all organic fruits and veggies), but I promise I do this at $50/week per person, or less than $8/day. Keep it as simple, affordable and wholesome as possible and enjoy!