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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Living a healthy life

The following is a reprint of an article I wrote, as a Contributing Columnist for Write On People, which was recently published in the Cibola County Beacon.

Living a healthy life

When most people think about healthy living they focus on what they put in their mouth. From research and my own experience I have found that living a healthy life encompasses much more than diet. It includes our environment, the people in our lives, the homes we live in, the thoughts we allow in our minds and the choices we make on a daily basis.

Of course, we all know that we should drink plenty of water. The recommended amount is 8 glasses per day. This isn't hard to do in the summer when everyone is thirsty, but winter is a different matter. Drinking water replaces what is lost through urine, bowel movements, perspiration and breathing. It is a necessary ingredient for our bodies to function properly.

Although it is not necessary to become a vegetarian, adding more fruits and vegetables is essential for good health. Synthetic supplements are not the same as consuming natural foods. The most nutritious fruits are: watermelon, apricots, apple, avocado, cantaloupe, grapefruit, kiwi, guava, papaya and strawberries. Top of the list vegetables are: most beans, asparagus, sprouts, button mushrooms, carrots and of course, anything green.

A great idea for adding variety to the menu is to think of a color wheel. White is for bananas and mushrooms; yellow for pineapple, mango and squash; orange for papaya and orange; red for apple, strawberry, tomato and watermelon; green for guava, avocado, cucumber, lettuce and celery.

Telling someone they can't have something is like giving them a green light to eat it anyway. For this reason I don't feel that any food should be completely off limits; not even a hot fudge sundae or a perfectly seasoned portion of prime rib- once in a while.

Being overweight is the number one health problem in our country. If you are not close to your recommended weight you are prone to multiple diseases and a decreased quality of life.  Daily exercise will help get your weight where it should be. It really doesn't matter what you do as long as you exercise on a regular basis. Find a variety of activities that fit your physical capabilities and that you enjoy. Exercise lowers the risk of disease, lowers blood pressure and increases life span and bone density.

Next is resting your mind, better known as sleep. Getting enough sleep is important whatever your age. Inadequate sleep leads to eating high sugar foods that are not good for you and cause weight gain. Another way to rest your mind is meditation. All it requires is to sit quietly and turn off your self talk. Focus on deep breathing from the abdomen or listen to calming music. Just five minutes a day is enough to begin a very good habit.

Eliminating all the negative things in your life that are causing you stress is like weight loss for your mind. Spring cleaning can be done at any time of the year and should include those people who are draining your positive energy. Don't forget to take the time to laugh, especially at yourself. Great advice from a physical fitness trainer is, "Decrease your stress level by limiting the number of commitments you take on. Many people are stressed because they are over committed or over scheduled." 

Now that you are a healthy person living a healthy life get involved with your community, join a group that interests you, take up a new hobby, look for people with similar interests or simply pay more attention to the beautiful world our Creator has provided for you. Healthy or not your life is what you make of it.

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