Regardless of what your diet looks like (and by diet, I mean the food you eat; not dieting), I know you’ve heard the term “healthy living” thrown around the boundlessness that is the worldwide web. #cleaneating and #eatclean, for example, have just shy of 1.5 and 2.0 million tags on Instagram, respectively. But what exactly does this mean and more importantly, WHY should we care? It’s no secret that eating well promotes healthy aging and longevity. We know that. And while those are fantastic reasons to “eat clean,” there is so much more to it than that.
Here are my Top 5 Reasons to live healthy and keep a consistently tight, NOT perfect diet 100% of the time:
1. In good health, we can do anything. Yes, really. In good health, we can create (and live) the life we’ve always dreamed of living. Whether that means the energy to travel the globe and satisfy a case of wanderlust, have an active role in the raising of your child/ren, build a business (or businesses) from the ground up or anything else, good health gives you the energy to do more of what fulfills you. To BE, DO and HAVE anything that you want to be. Good health enables you to live a life you love, experience it; not *let it* it pass you by. Don’t let your health be the reason you say ‘no’ to these experiences. Why merely survive when you can THRIVE?
2. We become what we repeatedly practice. And we’re not invincible. I know, I know. It’s easy to think those thoughts when we’re young, all’s good and our only visit to the doctor is for our annual well check. But, like it or not, what we *choose* to do now does affect our later…for better or for worse. More on this in a sec (see #5).
You know the saying ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?’ Well, it’s not that you can’t but it’s a whole lot more difficult. Habits are hard to break. Why create more work for yourself later? Adopting new healthier habits after having practiced unhealthy habits for years is arguably more difficult than making better (not perfect) choices as you go. Good news is, if you haven’t “started” yet, it’s not too late. It’s never too late because you can start right now, in this very moment. Up to you. Remember, you are only ever one *choice* away from action. Let ‘that’ empower you.
*Bottom line: If we eat like crap now, we’re more likely to eat (and feel) like crap later.
EXAMPLE: The more sweet we consume, the more sweet we crave. Fortunately, the same holds true for the reverse i.e. real, whole foods - plenty of produce (fruits & veggies), quality proteins from plant and/or animal sources, healthy fats and clean sources of carbohydrate; also, lots of water.
If you’re just embarking on your healthy living journey, first off, congrats! You’ve made it over the hurdle that is getting started. Once we take ‘that’ step, the next step will appear. Trust that, but don’t forget Newton’s 1st Law: “An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.” When it doubt, take action. It trumps inaction; always. Is it tough at times? Sure. But, like with anything, the more we practice the better we get. You’ve got this :)
If you’ve already living this lifestyle, we’d love to know how you do it!
3. You can only control what you can control. Bad things happen to good people; even those who are doing all of the right things. Chances are you know one of them; maybe you are one of them. But, we get to choose what we put into our mouths. And while a healthy diet isn’t synonymous with good health, it certainly helps. It prepares us for the things that we cannot control. In good health, we are stronger and more able to handle the curveballs that life throws at us; we are better able to manage stress; and we are also more physically and emotionally available to other people when they need us.
4. Healthy food can be delicious, if you *let it* be. And, it makes you feel good. I abide by no food rules, but one: eat only those foods you love that love you back i.e. that make you feel good while you are eating them *and* after. Healthy eating need not be bland or boring. As soon as it is, time to switch things up!
Choose real, whole foods and limit processed stuff as best you can. And when you do reach for the packaged stuff, look for short, easy-to-pronounce, real food ingredient lists preferably preservative-free and perishable. If life has you on-the-go, seriously busy or in need of convenient deliciousness, check BIYU, SIGBU and NEGU! You can find a full review here.
5. Improved health. I saved this for last and not because it’s not important. You know that, but I thought it was worth a mention nonetheless. You really are what you eat. Not in the sense that it defines you (it only does if you let it), but your health and physique reflect that. By following a consistently tight, not perfect diet and fueling your body with real, whole foods most of the time, you can age gracefully and live longer. It has a pivotal role in healthy weight maintenance or attainment of. It reduces your risk of chronic disease. It can help you balance your hunger, energy and cravings via hormones; also mood, stress and sleep. It also influences things like skin and digestion. Good health improves quality of life.
Don’t let your fixation on being the healthiest and happiest all the time lead to your deprivation of those very things. There’s so much more to it than that. In terms of your nutrition, forget “clean” eating. Food is neither good, nor bad; it just is. And fortunately, it’s something that we *get to* practice every.single.day. Keep it clean 80-90% of the time and build in for yourself that 10-20% no-stress wiggle room for those things that you love, but that may not totally align with your intentions when consumed on the reg.
"Why Live Healthy?"; by Vukoo®