"Healthy Lifestyle" is a term that’s been included into recent vernacular – but what does it mean and what benefits will you gain from embracing Healthy Lifestyle?
Everyone will have a slightly different version or interpretation of a healthy lifestyle, which is completely normal….ten health professionals could sit in a room and not one agree on an optimal approach to health. However, I have found some really simple and easy ways to frame a healthy lifestyle. Without getting into the minutia of a healthy lifestyle it’s imperative at this point to mention a number of key components, which will help construct the framework from which to build your clean living lifestyle.
As any good builder or architect will tell you - there’s no sense spending time and energy on the ornate balustrade if the foundations and footings are shonky. Hence, there is very little point slurping on your single origin organic turmeric latte if you’re neglecting your diet 99% of time.
I’m a firm believer that real food is the solution to health and can account for 80% of your optimal health. The remaining 20% is a composite of exercise, sleep, hydration, smart supplementation and bio-hacks. By embracing real food, and by real food I’m referring to food that is grown or raised naturally, you’ll be giving your body the right ‘information’. This might sound slightly clinical but when you strip it of its flavor, color and texture – food is simply a collection of vitamins and minerals that act as information to the melting pot of biochemistry that occurs every moment of your life. Real food is far more abundant in ‘information’ than processed or synthetic food; it’ll have a rich cocktail of co-factors, minerals, vitamins, microbes and enzymes that will feed the bio chemistry within us to help us thrive. A diet devoid of ‘information’ derived from real food will result in sub-optimal health over time.
Everything that passes your lips possesses the power to enhance your health or not. The right nutrition and lifestyle will amplify your health and promote longevity.
If we want to dissect your real food basket a little and understand where you should be getting most of your ‘information’ from – aim for a veggie-rich diet and one that assumes protein as a ‘condiment’ rather than the hero of the plate. It’s no secret us Aussie’s love our meat – Australia is synonymous with BBQ and consequently have a distorted view of how much animal protein is adequate. Obviously I’m talking in very general terms but over-consumption of protein is not optimal. Protein, as a topic, is hotly contested and deserves it own blog – but for now entrust that excessive protein (above the body’s natural requirement) will drive an energetic pathway that stifles the cleansing of cells (autophagy) which is a necessary mechanism to rid cell of toxins and dead cell components as well as driving glucose into your bloodstream, placing more stress on insulin receptors.
So without going into too much detail and discussion on protein, a healthy foundation is to simply view veggies as the hero of every plate and protein as the condiment and NOT the other way around.
If I was to tell you that understanding inflammation was the holy grail to understanding health, you might give me a quizzical look but THIS is the golden ticket. Understanding inflammation is the key to a healthy lifestyle.
We are all familiar with the mechanism of inflammation on some level – when you stub your toe on the table leg....after screaming farrrrrrrrrrk from the top of your lungs, your brain receives signals from the area of trauma and sets about a treatment plan – it sends an immune response to firstly protected from further damage, but also to repair disrupted tissues – hence the visual change in colour and swelling. This type of inflammation is easy to see and understand but when it comes to inflammation that causes ill-health we are referring to a type that isn’t visible, almost impossible to detect from look and feel and is systemic rather than localised. This makes it harder to diagnose and ultimately intervene.
It's imperativeto minimise systemic inflammation.
Inflammation is caused in various ways but chiefly through sub-optimal nutrition and poor lifestyle choices. The subject of inflammation is huge and I’ll discuss this at length in another blog but for now simply know that it’s inflammation which is the cornerstone to ill-health and disease. Trace any condition back to its root cause and you’ll see that the trigger is in fact inflammation. Clean living is a diet and lifestyle that minimises and mitigates inflammation by healthy diet and lifestyle choices.
A very quicksnap-shot of how foodscan impact inflammation and your health:
The types of food we consumed have a huge impact of our gut and the integrity of the gut wall. When things are all working in harmony the immune cells within our gut are kept from our bacteria, else you can imagine what a nightmare that would create.
The thing that keeps them separate is the gut lining and in particularly a viscous, snot-like substance called mucin. The production of this snot-like, but vitally important, substance requires energy in the form of short chain fatty acids which can be derived from the breakdown resistant starches (asparagus and Jerusalem artichoke etc). If, however, these are lacking in your diet (Fibre is often overlooked in the western world) and there’s a heavier reliance on refined foods and sugar then this ultimately compromises the production of mucine and the integrity of your gut lining.
The last key component to discuss when designing your framework for Clean Living is bio-individualisation. This relates to the notion that we are all geared slightly different in terms of what is optimal for our health. There is not one diet that fits all....it simply doesn’t work like that. That being said, there are commonalities between us and a widely fixed view that no one on this planet thrives on processed food. This we can be assured.
The foods and the macro-nutrients that help us thrive are directly related to our gut microbiome and our physiology – and our gut microbiome is governed by genetics, epigenetics, exposure to microbes, food, lifestyle and a myriad of other factors. The eco-system in your gut resembles a lush, diverse rainforest with hundreds of trillions microbes it’s little wonder we are all geared slightly differently.