What is your plan to wellness? Have you ever thought about it? There is so much information on the web relating to health and wellness but sometimes it is a challenge to sift through it all to get to what you are looking for. Food has changed so much over the last 100 years. Nutrient density has given way to nutrient depletion and as a result, the human body is not functioning at peak efficiency so you can do what you are called to do.

Through science we now know….Wellness is not only about what we put in, but also what we try to leave out. Each of us is empowered with the ability to make healthy choices for ourselves, and some of us have the power to make healthy choices for our families as well. If you are reading this, then congratulations! You’ve already taken the first few steps on your pathway to wellness. Now we are going to help you move forward with confidence by defining some simple strategies for developing an effective wellness plan.

Before you go any further, we recommend you make the following commitment:

“I will follow my wellness plan for a MINIMUM of 180 DAYS.

The body has trillions of cells so feeding the body at the cellular level is by no means an overnight process. This process builds over time until the whole body has been replenished.  Therefore, give your body enough time to naturally begin to function with the nutrition provided in your wellness plan.  By committing to follow your wellness plan for at least six months you are giving yourself the best chance of success.

OK, now that you have made the “180-day commitment,” let’s work out a clear plan of action.  It is important to note that a wellness plan is not simply a generic outline of a nutritional regimen. Because we are all unique individuals with varying lifestyles, some aspects of your wellness plan should be tailored with respect to your personal needs.

A wellness plan can be organized into three main categories:

  1. Lifestyle
  2. Environmental intake
  3. Dietary Supplementation

As you continue through this process, use the strategies presented to help write out your wellness plan in detail.  Begin by answering the following questions for yourself and/or your family:

  • How would you rate your current state of wellness on a scale from 1-10?
  • Are there any specific concerns you have currently?
  • Are there any concerns that you feel may present challenges in the future?
  • What are your realistic wellness goals?

Writing down the answers to these questions now will help you in the future as you make progress on your pathway to wellness.

LIFESTYLE

This is the simplest and most crucial component of any effective wellness plan, yet it is often the most commonly overlooked.  We should always begin with identifying what healthy lifestyle choices we can begin to make, starting today.  This can present the most difficult obstacles in our path because it could mean making real changes to the way we function in life and the routines we have become accustomed to. Although this may seem challenging, it is of the utmost importance and can be an overwhelmingly positive experience.

Write down the following questions on a separate piece of paper:

  • How is the the quality, quantity and consistency of my sleep?
  • How much exercise did I really get today—enough to raise my heart rate or make me sweat?
  • What is my stress load and how can I reduce it?
  • How much time did I really devote to myself today?

Now add some questions that have more specific significance to you and post this list in a place where you will see it often—your bathroom mirror or a bedroom door—-to serve as a consistent reminder to answer them on a regular basis.

This is the most personal component of your wellness plan.  Due to the fact we each lead distinctive lives, this will likely differ with respect to the individual.  This offers you the opportunity to exercise your creativity and identify more strategies you can employ for you and/or your family. Devote some concerted effort before you move forward to see what ideas you can come up with to promote healthier lifestyle decisions.

ENVIRONMENTAL INTAKE

A wellness plan is not only about what we put in but also what we try to leave out. It goes without saying that things such as cigarette smoking or excessive alcohol use are not an intelligent part of a wellness plan.  But there are other harmful substances we may not think about.

Things like artificial sweeteners, pesticides, toxins in clothing and other man made chemicals are detrimental to the body, and they may accumulate over time.  Unfortunately, some toxins are simply unavoidable in today’s environment.  We must be aware of our surroundings and try to eliminate them as much as possible, especially in places where we spend the majority of our time.

There are often non-toxic alternatives to many of the substances in our homes, such as cleaning products that use citrus oil, or vinegar instead of caustic chemicals.

A good rule of thumb is: “If it is man-made or isn’t available from nature, then avoid it or limit its use to a minimum.
The nutrient content of our modern foods is not encouraging to say the least, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t watch what we eat.  Processed foods are frequently much higher in things like unhealthy fats and they often contain numerous additives that were not intended by Nature.

 
  • Eat whole, vine ripened unprocessed foods.
  • Choose natural beverages or water over carbonated sodas.
  • Prepare foods using options like natural sugar or unbleached flour as opposed to their counterparts.
  • Incorporate raw fruits and vegetables to preserve the nutrients lost during cooking.
Technology is essentially the only thing that separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom.  Humans are intended to consume food directly from their natural environment. Therefore, always select foods that are as close as possible to the way they exist in the world.

A good strategy is to buy your food at a local farmers’ market/meat market or neighborhood butcher, instead of large chain grocery stores.  These can offer fresher and much healthier options because the food generally comes from nearby farms.

Fruits and vegetables are often green harvested to survive long journeys.  And when shipped, most foods, including meats are subject to some means of preservation.  Furthermore, the farmer/butcher at these local shops can be a great person to recommend to you which items are healthier than others.

In our modern world some toxins are inevitable and processed foods are relatively convenient, but they undoubtedly come at a cost. Fortunately, healthier options do exist.

DIETARY SUPPLEMENTATION

 


Research is increasingly showing that no matter how well we eat, we should not rely on food alone for our nutritional needs. We should supplement our diet!

Dietary supplements are without a doubt the most efficient way to provide the body with the nutrition lacking from our modern diets.But don’t be fooled! Not all supplements are created equal! Today’s health food shelves are flooded with an overwhelming number of dietary supplement products.  Currently the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not have an approval process to ensure the safety and efficacy of new or existing products.

Here is a quote from the FDA website: ” The FDA has limited resources to analyze the composition of food products, including, dietary supplements……The agency does not analyze dietary supplements before they are sold to consumers.”

As a consequence, the consumer has no clear way to discern which products are actually useful or which are even safe!  This can make the task of designing an effective supplement plan next to impossible for the average person. Consumers deserve to be empowered with the knowledge to choose the very best for their bodies.  Even a little bit of knowledge goes a long way when evaluating the sea of dietary supplement products on the market today.

Let’s look at a short overview of the information needed for you to make educated decisions when designing a supplementation plan. Let’s begin by discussing a common misconception about dietary supplements. Doctors have often said in the past,  “Supplements just make expensive urine!”  That means the body doesn’t actually absorb the nutrients.  They are just flushed out.  Although the good doctors make a valid point, there is much more to this story.  While it is true that many supplements have often failed to be fully absorbed by the body, scientific technology surrounding the dietary supplement industry has advanced tremendously.  We now have a much better understanding of what factors contribute to high absorption rates and overall efficacy, as well as how to control them.

To properly assess dietary supplements it is necessary to understand these determining factors and identify how the manufacturers quality control procedures account for them. Some of these factors include, but are not limited to:

  • What is the quality of the nutrient source?
  • Is it plant based?
  • What are the plants’ growing conditions?
  • How controlled is the manufacturing process?
  • How are the nutrients derived from the source?
  • How are they stabilized and standardized?
  • What is the nutrient complex or combination of ingredients in the product?
  • Has the complex been tested to identify if the nutrients “play well together”?
  • Is the nutrient content consistent from one unit of product to the next?
  • Does the product actually contain what the label on the bottle suggests?
  • How does the manufacturer test to ensure product safety and efficacy?
  • There are many other factors to consider, including, Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) guidelines and NSF certification.
FDA regulations currently leave the responsibility in the hands of the manufacturer.  If a company truly intends to deliver a quality product to the consumer, these as well as many other factors must be considered priority. Manufacturing safe and effective supplements is a complicated and demanding assignment in most cases, for companies to even be capable of actually producing high quality supplements, they must purchase an existing proven manufacturing process (they are often patented) or develop a new proprietary method.  In addition, the products should be routinely tested to ensure they are actually providing the intended nutrition.  This can be a very expensive and laborious endeavor which the FDA does not regulate.  Unfortunately, this has resulted in substandard, and in some cases, even fraudulent products in the marketplace.
 
Nutrition is a science. Thus, if a company markets nutrition, its level of commitment to scientific advancement is a good marker of its overall competence.

Here are some questions to ask in order to determine how trustworthy a nutritional company is.

 
  • Does the company adhere to Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP’s)?
  • What priority does the company put on Research & Development (R&D)?
  • Does the company have a dedicated laboratory/research budget?
  • Does the company have published studies?
  • Does the company have published research on product absorption rates/efficacy?
  • Does the company have published “third party” research on their products?
  • Is the research subject to peer review?
  • What is their reputation within the scientific community?
  • Does the company employ a dedicated Science Board?
  • How reputable/qualified are the company’s doctors and researchers?
Some of this information may be proprietary and therefore, confidential.  But, nonetheless, the law does require companies to provide information about their products.  Any respectable company should readily offer consumers information beyond what is simply on the product label.
 
But be wary. Not all science is good science.  Look for “published,”, peer reviewed or “third party” research because it is usually reviewed and subject to an approval process by the publishing body.  Government agencies are making great strides at raising industry standards but……….Ultimately, your health is your responsibility. Become an informed consumer. Put this information to good use and hold companies accountable by investigating before you buy. Choose only whole-food supplements that you are supremely confident will meet your body’s nutritional needs.
 
Paracelsus and Hippocrates, both considered fathers of medical science, believed that good health relied upon the harmony of man and nature. Over the past 2000 years, science and technology have evolved, but this principle remains as true today as it was then.  Advances in science have recently been able to shed new light on how the human body functions at the cellular level. Through this, science is now beginning to fulfill these scholars’ age-old philosophy of wellness. We hope this information has provided you with a greater understanding of how to maintain this harmony between man/woman and nature as you continue in your quest for optimal health.
 
“Everything man needs to sustain good health is provided by God in nature. The job of science is to find it.” Paracelsus
 
Let your food be your medicine and your medicine be your food.” Hippocrates