Friday, August 1, 2014

38 Things You Can Do to Keep Your Family Healthy, Naturally

By Lorene Troyer

Have you ever thought about making some lifestyle changes for you or your family but it seems too overwhelming or even impossible. Or maybe you're just not sure how to get started. One way to overcome these feelings of overwhelm is by taking small steps rather than making dramatic changes.

Living healthier does not have to be an overwhelming process. Here are some practical things I do (or at least think about doing) to help my family and myself stay healthy.

1. I got familiar with the health food stores in our area. I found out where they are located and what they carry. I read the labels on their products and asked questions. Not everything that's sold in a health food store is good but I found I was able to replace a lot of the items we used with a healthier product.  I also search for items online and buy a lot of products from Amazon.

2. I use air-dried sea salt in place of regular table salt. Unrefined sea salt contains mineral elements that the body needs without the unhealthy additives found in regular salt. I use Himalayan Salt or Celtic Sea Salt when cooking for my family.

3. We use butter rather then margarine. Organic is best, but not always in the budget. Butter is a natural food and is a source of vitamins, minerals and important fatty acids. Margarine is an unnatural substance and often contains (highly unhealthy) trans-fatty acids.

4. I try to minimize the use of refined sugar (corn syrup, table sugar etc.) in our diet. Excessive use of refined sugar is linked to cardiovascular problems and cancer. It can also suppress the immune system and reduce resistance against infectious disease.

5. Instead of refined sugar, I sometimes use  Raw Honey as a sweetener. (Should not be given to children under 1 year of age). Raw honey is chock-full of nutrients and contains many medicinal properties. 

Frequently, I add a bit of Stevia to foods that require sweetening. For example, I may add little bit to my son's cereal and then a teaspoon or two of sugar. The stevia is very sweet but has an aftertaste, so I mainly use it to cut down on the amount sugar I need to use. 

6. We use Natural Deodorants instead of antiperspirants. Deodorants counteract odor while allowing your body to perspire and get rid of toxins. I check to make sure the deodorants are free of aluminum and other dangerous substances before I buy them.

7. I encourage my children to eat 100% whole wheat bread, rather than white bread. The whole wheat bread is more nutritious and is a good source of fiber. In a 10-year study ending in 1984, Harvard researchers found that adults who ate high-fiber breads had less strokes and heart attacks than those who ate bagels and baguettes. Fiber is also helpful in weight control.

8. As our budget allows, we use organic beef and chicken rather than regular. Organic meat is free from the antibiotics, hormones and pesticides often found in other meats.

9. We get plenty of sleep. This helps bolster the immune system and helps the body function at its peak. Some researchers say that every hour of sleep we get before midnight is worth 3-4 hours after midnight.

10. I try to avoid heating food in the microwave. (Although my son still uses it to make popcorn). Some researchers say that nuking food turns it into an unnatural substance, which can cause cancer, long-term brain damage, loss of memory, emotional instability and a host of other problems.

11. I try to drink at least 2 quarts of purified water every day (I have to admit, most of the water I drink comes in the form of tea). Some of the many benefits of drinking water include improved energy levels, healthier, smoother skin, removal of toxins from the body, and better mental performance.

12. We spend time in the sun. Sunlight helps the body make vitamin D, which has been shown to prevent many forms of cancer‚ as well as heart disease‚ multiple sclerosis, osteoporosis and numerous other ailments and diseases.

13. I read the labels on the foods at the grocery store. It's good to know what we are putting in our mouth. Just because it is sold as a food in the grocery store does not mean we should eat it :)

14. I try to avoid buying foods that contain interesterified fats (may also be called high stearate or stearic rich fats) or hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils. According to my research, these oils are unnatural and are associated with many serious health issues such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease. I opt instead to use butter, animal fat or natural oils such as olive, or coconut. 

15. We don't buy or consume foods or drinks that contain aspartame, saccharin or sucralose. These sugar substitutes are unnatural toxins that the body either has to get rid of or store and can cause dangerous side effects. A healthier alternative is the Stevia, which is a natural sweetener.

16. I use Raw Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar in my diet (haven't yet got the kids or hubby to drink it, though). Studies indicate that vinegar removes toxins from the body, helps control weight, supports the immune system, increases energy levels, fights allergies and offers many other health benefits. It's good to dilute it so it doesn't cause damage to the teeth- 2-3 teaspoons of vinegar mixed in a tall glass of water sweetened with raw honey makes a healthy cocktail.

17. I've cut down on the processed milk in my diet. While clean raw milk from pastured cows is a wholesome food, processed milk does not have much nutritional value and is linked to various ailments such as diabetes, allergies, heart disease, asthma, headaches etc.

18. What to do about cell phone radiation? I keep the phone away from my body as much as possible by using the speaker phone. Other options are to use an air tube headset or attach a ferrite bead on the phone headset.

19. We exercise regularly. Nothing too earth-shaking- a walk around the neighborhood, a leisurely bike ride, a game of tag with the kids. Evidence shows that even moderate exercise can strengthen the immune system, improve cholesterol levels, reduce stress and increase energy.

20. I  remind my children (and myself) to practice our good posture. Keep the shoulders back, head lifted, pull in abdomen, and chin parallel to the ground. This will decreases risk of backaches and pains and the organs function better. It also increases the ability to concentrate and think. 

21. I try to avoid drinking, bathing or taking showers in chlorinated water. Studies indicate that chlorine is linked to heart disease, cancer, and many other diseases. There are many products on the market that will effectively remove chlorine elements from the water supply. We use an inline Shower Filter for our shower and a reverse osmosis filtering system for our drinking water.  

22. Frequent hand washing is encouraged around our house- especially after using the restroom, before eating and or after coming home from shopping etc. Nontoxic hand cleaner or wipes are a  viable option when traveling or when soap and water are not available.

23. Whenever possible, we use eggs from free range pastured hens. These are shown to be more nutritious than regular "grocery store" eggs. Another option is to purchase eggs marked DHA or high omega 3.

24. Grudges and strife are not allowed in our home. Research shows that holding on to bitterness and feelings of resentment can cause long-term health problems while practicing forgiveness lowers the heart rate and blood pressure and reduces stress levels.

25. Keep live plants in the home. Plants emit oxygen and absorb toxins and carbon dioxide that are present in the air. It is recommended to have one plant for every 100 square feet. I have to confess, the only plant I've been able to keep alive in my home is a cactus plant.

26. Laugh often. The Bible says, "A merry heart does good like a medicine." Laughter reduces stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, and builds up resistance to disease.

27. I've started burning Soy Candles instead of paraffin-based candles in our home, because the paraffin-based candles release toxins in the air that can lead to health problems. A better though more expensive alternative would be pure beeswax candles.

28. Practice breathing deeply. Breathing from the diagram rather than the chest helps the body get rid of toxins, harmful organisms and abnormalities such as cancer cells. It's being done right if the stomach moves out whenever a deep breath is taken.  

29. Another good piece of advice (that I don't necessarily follow) is to chew food well before swallowing- 25 to 50 times per bite. This helps the body absorb the nutrients it needs and helps prevent overeating. Food that's not chewed well can cause bloating, gas and constipation.

30. Avoid wearing tight clothes. It can cause compressed nerves leading to back and leg pain. It may also block the lymph system, which is the body's first line of defense against toxins, harmful organisms and cancer cells.    

31. We don't reuse disposable plastic water bottles. Some research has shown that repeated use causes toxins from the plastic to leach into the water. Instead, we use reusable plastic bottles on trips and at sporting events.  

32. I refuse to allow amalgam (silver) fillings to be put in my family's teeth. Amalgam is about 50% mercury, a heavy metal toxin which can cause symptoms such as depression, insomnia, forgetfulness and confusion. There are safer alternatives.

33. When cooking or baking, I sometimes replace some or all of the regular white flour with a healthier alternative such as whole wheat flour, spelt or oat bran. These substitutes are far more nutritious and are a good source of fiber.

34. I've started eating dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate. Research indicates that dark chocolate can decrease blood pressure, and lower the risk of heart disease and diabetes. It has a lot of calories so I enjoy it in moderation.   

35. I don't blindly follow the advice of our physicians. While doctors can be a great source of information, the responsibility for my health and well-being ultimately rests on me. I ask questions and do my own research to find out what my options are.

36. I don't buy antibacterial soaps and cleaners. Most of these products contain a dangerous substance called triclosan and do not clean any better than other products. If I see the words "kills germs," "antibacterial," or "triclosan," on the label, it's my cue to look for an alternative.

37. I personally avoid soda (or pop, depending on where you live), and also try to discourage my children from drinking too much of it. Research has linked soft drinks to osteoporosis, obesity, tooth decay and heart disease. Healthier alternatives include tea, water or fruit juices.

38. I try to minimize my family's use of over the counter pain pills such as acetaminophen, aspirin and ibuprofen. These pills, when used excessively, can cause many dangerous issues such as heart attacks, bleeding gastric ulcers, and serious liver problems. Whenever possible, I use natural alternatives such as herbal or vitamin supplements, ice packs etc.

So there you have it, some simple ideas of things I can do to keep myself and my family healthy naturally. Did I miss anything. Feel free to share your comments with us.