In the most basic terms optimal health is “being your best with what you’ve been given”. Sounds good right? Day in and day out as I live my life, this is ultimately what I want but some days and years I’m more there than others. But if there’s ever a New Year’s Resolution worth making, this would be it.
With a subject as complex as this one, I’ll just give you the basics here and then dive right into the area of optimal physical health as it relates food (or anything else you might be swallowing from day to day).
There are many different categories and sub-categories involved as an individual goes about considering his or her unique set of circumstances but the basic ones are physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. Sub-categories for physical might include sleep, fitness, weight, strength, relaxation and free of sickness or managing a chronic condition so that it doesn’t worsen.
Each sub-category of physical health is very important and but when you consider the implications of deciding what to ingest, that is an area we encounter multiple times a day and each decision over time either helps us or hinders us. Being a Vegan already gives you an edge over your carnivore-consuming neighbors but it doesn’t stop there. It’s important to take an inventory every once in a while to see how things are going and to make changes if there’s need.
Here are some questions for you to consider:
- How do you feel on a day to day basis?
- How often do you get sick?
- How do you look? (if you’re a poor judge looking in the mirror, then look at some recent pictures of yourself)
- How do your close friends and family say that you look?(if a few people are saying the same thing to you, then there might be something worth paying attention to. If no one’s commented lately, then ask some people you know will be honest with you)
- Have you lost or gained more than 5 pounds this past year and if so, why?
- Do you have enough energy to do everything you want to do during the day (notice I said want and not need here).
- Do you rely more on supplements or food sources to meet daily nutrient needs?*
- Do you eat the same things day in a day out? When’s the last time you tried a new recipe of food?(in other words are you in a rut?)
- What are you proud of from this past year? What needs to change?
- Based on your answers from above, do you need to consult with others or seek out more information? Who/What/Where?
There are no quick fixes when it comes to pursuing optimal health. It takes time and intentionality. The result makes the effort well worth it though…to live a life with robust vitality, free of troubling symptoms and chronic disease.
So what does optimal health look like for you this year? Take the time this month to grab a piece of paper and Reflect, Be Honest, Dream, Write it Down, Address Your Fears, Seek Wise Counsel and then Do It. And if you’re feeling particularly bold, share it with the rest of us!
*Although we’re a nutrition supplement company, we wouldn’t dare tell you that the one and only thing you have to do to ensure optimal physical health is to “pop some capsules and then lay back and take it easy”. Good nutrition practices are simple: first and foremost seek to get all of your major and minor nutrients from high quality food. Supplements can be helpful because, let’s face it, there’s a lot that happens in our current food supply that causes it to lose some of its nutritional integrity well before it enters our body. Just be certain that your supplements are coming from a reputable, high-quality source so that you’re not wasting your money as well as your health.
by Melissa Sanborn of Nutritional Brands, PureVegan