When caring for people, no matter where they are in their process of life and of health, teaching about the foundations of health is a sure step towards preventing any further harm. If I were a carpenter, helping people build the house of their health, a strong foundation would be the most important place to start. Other modalities or interventions would certainly come into play, but much later. They are the wooden trim around the windows; we would want them to fit nicely and be the preferred color for the house, but not before the foundation was set into place.
With a strong foundation, the winds of change and of life can pick up and swirl around but that house of health is going to stand strong with a sturdy sense of resilience. In the next couple columns talking about the elements of a strong foundation! With so many drastic resolutions and themes in the past several months, like "new year, new you", I think it is important to get these basics down once and for all!
Elements of a strong foundation #1: Nourishment
The word "nourishment" is a slight twist on "diet" but with the many connotations associated with the latter, I have chosen a word which more accurately describes the act. Every single biochemical process we have in our bodies requires vitamins and minerals as co-factors to make them happen. For the most part, our bodies cannot produce these, but of course, we need to get them in. It is essential that we assess and educate regarding proper nourishment and the prevalent avoidance of nutritionally valueless food in our society.
According to two-time Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling, Ph.D, "You can trace every sickness, every disease, and every ailment to a mineral deficiency." Eating a diet, a word which actually means "habitual nourishment" full of whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables and clean, hormone free protein is major part of a solid healthy foundation. At the same time we must also avoid refined food products, high in additives, colorings, high fructose corn syrup and other ingredients that are highly processed, have no nutrient value and can also cause harm. Please think of nourishing yourself when it comes to eating in this society and slowly but surely make this "diet" thing a piece of your solid, unwavering foundation!
Elements of a strong foundation #2: Digestion
It really isn't "you are what you eat", but rather, "you are what you absorb." Proper digestion is crucial to overall health and no matter what a person is presenting with, this is an element that needs to be assessed and established. It is essential that we can assure that the nutrients taken in are being broken down, assimilated, absorbed and then, after being utilized, evacuated frequently and fluently as waste matter. As well, clearing up any intestinal imbalance and understanding about the benefits of healthy microflora is of key importance. One probiotics supplement that I use in my practice is the brands utilizing the PEARL technology. Items such as Acidophilus Pearls assure that the good bacteria enclosed in the supplement are being delivered to the intestines and not being killed off by the stomach acid. It also is shelf stable and requires no refrigeration.
Elements of a strong foundation #3: Hydration
Adequate water every day is simply essential for every aspect of health. The body is made up of approximately 75 percent water; therefore, water is essential to regulate body temperature, provide lubrication for joints, help blood flow, regulate blood pressure, keep body systems functioning properly and keep skin elastic. Nearly every cell in our body requires water for proper function. Water is also necessary for digestion and the removal of toxins; it keeps the liver and kidneys functioning well. Inadequate hydration can also cause sluggishness and headache due to a decreased flow of blood to the brain. It is suggested that optimal water intake for a person on a daily basis is equal to half their body weight in ounces and an additional liter if someone has a weight loss desire! Proper hydration is a simple and fundamental piece in building a strong foundation. Do what you can to work up to an appropriate amount, keep it in your way and set a goal for yourself. Often times when we think we are hungry we are actually thirsty and a glass of water or two during the day will help decrease the afternoon munching and as well, decrease that afternoon fatigue!
Next month I will break down three more elements of a strong foundation. These are talking points that need to last way after the resolutions are broken! These are lifetime elements and it is never too later too start!