3 Fundamentals of Wellbeing
What is health? It seems to be this magical unicorn that we are all chasing these days, but if we are realistic it looks and feels different to everyone! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…. What is “healthy” for one may not be for another. One person may feel amazing eating a vegan style diet where others are fine drinking unfiltered water as long as they can run 5km every morning.
We are all very individual beings but there are 3 main areas of Health and wellbeing which Naturopaths look at to help understand where improvements and change may be best made to help you on your health journey.
1. Diet – this is kind of a no brainer to a certain extent! The more processed the diet generally the poorer health outcomes. There is so much research out there which tells us why trans fats, high sugar and artificial ” foods aren’t good for us, but things start to get sticky when we see clients with seemingly “healthy” diets present with conditions which may be greatly improved by dietary changes. As previously mentioned not all ways of eating will suit every one and some people are really better abstaining from foods such as dairy and gluten, but unfortunately big advertising dollars have been spent over the years brain washing us into believing that if we don’t eat dairy, we won’t get enough calcium and our bones will become brittle or if we cut gluten we won’t get enough fibre in our diets and we will all be constipated!
Firstly, the calcium thing is a load of bull! There are many sources of food which contain calcium and good bone health is dependent on many factors including overall health, diet, exercise and genetics and can’t be simplified into a one mineral wonder. Oh, and the gluten thing, if it makes you feel better and helps you function better as a human not to eat it….. then don’t eat it!
Just as a last point here sometimes we don’t realise how good or bad foods make us feel until we mix things up. Generally, when clients remove foods that I have suggested from their diets they notice a change within days, the fun thing happens when they sneak these foods back in and find they don’t feel as great as they should 😉. Many of us are disconnected from our bodies and what they are trying to tell us, but if you tune to the right frequency you’ll be amazed to what it’s telling you!
2. Lifestyle – Is also another big factor in Naturopathic care. Here we look at things such as work life balance, support networks and how you choose to spend your time in the world. So often I see a client who is giving everything to those around them but are forgetting to keep a little for themselves.
Self-care is important. Take time out and do something for you. I like to call it a guilty pleasure, that one thing that you do, that only you get pleasure from (no not that, although maybe 😉). It can be arts, crafts, riding, walking or even binge watching your favourite shows (but not for 7 hours straight) – what ever brings you joy!
Taking time out allows us to re-group and re-center.If you have ever been so overwhelmed you can’t function then you know what I mean, sometimes you need to shut off before you can function and think straight again.
Meditation is a great way to spend “me time”. For some people this will be traditional meditation, ie focusing on the breath, lying or sitting peacefully.For others it is a varied form including activities such as drawing or arts (which has been shown to be just as calming as meditation) or even exercise as long as the activity allows you to shut the chatter in your brain off. Studies show that regular meditation can not only help relieve stress but also help us better cope with stress.
With stress related diseases on the increase I think we should all take five, close our eyes and say Ommmmm.
3. Environment – This is a tricky one to navigate as the villains may not be easily identifiable. Depending on what your areas of complaints are will dramatically impact as to how your Naturopath will view the factors which might be impacting your health. Simple things such as living on a busy road increases the amount of ambient noise and light which might impact on your sleep but also add a layer to the stress levels that surrounds you.
It is well known that some skin conditions such as dermatitis and eczema can be caused or inflamed by household pollutants and chemicals. Your overall exposure to toxins, air contaminates and pollutants, not to mention the exposure to common everyday chemicals all help tangle the web of your health. When body systems flail such as our elimination and detox organs, then we can have a systematic back log of a chemical cocktail which may cause a little turbulence in our body. This is one of the primary reasons that Naturopaths may include somewhere in your health and wellness plan a “detox” phase to help everything clear out and re-balance.
Naturopathy isn’t a quick fix or a magic pill, depending on the health issue it can be a long and slow journey, but what it does is empowers you with knowledge to help you make the best choice on your health as often as possible. It can seem like climbing a mountain sometimes but is you take it in small steps at a time once you get to the top, you’ll be amazed how far you have come.
Allison is a qualified Naturopathy and Nutritional & Western Herbal Medicine. As the founder of Fundamental Wellbeing she specialises in gut health and stress related conditions. Allison possesses as strong passion for all things health and wellness, she understands that balance is essential to life, looking for real world solutions to help client’s reach their health goals.