5 Easy ways to Build Better Health

Carol Pillar, R.H.N.

  My hope is to guide and support you in such a way that your body does the work of being well.

  Essentially I am a teacher. My wish is to share knowledge about the connection between food and lifestyle choices and how to make these connections work to your advantage.  Sometimes our choices affect us in positive ways, other times in negative ways. Too often people go down a path of ill health because they do not have a wellness plan in place.

  Maintaining, or improving health does not have to be complicated so the purpose of my articles is to give you some pointers to get you not only thinking but able to take action. 

#1 Reduce Your Toxic Load

  Every day we are bombarded by toxins. Our body’s defense and cleaning systems must do overtime to keep up. This puts a strain on all of our body systems.

  • In air – pollution, exhaust, air fresheners, scents and fragrances
  • In water – chlorine, fluoride, dioxins, bacteria, acid rain, farm run-off
  • In personal hygiene items/ cosmetics – metals, petroleum, parabens, phthalates
  • In our food – additives – colouring, flavoring, preservatives, pesticides, herbicides
  • Visit EWG.org or safecosmetics.org, or David Suzuki Foundation
  • LOOK FOR – GMO free, organic – Canada Organic Logo, natural whole foods

- personal items/ products – natural ingredients, bear in mind no preservatives mean shorter shelf life – particularly nut oils.

- cotton go organic – pesticides on crops

- cleaning products that are phosphate, ammonia, chlorine free, vinegar, lemon juice, baking soda or peroxide are options.

Purchase organic, naturally raised products as much as possible and consume filtered or natural spring water daily.

Even packaging is important in the bigger picture of protecting yourself by protecting the planet.

This brings us to step 2

#2 Eat to Live, don’t Live to Eat

  Consider the quantity and quality of the foods you are consuming

  • Eat a moderate balanced diet that contains all the colours of the rainbow and in volume that is suited to your activity level.
  • ‘Balanced’ means greatest portion is vegetables, fruit, legumes, grains, white meat and fish, small amounts nuts and seeds, dairy and red meat.
  • Wholesome, natural, raw foods contain natural enzymes, antioxidants, phytonutrients, vit/ minerals that ward off disease.
  • Watch for Altered foods – GMO’d, hydrogenated, pasteurized, processed, artificial, modified or irradiated. These have diminished or damaged nutrients and enzymes, without these our finely tuned bodily processes cannot occur.
  • ‘Standard’ farming practices are effecting the quality of foods.

The USDA, and more recently in Canada, have food tables tracking the nutrient value for 60 + years

   - Tomato – since 1963  has lost 61.5 % of its Calcium, 30.7% vit. A, 16.9% vit. C, 10% Iron, 11%  Phosphorus, 8% Potassium, & B3 and 22.7% of it’s protein, shockingly there is a 200% increase in sodium content.

- Research published in the British Nutrition Journal reported the benefits of eating more raw foods as they are alkalizing (promotes good health), natural enzymes aid digestion, low in calories and bad fats, high in fiber and phytonutrients that lower disease risk.

  • Dr Michael Gregor, MD studied data going back 20 years on how nutrition affected the top 15 ailments/ diseases and explained the power of healing with a whole foods
  • Sources such as the Journal of Nutritional Medicine, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, The American Journal of Cardiology
  • All findings indicated the higher the intake of animal based foods, the higher the risk of degenerative diseases
  • Documentary Forks over Knives, interviews with 3 Drs – same conclusions, + commentary on the corporate influences over the food/ agric. Policies
  • Other studies show 35% reduced risk of cardiovascular events in women by regularly eating apples and broccoli – high in flavanoids and Quercetin
  • Shop as local as possible, this means that produce is at it’s maximum nutrition (peak ripeness) and at a farmers market you can find out their practices. They may not be “certified” but you can choose those with sustainable farming practices.
  • Still I highly recommend thoroughly soaking/washing/ rinsing everything, especially if you are not buying organic. Get creative with your menu this week!

#3  Drink plenty of pure water

  • Our bodies are 55 – 65 % water which is essential to our bodily functions.
  • 6 – 8 cups/day depending on age, how active, how many fruits/ veg. you consume.
  • Vary the sources you drink from as trace minerals are essential for the body.
  • Always have water with you, use glass or stainless steel containers.
  • Spring water contains traces of some minerals depending on the source, but is not treated or filtered for micro-organisms. Carbonation does not really affect this.                     
  • Softened water removes minerals, (that your body can use), leaves traces of sodium. Distilled removes everything, do not consume.
  • Beware of plastic bottles, dioxins leach into the water if warmed, heated or frozen. Dioxin is associated with cancer – particularly in breast tissue.
  • Chlorine is used to kill micro-organisms (your gut has these!), and is absorbed by your skin. Leave water at room temp 18- 24 hrs to evaporate Cl.
  • Sustainable farming helps to protect water sources.
  • Your location matters, even in the country on your own well.
  • Health unit will test your water, but only for E-coli, you pay at a special lab for other tests such as heavy metals, nitrates etc.
  • If you are concerned with the quality of your water, consider filtering:

     - Activated carbon filter (Brita) will remove some minerals and chlorine but does  not remove much in the way of heavy metals, chemicals or bacteria/organisms.

     - Better; solid carbon block – in upright filter system, maintenance, flushing required, will remove some micro-organisms, metals and chemicals.

     - Reverse osmosis – more expensive, will remove micro-organisms, heavy metals, minerals, but not chemicals.

     - Distilled - all pollutants and minerals are removed. Generally not for drinking as it will actually pull minerals from your body. 

Stay energized, drink water! 

#4 Ensure adequate, regular rest

  • Respect your circadian rhythm, the biological clock. Darkness falls, melatonin (sleep hormone) is released, during sleep serotonin (feel good hormone) is produced.

   - Disruptions in the sleep/wake patterns and light/dark over the long term have been linked to diabetes, obesity and cancer.

  • 8 hours per night (12 hours between meals) allows the liver adequate time to perform detoxification, and time for making bile.

   - Early morning blue light is associated with greater healing.

  • Total darkness is required to achieve repair of cells and DNA, and to replenish melatonin the ‘for the next sleep cycle.

   - Health benefits have been studied at Lighting Research Center in NY

#5 Connect with Nature

  • Allow sunlight on your skin to produce Vitamin D, something we Canadians can be short on. It is essential to strong immunity and proper absorption of Calcium.
  • Go barefoot and get grounded! We are bombarded with electromagnetic waves from electrical and electronic devices. These disrupt our free electrons, allowing free radicals to proliferate. Synthetics & plastics also contribute to our disconnect from the earth.
  • Regularly be away from noise, and pollution to clear your mind and lungs,

especially during your exercise routine. Walking or jogging down a busy street does not make sense to me, any more than breathing everyone else’s carbon dioxide in a gym.

  • Find your special, peaceful place in nature to help you to release toxic thoughts and emotions that affect your nervous system.

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