And yet when you look at the average person, there seems to be a different story. The average person, I've found, is actually pretty exhausted. When I'm at the university - well, actually, when I'm practically anywhere - the most common answer I get when I ask someone how they are doing is "Yeah, I'm good". And the next common answer I get is "Oh, I'm ok... just tired."
I, too, am one who struggles to find a balance in a time and place where stress and unhealthy habits are constantly promoted around us - but here's what I've learned: 1) Your overall health needs to be a priority in your life. Health matters NOW.
And here's the reality: No one else is going to do it for you. We are in a nation - in a world - where money is mattering more than well being and all things good. We can't rely on the government for health, nor can we rely on our friends or family. They can help, but in the end, you are the one who makes the decisions for yourself... so we can't rely on anyone but ourselves. Why? Because it's your body, not theirs.
Why should you care for yourself? Well, personally, my answer would be twofold: your body is a gift to you from God, and you should honor him with it. But the the second part of the answer is a question to you:
Are you surviving or are you thriving?
Let me tell you right now, it should be very clear in your mind where you stand - there is no in between. If you're on the fence and just feel pretty good, you're still just surviving and have not seen the level of health your body can have. I'm not just talking about food, I'm also talking about your mental, emotional, environmental, spiritual, and physical health. You need to acknowledge and tend to all of those to know what I'm talking about right now.
Ok, so what can you do to take steps now to becoming healthier?
1) Educate yourself. Look at the other blogs in my blogroll - read their stories. Learn about this lifestyle that more and more people keep talking about. Personal testimony, in my opinion, is one of the strongest sources of evidence. For a better understanding of the lifestyle, watch Forks Over Knives or a raw food documentary on Youtube. You will learn all about the foods that our bodies are really craving because of their nutrients and because of the way they digest in the body.
2) Start with the diet. That's how I started. Yep. Just with the way I ate. I still remember, after watching Forks Over Knives in 2012, the days of bliss I experienced after years and years living in a cloud of self-hatred and less-than-mediocre health.
Here's a fun tip, and it doesn't involve buying a bunch of raw chocolate, special superfood powders, or the like: Start with your favorite fruit. Don't have a favorite? Experiment. Replace your everyday breakfast with fruit. Here's a lovely example:
Concerned about price? I know, those berries can be dang expensive!!... No worries, you could just eat as much as you want of one fruit. I know it sounds too simple.... and it is. And you know what? Simple has never felt so good. Our bodies crave simplicity. These words are coming from me, the girl you has loved making fancy recipes from day one. But my body feels better than ever before, ever since I have simplified the way I eat. Give it a try. Just eat fruit, and don't be afraid about calories.
3) Get friends and family involved. People you care about, who want you to succeed. Most likely, they'll be stoked you want to be healthier and happier. If your circle of family or friends isn't supportive (which can be possible at first), don't stop there. Go on Youtube, and have a virtual community. Subscribe to channels that will inspire you. Some channels that inspire me are Megan Elizabeth's Easy to Be Raw (just type in her name or Easy to Be Raw), FullyRaw Kristina, and Forty Below Fruity. If you find that you like another healthy lifestyle, I bet you there's Youtube videos on that one too. I used to be into the Maker's Diet, and then Weston A. Price diet, and there are people who have stuck with that and seem to be thriving. But try the fruity channels I recommended first - they're pretty awesome ;)
4) Have a clear purpose in your mind. You should know why you want to be healthier. You will find throughout the days, months, and years that this list may grow or shrink. It may start off with the simple desire to lose (or gain) some weight, and later on you may find that you have a desire to live in a way that helps the planet and all its inhabitants (yes, it's possible to eat an earth-friendly diet!). That's just one example, but do it now. Make a list. Pray about it, perhaps. How about 5 reasons? What are 5 reasons why you want to live a healthier lifestyle?
5) Have fun, don't be hard on yourself, and don't feel alone! Another thing I've learned in my health journey is that I am most definitely not alone in my journey. Lots of people are trying to be healthier. I used to be super hard on myself when I made a dietary "mistake" or when I didn't put my health first. That caused me more stress in the end, because I was so obsessed with being perfect. Here's the truth: Nobody is perfect. The people who look and act "perfect" make mistakes too. Aim for overall happiness, and focus more on listening to your body. If it's asking you to stop eating a food, stop eating it. If it's telling you an exercise is too hard and is hurting you, then please stop and either slow it down or find another exercise that will give you joy rather than pain.
If you're reading this and crying, laughing with joy, or just realizing that you want to make some changes because your desperate at this point, let me just tell you these words again: You are not alone. Your health is a high priority in your life, and there's nothing wrong with that. Your body deserves the very best you can give it, and that can start now.
Stop surviving and start thriving. :)