These guidelines are essential to health and are suggestions to incorporate into your health journey. Each one will support one of your body’s natural metabolic organ systems: digestive system, kidneys, skin, liver, lungs and nervous system.
Sleep – regulates adrenal gland, improves memory, regulates emotions, balances hormones
Try to go to bed at the same time every night – by 10 pm if fatigue is a big concern, otherwise 11 pm at the very latest. Ensure 7 – 8.5 hours of sleep (adults) every night for optimal wellness. This is important for regulating your adrenal gland. Enough sleep will also help improve your memory, regulate emotions, and balance your hormone system. Sleep in total darkness to support the pineal gland and endocrine system overall.
Diet – ensures vitamins and nutrients are readily available for all body systems
Eat a whole-foods diet that is right for you and your condition. This diet may include some or all of:
whole grains, legumes, organic fruits and vegetables and pastured meats, as well as organic, free-range eggs. If you are consuming sugars, limit your sugar consumption to natural sweeteners such as maple syrup and honey.
Eliminate refined sugars and processed foods. These foods lack most of the original nutrients they originally contained in their whole food form. Refined sugars include candy, regular soda, syrups, table sugar, store bought cakes, cookies, pies, chips, sweet rolls, pastries as well as fruit drinks and dairy desserts. Processed foods include most of the packaged foods you can buy today. To get started, check out the Eating Guidelines for Balanced Mental Health.
Water – helps eliminate waste from outside the cell and through the kidney
Drink at least the equivalent of one half of your body weight in ounces every day. Therefore, if you weigh 150 lbs, you would need to drink 75 oz, or just over 2L (9 glasses) of filtered water every day. The best filters for your health will eliminate nearly 100% of viruses, bacteria, parasites, cysts, chemicals (including chlorine and fluoride), pharmaceuticals and hormones in the water. Berkey water systems
and reverse osmosis water purifiers are the best at doing this. Berkey systems allow beneficial minerals to remain in the water (such as calcium and magnesium) while reverse osmosis systems eliminate everything, in which case trace minerals should be added (even a squeeze of fresh fruit will benefit). Decide which system is right for you.
Hydrotherapy – supports lymphatic and blood flow as well as immunity
Choose at least one of the following to do each day:
- Castor Oil Packs over the upper and lower abdomen on a regular basis will serve to increase circulation and promote elimination and healing to tissues and organs underneath the skin. It is effective for improving digestion, immune function and for reducing swelling of injured joints. Aim for using a castor oil pack every other day at least (but not during menstruation or if pregnant).
- Hot-Cold Showers increase circulation, improves immunity and brings oxygen to tissues. Every time you shower, alternate the temperature in the water: approximately 3 minutes hot (your regular temperature) to approximately 30 seconds cool/cold water. Always end the shower on the cool part of the cycle. This is one that I do every day!
- Dry Skin Brushing is a key way to stimulate lymphatic circulation, which helps your body move toxins toward the bloodstream for elimination and, as such, dry skin brushing is a great detoxification technique. Look for a dry skin brush with bristles made from natural materials. Begin brushing your body at the ends of your extremities (arms and legs) and always brush towards the heart with light brush strokes. Avoid your sensitive areas such as face and genitals, or any other areas with abrasions or injuries.
Support digestion by taking a probiotic and consuming fermented foods regularly. Fermented foods are a natural source of probiotics and some are strong detoxifiers of chemicals and heavy metals. Fermented foods include sauerkraut (or other fermented vegetables such as carrots), kefir (water or coconut water types), miso (cannot be boiled), tempeh, kimchi and kombucha. A variety of websites can provide information and instructions for making your own. A simple suggestion is to start using Apple cider vinegar –
- Apple Cider Vinegar – 1 tsp before each meal. This may be important for you as it kick-starts the digestive process. It stimulates the release of cholecystokinin (CCK) from the small intestine, which is important for delivering digestive enzymes from the pancreas and bile from the gall bladder into the small intestine. This won’t be necessary if you cook your own meals because seeing, smelling and tasting the food accomplishes the same physiological effect.
Movement – supports blood flow, immunity, lymphatic drainage, mood, etc.
Aim for 10-20 minutes of movement of some sort every day. This may be moderate exercise such as stretching, gentle walking or slow yoga, or it may be more intense exercise such as jogging, biking, exercise class, swimming, etc. The point is to simply do some kind of movement that you enjoy! Walk on your lunch hour, stretch on waking or before bed, climb your stairs 10 times, etc. It all counts!
Do Something You Enjoy Every Day – reduces body’s stress response
Anything that brings you a smile and a positive feeling in your soul will help reduce stress, grief, anger and fear which are all toxic to our emotional and spiritual health. Don’t feel that this needs to be for a long time. Perhaps just a few pages of a good book at night or a short conversation with a friend.
The Breath – deep breathing helps eliminate waste throughout the lungs
Abdominal breathing for at least 5-10 minutes each day.
Lie in a comfortable position on your back or side. Place one hand on your abdomen and breathe naturally for a few minutes to notice if you are breathing rapidly or slowly. Just notice how you are breathing, do not force any type of breath. Next, control your breath so that it’s deeper and on each inhalation you’ll notice the hand on your abdomen going out as your abdomen expands with inspiration. Naturally, it will fall with expiration after this. Breathe like this for a few minutes and then stop the controlled breath and allow your breath to return to normal and notice how it has changed.
B Vitamins –
Important for high stress levels of today’s society – discuss with your Naturopathic doctor which B complex might be right for you
EMFs (Electromagnetic Frequencies)
Some people are very sensitive to electromagnetic frequencies. It can disrupt sleep, affect concentration or cause a host of physical complaints. Consider unplugging your wi-fi when you go to bed, don’t sleep with your cell phone on (and especially not on your bedside table) and use earphones when speaking by cell phone. Visit Canadians for Safe Technology for more information and tips.