Health & Wellness Defined

Hi, I’m Tamara.  I am passionate about eating real, nutrient dense food and promoting wellness through a healthy lifestyle.  My fitness journey began while in high school when my sister introduced me to the concepts of eating clean and weight training.  I became very interested in the role that diet can play in our overall health.  Since then, my idea of health has expanded.  I have read countless books and blogs, all of which have shaped my ideologies about what it means to be healthy.  What I have discovered, is that there is no one way to describe health.  Likewise, there is no “one size fits all” approach that I can recommend.  But if there is one thing I can say with absolute certainty, eating real, nutrient dense, and quality foods is a necessity to a healthy lifestyle.  I have spent a lot of my life reading, researching, and trying to discover the best way to live.  This blog is going to show you the practices and themes that guide my quest to optimum health, wellness, and happiness.  Without further ado, here is my Health Manifesto.

Eat High Quality, Nutrient Dense, Real Foods

As mentioned earlier, if there is one change you can make to your lifestyle, focusing on real foods is the most beneficial.  Eating real foods is a simple enough concept, but it requires some guidelines to fully understand.  When determining if a product is a “real food”, look at the ingredient list.  Ideally, there should be 5 or less ingredients.  The ingredients should be whole foods, such as vegetables, fruit, nuts, salt, and spices.  The ingredient list should not list artificial preservatives, sweeteners, additives, or other unnecessary ingredients.  The best way to incorporate real foods is to enjoy them in their unadulterated natural state.  Shop the produce section and select beautiful, seasonal fruits and vegetables.  Join a food co-op or CSA and enjoy the added benefits of local products.  Purchase free-range and pasteurized eggs from a local farm.  Eat abundant amounts of healthy fats such as grassfed butter, coconut oil, avocado oil, extra virgin olive oil,  and the fat from quality animals.   When eating meat, poultry,  and seafood, look for indicators of higher nutrients such as wild-caught, grassfed, and free-range.  I plan on further discussing each of the aspects of eating real food in future posts.

Promote Movement in Your Lifestyle

Our bodies are amazing, complex machines.   They are designed to be in motion, and work best when they kept moving.  Movement is essential to many of the body’s biological processes.  Individuals who spend most of their lives in a state of inactivity are more likely to experience atrophy, congestion, sleep problems, and depression.  Incorporate exercise into your lifestyle by whatever means possible.  You will become mentally and physically strong.  Promoting movement is more than just making it to the gym on a regular basis.  It includes the idea that remaining seated or inactive can be damaging to one’s health.  In today’s society, we spend much of our time seated, whether at home, work, school, or driving.  Moving away from this concept can vastly improve health and wellness.

Get Adequate, Quality Sleep

Quality sleep of adequate duration is essential to overall health.  This concept is rather obvious, but still so important.  Sleep is just as important for you physically as it is mentally and emotionally.  You cannot expect to perform at your best if you are not logging in enough zzz’s.

Relaxation and Stress Management

Excess stress wreaks havoc on our bodies’ ability to function properly.   Ineffective coping results in high cortisol levels.  When you are stressed, your sleep quality decreases, energy levels are inadequate, weight loss is impeded, unhealthy cravings occur, and systemic inflammation can result in a poorly functioning immune system.  It is easy to see why high stress can contribute to feelings of anxiety and depression.  Managing your stress is one of the most important interventions you can take to promote a healthy lifestyle, because stress can negatively affect every other aspect of a health life.  Promote relaxation by including practices that make you feel happy and whole, such as taking walks outside, getting a massage, taking a bubble bath, meditating, writing in a journal, and socializing with friends and family.  Try to adapt your life and routine to reduce stress in the first place, when at all possible.  Remember, reducing stress will result in improvement in every aspect of health.

Reduce Toxin Exposure

Try your best to avoid and reduce exposure to toxins.  Toxins are present in our food, environment, and products we use every day.  It is an impossible goal to completely eliminate them from your life, but by minimizing contact, you can avoid the potential hazardous effects.  Swap out chemical cleaners for vinegar and baking soda.  Avoid cigarette smoke and smog.  Purchase local and organic foods when possible.  Rinse produce with a vinegar water bath.  Consider natural bath and beauty products.  Even just being conscientious about what products you use can make a big difference in toxin exposure.

Overall, I believe that eating real food, promoting an active lifestyle, getting adequate sleep, decreasing stress, and reducing toxin exposure will lead to an optimally healthy lifestyle.  The decision to live a healthy lifestyle is a powerful one.  Every choice you make has the potential to fight or feed disease.  The purpose of this blog is to share my journey.  I hope to include regular posts that delve further into each of my aspects of wellness.  I also will post many of my favorite recipes that highlight how delicious eating real and nutrient dense food can be.  Thank you for reading, and I welcome your comments, questions, and suggestions below.