5 Keys to Healthy Living

Dr. Elson Haas loves The Detox Diet* so much that he wrote about it not once, not twice, but three times! Since then, detoxing our lives has become a household activity, practiced by people all over the world.

5 Keys to Healthy Living

When you think about detoxing, you may be thinking, "Am I going to have to starve myself?" or "Detox? No way, I can't just drink juice from a lemon rind for 7 days straight!"

Trust me, I've heard it all.

But when Dr. Haas teaches about detoxification, his theory is simple: "Eat and live in a way that creates and supports health, vitality and longevity."

Now, in this ever-changing world full of information and technology,  you might be wondering to yourself how EXACTLY this is done. Well, lucky for you, Dr. Haas has come up with 5 keys to healthy living that will help you launch yourself into health and vitality.

NUTRITION. Bet you didn't think I was going to say that! Jk, OF COURSE nutrition is number 1 on the list. Have you ever heard the saying, "You are what you eat"?? This couldn't be more true. “Over the past century, we’ve seen the incidence of chronic diseases go up dramatically in Western culture, and that’s due to changes in our lifestyle, diet, and environment,” says Eugene Chang, MD, the Martin Boyer Professor in the department of medicine at the University of Chicago. The fact of the matter is, about half of American adults today have at least one diet-related chronic illness such as heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers, the 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans report states. So what does this all mean? It's simple. The better you eat, the better you feel. The worse you eat, the sicker you feel. In other words, DROP THAT BIG MAC!

EXERCISE. Exercise does SO MUCH MORE than just control weight. Exercise is also credited with combating health conditions, improving mood, promoting better sleep, and even increasing the libido. Me-OW. But these new exercise regimens where the teacher yells at you for 15 minutes to GO HARDER are not all that they are cracked up to be. In fact, anything less than 30 minutes and you are cheating yourself. In order to reap the rewards of an exercise routine, you must be increasing your heart rate and breaking a sweat for a minimum of 30 minutes 3 times per week. Anything less than that and you are not benefiting at all, so you may as well just do nothing. There are all types of free exercise programs out there today, from the CouchTo5K app to various YouTube channels, there is really something for everyone. However, word to the wise: EASE INTO IT. Don't go balls out your first day and pull a muscle. Then you're not helping anyone at all. 

STRESS. I could write about stress for DAYS. The negative impact of stress is real. When your body goes into fight or flight mode due to a perceived threat, your adrenal gland sends a signal to release cortisol. Then your body begins working overtime to try to bring you back down to homeostasis. Chronic stress (or that feeling of being "stressed out") can have serious health ramifications. It's important to adopt a stress management system, incorporating stress-reducing techniques such as journaling, art therapy, and meditation. 

SLEEP. This one is up for debate in so many ways. We all know that the body needs sleep. Most experts will agree that 8 hours is the sleep sweet spot. However, studies have shown that some people are wired to need LESS or MORE, depending on their genetics. For example, my husband would sleep for 12 hours a night if I would let him, and he would still wake up feeling exhausted and need a mid-day nap. On the other hand, if I get more than 7 hours of sleep I feel tired, and anything less than 5 and I am wiped out. In fact, the National Sleep Foundation conducted a study in 2015 which concluded that, "Sufficient sleep duration requirements vary across the lifespan and from person to person." So figure out your sweet spot, and aim for that many hours of sleep per night for optimal health.

ATTITUDE. For this one, I'm going to go straight to Dr. Haas. On his website, Dr. Haas states, "Our attitudes influence our lifestyle choices and those choices affect our health directlyOur beliefs about life and what we tell ourselves in the privacy of our own mind—our 'self talk'—can be optimistic or pessimistic." If you tell yourself that you don't deserve to lead a happy and healthy life, then you are not going to ever be able to get your ass off of that couch to go do that. On the flip side, if your outlook is sunny and positive, then you are going to be more likely to have more meaningful and fulfilling interactions, which will lead you to taking better care of yourself overall. YOU ARE WORTHY. Your attitude drives your health. Adopt a gratitude attitude and watch how your perspective, and ultimately your health, all shift into place.

As you begin to incorporate these 5 keys to healthy living into your everyday life, you will immediately begin to feel the shift. Focusing on just these 5 keys to healthy living every day will have you living your best life before you know it!

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