A Beginner's Guide to Natural Health
For those who are new to the concept of healing from the inside out, this is a basic guide that may help kick you off.
Natural health can mean different things to different people. I tend to see it as an active process where we seek to understand the benefits in supporting our bodies own natural healing inclination (as opposed to merely only choosing more natural products) which allows us to take more responsibility for our own wellness by incorporating simple and consistent practices. While it's often derogatorily referred to as "woo", I see natural health as actually rather reasonable when you consider that it seeks to move beyond symptom management into understanding why certain symptoms are showing up, and that there is evidence to support it. The common sense around seeking to investigate the factors that contribute to our well being, understanding our mind and body work as one - however like everything there is a continuum. While some people hold extremely rigid philosophies there is no need to only choose one or the other, natural healing holds an objective basis in itself. It's important we navigate mindfully through the decision making process based on each situation, and remain wary of bold claims made by both natural and conventional-based businesses who would obviously prefer that you keep buying their product over and over. If you're new to natural health principles, some content may feel confronting, confusing and/or contradictory to what you've heard elsewhere. I often encourage members of my Healing Tribe to take a break if those discussions begin to create undue anxiety, stress or feelings of righteousness because while they may not appreciate the exchange, there are others who are learning so much and it gives them real-world experiences to consider alongside their more conventional research. The idea is to work towards making decisions out of confidence and information rather than fear or alarm, but this isn't made any easier when we don't all agree on what legitimate sources of information may be, as well as the sheer amount of factors and variables at play but here some great places to start.
EAT MORE WHOLEFOODS (ESPECIALLY GOOD FATS)
Looking to the nourishing whole food options your budget can afford is a great place to start. Progress over perfection. It doesn't necessarily have to be free range, organic or spray free (although obviously that's fantastic if so), it just needs to be in a natural form so our bodies are more likely to be able to efficiently digest.
I'm a huge advocate for traditional diets because the digestive process is so intensive hence why we often lose our appetites in times of illness - so our bodies can focus on the priority of healing. While I'm not dogmatic about macro breakdowns, there is no denying I've seen the benefits of incorporating a Higher Fat Lower Carbohydrate or Ketogenic approach many times over. Some people do thrive on the opposing lower fat and higher carbohydrate approach however it often seems that we often have to choose between higher fat or higher carbohydrate, but it's the combination of both that appears to stress our liver.
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Water plays a key role but are we always getting the hydration where we actually need it - in our
cells? One way you can help this along especially in the mornings after the night's sleep is by adding trace minerals in the form of sea or celtic salt - a pinch will do. A splash of Apple Cider Vinegar or a squeeze of lemon juice is another amazing addition to help support our delicate electrolyte balance and of course 'clean' water is important. I am a big fan of herbal teas and I do drink coffee, but I also don't touch alcohol, soft drinks or fruit juice. One of my favourite coffee substitutes is Dandy Blend - it's as easy to make as instant coffee but delicious and good for us!
HEAL YOUR GUT
Not everyone subscribes to leaky gut syndrome but in my opinion, it's often a significant driver of eczema, impaired digestion and mineral imbalances. Thought to occur when the intestinal lining loses its integrity and becomes more porous, allowing undigested protein molecules, yeast, bacteria, toxins, parasites etc to cross into the bloodstream, inflammation can take hold. My own approach seems fairly straight forward but the complexity is absolutely in the detail: remove the triggers, boost digestion, restore beneficial bacteria and restore the gut lining.
LOVE YOUR LIVER
In these modern days it's fair to presume our organs may often struggle with the increased load to process. Their job is to help support our natural detoxification process so our job is to support that! Some of my favourite supportive agents include lemon water, milk thistle, Dandy Blend, this revitalising liver tonic and castor oil packs. We also want to try and get to bed before 10pm, reduce our environmental toxins at home, moving to the most natural materials and cleaning agents possible. I'm a big fan of Molly's Suds for my washing machine, Wendyl's Green Goddess natural cleaning range for my home and using Amla powder to wash my hair.
FOLLOW YOUR CURIOSITY
There are a lot of avenues to explore and it often seems like every one is selling some type of magic answer. I'm not sure there will ever be a straightforward roadmap which applies to absolutely everyone, so the best I can offer is the idea of following your curiosity and trusting your instincts. Some experiences may end up be best described as learning opportunities while others may get you feeling immediately better. The idea is about finding balance and realising that wellness is both simple and complex, and often a process that is best not rushed - trust you will come across your teachers and be truly ready to learn, as and when is the right time.
Listen to what everyone has to say, but make decisions that feel right for you. You may end up realising that certain thoughts, patterns, behaviours or even people aren't as healthy for you as you'd once assumed so going easy on yourself is key because natural health is often a journey. Through this all, remember the importance of self love and investing this time and effort into yourself, and that this is about consistency and changing ingrained patterns so that we can live our lives in a way that feels good. While there is so much to be learned and some love researching more than others and have the time, often the right team of wellness professionals can go a long way in terms of support, understanding and education to fast track results so keep an eye out for wellness professionals whose philosophies resonate with you.