I’ve been invited to participate in a panel discussion with other holistic healthcare providers on the topic of healthy aging. This is the second blog I’ve written to help me gather my thoughts and prepare myself for the event. The first entry was about cultivating ki (life force energy), and I’m certain there will be a third piece, perhaps even a forth, eventually.
It seems to me that the most important thing we can do to promote healthy aging is to prioritize our health. Many people would likely say that they desire good health, yet time after time the choices they make do not reflect this goal. Rarely does optimal wellness merely happen; it must be invited, welcomed, and fostered diligently. This occurs when we remind ourselves of its value (ease of movement, quality sleep and digestion, vibrant energy, etc.) and pursue it actively.
This is by no means a recipe for austerity or suffering. I believe the path of wellness overlaps the path of joy. Certainly there will be some compromises and adaptations along the way. Choosing better quality ingredients and suitable portion sizes by making favorite meals at home rather than ordering out is a perfect example of this philosophy. Upgrade or moderate the activities and foods you love to support healthy results without sacrifice. Go for a walk if you’re planning a Netflix binge later, thoroughly stretch your legs and back before getting on a plane, and opt for a hearty salad for lunch if BBQ is on the dinner menu.
I have plans to meet a friend for pizza and beer tonight. There are no words to adequately describe my love of pizza and beer, and yet I clearly recognize that I don’t feel my best after such a meal. So my plan is to neutralize the effects of white flour, cheese, and alcohol in advance. I’m stocking up on green vegetables and water throughout the day, and have chosen a restaurant that serves only the best quality ingredients. I’ll add some fiery pepper to counteract the congesting effect that dairy has on me and even more water throughout the evening to ensure proper hydration.
As I cannot imagine a life without my favorite things, I also refuse to resign myself to feeling achy, sluggish, foggy, or ill either. So instead I make the healthiest choices I am able in every moment. I know what foods and activities support my good health and opt for these most of the time. With some simple planning, it’s easy to reduce less-than-healthy habits for the most part, and when occasion calls for indulgence, I create balance as best I can.