The default in nature is health, so why are we fat, sick and broken?
It is because our environment has changed, our bodies have not.
Looking back 10,000 years when we lived as hunter-gatherers people ate nutritious foods, got significant amounts of “exercise” outside in the sun as they carried out their daily activities. This was followed by an equal amount of downtime that provided for adequate rest and the development of remarkable social connections which literally extended from the cradle to the grave. Although running from the occasional tiger and lack of wi-fi made it far from an idyllic paradise, there is little evidence of obesity or chronic disease.
This is in stark contrast to our modern environment where there is an epidemic of poor health (diabetes, depression, cancer, obesity, heart disease etc.), yet we continue to wear our constant stress, long hours in the office, sleep deprivation and ability to eat like a garbage disposal as a badge of honor. Perhaps with the fact that we share 99.7% of the same genetics as our hunter-gatherer ancestors we can further understand that the problem is not us, but within the environment we live.
So, how can we affect change? Unfortunately, there is no magic pill, but there are pillars (seven to be exact!) that were created to serve as a guide to promote better health in our current environment. The follow is a brief overview of what will be covered in 7 Pillars of Health class:
Food is energy and we use the calories it contains along with the vitamins and minerals to carry out specific tasks like digestion, regeneration and repair (sleep), detoxification as well as managing our stress.
Questions to think about regarding Nutrition:
- What will it do to my blood sugar?
- Does it contain quality protein?
- What kind of dietary fat does it supply?
- What is our food’s nutritional status?
Movement is more than just exercise, it is the ability to demonstrate strength and ease throughout an entire range of motion. Movement is a dynamic process not a single event. Your day should be comprised of movement — squat, hinge, lunge, hang, climb, press, pull, carry — as opposed to separating it into a single hour of the day.
Questions to think about regarding Movement:
- What happens when we don’t move?
- How can we improve movement?
- Is one type of movement better than another?
The health of the gut determines what nutrients are absorbed and it is often said that we are what we eat, but it is more accurate to say, we are what we absorb. Therefore, digestive health should be defined as the optimal digestion, absorption and assimilation of the food.
Questions to think about regarding Digestion:
- How is the digestive system supposed to work?
- How can your gut affect your overall health?
- What are common issues and how do we get them?
- How can we improve digestive health?
Sleep is not the absence of wakefulness. Sleep acts as a barrier between the individual and the environment that allows the body to regenerate physically and recalibrate mentally. This is accomplished best with 8-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep, where it is as easy to fall asleep as it is to wake up at your scheduled time without the need for an alarm or stimulants.
Questions to think about regarding Sleep:
- Why is sleep important to our body and brain?
- How can we fix sleeping issues?
Stress is the response to any stressor in our internal or external environment that acts as a threat to knock our body out of balance. The purpose of stress is to help our body cope with stressors and survive. Your resiliency, energy, endurance and life all depend on the proper functioning of the stress response.
Questions to think about regarding Stress:
- What constitutes as stress?
- What happens when our homeostatic balance is threatened?
- What happens when we are faced with chronic stress?
- How can we alleviate stress?
Detoxification is an ongoing physiological process which involves the mobilization, transformation and elimination of toxins from external and internal sources.
Questions to think about regarding Detoxification:
- What is a toxin and how is it processed?
- Why is detoxification important?
- How can we lessen our toxin burden?
A community is a shared environment with like-minded people in pursuance of similar goals where individuals included provide positive support system that allows for trust in one another and the freedom to express themselves freely.
Questions to think about regarding Community:
- Do you share similar values and goals with those around you?
- Do those around you provide a positive support system?
It is important to understand that no Pillar is more important than another. Instead, achieving optimal health is about proper balance between all Pillars. The sooner we can incorporate the lesson’s the 7 Pillars offer into our life's the better we will be able to live and thrive. When stress, sleep disruptors and environmental and emotional toxins are removed and replaced with balance, purpose, nutrient density, nontoxic products, rest, exercise and healthy relationship, the body becomes incredibly resilient. Our medical system has spent billions of dollars researching health, yet it's going to be hard to come up with a better health recommendation than the sum of what the 7 Pillars offer; eat whole, unprocessed foods, move frequently (preferably outside in the sun), avoid stress so you can sleep like you are on vacation and surround yourself with loving relationships. While we cannot (and probably would not) go back in time and sleep in caves again, we can begin to focus on resurrecting dietary and lifestyle approaches that are more in keeping with our genetics and our ancient metabolic systems, that have become disturbed by the environment we find ourselves in in modern life. It is the purpose of the 7 Pillars of Health to teach you how these disruptions are the cause of our poor health and how each of us can rectify it.