“Healthy living” is a dense statement with a meaning deeper than going for a walk and avoiding fast food.
Healthy living is existing harmoniously at the intersection of body and mind. In other words, it’s keeping your biological machine well-oiled and loving the journey it’s on. Frankly, life is too short to live in mediocrity – and yet deficiencies are the modern plague.
We’ve noticed this unhappiness and resolved to change it.
Self-improvement has been romanticized and idealized in contemporary society. The mere desire to one-up ourselves has become a trend in and of itself, and adopting the growth-centric mindset has become the successful person’s trademark. Read a case study on anyone considered objectively prosperous and the exact words, “always learning,” are bound to pop up.
However, this isn’t a modern phenomenon. The history of bettering ourselves goes further back than Samuel Smiles’ seminal 1859 text, “Self-Help”. Aristotle believed eudaimonia to be the pinnacle of human activity; being the preeminent farmhand in Greece is nobler than being a corrupt politician or an egotistic philosopher.
Excuse the not-so-subtle plug: virtuosity and excellence are what Toronto Naturopathic Clinic strives for.
It’s a high-and-mighty goal we’ve set ourselves – and no, we can’t guarantee your transformation into the biological übermensch. All we can do is open the door for you – it’s up to you to walk through it. That said, you can count on us to be on the other side with open hearts and helping hands.
Let’s refocus this article onto the naturopathic system by distinguishing between three kinds of people:
Person #1 has their blood test results published in medical texts, illustrating the ideal human being.
Person #2 actively takes care of themselves, but, despite their best efforts, they still feel sluggish, bogged down, or hazy. Nothing they’ve tried has managed to overstep their plateau, and they don’t know why.
Person #3 doesn’t take care of themselves. This person eats poorly and moves little. The numbers that should be high are low, and the numbers that should be low are high – yikes.
If you’re Person #1, then not only do you look after your physical body, but you’re also aware of the subtleties underlying peak biological functioning. You have the diet-and-exercise shtick figured out and your organization of macronutrients and supplements speak to a mastery of bureaucracy. You’ve grappled with personal struggles and come out a stronger, kinder, wiser person. I won’t dissuade from reading further, but this article may not teach you anything new – feel free to skip the section on physical health, browse our other reading material, and like our Facebook page!
If, however, you’re better acquainted with Persons #2 or #3, stick around.
Breaking Down Prosperity
Person #2, there’s good news and bad news. The good news: congratulations! You’ve escaped the cycle of self-destruction by self-hatred and nurtured the right habits, inner motivation, and dedication to your wellbeing that is crucial, essential, and every-other-synonym-meaning-“of the utmost importance” to life satisfaction. Without this, no force in the universe can help you. Ironically, this first step is also the most challenging one to take. So, once again, well done.
The bad news, however, is that simple diet and exercise can’t meet some aspects of peak health. Did you know that a fair-skinned Canadian has to spend 30 minutes a day, butt-naked in the sun for a daily dose of vitamin D, and a dark-skinned Canadian has to spend a couple hours butt-naked in the same sun for the same dose? Worse still, your body may harbour undesirable substances that evade your awareness. Additional testing and evaluation shine in this context.
Think of it this way: if you’ve got most of the pieces to a puzzle, you’ll undoubtedly put most of the puzzle together, assembling a reasonably accurate idea of the intended picture. However, you’ll never see the whole picture until you’ve got all the pieces. And, unlike a puzzle where missing pieces are apparent, it’s not always obvious why your body is operating below its peak ability.
Given that Person #2 has set aside desire and craving for their greater good, I’ll assume they’re looking to continue their upward trajectory to prosperity. Person #2 will inevitably find themselves at our door looking for answers and a plan of action. While their results won’t be as dramatic as Person #3’s (simply because your health isn’t shifting as markedly), our continued growth program will give you those missing pieces so you can further optimize and refine your wellness regimen.
Person #3, you need to hear something you won’t like: you feel like junk because you treat yourself like junk, and you treat yourself like junk because you feel like junk. It’s a vicious, reflexive cycle that many spend a lifetime reliving. We’re not judging you – we understand where you are because we’ve been there too. We’ve seen both sides of health and disease and that’s precisely why we do what we do. You’re not alone.
Person #3 will reap the most substantial benefit from our nutritional, aerobic, and kinesthetic intervention. Should Person #3 follow their instinct for self-preservation and self-improvement, they’ll inevitably find themselves at our door. Inevitably, we’ll guide you through adjustments that will leave your body feeling like a blessing, not a curse.
Emotional and Mental health
I don’t mean “health” in the chemo-bio-electrical sense. I write in terms of your lived experience – in terms of what it feels like to be you. In this sense, mental health encompasses the implicit biases we hold about ourselves, our world, and everything in it. These biases shape how we relate to our inner and outer circumstances throughout our day-to-day inner lives.
Before one starts down the road of wellness, it’s common to skip your third consecutive day of light exercise first thing in the morning and tell yourself, “it’s ok I was swamped yesterday, and I just don’t have time today, but I’ll make it up tomorrow.” In term’s of time, ten push-ups and ten sit-ups is a pretty small commitment to make.
Eventually (although sooner is always better than later), you’ll realize that your health won’t change until your mind does. You’ll become discontent with your excuse-making habits. Your state of mind will shift from self-depreciation to upliftment; from pessimism to optimism; from, “I’m too busy for good habits” to, “nothing is more important to my quality of life than being well.”
Self-discipline equates to self-respect and self-love. You feel better about your self when you take care of your organism – of course you do! Even if you haven’t reached your target weight, or fully acclimated to a no-refined-sugar diet, it’s impossible not to feel a little proud of yourself for getting closer to being the master of your health, rather than remaining subject to the lack of it.
When you feel good about yourself, and optimism becomes your new norm, your brain starts to look at things more positively. This paradigm shift moves your focus from what’s wrong to what’s right. We begin to care less about the little, ultimately irrelevant things and more about the factors that actually lead to a life of fulfilment. Negative thoughts of what you aren’t give way to the beauty and grace of the person you already are and have always been.
Another word for the mental shift I just described is gratefulness. As gratefulness takes root in your subconscious mind, an appreciation for the present moment blooms. That is the start of mindful living.
Along with spiritual health comes the not-so-subtle realization that life isn’t always pretty. No matter what changes in your diet and exercise we help you make, you’ll probably never become a professional athlete. We can help you lose a hundred pounds and teach you how to keep it off, but that doesn’t mean you’ll never again gaze longingly at the next Krispy Kreme to cross your path. No matter how many B12 shots and Myer’s IV drips you get, you’ll never be perfect.
I’m not saying this to dampen your spirits or discourage you from improving yourself. Life is pretty short – but it’s also too long to spend it in mediocrity. Wellbeing isn’t a goal that you achieve and forget, it’s an enriching process that permeates everything about you. Let the process of wellbeing become the motivation to make this life the best it can be.
Don’t put your peace on hold. Take control of your physical, mental, and spiritual health. Get in touch – we’re here to serve you.
Yours in good health,
Dr. Elena Krasnov, N.D.