Ideal health comes to all of us through a process. We eliminate certain things, we add or try new things, and this process of expanding and refining keeps us vibrant over time.
Cyclical in nature, the health journey is deeply personal for each of us, yet in that individual and unique process we find connection to others who share similar pieces of our journey.
Some will choose a paleo diet, and will find community in the comfort of others who follow a similar eating plan. Recipes will be shared; support given; stories of healing swapped and heard.
Some will find joy in a workout buddy - that pal who starts something new around the same time you do and grows right along with you. They will hold you accountable, reflect your progress, and keep you company on the days when you need that friend to hold the line.
At other times, we will all feel like warriors - empowered and independent, heroically upholding our families and our lives through our own independent strength. We move fluidly and alone through each exciting chapter of our days, and our heads hit the pillow after everyone else is asleep. We also often wake before the others in our lives. We see our work peeps, we see our spouses and kids, we see our neighbors and friends - yet the glue is in our integrity as an individual.
That integrity is the key to our optimal health.
I call these folks the urban warriors. They are those of you who have full plates, lots of people depending on you, and lots of exciting stuff going on in your lives. You have responsibilities to handle, love to give, and work to be done. You want AND need to stay healthy so that you can live each day to the fullest. Work, workouts, childcare, meals on the table, houses kept in relative order, side projects, and friends all keep you so busy and fulfilled you go to sleep satisfied every night.
It is for you - the urban warrior - that I offer up these 10 KEYS to staying healthy - so you can keep being the urban warrior that you are, without crashing into depletion, exhaustion, or illness.
The 10 Keys to Optimal Health for the Urban Warrior
1 - Sleep.
Urban warrior, you too need sleep. Although you sometimes feel you don’t, and you can think of plenty of other great things to do with that time. The MOST important times to sleep are from 11pm to 4am.
2 - Eat.
Food is fuel for the urban warrior, and nutrition is the key to winning the race. Nutrient dense foods such as organic proteins are a MUST (see #7 below for superfoods). Make the time, money and energy you take to eat COUNT by eating foods packed with healthy nutrition.
3 - Cut the junk.
Steer clear of junky foods, such as processed white flour and processed white sugar. Nothing will ZAP the urban warrior’s energy like too much sugar, white flour and processed foods. Trying to convince your body a bag of Doritos works for lunch? I guarantee you’ll be more powerful if you ditch the junk and stick with lean proteins, saturated fats, and other natural food sources.
4 - Stay fluid.
To stay fluid in an ever changing world you must keep your body hydrated. If caffeine is part of your regular routine, it is especially essential. Constipation, irritability, general fatigue, and feeling thirsty are all signs you’re not getting enough.
5 - Stretch
Especially your back and legs - daily. This detoxifies, keeps & lean & mean, and helps keep your body young. It is the crucial counterpoint to strength, a must for the urban warrior.
6 - Exercise.
Exercise at least 3 times/ week. It has to happen! What warrior isnt in at least decent physical condition? If you think you are in decent physical condition without regular exercise, let’s see how far you can run when your urban warrior skills are needed! Exercise one of the best things you can do to stay healthy, be awesome, and prevent pain and disease.
7 - Eat Superfoods.
Include at LEAST 3 superfoods in your daily eating plan - raw honey, raw cacao, coconut oil, spirulina, bone broth, gelatin from grassfed sources, liver, cod liver oil, raw butter, eggs - either fish eggs or eggs from chickens raised on pasture or in a backyardTake probiotics and a vitamin D supplement.
To fend off the many microbes you will inevitably tango with in the big wide world, you will need these basic fortifiers. Probiotics and vitamin D help prevent cancer and heart disease, boost your immune system through your urban roof, and generally make you invincible in your daily life.
9 - Take a time out.
Take time out for yourself at least once/ month - get a massage, some acupuncture, or do something to replenish yourself. You will be better, stronger and more effective when you take time out to refuel your tank.
10 - Feel joy.
Have fun. Laugh. Feel joy. Whether it’s tickling your toddler or enjoying a double date with your spouse and best friend, make sure you include fun and joy in your life. Joy combats stress and keeps us young, robust, and healthy. In chinese medicine, the heart is considered the emperor, who is nourished by joy, and maintains the balance and harmony of your entire inner empire.
Do you have questions for Julie? Ask in the comments below or post them on my facebook page!
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