In the Name of Health.
There are many common misconceptions when it comes to living a, “healthy lifestyle.” So much so that most of them make my skin crawl. A few of these misconceptions are rooted in the premise that it costs too much to pay attention to what you eat, and it takes too much time to exercise everyday. While I’m not majoring in nutrition, nor do I have any plans of completing a degree in exercise physiology, it doesn’t take a scientist to understand the basic principles that are associated with making better decisions when it comes to the topic of food, exercise, and health as a whole.
We hear that in order to reach the pinnacle of success, we must graduate at the top of our class, and with a plethora of work experience. Or is it? Too often I see students run down to the ground, experiencing stress-related anxiety attacks, and boasting over the number of all-nighters pulled in a row in any given semester. Is it worth it? Is this short-term educational experience worth cultivating poor health habits in the name of good grades? No.
What if we invested just as much time in how we took care of our bodies as we did in stressing over grades or work deadlines? Imagine how much more energy one would find if instead of pulling an all-nighter, you instead went to bed at a reasonable hour, and woke up a bit earlier to get to the gym? Or, if after you woke up you went for a run, showered, ate a good breakfast and then took on your day with renewed endorphins and increased mental clarity? If it sounds too good to be true, I assure you, it’s not. Making and creating healthy habits is habitual. The more you do it, the easier it becomes, and the less junk your body will crave.
College is a beautiful opportunity for students to learn about mindful health practices. Going out and drinking nearly five nights a week is fun in its inception, but the damage it can do to your liver can (and will) do is irreparable. Take it from some of the world’s greatest entrepreneurs! According to Forbes magazine, “15 Surprising things Productive People Do,” prioritizing our health is integral to operating at our highest potential. Even making conscious mindset changes from viewing “sleep as unnecessary,” to “sleep as recovery,” can yield incredible results when it comes to productivity.
Next comes the formidable, “eating healthy is too expensive.” I have the incredible fortune of being from a multicultural household. Because of this, my French father always placed an emphasis on eating whatever was served to us as children, no excuses. As I got older, I began to pester him more and more as to why it was we ate this way. He explained it to me simply, and though he wishes he could take credit for it, all glory must go to Hippocrates. “Let food be thy medicine.” What we feed ourselves is as important as the textbooks we read. If you put trash in your body, you can expect to feel like trash. If you take the time to invest in quality, wholesome food, there will be fewer manifestations of sickness your body will have to combat. It’s a relatively simple concept, and yet one never followed.
Instead of chucking every last calorie in your fridge to be replaced with local, organic, sustainable, sprouted, food, try instead to make small adjustments. These small steps can go much further than you think.
- Only buy some organic produce. In fact, we should actually be purchasing more produce! Any fruit or veggie that has a hard shell or skin, like avocados, bananas, sweet potatoes or squash, you’re usually okay to buy conventionally. Berries, greens, tomatoes, anything with a softer exterior grow closer to the earth and therefore susceptible to absorbing the harsh chemicals in pesticides. For an in-depth list, consult The Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen.
- Pack a lunch. You need not meal prep for a million hours on Sunday afternoon, but making your lunch the night before is hugely beneficial. Eating out can lead to either overeating or eating less fresh and less wholesome meals. And it’s always more expensive to eat out as you pay for the convenience of someone else making the meal for you.
- Buy in bulk! Sections in the grocery store reserved for bulk grains, beans, legumes, and spices are a fantastic resource we should all utilize. Not only is it more sustainable (if you bring your own reusable bag) as it leads to less plastic consumption, but purchasing in bulk greatly diminishes the cost of the item and neither quality or taste are sacrificed.
- Don’t drink your sugar. Natural sugars such as those found in fruits and veggies are what gives the body energy to support mental and physical processes. Drinking refined sugar leads to decreased energy and a host of other disastrous side effects. You don’t need to drink coke, or venti caramel macchiatos with extra whipped cream, or Jamba Juices that claim health but are in fact, not healthy at all. These drinks are expensive and do nothing for your waistline or wallet. I encourage you to do buy a cool new Hydro-flask and fill it with lemon water and ice every morning to take with you to class or work. Every time you think about buying some sort of soft drink, transfer the amount of money you would be spending into your savings account. See how much money accrues at the end of the week simply by swapping soda for water.
There is no one way to be healthy. Too often we attribute health with diets and weight loss schemes. “The Secret Life of Fat,” by Sylvia Tara explains how women are more inclined to start diets and fail as opposed to our male counterparts because we are genetically hard-wired to look at food and health in levels of extremes. Either it’s good or it’s bad. Try and shift your mindset instead to making decisions that are best for your body. So go to the grocery store and buy seven apples, then eat one a day. Drink more water, get more sleep, eat more fruits and veggies, and less foods from a package. Exercise everyday, and do so in a way that makes you genuinely happy.
Run Hapi and Healthy,