Am I the only one that gets overwhelmed, confused, and even irritated at the many contradicting health theories? It's maddening, isn't it? Low fat advocates advise that we watch our fat intake. Low carb supporters encourage all the fat and protein we can handle. Some experts teach calorie counting while others are certain that calories don't really matter. Coconut oil, eggs, milk…good or bad? It depends on who you ask! There is no lack of advice available to us and the contradictions can be overwhelming. Quick fixes for weight loss and general health advice are everywhere we look—however, few result in sustainable lifestyle changes and a happy, healthy family. America is in a health crisis. We need to do something different—we need to think outside the box.
We had to think outside of the box when addressing my middle son's health. For the first two years of his life he never had a solid stool. He had extreme emotional outbursts, passed out from screaming regularly, woke frequently at night, and was hypersensitive to light touch. When mainstream medicine couldn't help us with answers we looked to Naturopaths for help. We were able to identify the root problem that involved food sensitivities and harmful bacteria in his gut. After a few months of treatment we saw big results—his digestive issues were resolved and a completely different kid emerged—calm, content, emotionally regulated, and….a good sleeper. We discovered what foods were poison to him and what foods were medicine. As a family, we continue to learn more about what fuels and harms each of us.
There are 3 ways in which we need to think outside of the box when it comes to health.
- Consume foods that are outside of a box, bag, or package. You'll find that “outside-the-box” foods likely come directly from the earth rather than a manufacturing plant. Simply put, food that consists of plants and quality animal products have the ability to nourish and heal our families.
- Most of us can recognize that the true path to health is much deeper than a fad diet. However, we don't always realize that there are widespread factors that impact our health equally as much as our diet. Health is multifaceted by nature and we must assess and address it from all directions.
- There are no cookie cutter solutions to health. What works for me might not work for you. One person's medicine is another person's poison when it comes to health. We can't merely look to the media, our neighbors, or the Internet to find what works for us. Learning overarching principles of health is no doubt a critical first step, but self-awareness and self-trust will help us know exactly what nourishes our individual bodies best.
Seventh Generation is excited to bring you the “Think Outside of the Box” health series that will give you ideas and advice about how to nourish your family's health through practical tips like eating real foods amidst our busy lives, nurturing important relationships, managing stress, engaging in meaningful work and hobbies, moving our bodies, sleeping better, and developing spiritual awareness. Follow the series during the first three Thursdays of each month.
Sarah Kolman is the mom of three boys, a Registered Nurse, an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, and has a master's degree in Contemplative Psychotherapy. Her private practice as a health coach blends her experience and career as a nurse with her passion for nutrition and holistic wellness. She is the author of Full Plate: Nourishing Your Family's Whole Health in a Busy World. Learn more at www.this-one-life.com.