Age is a very interesting discussion we each have with ourselves.
It seems silly to state the obvious, but is age really a number and do we really need to accept it? I wanted to share my own journey with aging and let you decide if my practices and perspective help motivate you to adjust just small details to create longevity. Aging is one thing you have control over to some extent and how you do it can be altered with even the slightest of adjustments. Lifestyle plays a role for sure, almost as much as the food we ingest.
You have probably tried a few new products being featured within the wellness community. Neurotropics, natural sleep aids, CBD, alkaline waters, and superfood supplements to name a few. But which ones really work and which ones truly help us to fight the one thing we know is always knocking at our door? I believe the answer to this question becomes very individualized, and that my friends is where my story begins!
I was the oxidative stress Queen! Not going to lie, my life and lifestyle has been riddled with stressful events from a very young age. Maybe you know this buzzword - oxidative stress, but for those of you seeking the definition, it is essentially an imbalance between the production of free radicals (bad news for a healthy body) and the ability of the body to counteract or detoxify their harmful effects through neutralization by antioxidants.
In my personal life experience, oxidative stress lead to many pathophysiological conditions in my body. Some of these included neurodegenerative diseases such as rigid muscles, fatigue, brain fog, insomnia, these symptoms really became an everyday part of my life. Can you believe I actually accepted this as normal! I look back on this and think WOW, how grateful I am for the next wake up call I was to be dealt.
Now you may be thinking, “oh she probably was living it up in her younger years abusing her body and generally not taking care of herself.” I will tell you, this was not the case! I was a healthy (by general medical standards), very active young woman. I ate what was considered healthy food, I was under the assumption the sleep I was getting was adequate, as well as patting myself on the back occasionally for taking “me” days to relax. Little did I know I was doing it all wrong.
There were two years in my early 30’s where I became increasingly fatigued and hardly slept 4-5 hours straight. My body started to break down, I had weird hives constantly, I had weight fluctuations (this was due to serious inflammation) and finally 7 doctors later a brilliant doctor I was seeing (randomly for another condition) discovered I had a malignant melanoma. YES, the big C. At the time, thankfully it was so surreal-in a not great way, I was almost too clueless to know all the implications in front of me. In fact, looking back on it now I am so grateful to those who surrounded me with not only love, but their knowledge and resources. But cancer, is not the point of this post. The generosity of my friends and family was not lost in the moment, because without it I would not be here today. And the truth be known, I say a little prayer for you guessed it, the doctor aforementioned, for without his intuitive sense and bedside acumen I would have been dead at long before my 35th birthday. April is my birth month and I am happily humbled and grateful to be very much alive.
Being ALIVE after facing such experiences forced me to LIVE and not think about age. Becoming ageless in my pursuit of life is a mindset. I sought out the best practitioners in the fields of holistic and alternative medicine and decided to get to the bottom of what I felt was the root of my past, present and future ailments. STRESS and oxidative stress. I then set attainable goals for living and eating consciously and respecting my being and my body. Another bump in the road along this journey was, I discovered I also had an autoimmune, which had been contributing to many additional daily annoyances I tried to ignore. I had suffered for YEARS with this affliction not knowing when or how it started. It was through my own research, insistence and tenacity I had finally guessed my way to a “hypothesis” which then was confirmed by a doctor to become an actual diagnosis.
The details of my personal experiences are not so important, but they do help to demonstrate how an outlook, a lifestyle change and determination can help to reset the course of how you age. Food played a big role in my process. It helped my body heal, be comforted and recover. To this day, practicing cancer prevention is something I never take for granted. Food truly heals and if you simply begin to remove inflammatory foods you are on the right path to looking and feeling younger almost immediately! Many of you know I am a fan of superfood mushrooms. They are one of the many cancer fighting foods I love. Inspiration for food is all around and the one motivation I have each day in reflection is knowing I am alive to energetically seek longevity and optimal wellness.
So what did I do? How am I prolonging my life? Are my practices reasonable and practical? Yes all around. No one’s fate may be foretold but I am hoping to maximize my life quality by eating as plant based, paleo-ish and clean (raw and vegetarian) as possible. Listening to your body and looking for root cause is the best way to understand how to repair and restore your body's systems.
A typical day might include, food prep, Bikram Yoga or Pilates, a walk on the beach, a bike ride or a hike. Food nourishes, and movement stimulates so much more. Think back to the last time you sat on the beach or had an outdoor excursion and how much better you felt mentally and physically. These stolen moments in time ground us and help us in some cases to check in with ourselves, giving us opportunities to re-adjust bad habits or attitude. Active reflection helps in our relationship of life. It will positively bleed into your daily practices and create small successes personally for you. Inflammation and water retention have been the bane of my existence, it is something I work hard to prevent. So many triggers to these symptoms, it is an absolute daily battle for me as I age. When I have a little ache my first response is to say I am tired and go into lazy mode. Some days I may need to be a little gentler to myself. My advice here is just don’t ignore what your body is telling you. Seek out the help of great practitioners, it takes a village. In my phone on speed dial I have Masseuses, Acupuncture specialists, Osteopaths, Chiropractors and Facial release specialists. Seek the inspiration of your favorite Nutritionists, Health Coaches and Fitness role models. I work with many great ones and utilize their knowledge to inspire and motivate me to work hard staying strong and as healthy as possible.
Healthy living is NOT expensive if you are smart about your approach. You can live a healthy lifestyle without having to spend your whole paycheck. Soon I will host a workshop on just this topic. Challenge yourself to find bulk everyday items, buy containers to refill, farmers markets offer fresh and locally sourced goods. Returning often to the same farmers builds a relationship and sometimes can result in deeper discounts for frequency buys. Eating healthier equals less sickness and more time to live and PLAY. I remind myself of this every day. Over 10 years cancer free and going strong fueled by Tumeric, Bragg’s ACV and Ginger! More to come...
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