It’s true. The human body is a person’s sanctuary. We are given only one body to work with, and although it’s often taken for granted, it must be taken care of or it will wear out more quickly or worse, shut down. Like a well-oiled car, the body needs its motor running efficiently to reach its optimal state and have full functionality. Thankfully, due to modern medical technology, people are given many chances to fix mishaps and monitor health ailments. Technology has saved lives and given people a new lease on life, just like with a rebuilt car engine. So, knowing that the body is so important, why is it that so many people continue to live such unhealthy lifestyles? Why do people continue to smoke, drink, and make terrible food choices? Why does most of society choose to use “band aids” instead of taking preventative measures to ensure a healthier life? The answer is ambiguous. Many say it is lack of knowledge, some blame lack of money. Both can be debunked! Society has built standards and gets most of their information from the media such as TV and radio. These sources are primarily driven by commercial sponsorships and can’t be trusted as reliable since they are trying to persuade their audience to buy their products. Their bottom line is their primary motive, not consumer health, and surely not the quality of food consumption. People cannot make educated choices regarding food or lifestyle, if they don`t know any better. As far as money being the cause of living an unhealthy lifestyle, there are plenty of ways to stay healthy on a budget. Most of the healthiest and longest living humans are not rich, nor do they come from rich countries. They are simple people who have gained knowledge that we have not. Below are the top secrets discovered to stay healthy on a fixed income!
15. Safe Cleaning Products
The amount of chemicals that are present in cleaning agents today are at toxic levels and using them exposes us to poisons that can harm the human body. Many people have come to know this and are making wiser choices when it comes to detergents, soaps and sprays. Because consumer concern is growing, many companies are producing items that are fragrant and dye free, that contain less chemicals, and that are made with more natural ingredients. However, there are simple common items that one can use to replace these products, which ensures that you are using something safe and saves you money. High on the list of healthy, safe and inexpensive household cleaners are apple cider vinegar and baking soda. Both are a must in every household because of their many uses. Aside from its great health benefits, apple cider vinegar is an extremely safe and effective household cleaning agent due to its antibacterial elements. By mixing half a cup of apple cider vinegar with one cup of water, you get an all natural, all purpose cleaner. Add baking soda, and cleaning is even easier. Just sprinkle it on any area that you want to clean, disinfect or deodorize.
14. Activated Charcoal
Teeth whitening may be one of the biggest marketing scams of this decade. People are paying hundreds and thousands of dollars to have their teeth whitened! The whitening part is not the scam. Whitening is actually an awesome way to remove decades of damage and stains from the teeth. The cost to whiten your teeth, however, is the scam. And, it often requires the use of toxic chemicals that applied for long periods in the mouth which is too close to your brain. Not a very wise choice. As an alternative, people are turning to whitening procedures using activated charcoal which is available at most health food stores. Activated charcoal is a highly absorbent substance, yet it does not get absorbed by the body. Charcoal passes right through the GI system absorbing chemicals and toxins, which then get expelled by the digestive system. It works the same way in the mouth when brushing. Furthermore, research indicates that activated charcoal can also be helpful in balancing the pH in the mouth, as well as being effective in fighting cavities, tooth decay and gingivitis. Make sure your charcoal is not petroleum-based, but from wood or coconut sources.
13. Shop at your local food markets
Fresh fruit and veggies. How important are these to your diet? They contain all the essential vitamins and minerals your body needs that it can not produce on its own. In other words, consuming fruits and veggies is vital. One of the easiest switches you can make when food shopping on a budget is purchasing a good portion of your healthy food at a local market. Not only will it be less expensive, it will most likely be fresher, more flavorful, and contain more vitamins and minerals since from local farmers tend to their farms more carefully. The produce won’t be waxed or massed produced and traveling thousands of miles to get to the shelf. Most small local markets are also known to carry fresh farm eggs from healthy, free roaming hens. Consumers never know the goodness they can find in the small stores. In addition, local markets often have “day old sales” where perfectly edible food can be purchased for a quarter of the price.
Quite literally one of the three most important elements to living a healthy lifestyle, along with diet and sleep, is exercise. It helps to keep the heart pumping blood flowing, and joints moving. There are so many free and fun activities to choose from that there is just not enough time to do them all! Getting fit does not require a lot of money, it does not require a membership to a fancy fitness center or club, and it most certainly does not require much time! Choose a sport or activity that suits your lifestyle and schedule. Some people prefer early mornings before starting their day, while others prefer to exercise at night before bed. Many enjoy the energy of group classes, others enjoy the peace and serenity of exercising alone. The price to exercise? Free. Walking, running, bike riding, are all free. Youtube has tons of exercise videos, all free. Swimming in the ocean or community pool, free. No matter what the age, exercise is needed daily and the benefits are immeasurable. It strengthens muscles, keeps bones strong, improves the skin, increases relaxation, improves sleep, stabilizes moods and promotes a strong immune system; there is no end to how important it is to incorporate exercise into your life.
11. Cut out the junk
Think about how much money the average person might spend on junk food. It’s quite comical that people claim the reason they don’t eat organic food is because it is too expensive. Yet those same people will spend a lot of money on dead, empty calorie foods that contain tons of sugar, preservatives, food coloring and other toxins. If only people knew that our good old planet provides us with everything we need, from sweet to sour! One can really satisfy their sweet tooth with delicious alternatives that also provide health benefits. Dried fruit such as mango, apricot and dates taste just as good as candy. A big fan of ice cream? You can make sorbet with a frozen banana and any assortment of frozen fruit that you like. Pancakes? Everyone loves them! You don’t have to give them up to go the healthy route. An alternative concoction to this sweet delicacy can be created by simply blending together one egg with a banana, and topped with honey or 100% maple syrup. These are all healthy food options that are super inexpensive and yummy!
10. Coconut oil
The skin is the largest organ in the body, and requires special attention. Too many people spend a great portion of their lives paying little mind to their skin and regret it as they age. Improper skin care can lead to early aging with spots, tags, dry skin and wrinkles. A great skin care regimen does not have to be difficult or expensive and cost $50 a bottle. In fact, a good container of organic coconut oil may be all you need. To start, check that the oil has not been hydrogenated, bleached, or refined in any way. I should not contain fragrance or dyes either. The oil can be applied as a daily or nighttime moisturizer, or used for pedicures to heal cracked or dry feet. Coconut oil can also be used as sunblock, deodorant, lip gloss, an anti dandruff cream and as mouthwash.
It’s an unfortunate fact, allergies have increased over 400% in the past decade. Whether that increase is from diet or environmental disturbances, the problem remains; more and more people are suffering from food allergies. It’s estimated that over 15 million Americans have food allergies. Ranging from seasonal to life threatening ones and they are still on the rise. Our bodies are now rejecting substances that were once so commonly digestible. Many people are allergic to prescription or over the counter medications and are searching for way to get relief. There are a variety of natural, inexpensive alternatives. First, if a person is allergy prone, they suffer from an overactive immune system that attacks objects that they identify as foreign. Thus, one can do two things: avoid allergen triggers or lower histamine levels. Amazingly, the Earth offers us tools to do both! There is a list of highly allergenic foods that should be avoided if one notices any type of reaction, no matter how small. According to FARE the Food Allergy Research and Education Center, eight foods are responsible for 90 percent of food allergies. They are cow’s milk, eggs, peanuts, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, wheat and soy. Avoid avoid avoid! However, if the sensitivity is to something hard to control, such as oak pollen, grass or bug bites, there are great and very well known ways to quickly drop histamine levels such as Yerba Mate tea, (organic is best), MSM – also known as sulfur, basil, chamomile, papaya juice, parsley and ginger.
8. Digestion Issues
Dealing with digestion issues can be cumbersome. Many people end up with ulcers and intolerances due to an imbalance of the stomach’s chemistry. Bandages are used such as Tums and other over the counter medicines that may give some relief but do not deal with the source of the problem, causing patients to eventually require more medical care. They are then given prescriptions which cause other adverse side effects and reactions. When is it comes to digestion, the balance of your intestinal flora is of utmost importance. This is even important for people who have no issues with digestion. Probiotics are a beneficial gut bacteria that stimulate the natural enzymes and keep our digestive organs functioning efficiently. More and more evidence indicates the importance of taking probiotics daily. The latest probiotic research suggests that live-active cultures of the friendly bacteria can prevent and treat many ailments. Researchers have also found that probiotics are particularly useful for warding off infection, boosting immune systems, fighting obesity and helping improve women’s health in general. Preventatively and proactively, probiotics and should be taken daily by all. They can be found in many yogurts, kombucha, kefir, pickles, sauerkraut, and an all time favorite, dark chocolate!
7. Weight loss
Need to lose a few pounds? You don’t need the expensive bottles of pills, or fancy diet plans. Change your lifestyle. Drop the dairy, sugar and carbs. Immediately! Although there may be real physical ailments and conditions causing weight gain, most people could lose weight by simply eliminating those three items for good. You don’t need them anyway! They are three substances you can do without. Good carbs are found naturally in good food sources, so don’t worry about that. And milk? No other species on the planet drinks it after childhood. Less than 40% of people in the world can still digest lactose after infancy. It is unneeded, not processed correctly, and causes bloating and inflammation. Sugar? There is an entire paragraph dedicated to it below, but in a nutshell, it is a major contributor to obesity. Just cut it out of your life. As far as appetite suppressants and metabolism boosters, there are many safe and natural ones. However, the safest and most efficient are exercising, drinking lots of water, and eating a diet high in metabolism boosting foods such as oatmeal, fruit, coffee, green tea, celery or carrot juice, apples, beans, blueberries, cucumbers, eggs, lemons and limes to name a few. Weight loss does not have to include expensive trips to clinics or buying foods and weight loss systems; it can be done inexpensively and mindfully with good intent.
Hydration is a major key to having a healthy body and the best source of hydration is good old water. Not a fan? Some people aren’t and just can’t get enough fluid down, leaving them with dry skin, brittle hair, and many other internal problems. Water aids in digestion, absorption and transportation of nutrients, circulation, creation of saliva, and body temperature. But if you can’t get it down, don’t worry, coffee, juice, teas and milk all count! They are just more expensive and may have extra calories. A great alternative to plain water is to simply cut up a lemon or lime and squeeze a slice into your water every time you drink. Not only will it taste better, it’s a cost efficient way of providing your body with some antioxidants, calcium, magnesium, potassium and Vitamin A,B,C, and D. If you are unfamiliar with how important antioxidants are, they are the frontline warriors that protect your body internally by preventing and stopping damage caused by free radicals such as chemicals that can cause harm to your cells. Another great thing about water is that people can save tons of money bottling their own water. Pass on 16 oz bottles of water; they are usually filled with tap water or possibly tainted spring water. Plus the plastic bottles create a lot of waste. If it is not in one’s budget to install a clean healthy filtration system in the home, many stores now offer bottling machines that allow people to bottle their own five gallon water jugs.
5. Alternative sugar options
Sugar – Quite possibly the worst substance one can consume. A sugar addiction is said to be like that of a drug addiction, cocaine, in fact. Upon regular consumption, your brain becomes rewired to demand the next “hit”. Remove it from your diet. Become a sugar free household. It sounds ridiculous but, sugar creates a very acidic body, and many bad things thrive in these environments, the number one being cancer. Although all sugars, even the healthy sources count towards your daily sugar and caloric intake, they are much easier for your body to tolerable than processed sugar. Alternatives, such as honey, also offer amazing health benefits. It is said that the bee adds extra goodness and that honey possesses unique life-supporting qualities such as a powerful antiseptic, an antioxidant and great cleansing properties for wounds. Other natural sweeteners are agave, stevia, cocoa, and vanilla. Believe it or not, it is extremely true that once you cut sugar out of your diet, your body will no longer crave it, and literally rejects it when it enters your system.
“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.” Wellness does not only mean caring for the body, it also means nurturing your mind and soul. All professional motivational gurus recommend at least 15 minutes of inspirational reading a day for many beneficial reasons. Studies have shown that staying mentally stimulated can slow and even prevent the progress of Alzheimer’s and Dementia. Keeping your brain active and engaged prevents it from losing power. Sudoku, and other puzzles are just as engaging as reading and offer the same benefits. Reading also helps with stress reduction: when reading, people lose themselves in the book, they relax and focus. Along with the tranquility reading offers, people also experience memory improvement, vocabulary expansion, and improved brain function and concentration. And, we can not forget free entertainment, which is enriching and important to one’s overall wellbeing. Reading is free. Libraries offer free memberships giving everyone access to books of all genres. There are also great free apps that allow people to download reading material right to their phone giving them the convenience of reading anywhere and anytime. If you prefer to own books, Amazon offers many for $.01 and $.99, or with free shipping. Keeping one’s mind functioning efficiently could add on many healthy years to one’s life. If you have a healthy body, but not a healthy mind, the body may be of no use. It is very important to maintain a balance in our body’s system.
The ultimate time where the body rejuvenates, grows, and heals. The human body needs sleep and cannot function without it. Its another one of the three legs needed to keep the body healthy. Studies have shown that not getting enough sleep could affect your weight, mood and sex life. Lack of sleep can also lead to serious health issues such as heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Not getting enough sleep can also affect your ability to regulate your emotions. Overtired people are more likely to snap, burst into tears, or start laughing hysterically. Getting enough sleep is extremely important. What is enough sleep? Studies show that on average most individuals can operate sufficiently with 7-8 hours. However, each individual must determine the correct dosage of sleep that works for them. Some need less, and some may need more. For those who suffer from sleep deprivation or insomnia, there are some naturally safe remedies available. Melatonin is by far the most commonly used. Scientific research has shown that melatonin decreases the time it takes to fall asleep, increases feelings of “sleepiness,” and increases the duration of sleep. Chamomile has a calming effect, which helps people feel relaxed, thus preparing the body for sleep and rest. Kava, also known as Kava Kava, is an herbal remedy that’s used for stress, anxiety relief and insomnia. Kava is different from the aforementioned, in that it induces relaxation without hindering memory or motor function. As with everything herbal, homeopathic, or prescription solution, thorough research or a visit to the doctor prior to beginning any new regimen is always recommended for safety.
2. Sun Therapy
Life on Earth could not thrive without the energy provided by the sun. The human body needs sun, just as it needs food and water. Too many people forget that and stay secluded indoors. Although it is true many 9-5 jobs limit us from getting in our daily dose of sun, studies have shown that the body only requires 5-15 minutes a few times a week to get what it needs to operate efficiently and to process and create the vitamin D that it so crucially needs. Vitamin D plays a big role in bone health. Low vitamin D levels have been associated to diseases like osteoporosis and osteomalacia. Exposure to sunlight also increases the release of the hormone called serotonin which is associated with mood elevating, calmness and focus. It can also help fight depression, seasonal affective disorder, and postpartum depression. Although excess sunlight has been linked to skin cancers, a moderate amount of sunlight actually has cancer preventive benefits! The sun must penetrate the skin, so wearing sunscreen, hats or protective layers will not give you the proper exposure. However, if you are going to be outside for longer periods, it is always safer to protect your skin.
Some say travel is the key to a mentally balanced life. Meeting people of different cultures and ethnicities, traveling to foreign lands to explore hidden treasures, and widening one’s horizons are all wonderful reasons to travel abroad. But many may not know that going to the local beach or city and state parks, trying new restaurants or visiting new locations are just as beneficial. Day trips or local camping can have the same benefits as traveling overseas. Never underestimate the power of travel. Getting out of the routine of everyday life is extremely important to a healthy mind and soul. Not being on autopilot, it makes us use new ways of thinking and decision making. The infamous travel writer Pico Lyer once said: “Travel is not really about leaving our homes, but leaving our habits.” All this helps to create a well-rounded individual. It builds self confidence and conversation skills. This is also a great time to incorporate tips number 4, 13 and 14, exercise, sleep and sun.. Life should be filled with excursions, great tasting healthy food, lots of water, and rest and relaxation. These increase quality of life, and are attainable by everyone. A fixed budget or lower income does not have to mean you can’t have optimal health. There are free and inexpensive secrets around every corner to ensure your wellness.