The Myth of Natural: Part 2

by Belinda on December 29, 2014

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You buy organic food but love your French fries. You wonder about the chemicals but still color your hair. You adore your natural skincare but can’t give up that perfect-pink nail polish with formaldehyde.  And you even drink green juices…PLUS your two glasses of wine at night! What’s a girl to do?!

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There’s a lot of pressure out there to go “natural”. But what is natural, really? And how do you know what’s most important for your health and where to spend your money? If you’re feeling a little angst, maybe even guilty for the choices you’ve made…or just simply confused, this blog is for you!

I’ve discovered it’s very easy to get so caught up in sweating the small stuff that we get sidetracked from what really makes a difference in our lives. This is the seduction of “natural”.

You see…

Just because something is natural does not mean it’s better, safer or healthier.

It’s a fallacy to assume that anything “natural” is automatically better or safer – and that man made “chemicals” are always bad. It’s just not that simple. Many herbs have dangerous side effects even though they’re natural.  Marketers have capitalized on the idea that “natural means good for you”; a food labeled “all natural” may in fact contain tons of unhealthy sugar or fat—both of which are, like tobacco, “natural”! We need to think a little deeper…

And more importantly…realize that making natural and healthy choices in some areas of our life – doesn’t atone for the other things that are out of whack, especially if those things are having a serious impact on our health. “Natural” isn’t like the Catholic confessional. You can’t buy a few organic things a week and expect it to cover your multitude of eating sins!

For example…

  • You workout out like a Trojan and eat “clean” 99% of the time. But you drink too much most weekends or have to have your glass or two of wine every night (if this is you, read my heart to heart on alcohol).
  • You always buy “healthy” foods but regularly overeat them (wondering why you can’t lose weight). Check my Get Lean Program.
  • You take all sorts of supplements but neglect the basics like having regular pap smears and dental checkups. Hello??

Today I want you to delve a little deeper into your life.

Your health means way more than picking something off the shelf that makes you feel good because it’s “natural”. This blog has the power to dramatically transform your life for the better. So pay attention.

Let’s take a step back and look at the big picture.

As a transformation coach, I’ve observed there are three behaviors that undermine our ability to achieve our goals:

Displacement: Thinking that doing something “good” will make up for other things that are bad.

Example: Buying organic food yet regularly overeating unhealthy foods like chips, cakes or ice-cream.

Avoidance: Doing the easier things when we know our energy should be focused elsewhere.

Example: Spending time online researching an obscure health supplement instead of getting yourself to the doctor to check out that mid cycle bleeding.

Minimization: Downplaying the importance of things that are not right in your life.

Example: You’re not sleeping, you feel stressed and exhausted yet you tell yourself “you’ll be fine” and keep going to the gym and burning the candle at both ends.

Can you see how we can get side tracked trying to make the right “healthy and natural” choices, that we miss the more important big picture stuff?

Hey, you’re not super woman and this isn’t about ticking all the boxes or being perfect.

This is about focusing on the most important things that will make the biggest difference to your health, happiness and wellbeing. And prioritizing your time and energy accordingly.

You don’t have to spend a small fortune on “organic”. You don’t have to stress about the small stuff. You can live a healthier life….simply and easily!

So to help get you started, here are my top five tips for living a balanced, naturally healthful life.

1. Listen to your body and proactively look after yourself.

shutterstock_150410561 Your body is a sophisticated information network with massive amounts of data exchanged between your cells, nerves, blood stream and organs every day. Most of us are aware of the basic signals our body sends us like hunger or tiredness. But if you listen closely, you start to notice more subtle signals. Some call this intuition or gut instinct, but it’s really your body relaying vital information to your conscious mind. Learn to trust and act on these instincts. I’ve personally known many women who’ve avoided serious ill health by listening to their intuition and insisting on more tests being done or taking preventative action despite everything appearing “OK”. Get to know your body’s normal patterns so you can recognize when things are out of kilter. At the minimum, don’t ignore the signs that something is wrong. Refuse to accept less than optimal health.

2. Get good quality sleep.

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If we don’t go through the full 5 stages of sleep, several times a night — our body, mind and health suffers. Sleep is your sanctuary. If you invest time into improving your sleep you’ll find everything in life gets easier. You’ll have more energy, you’ll lose weight more easily, your thinking will be crystal clear, you’ll dream more and feel inspired about the future, instead of dragging yourself through each day, looking forward to that glass of wine at night. If you don’t already, establish a healthy sleep routine; relax before bed (no electronics), have a warm lavender shower or bath, embrace the renewal process that is about to take place, don’t just plop into bed exhausted and hope for the best.

3. Eat a variety of whole-foods, cook from scratch and practice good kitchen hygiene.

shutterstock_134245568Buy foods as close to the source as possible; whole, unprocessed fresh produce that is preferably from local farms. Yes organic is good (higher in antioxidants and less likely to have toxic chemical residues) – BUT don’t blindly accept the organic label. There are “natural” pesticides that are approved for use in organic farms. There are residues. No worries. Clean any fresh produce (organic or not) that can’t be peeled or scrubbed with a mixture of 1 cup apple cider vinegar, 2 cups of water and 1 dessertspoon of bicarbonate of soda (baking soda). Rinse well. Make sure your cookware is free from toxic materials. And wash your hands before preparing food. Just doing these basic things will massively reduce the daily toxins you and your family are exposed to.  You can download the Environmental Working Group’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce here.

4. Move your body.

shutterstock_163188377Everything you eat nourishes your body through a sophisticated network of blood, lymph and nerves. Moving your body stimulates your internal systems, to optimize absorption of vital nutrients, oxygenate your blood and remove toxins. A simple stretching routine with deep breathing will dramatically reduce your stress levels and improve your digestion. Walking bare foot will stimulate the pressure points on your soles to gently massage your inner organs. Exercising will grow new muscle fibers to firm and tone your body…while reducing body fat. But most of all, taking time to stretch, move and exercise will help you feel connected to yourself, more in-tune with your body and aware of your emotional and physical wellbeing.

5. Love, pamper and appreciate yourself.

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The simple act of regularly caring for your body and face with a scrub, a mask or massage will dramatically reduce your stress level and make you feel and look younger. Use aromatherapy essential oils to make your own skincare. Treat yourself to exfoliating gloves and use them in the shower. Take five minutes before bed to gently massage your face….and watch the results.

Even if you start with one or two of these five simple steps, you’ll be shocked what a difference it makes in your life. And as you gather momentum, you’ll find adding new things easy and enjoyable. If you get side tracked, refocus….what’s your body telling you? Prioritize and channel your energy back to the things that are most important.

The decision to live a natural, simpler, healthier lifestyle doesn’t have to mean massive sacrifices, expense, time, giving up modern medicine or going without your favorite things.

It just means being mindful of our choices and having balance in our lives. Not just buying something because it’s organic or using a supplement because it’s popular. But thinking deeply about what will improve the quality of your life, in the big picture.

Maybe you need to make that doctors appointment you’ve been putting off. Or commit to a few alcohol free weeks. Maybe it’s finally time to lose weight and get fit or start a 100% natural beauty routine — just for you!

My precious readers….I hope you know how much I care about your heath, happiness and wellbeing. Start nurturing your body with thoughtful, wise choices. By just making one positive change today — your life energy, your youthful vitality and health will begin to skyrocket.

P.S. If you enjoyed this post then you might also like The Myth of Natural: Part 1

 

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Sarah January 5, 2015 at 8:38 am

Agree with you totally. That’s why I’ve been staying away from all fructose stuff(non-natural or natural) like even agave syrup.

The overall key for good health is good mental stability, eating properly, wearing sunscreen, being happy and so on.

If say, I can’t find ACV in the supermarket, will white vinegar do?

Reply

Belinda January 5, 2015 at 3:10 pm

Hey Sarah, great to hear from you – how is Super Sexy Skin going?? Well done on staying away from all forms of sugar… I am too and it’s making a difference to my skin and muscle tone, amazing. Yes white vinegar is fine if you can’t find ACV. I’m in the habit of cleaning all my fruit and veg now and it really makes a difference to the taste..you get a more intense, true flavor because the toxins and surface contaminates have been removed – bonus! Hope you have you a great week :) Bel xo

Reply

Cheryl Loffeld December 29, 2014 at 4:07 pm

Hi Bel
Ah, I try and live by these rules. Sometimes busy-ness gets in the way and I need to re-group. It’s amazing though once you do these things how much more amazing you feel, and you no longer sweat the small stuff. Thanks again for a great blog. You’re helping tons of people including me.
luv
Cheryl
xo

Reply

Belinda December 29, 2014 at 4:12 pm

My pleasure Cheryl, we do need to bring ourselves back to what’s most important….regularly. It’s so easy to get sidetracked and like you said busy doing things that won’t really make a difference in the big picture of our lives…
Thank you for posting!!
Bel xo

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