The intention of this article is to clarify some important points about achieving optimal health.
Real wholesome foods and herbs are the most “medicinal” substances you can put in your body if you are looking for a true healing experience.
For clarity, let’s define what “medicinal” means:
When you utilize something that is “medicinal” it should support the body’s ability to heal itself. One of the reasons I have found that so many people never truly experience great health is because they take too many shortcuts and never master the basics.
For example, supplements will be of little use to you if you don’t master the basics for achieving optimal health. The three most important basic tools are:
1.) High quality nutrient dense foods, which includes herbs and superfoods
2.) Quality sleep, and
3.) Quality movement
I assure you that no matter how many pills or powders you take, if these basics are not mastered you will NEVER achieve optimal health. To be clear, I am not saying you won’t see any difference or that you won’t feel somewhat better by using the pills and powders. What I am saying is you will never feel true vibrant health. Let’s go a little deeper into each.
1.) Quality nourishing foods:
Nourishing foods and herbs are by far the most “medicinal” substances you can put in your body. All real foods and herbs contain a complex of macro and micronutrients as well as phytochemicals. The phytochemicals are the real powerhouses of plant-based foods and herbs.
What makes them so special is that every food has a unique profile of these phytochemicals in perfect balance in order for the body to be able to use it. It is as if mother nature knew exactly what we needed.
Real, wholesome foods and herbs are in a perfectly balanced state and contain everything you will need in order to nourish your body. Nothing that really nourishes our bodies is ever isolated or singular. This is not to say that isolated substances don’t work, but, it comes with a cost. There is a good reason why when we take isolated substances they need to be in a very high dosage and often combined with other ingredients to make them more complete.
Here are some wonderful whole foods that can help you get started:
The problem is that the sum of the parts are not greater than the whole which is exactly why these isolated substances don’t work as efficiently. The body is capable of breaking down just about anything. The issue becomes how much your body is able to use from it. Therefore, how can we expect it to support the body’s ability to heal itself if the body is unable to properly use what you take in?
2.) Quality Sleep:
Please note the word quality. Many people sleep 6-9 hours a night but are they really sleeping and is it truly quality sleep?
We define quality sleep based on several factors. First is the issue of whether the person wakes up tired or well-rested. Second is to determine if a person is recovering from the mental and physical trauma brought on by daily stressors. Finally is whether or not a person is going through all the stages of sleep and ending in the deepest phase where true recovery and repair happens.
Here is a breakdown of the four phases of sleep.
This is a stage between wakefulness and sleep. You may also know this as your drowsy phase. Because sleep disruption during this phase is very common, dreaming is very unlikely. This stage represents about 5-10% of total sleep time.
This is known as the first true stage of sleep. Muscle activity decreases and conscious awareness begins to fade. This is mainly a theta wave stage. Around 40-45% of sleep time is spent in this stage.
This stage is known as deep, delta or slow-wave sleep. If awoken during this stage it will commonly take 30 minutes to attain normal mental function. This stage represents 15-20% total sleep time.
This phase occurs about 90-120 minutes throughout the night and accounts for about 20-25% of total sleep time. This is all dependent on age so, for example, a baby may spend up to 80% of sleep time in this phase. Rem stands for rapid eye movement and while it is still not completely understood, it is believed that this rapid eye movement serves to support the internal visual images of dreams.
3.) Quality Movement:
For those of us who love the idea of “anti-aging,” nothing reverses the clock quite like putting on quality lean muscle tissue.
In my opinion, this is perhaps one of our greatest tools for adapting to the external stressors we deal with on a daily basis. The only way to do this is by incorporating some form of strength training into your lifestyle. As important as endurance exercise is, it is not an efficient way to build quality muscle tissue. It does, in fact, play a role in keeping us lean but you need to lift weights and train in order to really build muscle and most importantly get stronger.
While there are plenty of simple programs out there to help you get to your goal, I would suggest doing some research on what is known as the conjugate method. This is by far the easiest and most efficient way to build strength. The bottom line is that movement and strength training have been proven to not just put on quality muscle tissue but also build stronger bones, ligaments, and tendons. Best of all it will build real sustainable strength.
There are many important lessons you can learn from this article. I can’t stress enough that understanding the true message of mastering the basics is something that can never be replaced by pills or powders. If we take a good honest look at our past I have no doubt we will find that all of our failures came by not looking at the importance of the basics.
The best shortcut in life is truly in ‘mastering the basics’.
In Great Health,
About Michael Stuchiner
Michael Stuchiner is an experienced Master Herbalist, the Head of Education for Z Natural Foods, a teacher and an accomplished author. With a 16-year specialization in medicinal herbs, Mike also has a vast knowledge in tonic and adaptogenic herbalism. Mike has enjoyed a 25-year career as an elite-level competitive powerlifter where he learned to heal his ‘mind and body’ as an avid user of herbal remedies.
As an “in-the-trenches” herbalist, Mike has done more than 85 speaking engagements, consulted with clients ranging from young to elderly, worked with athletes in virtually all sports and with clients who have “dis-ease” states of a wide variety. Mike also mentors student Master Herbalists and will continue to teach the next generation to grow a deeper wisdom of the human body through appropriate herbal remedies.
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