3 Myths of Being Healthy

What we call healthcare is so often just sickcare. We book in with our osteopath when our back is out. We go for a lymphatic massage when our ankles are swollen. We stock up on vitamins when we are feeling poorly. We look for stress management tools after a burnout. That’s sickcare.

Healthcare, on the other hand, is what we do every day, to feed and nourish our body, mind, and soul. What we do on a regular basis, even in small doses, adds up.

They say – an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It’s really a lifestyle and enjoying being healthy, rather than preventing “the inevitable” from happening. Unlike what people may think, living healthy does not have to be boring, draconian or drastic. Try the 80/20 Rule.

Well-being is the foundation of living a life full of vitality, joy, adventure, abundance…The best time to foster and build our health is when we are well. And yet, many people wait until they get sick to improve their diet, quality of sleep, emotional well-being, and other aspects of health.

Why do some people resist getting on the wellness track? Here are three of the most common myths about being healthy.

Myth #1 - It is Expensive

Gym membership. Organic food.  Juice fasts. Yoga. Therapy.

These may be some of the things that come to mind, when you think of ways to live healthier. Yes, they certainly can.

Your next thought may be, “well, I can’t afford organic food!” It can definitely add up if you go full tilt on everything. Whenever I restock my personal care products like natural deodorant and make up, I sometimes take a double take at my bill. Then I remember that this purchase lasts several months. Not only are they beautiful, they are better for me and support people with the same philosophy of personal and planetary health.

Here’s the thing. The health and wellness industry is booming, filled with quick-fixes. You don’t have to buy anything and everything they are selling. There will always be the next big thing. The key is to find your thing.

bust the myth of healthy walking is good exercise

Simple and free can also get you a long way.  Price options do exist. The most important thing is doing what you can, every day. Focus on what is easy and do-able that has the greatest impact.

We do not need fancy gyms or Lululemon gear to get fit. We can certainly choose it but it is not essential. Keeping up with the Joneses is NOT a wellness strategy. Instead of cardio machines, try brisk walking and burpees – great for overall health and free. The Sun Salutation is easy to learn and this simple sequence can be done at home, the park or away on business trips. Gentle stretches keep the body limber.  Squat more, instead of sit. Get a simple band to do resistance training or use your own body weight. Plank anyone? All affordable options!

In many cities, community centres offer great and wallet-friendly classes – yoga, Tai Chi, Meditation, etc. Try pay-what-you-can or by donation classes. Online platforms have flourished, giving us so many choices – styles of yoga, area of focus, level of experience, teachers, length of classes …

Here are a few to check out:

  • Udaya
  • Elena Brower
  • Carrie Ann Moss
  • YogaGlo
  • Leah Kim on Nike
wild plants for foraging

Does going 100% organic eat too big a hole in your budget? Focus on what you eat the most, and buy good quality. Even if you cannot afford to eat all organic, having more greens is a great start and a boon to your health. Wild edibles are great! What about daisy flowers and dandelion in your backyard?

With a global rewilding movement, foraging is a good way to eat natural and with the season.

Dedicated detox can be helpful. We can do even more with eating the “right” foods and keeping our systems light, unburdened by chemicals, plastic exposure, and other toxins. How can we minimize our exposure to toxins? How can we not re-tox? Our body does a pretty good job on its own. Try these tips.

And if you really need a retreat, what about a staycation? Clear your calendar and doing absolutely nothing but what you love for a day or two at home? Yes, that would include a digital detox.

Regular me-time and down-time is a must for good health.

I am confident that nobody will accuse me of selfishness if I ask to spend time, while I am still in good health, with my family, my friends and also with myself.

Nelson Mandela

It is about perspective and choices. Just because something is “expensive” does not mean it is automatically better. Just because something is “cheap” or free does not mean it is crap. On the flip side, expecting only free things is not appreciating the value others offer or supporting them in continuing to bring what they bring to the table.

People have no qualms dropping thousands of dollars on Prada or Hermes bags and then balk at buying organic groceries. Or they splurge on chemical-laden perfumes and makeup because it is Chanel but won’t shell out similar dollars for organic makeup created by people trying to make products safer and the environment healthier.

Is living and being healthy expensive? What is the alternative? Sickcare and medical treatments cost much more. The price is not always in dollars but time loss, stress, grief, worry, pain…Being well, enjoying life, has no price tag. It is priceless.

Myth #2 - It Takes Time

Meditate. Exercise. Get thee to farmers’ markets. Prepare your own meals. Grow your own plants.

Are you already finding your day is chock-full? To the point where slipping in another task, even for five minutes, is mission impossible? Sit down and eat?? Slow cook real food? No fast food? Argh.

Is everyone pulling on you with this or that? Deadlines at work and chores at home? Screaming kids? The dog peeing on the carpet? And cupcakes to bake for the kids’ fundraiser? Or it’s exam time aka must-sit-and-supervise-kids time?

Ever wonder how people like the 4-hour-Man Tim Ferris do it? Is it because they focus on what is important to them? What is “urgent but not important” should not be our priority. What is “urgent and not important” is important to someone else, not you.

If your health is important then you would find the time.

Busy is a decision.

Debbie Millman

Some people start their day with a yoga class, a run, a green smoothie, a meditation session, or hanging out with family, because time spent with people you love and who love you is time well spent. They often schedule these activities first thing, not because they are worried time will slip away. Because they enjoy it and see the value in rising early and in their rituals. They understand starting the day right helps keep their day on track. By putting themselves first, they nourish their soul, fuel their body, and energize for what’s to come.

These activities contribute, rather than detract. They help focus the day in a more conscious and present way. Having a practice or ritual of wellness frees you to do what is important, instead of chasing your tail and pulling your hair out. Being caught in a time trap leaves you stressed, deflated, and bone-tired.

Time is a fluid, not linear, concept. Too often we are slaves to our schedule, rather than making it work for us. Health-promoting activities take time but they also have a built-in bonus of “expanding” time, including promoting longevity.

Myth #3 - It's Boring

Don’t smoke. Don’t eat red meat. Don’t drink milk. Don’t cook with sunflower oil. Don’t drink.

Anyone reading articles full of “don’ts” or getting advice that are restrictive would be turned off. It is 100% understandable why so many people think ignorance is bliss and they would rather (over)indulge. Plus the link between poor habits and poor health is not always so direct and obvious.

Why are there so many “don’ts”? Fear-based tactics have always worked. It kicks our survivalist instincts in gear, activating our most ancient brain that is more reflexive than conscious.  “Don’t” just seems to have that ring of urgency “do’s” do not.

However, it is important to understand the meaning behind the “don’ts” but live from the place of “do’s.” Healthy motivations lie in the desire to re-balance ourselves and the world or at least re-balance the way we have lived and the way we have used science and technology. Pesticides, hormones, chemicals (and their unproven interactions), over processing, environmental impact, animal cruelty…

Eat More Fruit Drink More Water
Drink more water. Enjoy more fruit.

The best advice is moderation. Take the middle way. Listen to your body. Enjoy life but heed its warnings. Nothing is static, including how we feed our body, nourish our minds, and nurture our emotions.

Restrictive dieting, for example, is not a lifestyle and cannot be sustained for any meaningful time, except for those with the strongest of wills.  Over-indulgence taxes our body. How you balance your own ecosystem is a matter of awareness and choice. There is no one fast rule that fits everyone.

It is about making choices, choosing the best as we know it and doing the best as we know it.

Love wine? Go for organic, natural or biodynamic wines. Drink because you love the taste, not as a replacement, distraction, numbing device, or a form of escapism.

So sometimes what we need to do to bring our body back in balance may seem bland (drink more water, skip the coffee, hold the booze) and boring (go to bed by 10pm).

Are we rebelling against these “old folks” habits because we fear aging?

Good solid habits are underrated. Probably what’s even more boring and no fun, though, is being laid out comatose or reeling from pain, because we’ve put our body out of commission by over-doing it. Whatever “it” is.

So are you ready to get/be/stay healthy? This state of being is built upon the choices we make. There are no rules. We can make it as cheap/expensive, as short/long, or as boring/fun as we want it to be. Bust through the myths, the social conditioning, and your mindset, and choose consciously for your best self.