The Three Best Decisions for your Health

Three big decisions you can make to change your health for the better.
By Kourtney Linebaugh

Your health is crucial in order to live a happy, healthy life. Maintaining your best health translates to feeling good and having the ability to take advantage of all life has to give you. On the other hand, poor health negatively alters not only how you feel, but limits you from experiencing life to the fullest.

Wholesome living is attainable, but it is up to you to make smart choices. By consciously choosing to make these three decisions, you can achieve your best health yet.

Decision One: Eat Simply With Plants

The secret to living life well is actually no secret at all. Various types of plants can serve as healthy food sources to facilitate healthy body systems. Incorporating more plant foods into your diet has tremendous health benefits as plant foods provide you with vitamins, minerals, and fiber that can heal and energize you from the inside out. The Harvard School of Public Health states that “eating plenty of vegetables and fruits can help you ward off heart disease and stroke, control blood pressure, prevent some types of cancer, avoid a painful intestinal ailment called diverticulitis, and guard against cataract and macular degeneration—two common causes of vision loss.” Food supplied by nature is easily accessible at conventional grocery stores, co-ops, and farmer’s markets. Nature’s food provides your whole self with what it needs to function. Sure, the advantages of eating more plants are undeniable, but making the decision to do so is the only task that will actually help you reap those benefits.

Not sure what simple eating is? Try this experiment: for one day eat only food from nature, such as fresh produce, fruit, seeds, or beans. In this way, you will eat in a much simpler and “real” manner. You will be amazed at what foods you currently eat that don’t fall into this category. Yet, eating “real” food will create awareness of additives and preservatives in your diet that you may have been previously unaware of.

What is the easiest way to add more plants to your diet? Make a smoothie as a snack or as an addition to your breakfast. Start with kale, collard greens, or wheat grass for greens, and then add fruit to taste.

Decision Two: Use Plant-Based Products

Purchasing cleaning products and cosmetics at the store can be overwhelming. Oftentimes, we purchase convenient products that are inexpensive with low-quality ingredients, or, due to better marketing, spend more money on brand names with similar harmful ingredients. Take time to read and identify ingredients before you make a purchase.

Sneezing, itchy, or red eyes; rashes; or hormonal disruptions are all adverse effects of unhealthy products. Most ingredients that cause these reactions are mysterious blends of chemicals and preservatives with unknown long-term effects. The make-up, soap, and shampoo on the shelves of many stores are anything but simple.

Products with plant-based ingredients are often underestimated and overlooked. People may look at simple natural products like baking soda and vinegar, and undervalue what good it can do in their home. These two products are effective tools that can clean bathrooms and countertops without polluting the air or environment. Plant-based products are also overlooked because they tend to be sold only at specialty stores. While these specialty stores may be worth checking out, many big-box department stores are beginning to carry “greener” products as consumer interest increases. Specialty stores, like health food shops, selectively carry plant-based products and evaluate their ingredients before you do.

Make the decision to use plant-based ingredients and nature will provide you with healthy results. Ingredients like tea tree oil can offer acne relief. Utilize shea butter or almond oil to moisturize skin and lips. Try minerals and pigments from the earth for face powder and use eye shadows that do not use talc. When you buy mascara, seek ingredients that include plants, nut oils, and beeswax.

Decision Three: Protect Your Environment.

If we are good to our environment, the environment will be good to us. The more we utilize biodegradable or reusable packaging, participate in alternative transportation, and use natural cleaning products, the healthier our cities and homes will be. The third best decision you can make is to protect your environment. Doing so is easy and requires only a minimal change from you.

Make environmental decisions like these:

Carry a reusable cup or mug. The Environmental Action Association points out that “Americans throw away about 25 billion Styrofoam coffee cups every year, and 2.5 million plastic beverage bottles every hour. Most of these materials do not biodegrade.” When you bring a reusable water bottle everywhere you go, you will never need to buy a plastic bottle. If you purchase coffee or tea from a café, bring your own coffee mug or thermos. Many coffee shops even give you credit for your purchase if you bring your own mug. Reusing your own cup or bottle prevents hundreds of paper and plastic cups from ending up in landfills, decreases pollution, and conserves natural resources.

Compost your leftover or expired food. Many cities now offer free, green compost bins that you can dump your yard debris into each week. Not only does composting cut down on garbage, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) explains that it can enrich the soil, help clean already contaminated soil, prevent pollution, and can be economically beneficial (this is because using compost can reduce the need for water, fertilizers, and pesticides). Create your own compost pile and use the soil in your garden.

Maintain your yard with a push mower. The EPA states, “Lawn equipment emits pollutants such as hazardous air pollutants, particle pollution (dust), and VOCs. These pollutants can contribute to health problems that may affect homeowners, their families, and the community.” Save a trip to the gym, and use a push mower! You will have a positive influence on your neighborhood’s air quality and get in some exercise. If you are not ready for your own push mower you can also use an electric mower. It is an eco-friendly option that produces significantly less pollution than a gas mower.

Choose wisely. In every aspect of your life you have the ability to make a healthy decision or rely on unhealthy habits. Take care of yourself and the earth by purposefully choosing to make healthy decisions.

Kourtney Linebaugh is an Oregon-based freelance writer and featured blogger for Natural Solutions. You can read more from her by visiting her blog, samvidbeauty.com