NUTRIENT ONE: CLEAN AIR - What is more essential than breathing? We can go weeks without food and days without water, but not more than a few minutes without air. Fresh air is essential for our wellbeing. Yet most of us spend all day indoors, breathing recycled air. When we do get outside, much of our air is polluted. It can be difficult with our busy urban lifestyles to get out into nature, where air is freshest. At best, we might get a little park action when we take the dog for a walk. At worst, the only time we really experience fresh air is once a year on vacation!
Solution: Nourish yourself with negative ions. Negative ions are at their max in pure places, like the tops of mountains or the depths of forests. Thanks to technology, you can do a lot to purify your indoor air by simply getting a negative ionizer for both your home and your office. You can buy desktop or standup units, but I prefer the plug-ins that go right into your wall outlets since they don't take up any space. For my home, I use both the plug-ins and a more "natural" (and beautiful) solution: Himalayan Salt Lamps. For a high-end plug-in, try the GT50. For a more affordable option, I love the Purely Products plug-in.
NUTRIENT TWO: PURE WATER - We are made of water. We are meant to drink water in its natural state: mineralized water from springs & rivers. Yet just like the air we breathe, the water we drink today is anything but pure. It's stripped of minerals and polluted with chemicals, prescription drug residues, and other waste products. Although the pollution is bad enough for our bodies due to creating a permanent toxicity that our cells are constantly battling, it's the absence of minerals in our water that's even more critical. Why? Where minerals go, water goes. Minerals carry water into our cells. We could be drinking 12 glasses a day and literally still be dehydrated if we don't have any minerals helping that water get absorbed at the cellular level. They are meant to go together.
Solution: If you own your home, you can invest in a house-wide water filtration system. This is pricey, but guarantees you're getting the purest water for both drinking and bathing. For an affordable option, be sure you're using a Brita filter for your drinking water at the very least. You can also by screw-in filters for your shower head. Then, to get those vital minerals, try simply adding ionic trace minerals. One bottle will last you about 6 months and is under $20. Not a bad investment! You can add a few drops per glass to re-mineralize your water, or place 20-40 drops right into your filled Brita pitcher.
NUTRIENT THREE: SUNLIGHT - We are literally beings of light! At the quantum level we are made of light. The sun not only carries light to us, it also carries quantum information. All living things need the sun to survive and to evolve, and so do we. Yet modern medicine warns us that the sun is dangerous. It's not dangerous; it's vital to our physical, mental, emotional and even spiritual wellbeing. Do not be afraid of the sun. Recent studies are now showing that the sun is beneficial rather than harmful. Sunlight helps us make vital vitamin D, reduces heart disease, nourishes our skin, uplifts our mood, boosts mental clarity, and can even help prevent cavities. Not only that, studies also point out that sunlight actually helps prevent cancer rather than causing it. The list of benefits far exceeds the few I've mentioned here, so don't hide under your umbrella, hat, sunglasses and sunscreen.
Solution: Spend at least 20 minutes a day getting sunlight, which you can absorb even on a cloudy day. If you are sensitive to the sun, you'll find that moving to a mostly raw food diet almost always takes this away and can even prevent burning. Give up your sunscreens, especially any that aren't made of natural ingredients. Recent studies have shown that many of the chemicals in sunscreens are carcinogenic, increase cancer risk, and disrupt hormone levels. For days when you will be in strong sun for long periods, go for a natural, mineral-based sunscreen like All Terrain and only put it where you need it (nose & cheeks, neck & shoulders). For an even easier solution, use sesame oil (the non-toasted kind), which has a UV resistance of about 30%.
NUTRIENT FOUR: TOUCH - Yep, touch is essential to your wellbeing! Think about a baby who is deprived of touch. It suffers stunted physical growth, a decreased immune system, and mental and emotional dysfunction. As adults, we still need this touch nourishment. Therapist Virgina Satir is famous for her quote that, "human beings need 4 hugs a day for survival, 8 for maintenance, and 12 for growth." Yet most of us live in a touch-phobic society where we spend the majority of our days avoiding giving or receiving hugs, rubs, hand-holding and other forms of touch. Touch has become taboo except for intimate partnerships or family relationships, yet touch is a necessary form of communication. It lifts our spirits, boosts our immune systems, and fills our deepest spiritual need for connection and unity. What if you aren't in a relationship and don't have family near? How can you get your daily touch nutrients?
Solution: There are many ways you can reach out and get touched, but sadly, it often costs you! Massage therapy is the most popular and obvious treatment. I think that one of the reasons massage has become so popular is because as a society we are touch-deprived. If you are daring, you can organize a hug-a-thon or a hand -holding-thon at your work, church, or other communal place. This "sanctions" hugging as okay and can be a lot of fun. Plus, it's free! Everyone simply gathers and spends 10 minutes hugging or holding hands with as many people as they wish. Another fun and free way to get touch nourishment is to invite your friends over for a "cuddle party." Finally, there is even a new field of therapy called, unsurprisingly, Touch Therapy. This includes alternative healing methods such as Reiki, Mahi Kari, Therapeutic Touch, and others.
NUTRIENT FIVE: INNER PEACE - The effects of a stressed-out mind upon the body are staggering. They are so staggering, in fact, that I've made inner peace one of the 5 essential nutrients that our bodies need for health. When you are stressed mentally and emotionally, you literally place your body in a continual state of flight-or-fight response. This means that it is constantly in a state of high-level physical stress and toxicity. This stress is the root cause of nearly all disease, as well as premature aging. According to WebMD, 75 to 90% of all US doctor visits are stress-related. Yet we live in a society that encourages stress! We must keep up with the Joneses, do more, be more, and have more. Relaxing is seen as laziness. Meditation is seen as "woo-woo." Sleeping too much means you are slothful. Working less than 40 hours a week is unproductive. Having empty days on your calendar means you aren't a successful human being. How can you overcome the constant mental stress that our modern lifestyle promotes?
Solution: One very practical way to reduce mental stress is to unplug. Turn off your T.V. so you aren't bombarded by constant negativity, violence, and commercialism. Let go of delving deeply into the news and feeding on world drama. Stop reading all those magazines and popular internet sites. Just this one simple change can do wonders to transform your outlook on life and get you "deprogrammed" from desiring and suffering. Another strategy is meditation. You don't have to get into strange poses and hum strange noises. Simply sit still for 10-20 minutes each day and focus on breathing in and out to bring your mind and heart some peace. Finally, you can consciously work to gain power over your negative mental chatter and your emotional reactions. Here's how that works:
It's easy to think that you have no control over your thoughts & feelings and that life just happens to you and you can only react to it. But in truth, this happens because we think that our thoughts are us. "I am a failure!" is a great example. See the 'I' in there? The belief becomes who we are rather than just a thought we're having at that particular moment. Practice "watching" your thoughts and allowing them to flow past you like a cloud passing by rather than identifying with them as "me" or "my truth." Respond to stressful or unhappy thoughts with "That's interesting," and see where this non-attached, curious approach takes you. For a more active approach, consciously make an effort to choose the feelings you wish to experience: "I want to feel ease, I want to feel peace, I want to feel safe, I want to feel good, I want to feel strong, I want to feel joyful, I want to feel... " The more you practice just saying or thinking these words, the more you actually activate their vibration within you. When you have a reaction to something and experience negative emotions, know that you don't have to accept these emotions as truth. You can let them go. You can choose to feel differently.
These are all such simple, yet vital, ways to nourish your body. You will also nourish your heart and soul, cultivating states of stable wellbeing, vitality, and joy within you. So eat well for sure, but also get your clean water, your pure air, your life-giving sunlight, your healing touch, and your calming inner peace.