Guest Post By Caroline O’Hagan | Naturopath
I opened my clinic in Burpengary earlier this year after completing my studies in 2017. Having had a passion for low-tox living and natural health for many years, Naturopathy came to me almost accidentally. I had never considered studying it until I woke up one morning with a clear intention to enrol in college. So I did and the rest is history. My own health journey has been interesting – 20 years of graves disease, every treatment going, then finally a total thyroidectomy 5 years ago. In the future, I hope to be able to help others in a similar situation to find natural alternatives and heal themselves before making drastic changes that cannot be undone (like I did!). My own blog can be found on my website www.elixirnaturalhealth.com.au and you can also join in the fun on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/carolineohagannaturopath/
I love to write so blogging has been really enjoyable for me. I hope you find this article helpful – please don’t hesitate to get in touch should you wish to see a Naturopath!
Good Health – back to basics!
Staying healthy can seem like hard work, possibly mysterious and pretty difficult to stay on top of, but what if I told you that you can lay the foundations of good health with a few simple basics?
Yes there are tests and pills and potions, and I can certainly help you with those too, but it is crucial that you master the basics, to give yourself the best chance at good health for life, and optimize recovery time from illness.
Good Nutrition – Western medicine seems to only now be catching up with the crazy notion that what you put in your mouth effects what goes on inside your body, and of course what then comes out. For decades, it has been struck off as hippy mumbo jumbo to consider that eating a poor diet, devoid of any nutrition would result in health issues, but finally, the science is catching up. More and more clinical studies are occurring that show time and again that poor nutrition is responsible for many conditions and diseases, as well as low immunity and therefore the spread of infectious disease.
Eating well might sound daunting, and there are so many faddy diets out there, which work to a point – you might get great weight loss results for a short period of time, but for a sustainable and long-term nutritional foundation, it is actually really simple. Eat real food.
If it comes in a box with bright colours and cartoon- like characters or is packed with a list of ingredients full of words you can’t even pronounce, then chances are you don’t need or want that inside your body.
Notice how fruits and vegetables don’t come with a nutritional label…neither does a fillet of fresh fish. If you can grow it, eat it. If it once walked, swam or flew, eat it (if you choose to). If it comes in plastic packaging with 30 ingredients…feel free to avoid it! Include a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, healthy fats like avocado and coconut oil, lean meats and oily fish. Avoidance of sugar and in many cases wheat and dairy can be necessary to regain control of ones health. Get in touch should you want more information on where to start.
Drink water – Something as simple as making sure you drink adequate water each day can have life changing implications! Adults should drink 2 litres of water at least, each day. The quantity children need varies depending on their age and body weight, but most people need to drink more – especially in our harsh Australian summer, if you exercise regularly or have certain medical conditions.
Being properly hydrated can reduce symptoms of constipation, headaches, dry skin, and muscle cramps and may have a positive effect on blood pressure. Dehydration headaches are literally caused by your brain shrinking due to lack of fluids. The pain is caused by brain tissues, pulling away from the inside of the skull cavity. Ouch. Drink plenty of water, even if only to save your poor brain! If you have trouble remembering to drink water, there are reminder apps you can get for your phone.
Fresh air / Exercise / Grounding / Vitamin D – Getting out into the sun and fresh air is amazing for your health. Clear your head, get some vitamin D, ground yourself and let the healing power of our planet wash over you.
Just 15 minutes of sun each day, before 10 am can be enough to give you the Vitamin D you need. Walking barefoot in your garden or on the beach grounds you, allowing free roaming electrons on the earths surface to enter your body and act as antioxidants, improving your health totally free of charge! (pardon the pun).
30 minutes of walking, 3 times per week has been shown to improve health immensely, particularly in those who were previously sedentary. Combine your walk with bare feet, the beach and early morning sun and you are onto a winner!
Get good sleep – Turn off the devices, better yet keep them in another room; Buy an alarm clock! Don’t watch TV in bed – keep electronic devices in your room to a minimum. Fresh air in the bedroom will help you sleep better and reduce the spread of germs; In winter make sure you open bedroom windows for a while each day to allow the air to circulate. Get a decent mattress, change your pillow, buy lovely soft sheets…make the changes you need to make, to ensure maximum comfort and give yourself the best chance of a great sleep! Go to bed earlier and aim for 8 hours each night. The early hours of the morning are when our body does some of its most important jobs, like detoxifying through the liver and lungs, so sleeping through that time allows the body to focus on its job and not be disturbed! If you find yourself waking to have a drink of water, you might be dehydrated so try and drink more during the daytime.
Relax!! – We now know that stress is a major factor in the progression of many diseases, so finding ways to relax and let things go is important in allowing your body the chance to heal itself. When we are stressed, worrying, upset or just constantly wired to social media and the TV our nervous system is under pressure to perform, instead of doing the jobs it wants to be doing instead (like digesting food, detoxifying our blood, and fighting off potential pathogens that could cause illness). Disconnect, relax, meditate, read a book, listen to relaxing music, tend your garden, go for a walk in a forest, swim in the ocean, take up a hobby that doesn’t involve a screen…. There are so many ways to relax, and in our crazy busy world, it has never been more crucial that we find ways to chill out!
If you already suffer from chronic illness or health conditions, then these changes alone will not necessarily heal you on their own – you may still need medical treatment, as well as naturopathic and homeopathic support – but they will allow your body to slow down and do what it needs to do to get better. Living consciously and carefully, respecting and honoring yourself and your body is an incredible healing tool, and it is basically free!