In the previous two articles in this blog, I introduced two FREE micro-courses: “Creating a Healthy Home” and “Real Food Diaries.” In this article, I want to introduce a third micro-course: “Foundations of Functional Medicine.”
We often find ourselves chasing after the latest trends, diets, or supplements in the hope of achieving optimal well-being. But what if I told you that the true keys to a healthier life lie in the timeless principles of good old-fashioned health practices?
What are they?
- Eat Real Food
- Reduce (Unhealthy) Stress
- Prioritize Sleep
- Stay Active
- Create a Clean Environment
These are the foundational elements we should prioritize, rather than chasing after the latest health trends or supplements.
The power of these basic principles is astounding. There’s a Pacific island where 80% of the population smokes, yet they have no increased risk of heart disease or cancer. Their secret? They live close together, consume what they catch or grow, maintain natural sleep patterns, and have meaningful, close-knit relationships. This example, along with the French paradox, demonstrates the potency of these foundational principles.
Let’s do a quick “flyover” of the foundations:
Embrace Real Food
Eating real, unprocessed food is one of the most impactful steps you can take to improve your health. In today’s world, processed foods are everywhere, and they contribute to a staggering 80% of chronic diseases in the United States. Real food, on the other hand, promotes better health and longevity.
Tame Stress & Find Meaning
Stress is a silent killer in today’s fast-paced world. Chronic stress is linked to heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity, and more. But it’s not just stress; finding meaning in life and cultivating close relationships are equally crucial for your well-being. Historically, these elements thrived within the context of family and community, providing individuals with a sense of purpose and belonging.
Prioritize Quality Sleep
We significantly underestimate the role of sleep in health. Adequate sleep is vital for overall well-being, as it regulates hormones, improves memory, and reduces stress. When we prioritize quality sleep, we set the stage for better physical and mental health.
In today’s sedentary society, it’s crucial to remind ourselves that we are meant to move. You don’t need an expensive gym membership; simple activities like walking, stretching, or yoga can make a world of difference. Physical activity not only keeps your body in shape but also enhances brain function, regulates hormones, and reduces stress.
Create a Clean Environment
Maintaining a clean and toxin-free environment is another essential aspect of functional medicine. While it might not be as immediately tangible as diet or exercise, the environment we live in can profoundly impact our health.
Don’t be fooled by the apparent simplicity; these foundational principles are transformative. They empower you to take control of your health and well-being.
Throughout this micro-course, I’ll dip into each of these principles, providing you with a framework to build your personalized program for a healthier, longer life.
And the whole thing is less than 20 minutes!
If you’re new to functional medicine, this micro-course is an absolute must! Even if you’re a veteran, I think this brief course will help to reinforce your own foundations. I’ll see you there!
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