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We're completely obsessed with diet and lifestyle. Considering the amount of books, articles, and TV shows out there about how to get healthy, you would expect to see the subway and streets packed full of healthy, glowing people. But as we know, it's just the opposite.
So what's going on?
In our efforts to chase after the newest, trendiest "secret" to weight loss and good health, we forget the basics. We spend a fortune on supplements, but forget to eat our vegetables. We take expensive yoga classes and meditation retreats, and forget to enjoy the simple pleasures available every day.
We forget that for generations, our ancestors simply ate, did physical work, and lived healthy lives. Nourishing, homecooked meals made with whole foods, an active lifestyle, a supportive community, and, of course, way less exposure to nasty chemicals kept people healthy without a lot of extra thought.
It doesn't have to be complicated. We don't need to count calories and carb grams, or spend hours in the gym. We just need to rediscover what Great-Grandma always knew.
And it's not all about weight loss. In fact, I think we should take the emphasis off weight loss and focus on other areas of our lives: having enough energy to make the most of our day. Reducing stress, sleeping better, and waking up refreshed, boosting our immune system so we don't get sick as often, feeling inspired, creative, and motivated should all be goals ahead of weight loss on our priority list.
These benefits come with having a healthy lifestyle, and they're a lot more fun than focusing on losing that last 10 pounds.
So let's take a look at five vintage tips for vibrant, healthy living which have stood the test of time. They worked for Great-Grandma, and they'll work for you.
1. Eat real food.
To paraphrase Michael Pollan, eat things that someone's great-grandmother would recognize. (It doesn't have to be your great-grandmother. Like Thai food? Then eat something that your imaginary Thai-great-grandma would recognize.) Eat enough real food so that there isn't space in your diet for the fake, processed stuff.
2. Cook more.
Remember when going out to eat was a special occasion? For Great-Grandma, 99.9% of her meals were prepared at home with real ingredients. Going out to a restaurant to eat was a treat. Many of us do just the opposite and have most of our meals prepared by other people. No matter what you cook, it will be healthier when you make it yourself, with real food and care. Bonus points for sharing your meals with people you love.
This means something different for everyone. Maybe it means less shopping. Or clearing out your closet. Reducing your time commitments. Using fewer beauty products so you have an easier morning routine. Or maybe it means prioritizing: focus on what is important, and let the other stuff fall aside. Just simplify whenever possible. It reduces stress and makes you feel better.
4. Make household items yourself.
A 2009 Harvard Business School study talks about the "Ikea Effect," which essentially means you like household items more when you make it yourself. Creating new things exercises and your curiosity and keeps you learning (which is good for your brain!). You'll also often save money. And if you have kids, even better! Making things gives you quality time together and teaches them to be resourceful and creative.
5. Live clean.
Reduce chemicals in your life. This is healthier for you and for the planet. This can mean choosing non-toxic cleaning products, making DIY beauty products, using less plastic, making less waste. In general, try to detox your life.
Rediscovering your own best health is about more than keeping up with the latest health trends. It's about reconnecting with habits that humans have thrived on for generations. They may not be glamorous, but these time-tested health basics will give you a strong foundation for more energy and vibrant health!