I like to think that now that I’ve reached my fifties, I am better attuned to what my body wants and needs. Yet every day brings on something new. I wake up and feel a pain that might not have been there yesterday. It takes me a bit longer to get moving … and feel good in the process.
That’s difficult for me as I’ve always been an active person.
Instead of accepting these changes, I’ve leaned into understanding them. Why are things changing? What can I do to change the process and feel better? How can I pro-age instead of accepting the things that are happening?
Here are some simple strategies I’m using to help feel my best every day.
I write about my “why” all the time. My father died of a massive heart attack when he was fifty-four. My mother suffered a massive stroke at fifty-four. That changed me in so many ways. It started me down the path of learning all about heart health, so I wouldn’t automatically follow in their footsteps.
I changed again a few years later, when my daughter declared herself vegetarian at the age of three. To ensure her body got all the nutrients it needed from a plant-based diet, I had to do a lot of research. And I found out quickly how the two are intricately related.
After hundreds – thousands of hours of research, I now know that heart disease is treatable and preventable. Yes, you read that right. The common heart-related illnesses that impact people all across the modern world are treatable and preventable. This is my opinion based on all of the reading I’ve done – like this one, and this one, and this one, and this one. Oh, and my own personal story too.
The first step is in learning your numbers. Do you know yours? Here in midlife, it’s important to know where you stand with your:
- Good cholesterol – HDL
- Bad cholesterol – LDL
- Blood pressure
You should check your numbers regularly. I’m a big fan of in-home monitoring. I invested in Qardio a couple of years ago and love being able to monitor all of my statistics via my phone.
It’s equally important to learn the cause.
The more I looked into heart disease, the more I discovered our lifestyles are the main contributor to the symptoms. You can’t eat a western diet, live a sedentary life, and not have trouble with your body. Humans are meant to be active. And we’re meant to take in the appropriate fuel to keep our bodies operating correctly. Yep, a plant-based diet is part of that process.
Think of it this way. You wouldn’t put water into the motor oil or fuel tank of your car, would you? You instinctively know that would wreak havoc on your vehicle. Yet because of our century-long experimentation with industrializing our food supply, we’re now putting the wrong fuel sources into our bodies.
Bodies are meant to take in natural food sources, not processed. If it doesn’t grow in nature, it shouldn’t be consumed by our bodies. Especially if it has so many chemicals in it, you’re no longer sure what it is.
Change your food supply. Get active. Reduce your stress. Sleep.
Be creative with your mind, not with your fuel, what keeps your body moving. This simple action will improve your health and make you feel better. It works for me.
I’m not perfect at it, but I actively pursue it. And I write about it because I’m that convinced it’s an easy way to improve your health.
Stress and Fatigue
Hands up – how many of you DON’T have a lot of stress and fatigue in your life right now? I think we all qualify here in good ol’ 2020.
2020 has been hell. I’ve been involved in a shooting, supported a family member with cancer, been a caregiver for my mom from afar … oh, and did I mention a pandemic as well? Politics, yep, that too.
Some days, my small little wine collection looks too good to resist.
Stress is growing by leaps and bounds this year. And we’re far from over with it yet.
Yet I recognize it’s here in my life, and I’m acutely aware of how I destress each day. This is about mind, body, and spirit health. And it requires you to pay attention to what impacts you, and do a whole lot of self-care each day.
- Visit with people you love
I’ll admit that even though I attempt to do each of these things each day, some days are easier than others. I looked back at a journal entry from earlier this year. On one particular day, I wrote two words: I’m done.
I’d had it that day. I was tired, stressed, and ready to scream. Or cry. I remember sitting there staring at my journal, wondering what the hell to write. The minutes ticked by, until I wrote in big letters: I’m done.
Guess what? That’s okay.
It’s the practice, not the product. It’s the concept of sitting there, allowing the mind to settle and focus. The words on the page are just words. They are designed to help you be a better you.
That’s what I needed to say that day. That helped me focus on me. Days later, I could see just how stressed I’d been. I also knew how far I’d come.
And that’s the point. I recognize every side of me. I give myself permission to just be. I also know I’m vested in self-care, and what I’m going through is all part of the process.
Sometimes you just need to be.
I am a huge believer in proper gut health. Every year, the further I get into plant-based living, the more I discover how vital gut health is.
Back to the metaphor of a car. You change the oil regularly, you use the best motor oil for your vehicle. You head to the dealer or do it yourself, based on a specific schedule. Proper oil ensures the car runs well.
Why, then, do we think we can survive without proper nutrients?
It’s only been the past one-hundred years or so that we’ve strayed so far from natural foods. Now we fill up regularly with overprocessed, low nutritional, sugar-filled crap that we think can sustain us.
Using critical thinking skills, it just doesn’t make sense.
Which is also why I’ve been focusing more on gut health than ever before.
I’ve been vegan, plant-based, free of animal products for almost a decade.
But even though I’m committed, it’s still easy to stray. There are two things that I find difficult to avoid when I’m out and about in the world. The first is cheese – it’s everywhere. The second is ice cream – because sometimes you just have to have a treat, and a vegan option isn’t always available. 🙂
Still, I remember a few years ago, we decided to splurge on a milkshake for dinner. Within an hour or so, each of us started feeling the effect. Bloating. An uncomfortable feeling. It was amplified because it had been so long since we’d eaten that way.
And it’s an experience I’ll carry with me forever.
When you take the time to improve your health, you’re more likely to notice very small deviations from your norm.
People talk probiotics and gut health all the time. Again, I’ve been reading about this for years. I’ve taken probiotics for years. I eat fermented foods.
But lately, I’ve been learning even more.
Even with all I do, I still live in a world where there is a lot of problems with our food supply. Even probiotics can’t make up for food production and the nutrients (or lack thereof) in our delivery systems.
I’m a firm believer in supplementation. Recently I found a gut health formula called ION Gut Health that provides an all-natural, non-toxic mineral supplement that moves beyond probiotics and supports gut strength, mental clarity, and immune function. It’s now a part of my daily routine.
These are the things I do
These are the things I do, and I share them with you.
Now more than ever, I think it’s time to ask ourselves important questions about our health every day.
- Is it the best thing for my body?
- Does this advice align with my own beliefs?
- How do I want to feel in five years? In ten?
- If I keep doing this, will this help me be the best me I can be?
I’m right here in midlife, planning on being as healthy as I am today well into my 90s and beyond.
The only way I can do that is to keep asking questions, and find the best products that help me achieve my best health possible.
This is what’s working for me.
What are you using to ProAge?