We live in a time when getting clean, uncontaminated, and wholesome air, water, and food are not only difficult but impossible. The sources of pollutants are natural, overcrowding, agricultural chemicals, food processing products and finally, our own body could be the biggest pollutant of all time. There is the whole host on diet plans to tell us what is good and what is not. Scientists never agree on one thing as true. In such a situation choosing simple, safe and sustainable steps to minimize harm to the body can pay dividends in the long run. These steps could be understandable, repeatable, accessible and minimalist (RAMU).
The astronomer Carl Sagan once said, “Everybody starts out as a scientist. Every child has the scientist’s sense of wonder and awe.”
Sustaining this sense of wonder presents teachers, parents, and others close to children with a tremendous responsibility—and an extraordinary opportunity. In this era, we are drowning in information and have less personal experience of a scientist. It is worth mentioning that lifestyle changes are for life not to fulfill a goal (eg looking trim, losing weight and running a marathon).
I am not a qualified health expert or fitness guru but I can say for sure that wellness is a state of human existence where you wake up with a purpose, work towards your goals with focus and energy and feel grateful for all what you have and ever had despite having a disease, disability, and disorder
“Eat well, feel well, move and excrete well” Rish Sharma
Pollution plays a great role in keeping us in the continual unwell state. Trying to find a radical solution to pollution is not only impossible but a futile exercise. However, dilution is simple, sustainable and doable for most of us. Our ancestors did it for millions of years and so it comes naturally to us provided we are willing to try new things and practice on a regular basis. The dilution method I am going to talk about is based on the five pillars- air, liquid, solid, space (mobility) and time.
AIR – Our hunter-gatherer ancestors used to travel over 20 miles a day to forage into the forest for food and water. They had access to fresh and clean air which most of us don’t. However, we can exercise to dilute our air reserve in the body or do deep breathing exercises (Pranayama).
I suggest nasal breathing as it improves our Parasympathetic System (the system of grace- digest & rest) and increases nitric oxide (NO) levels in the blood. NO dilates blood vessels and lowers blood pressure. Even doing alternate nostril breathing (Nadishodhan) for five minutes in the morning five days a week is effective.
A busy person can do it just before taking shower, in the car park or even walking. Be mindful that doing it in the morning is better as there is less pollution from automobile exhausts. This one habit will dilute the pollution in the lungs, blood and to some extent kidneys. It may improve brain circulation, memory, and creativity. Alternate nostril breathing strengthens the highway connection between the right and left cerebral hemispheres- Corpus Callosum
LIQUID– The planet is made up of 70% water and so are we (roughly). Mild dehydration can compromise our attention, focus, productivity, and mood. It is instinctive to drink water however that does not always hydrate us so well. Our ancestors did not have 24/7 access to fresh water as we have and hence their water came from plants, leaves, fruits, and spring. So, getting lots of water trapped in plants is the best form (EZ- Exclusion Zone water) to assimilate and retain.
The biological system retains water well when it comes in a naturally bound form as it minimally interferes with our system (ADH/ ALDOSTERONE/ Osmoreceptors) and the body doesn’t immediately excrete it through the kidney. Drinking slightly alkaline water (soda bicarb/ magnesium citrate) is next best diluent on the list. Hot beverages and tap water are the other sources. The key is mindful drinking not prescribed drinking. It is almost impossible to overdrink to cause harm if we have sound heart, liver or kidney.
So good water intake equals good excretion- better liver, kidney, blood, lymphatic health and skin (sweating) health. A simplistic and seemingly unscientific statement but works well in practice.
SOLID– The most important solid diluent is plant fibre. We usually eat three times a day and unlike air, food could be comforting and even addicting so we not only eat more frequently but too much as well. Food provides us with nutrition, calories, and phytonutrients. More importantly, food is a messenger (for hormones and genes) and a portal for waste disposal.
Aiming to eat as much fibre in natural form as we can (recommended 20-30 grams) is the best approach to dilute our metaphorical food pollution. A fibre rich diet blunts insulin spike, increases stool bulk and keeps large bowel healthy. Furthermore, fibre provides food for our good bacteria in the gut and takes away toxic metabolites with it.
Plants in natural form are better than heavily cooked, processed or juiced. Again, consistency is more important than which form of food we go far- raw, sautéed, fried or processed. It is obvious that pasture fed organic beef has no more fibre than cauliflower curry regardless of the quality and richness of the curry. Aiming for a variety is the key.
I try my Alphabet Fibre Supplementation Plan to simplify my eating habits. I would rather stay away from the never-ending argument as to whether a vegetarian, vegan or nonvegetarian diet is healthy.
Horses are herbivores and cat (big or small) is a carnivore and I will let you decide why one is healthier than the other. The key is if our lifestyle is keeping us healthy then why change it? And if it is not working then why wait for doctors to tell us what is healthy?
Please try my AFS Plan if you are curious and want to try something new to experiment with. It will take care of your FLUID and SOLID if you eat mindfully and continue at least for three months.
“If you are not your own doctor, you are a fool.”-Hippocrates
A-Apple, Almond, Avocado, Apricot, Asparagus, Artichoke, Amaranths, allium family(garlic/Onion/leeks/shallots etc)
B- Brazil nuts (maximum 5 a day), Banana, Beetroot, Berries, Beans(lentils/legumes/peanuts), Bok Choy, Brussels sprouts, Broccoli.
C-Carrots, Cashew nuts(I use butter), citrus fruits, Cruciferous family(rocket, Cabbage, Cauliflower, kale, mustard), Celery, Cucumber, Colourful Capsicum, Coconut, Cherries
D-Dates, Dry fruits not included elsewhere.
E-Egg(organic)- no fibre but nutrient rich)
A-Alcohol in all forms, B- Baked food-biscuits, bread and cake etc, C- cigarettes, Chocolates D- Diary in all forms except milk in tea and coffee may be.
“Sitting is more dangerous than smoking, kills more people than HIV, and is more treacherous than parachuting. We are sitting ourselves to death,” says James Levine, a professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic, in an interview with the LA Times. “The chair is out to kill us.
“Dilute your sitting or gradually degenerate.” Rish Sharma
I sat 8 hours a day in my job and started developing early signs of degeneration in my 30s. I am still reversing them. Sitting is a necessary evil for prosperity. Whether it is meal time, driving, office hours or fun time we sit. The downsides are so many that I will skip them here and you can do your own research –www.getbritainstanding.com
One simple solution is to dilute it with a variety of positions- stand every half an hour, sip water and pee frequently, take longer routes, take 10,000 steps a day, sit on the floor at home(SITTING), use a stool and/ or buy a standing desk. Doing at least 30 hip hinges a day -simply putting your head below hips without trying to touch the floor or feet- this is not a flexibility move. It reverses circulations and helps with lymph flow (cf car’s exhaust system).
TIME: Doing the right thing at the wrong time usually gives an undesirable outcome. For weight loss and aesthetic issues exercising in the morning is the key as it boosts self-esteem, self-image and keeps metabolism up for the day. However, if achieving personal best (reps/ maximum weight/ running time/ flexibility) is the main priority then after work is the time to hit the gym as one can utilise the whole day’s warm-up time.
Dilute your tiredness with shorter 20 mins nap so that you can avoid going into deep stages of sleep which can make you groggier on waking up.
For those who wish to hack their biology to lose weight try chewing gum twenty minutes before the main meal and drink a glass of sparkling water and then eat. This tricks our brain (hypothalamus) into thinking that we have been eating for a while and satiates us even before we start eating.
These changes are more likely to be useful after at least three months of regular practice. Time is a good healer here as well. There is always a replacement for information but no replacement for curiosity, focus, and prudence.
Now, that I have shared my innovative ideas and experience how to minimise pollution in our life. Now, you can be your own doctor, scientist, and artist to express yourself and live a more fulfilling life so that you can share your experiences and all of us can benefit as well.
Content Editor- Ms. Gunjan Mishra