Alternative Measures

If you’re like most people, you want to be healthy in mind, body and spirit. This is the ideal of a New Age lifestyle: balance. Where there is yin, there is yang, where there is hot there is cold and so on. The idea is that if all of our elements (however you refer to them) are present in equal measure, we will be more grounded, feel better and yes, look better too!

Ah, but how to make it happen? Considering the demands of modern life, that’s a really good (and challenging) question!

Achieving balance may not seem so simple. After all, while there are lots of “adventurous” ways to heal yourself (acupuncture, colonics and raw food diets come to mind), not everybody wants to go out on the “fringes” or investigate so-called alternative methods. The good news is that contrary to popular belief, a New Age, healthy lifestyle doesn’t require you to stretch too far outside your comfort zone. You can make changes gradually — and some are as small as simply shifting the brand you buy at the grocery store. In other words, you can embody all those healthy lifestyle ads you see without breaking the bank – or breaking a sweat.

Here are some tips for easing into a healthy way of life – without going too far over the edge!

Eat organic
Sure, organic foods can be a few cents more than their processed counterparts, but they’re so much healthier – your body will thank you. Plus, these days many familiar brands have organic factions. Even most grocery stores have “health” isles. Only now, those health isles aren’t necessarily filled with granola. There are healthier breads, snacks and juices. An all-natural (or, more likely, heavily natural) diet will increase your body’s ability to metabolize what you eat by improving your digestion and energy according to many nutritional experts. Why not give it a go?

Eat cage and cruelty free
If you eat meat, eggs, fish, etc., consider buying cage and cruelty free varieties. (Take note that farm-raised doesn’t necessarily mean cruelty free.) While this may seem like it’s unimportant (if you eat meat, you eat meat, right?), consider the following: animals that are raised in cruel environments are not only pumped full of chemicals, they’re also crammed into uncomfortable circumstances, often sick and definitely depressed. Depression causes the body to produce toxins (never mind what sickness does). In turn, there is no way that eating beef from a cow who was hormone enhanced, depressed and crammed in with a thousand other cows on a tiny slab of concrete can be good for you. It’s perfectly normal and healthy to eat meat (particularly lean meats), but as you take part in the circle of life, be considerate of the quality of life the food you eat has had. If the chicken you serve at dinner was happy in life, you’re a lot more likely to be happy after you’ve had dinner!

Be in nature!
The famous philosopher Osho said that if you want to connect with yourself, you can start by connecting with nature. And from experience, I can tell you it’s true! The next time you’ve got a half an hour or hour to spare (and yes, your lunch hour counts) spend it out in the sun (preferably not on concrete). Sit by a tree and read. Or better yet, just breathe. Absorb your environment – how the grass smells, the flowers, the air itself. Plus, you’ll get extra sanity points if the scenery is particularly special or calming.

Channel your inner artist
Okay, so you may not be Picasso, Hemingway or even Yves Saint Laurent, but every one of us has an inner artist and one of the keys to finding balance (particularly if you’re not an artist by trade) is by channeling yours! So whether it’s in what you wear, how you decorate your house, the presentation of a meal or actually taking the time to journal a few times a week, if you dedicate yourself to self-expression (even some of the time) whatever you wind up expressing will be much more authentic and more fully realized.

Be aware of the signs
If you’ve read The Alchemist, you know the tale of the young man who goes searching for his destiny only to find that the journey is the reward. This seemingly cliché turn of phrase is so popular because it’s so true. The universe presents you with everything you need to be happy, you simply need to be able to see the signs. As Lao Tzu wrote in the Tao Te Ching: Empty and be full. A lot of life is about letting go and taking chances. Get in touch with the part of yourself that is connected to everyone and everything and you’ll find that you’ll know in your heart – and by the signs – which are the right chances to take.

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