The Pillars of Health
These steps are based on what I consider to be the 4 core pillars of health. These are the key areas that everyone, no matter who they are or what their health concern, must embrace in order to become their healthiest self.
The 4 pillars are:
Diet is arguably the single-most important factor that determines our health. The quality of the food we eat—and most importantly, the nutrients it contains—is what determines whether we simply survive, or thrive. Unfortunately, over 50 percent of the calories the average Australian consumes come from flour, sugar and industrial seed oils, foods that have almost none of the nutrients our bodies need to function properly.
The ideal human diet is one that emphasizes real, nutrient-filled, whole foods and eliminates or reduces the processed and refined “factory-foods” that have become the mainstay of the industrialized diet.
Humans are designed to be physically active. Yet in the modern world many of us sit the entire day at work and most of the evening too, as we browse Facebook, watch TV or check our email.
The key to overcoming our sedentary lifestyles is integrating more physical activity throughout our days, by sitting less, standing and walking more, performing our own chores, housework, and gardening, and finding opportunities to move whenever possible.
Science has conclusively shown us that most people need 7 to 8 hours of sleep to function properly. Yet 1/3 of Australians are now getting fewer than 6 hours of sleep each night. This is nothing short of catastrophic, because sleep deprivation affects literally every cell and organ system in the body. Not getting enough sleep is associated with everything from obesity to diabetes to autoimmune disease to Alzheimer’s. The bottom line is that it’s impossible to reach your healthiest self if you don’t get enough sleep.
The keys to improving your sleep are making it a priority, reducing your exposure to artificial light at night, creating an environment conducive to sleep, and eating high quality foods.
Chronic stress is often the elephant in the room: it’s a factor that profoundly affects our health, but that many of us simply ignore. This is unfortunate, because no matter what diet you follow, how much you exercise and what supplements you take, if you’re not managing your stress you will still be at risk for modern degenerative conditions like heart disease, diabetes, thyroid problems, and autoimmune disease.
Thankfully, stress management doesn’t have to be as hard as you might think. With the right tools and approach, it’s easy to incorporate into your routine, and if you’re like most people, you’ll see immediate and noticeable benefits.
These 4 pillars are the foundation of excellent health.