Unified health - what it is & why we're about it

 

What is holistic health? 

Health is so much more than just cardio and kale. Not only are we fierce believers in holistic, preventative health, but we also believe your health and wellness journey should be enjoyable. 

Your mind, body, spirit and soul should all be working together to make your life as joyful as possible! This is all part of our 4 Foundations of Unified Health. This unique layout of health and wellness is meant to help you adopt healthy rituals that will lead to wellness and happiness for yourself and others. 

 

Brain Food 

Feeding your brain positive thoughts is just as important as feeding your body nutritious food. Experts suggest happy thoughts can help grow nerve connections, increase attentiveness and the abilities to analyze and think. It’s obvious our minds can play a role in our health, but can it heal us or even make us sick? Experts say yes.2  Our understanding of the world helps teach and navigate our immune system. Based on our thoughts and knowledge, this can either help or inhibit our immunity against possible threats.2 Negative thoughts cause a defensive reaction in your body, which over time can impair your immune system.3

Practices like meditation, gratitude and journaling have all been shown to improve mood, but more impressively, these practices actually benefit your mental health too.4,5 Miraculously, meditation has been shown to create more grey matter in the brain, which leads to enhanced mental capabilities.6 One study even showed worsening health conditions among participants when they were told to think negative thoughts.7 

As presented, the thoughts you feed your brain are vital. Proper nutrition can help your body function optimally which in turn translates to increased mood. Equally, a good food diet is nothing without a good thought diet, too! 

Get inspired to meditate and practice gratitude by reading the linked articles.  

 

 

Physical Food

unified health

Physically your body needs proper nutrition to be able to move (DUH). However movement itself is food too! Exercise helps your body in many ways by reducing anxiety,lowering the risk of chronic diseases and illness9, improving psychological well being10 as well as many other health benefits.Establishing an exercise routine that is both fun and challenging will give you these benefits, plus keep you motivated! 

Now onto actual food. Your body needs proper nourishment to thrive and recover. According to Health Canada many adults don’t consume enough magnesium, calcium, vitamin A and D in their diet alone.11 However, almost 100% of Canadian adults consumed enough protein, within the Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Range (AMDR).11 Many people assume protein supplementation from food is the most important nutritional foundation for our body. Unfortunately, while it’s true protein is important, many Canadians actually get enough protein from food in their diet alone, but do not get enough vitamins and minerals from just their diet. 11 Even athletes should educate themselves about sports nutrition beyond protein

It’s crucial to give your body the vitamins and minerals it needs so it can perform optimally. Magnesium12, calcium13, Vitamin A14 and D15 all help keep your body healthy. Unfortunately many Canadian adults are not getting enough of these vitamins and minerals, even though Stats Canada reported in 2015 that just over 45% of Canadians aged 1 year and older, took at least 1 nutritional supplement.16 

This means approximately 15.7 million Canadians are taking supplements, but many are still suffering from deficiencies. This is probably due to the body’s inability to absorb and use isolate vitamins that have been synthetically derived.17 Vitamins from food contain a magnitude of cofactors, enzymes and phytonutrients which are not replicated in pills.17 Therefore our body must rob its own store of these cofactors in order to use or store the vitamin/mineral. Unfortunately we may not have the necessary co factors to pull from, due to the lack of vitamins and minerals we get from our diet.11 In conclusion, that vitamin pill is unusable and a waste of money. 

Our vitamin and mineral powders only contain food, like actual whole foods! Not extracts or isolated vitamins. Check out our powders for yourself!

 

Emotional Food

unified health

TRIGGER WARNING, these next 4 words may cause you to throw up a bit in your mouth; diet culture, capitalism and the patriarchy. What do they all have in common? They’re responsible for negative emotional reactions or thoughts around food. Thinking about food being clean or dirty, attributing the action of eating a certain amount or being a certain size to fit societal beauty standards is not good for anyone. The problem with all of this is in our society we place monetary value on ourselves and others, which is ridiculous and has major destructive implications like gentrification, habitat destruction and the acceleration of climate change.18 By pushing us to monetarily price ourselves, many of us are left feeling like we should always be working, making money or producing something of value. Inherently this leads to body shaming, fat shaming and other abusive tendencies.

This is why you may feel guilty for taking a self care day, resting or even skipping an exercise class. Which you should never feel guilty about!!

You might be wondering what this has to do with eating healthy food? Everything. Good quality food is not cheap, meaning people (mostly minorities) are priced out of the ‘healthy food’ market. Additionally capitalism has lead to the reduced socioeconomic status of fat people and other minorities.19,20  The reason minorities have little or no access to healthy, organic foods can partially be blamed on housing and neighbourhood segregation. Access to healthy food in North America comes down to where you live.21 Poorer communities have less options for grocery stores and obviously less money to spend on food. 

Studies show living in a capitalist society can induce stress and anxiety.22

Fortunately, things are changing and you can make a difference. Social movements are gaining traction and some experts suggest the large gap between wealthy and impoverished consumers will shrink if consumers continue to invest in products with ethical products.23

Impacting change can feel daunting. The key is to zoom into the issue until it’s small enough for you to tackle. Example: Want to help kids understand the importance of organic food? Talk to your school trustees, city council members or other municipal officials about getting a garden built outside of an elementary school and test pilot an education program. Remember, not all activists have to be leaders. Their might be someone already fighting for change you want to see, in that case connect with them and find out how you can help. 

Need help meeting other activists? Websites like MeetUp and Amnesty have maps that allow you to see activism groups based on where you live. If there isn’t one in your city, contact someone from a group you’re interested in and ask them if they’d be open to branching out in your area. 

It’s also important to consume unbiased, inclusive, highly representative media, in different ways. Educate yourself by listening and reading to perspectives and stories from different, diverse people. Below are some ways we like to learn new things!

Some awesome podcasts we recommend: 

The Ultimate Health Podcast

She’s All Fat

Call Your Girlfriend

Food Psych 

Some Instagram accounts we love: 

Organic Consumers Association 

FeministVoice

Life Without Plastic

Live Kindly Co

 

While we may live in a capitalist world, this does mean everyone wants your money. By investing in companies that are treating all beings well, you may force other companies to change. 

 

Soul Food

unified healthFood so good it feeds the soul. On a surface level soul food refers to the warm and happy feeling you get when eating great food! We like to think of it as food that was soulfully created, meaning ethical and sustainable processes went into creating it. Things like certified organic and fair trade speak to the product’s and company’s morals and intentions. Additionally you can look for local products that are made in Canada, or your country/area of residence. Calling a company or doing research before purchasing is always a great idea. Buycott is an amazing free app that helps you vote with your dollar to buy products that share your same values. 

Animal rights is another aspect to consider when buying food or anything else. Avoid any product that was tested on an animal, and if possible giving up meat and/or dairy is a great way to help end animal suffering. Read our article; Is dairy bad for you? The white lie we’ve been drinking to find out why dairy isn’t as nutritious as you thought! Spoiler alert, it’s the very opposite! 

Investing in organic products is better for you, all beings and planet earth! Learn more about organic farming here. Together we can invest in brands that are doing good things. 

 

We hope you learned a bit more about our perspective and beliefs around unified health. Have an aspect of unified health you’d like us to talk about? Comment below!

 

 

References: 

www.psychologytoday.com

2 https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-science-of-healing-thoughts/

3 https://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/how-do-thoughts-and-emotions-affect-health

4 https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/giving-thanks-can-make-you-happier

5 https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2011/01/eight-weeks-to-a-better-brain/

6 https://hms.harvard.edu/sites/default/files/assets/Harvard%20Now%20and%20Zen%20Reading%20Materials.pdf

7 http://journals.lww.com/psychosomaticmedicine/Abstract/2004/05000/Negative_Thoughts_and_Health__Associations_Among.12.aspx

8 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3632802/

9 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1402378/

10 Dunn AL, Trivedi MH, O’Neal HA. Physical activity dose–response effects on outcomes of depression and anxiety. [discussion 609-10]. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2001;33:S587-97

11 https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/food-nutrition/food-nutrition-surveillance/health-nutrition-surveys/canadian-community-health-survey-cchs/canadian-adults-meet-their-nutrient-requirements-through-food-intake-alone-health-canada-2012.html#b1

12 http://advances.nutrition.org/content/4/3/378S.full

13 http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/70/3/543s.full

14 http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(86)91157-8/abstract

15 Dobnig H, Pilz S, Scharnagl H, et al. Independent association of low serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D and 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D levels with all-cause and cardiovascular mortality. Arch Intern Med 20081681340–9

16 https://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/82-625-x/2017001/article/14831-eng.htm

17 https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/fact-or-fiction-vitamin-supplements-improve-health/

18 http://e360.yale.edu/features/ecosystem_services_whats_wrong_with_putting_a_price_on_nature

19 https://digitalcommons.brockport.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1040&context=dissentingvoices

20 https://foodfirst.org/publication/the-capitalism-in-our-food/

21 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3482049/

22 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4609238/

23 http://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/abs/10.1016/S1057-1922(05)11009-9