I hear Olivia Newton John singing, “Let’s get physical, physical. I wanna get physical. Let me hear your body talk.” I’m guessing she had a different message in mind than I do with this health blog! But, as I thought about what I wanted to write, I just kept hearing her song in my head, sweat headband and all. We’ve gone emotional and spiritual in parts 1 and 2, so let’s get physical today!

Physical, that’s the easy part. This is the component of holistic health that’s our go to. It’s the first place we dive into when looking to heal ourselves. We at least have some control over what goes in our mouths.  Nutrition is a great place to begin, as every cell in our bodies gets made out of what we gobble down. Nearly every client I see comes in asking if a certain food is causing his or her issue.

I do think food is important. It’s a building block of our bodies and our health for sure, but as I’ve written over the past couple of weeks it’s not the only factor. Dare I say, not even the most important factor?!? We’ve all heard of someone who drank and smoked their way to 100 and conversely the perfect eater who got cancer. So, what’s up with that? It’s more than genes and the luck of the draw. Yes, food is important, but emotions drive your health in very significant ways. Read all about it in What Underlies All Health Issues: Part 1.

Let’s get back to the physical. Diet is so personal and there’s no one size fits all. As a holistic health coach, I’ve decided that pretty much all the diets out there these days fall into one of two categories: Paleo or Plant Based. And, boy, are these two camps opposed! I agree with Paleo that grains and legumes aren’t really our friends and create a lot of havoc in the endocrine system. Have you heard that they’re calling Alzheimer’s Diabetes type 3 now? There’s a reason for that, sugar! And, what are grains (think bread and pasta) and beans? Really concentrated sugars, much more so than broccoli or spinach. I can hear all you vegetarians saying beans are protein, which is true, but they sure come housed in a bunch of carbs.

I disagree with Paleo on the obsession with animal protein, and often lots of it. I agree with the Plant Based folks that we don’t need tons of animal protein. I’m an omnivore, so I’m not against eating animal protein, and I think it is important for most people, but we don’t need a 3-egg omelette and bacon for breakfast, chicken salad at lunch, and a steak for dinner, with a bunch of meat bars for snacks. That’s just too much! My issue with the Plant Based approach, including much veganism, is that it’s really just a grain and bean diet, with some veggies sprinkled in. It’s carbohydratanism. Now, we’re back to jacking and crashing our endocrine system. There’s a middle ground somewhere in there.

You have to find what is right for you, for sure, and everyone is different. Some people thrive on a vegan diet, while others excel with lots of animal protein. The trick is being open to trying new things, learning, and ultimately feeling into what works best for you. When you eat, do you notice symptoms in your digestive system? Symptoms like gas or bloating? Those are the first clues. Then the clues get bigger into elimination problems and acid reflux. These are signs that your diet isn’t serving you.

Can’t leave a physical article without a shout out to movement. Exercise matters too. Our bodies are designed to move and are much happier when we do. Moderate exercise is key to good health. Notice I said moderate. Where I live in Aspen, people often feel like they haven’t exercised unless they’ve skied, hiked up a mountain and gone to the gym. Moderate ended at one of those activities folks.

If you missed part 2 of this series, you can click on this link to catch up: What Underlies All Health Issues Part 2. Let me know your thoughts!