I am in Norway, the land of beautiful people and beautiful vistas. I’m struck with how progressive Norway is in terms of technology, social programs, the environment, and food. Those who know me, know that I love food, especially when it is fresh, local and organically grown. Norway has an abundance of all three.
Baked Cod, Grand Hotel Cafe
Roasted Cauliflower with Watercress Sprouts
Our friends whom we are staying with, used to be our neighbors in Virginia. They (along with their friends who came to visit the U.S.) all suffered from digestive dis-ease while living in the United States.
Fortunately for Bjorn, he took my advice to purchase some supplements on his last visit with us, and I’m happy to report that his digestion is now back to normal in Norway.
This reinforces my concern about how we have adulterated our food. We are the only country that allowed Genetically Modified Food (GMO’s, inserting the DNA of bacteria into the DNA of plants) as well as thousands of chemicals and pesticides into our food supply. Our wheat is also hybridized to include 50% gluten versus 4% gluten of previous generations. Plus, our flours are bromated. Bromine is a halide chemical that competes with iodine, essential for a healthy thyroid and regulation of metabolism.
I see very little obesity here and I think it is more than just clean food. Norwegians typically take 4 weeks of vacation in the summers and many have been able to afford homes in the country where families go often to hike or cross country ski. The cities are also surrounded by forests, with strict rules about preserving them for present and future generation recreational use.
Public transportation is robust and bike shares and electric cars are encouraged to keep pollution at a minimum.
There is also zero tolerance for drinking and driving and our Norwegian friends do not drink alcohol during the week.
Our daily choices are so important for both longevity and quality of life. Our bodies are designed to heal, repair and protect us from our abuses. As I pointed out in my book, Savvy Secrets: Eat, Think and Thrive, the body is designed to eliminate even mercury, the most toxic element through the digestive tract, if it is intact. Unfortunately, intestinal permeability is becoming epidemic in the United States leading to everything from food sensitivities, psoriasis, depression, anxiety, autoimmune dis-ease and cancers.
Major causes of intestinal permeability include external stress and internal hidden stressors such as nutritional insufficiency, GMO’s, chemical laden processed foods devoid of nutrients, antibiotics, steroids, over the counter drugs like aspirin, Motrin and other NSAIDs, and even birth control pills.
The good news is that if we make good choices 80-90% of the time, we can afford to indulge 10-20% without sacrificing health. The problem is that just because we can, doesn’t mean we should. Just because we can drink wine every night and have dessert with every meal, doesn’t mean we should. Not if we want to live a long healthy and happy life.
Instead, we develop these rituals, these daily habits that will determine whether we experience ease or dis-ease in the body. We live into our habits. Habits easily become addictive.
What we resist persists. It’s taken me a long time to get this. I’ve noticed the one thing that we most love may be the very thing that keeps us stuck. Remember that diversity in the diet is the number one anti-aging as well as cancer prevention strategy.
Our body is designed to be self-healing and self-repairing. It is designed to protect us and will do so up to a point. You may not notice the subtle changes occurring that warn you, like creeping levels of glucose in the blood or slow steady weight gain. Personally, I remember the shock I felt looking at myself in the mirror of a dressing room several years ago when my scale tipped to 160, 35 pounds above my current weight.
What daily choices do I now make 80% of the time? Here are some essential to my wellbeing:
- I drink a glass of clean water upon wakening, followed by my yoga practice and Dinacharya, my self-care routine that includes a shower with coconut or olive oil.
- I’ve replaced daily coffee with green tea and herbal teas; essential to heal adrenal fatigue.
- I’ve added more fish, green leafy, cruciferous, and sea vegetables to my diet and reduced intake of caffeine and alcohol.
- I do my own functional diagnostic testing like measuring micro-nutrient status every 6-12 months and supplement as necessary.
- I practice taking frequent breaks between work to be focused and fully present.
- I go to sleep by 10pm and end my day reading, writing and take note of all that I am grateful for.
- I practice creating self compassion, self-love and forgiveness by deleting the need to beat myself up and the ANTs, automatic negative thoughts that arise.
What kind of daily choices do you make to create wellbeing? What habits no longer serve you?
With Love & Gratitude,
About Lisa Jackson, RN, CHC, RYT-500, FDN-P
Lisa is an author, inspirational speaker and a coach with a mission to inspire, educate, and empower, clients towards optimal wellbeing.
She is the former Executive Director of the Integrative Wellness Program for the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders.
Lisa is part of the New Self Health Movement and the Wellness Inspired Network. When she is not coaching, speaking or writing, you can find her practicing yoga and joyfully sharing Carpe Diem Dance.