I got this in an email from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition today:

“CBS News reported that a whopping 40% of all cancers are the result of lifestyle factors including:
• poor diet
• inactivity
• stress
• exposure to carcinogens like pollution and cigarette smoke

That means that at least 40% of all cancer diagnoses could be prevented if people only knew what foods to eat and how to build awareness around their choices in life.”

For most of the people I know, this isn’t really new news. In fact, this has been talked about in alternative streams for a while now. The fact the CBS, a mainstream media source, is talking about it shows just how big of a problem we’ve created.
We teach our kids a lot of things: manners, respect, potty training, mathematics, science, English language and literature, and history, amongst other things. One thing we don’t necessarily teach them is how to prevent illness through a healthy, holistic, balanced lifestyle.

Part of this is because we have to lead by example. How many people, even the most well-intentioned people, are stressed out? How many people find that they “don’t have the time” to whip up a healthy dinner or to exercise? These are things that matter a great deal to our health and yet they are often lower on the list of priorities than work, recreational activities, and education (which are all admirable pursuits).

What would it be like if we started relying on ourselves as our first line of defense, instead of on doctors and pharmaceutical drugs? What if we started listening to our own bodies instead of what a newspaper, magazine, or diet book has to tell us? I’m willing to bet there’d be a radical shift in healthcare and the general well-being of the entire American populace. Just a guess.

Here’s some things you can do to help yourself out:

1. Add more fruits and vegetables to your diet. The number one missing food in the average American diet is GREENS!

2. Move your body! Do whatever you can, whenever you can. Add in a couple squats and lunges at your desk. Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator. A little adds up.

3. Relax. Take some time to do something leisurely like go for a stroll in the park, relax into a warm bath, read a book, or watch a movie. Laugh a little (try laughter yoga, my new favorite stress-buster!). Look into mindfulness-based stress reduction. Meditate.

4. Clear the air. Avoid pollution and smog as much as possible. Visit the country to get out of the city. Surround yourself at work and at home with plants that help to green and clean the air you breathe.

5. If you smoke, do yourself and your family a favor: QUIT! It’s tough, but so is dealing with asthma, lung cancer, and the other side effects smoking can bring. Try some self-hypnosis with Eldon Taylor’s upcoming book: Self-Hypnosis and Subliminal Technologies.

6. Educate yourself. Watch movies like “Forks Over Knives”, “Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead”, and “Food, Inc.” Learn more about what you’re putting into your body. Make it a family affair or invite some friends over for a healthy potluck and screening.

7. Find healthy role models. Have a friend who’s a nutrition nut? Pick her brain! Everyone loves to feel needed – just ask for their help!

8. Work with a health coach. Not saying this to promote myself. I’m certainly available for questions, but I’m not taking on clients at the moment. I’ll be happy to recommend you to some of my fabulous colleagues.

There’s a lot of fear in the media about just about everything, from cancer to terrorism. My greatest piece of advice: Stop watching the news and start watching your life. You will learn so much more from your interactions and your own experience than any fear-based news channel could ever tell you in an hour-long segment.

Changing your lifestyle is about taking one step at a time. Pick one thing to work on this coming week and do that. Find an accountability partner, someone to take this journey with you. By changing just ONE habit, you can alter the entire course of your life.

Author's Bio: 

Shannon Lagasse, Self-Love and Emotional Eating Coach, teaches women how to lose weight by ditching the diet and loving their body. By coming from a focus on pleasure, instead of discipline and deprivation, her clients are empowered to lose weight naturally, easily, and for good. Get your FREE Body Love Breakthrough Kit by visiting www.breakthroughtobodylove.com.

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