The benefits of the "outside diet"
The average American spends 10+ hours a day in front of a screen, according to a 2016 Nielson Company audience report. This includes personal computers, workstations, phones, iPads, TVs, etc. When we're not in front of our devices, we are driving our cars, working in our offices with fluorescent lights and vinyl floors, sitting on our easy chair in the family den. We are basically continually moving from one artificial/virtual environment to the next.
I, for one, am sick of it. Or should I say, it's making me sick. And to tell the truth, I believe it's making all of us sick.
The irony does not escape me that I am typing this blog post on my laptop computer while my husband watches TV in the living room. And that you are reading it on some sort of device right now. I am not writing this post to shame anyone or in order to have us abandon our devices. I am writing it because I have suddenly become aware of the fact that we inhabit a beautiful, natural world that is right outside our door and is waiting to be discovered.
This is not a post so much about disconnecting from devices (though that will help), but rather one about connecting with our surroundings. Think of this as a "lean in" post about nature.
Honestly, I never used to give my environment much thought. I figured that by working out 3-4 times a week and eating healthily, I was doing right by my body. (Now, don't get me wrong---I am still a HUGE proponent of movement and exercise, and nutrition is a SIGNIFICANT piece of the health puzzle, of course.) But I was ignorant of the role of nature in my health for far too long.
Here's what I didn't know (and the Wise Traditions podcast guests I learned it from):
- the earth offers us a type of "anti-oxidants." When our bodies literally touch the ground, it gives us a negative charge that restores us on a cellular level - Gerald Pollack #67 "Negative charge creates positive energy"
- how sunshine increases blood flow and supplies our bodies with energy - Ben Greenfield #57 "Invisible variables that affect our health"
I know we can't all quit our day jobs necessarily, but I think we can make small switches that allow for us to get into the "outside diet," so to speak. I have started walking my dog for an hour a day and I feel a renewed sense of energy and stress-relief! I know it's a huge commitment, but it has been worth it. I've been given a gift: breathing room, and a chance to reap all of the aforementioned benefits of the great outdoors---even here in the city! I get to soak in the sunshine, hear the birds sing, touch trees, marvel at flowers, and feel the grass beneath my feet.
Are you into it? Do you want to be? Let me know below what steps you want to take to embrace the REAL world around you and enjoy its myriad benefits!
Hilda Labrada Gore is a podcast professional who helps holistic health practitioners launch their own shows! She is also the host and producer of the Wise Traditions podcast, sponsored by the Weston A. Price Foundation for wise traditions in food, farming, and the healing arts. She is an integrative nutrition health coach, a fitness professional, and the DC Metro Regional Director for Body & Soul Fitness. She lives in D.C. with her husband, Mitch, their children, and their cat and dog.