Health through Balance
By Jenifer Tull-Gauger
We can focus on all the germs that are going around in the world. Or we can take positive actions to improve our overall health. With support, our immune systems can combat things we may not be able to avoid.
When I think of healthy, I think of the Okinawan elders. These are people who live to be over 100 years old, and healthy, and active.
As seniors, they average a comparatively very short amount of disability years at the end of their life. A lot of their health is from their traditional Okinawan diet, which has been proven through the elders who moved to other countries. Those who changed their diet tended to be less healthy than those who kept their traditional diet.
Healthy elders hold a whole-person approach to life, which is their key to abundant health. They regularly take positive healthy actions in these areas: physical, social and spiritual. Here are some of the things they do:
-Lots of vegetables
-Some fruit, no sugar or artificial ingredients
-Tea or water to drink
-Chicken mostly, a little pork or red meat at times
-A few servings of fish per week
-A couple servings of non-GMO tofu per week
-Brown rice and other whole grains like quinoa
–Hara hachi bu: stop eating when you feel 80 percent full
-Get enough rest & sleep
-Regularly get together with supportive peers
-Spend time with family, doing things together
-Take part in the community and support those individuals who need it most at the time
-Be friendly to others
-Write down and look at positive affirmations
-Live on “island time”
Another thing Okinawans have, which could fit in more than one category, is iki gai. That is having a reason to live, a reason to get up in the morning.
If we learn from the example of the Okinawan elders, we can lead more balanced lives. Our immune systems will thank us for that.