The more I research issues around mental health for my presentations, the more I am realizing that good mental health is inextricably linked to diet and exercise. Now, it would seem that there are a chosen few who can not put much effort in to diet and exercise and yet seem to maintain exceptionally good mental and emotional health. Kind of like how super models often do very little strenuous exercise but have svelte, toned bodies and have babies and then walk out of the delivery suite sporting a bikini.
In reality, that’s not most of us. I’ve discovered through meeting so many people all across Australia that every person has an amazing story. Most of us have had more than our fair share of trials and tribulations and it’s these things that can make it really hard to feel emotionally and mentally whole. In light of this, I think it’s therefore even more important to be living well, putting good natural, whole foods and lots and lots of fresh fruit and vegetables in to our bodies. To be getting outside and exercising. To be sharing a real life of community and to be trying new, interesting and challenging things.
I watched a fantastic documentary recently called, “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead.” It’s a great little Aussie doco made by a bloke called Joe Cross. It documents his journey as he tackles his own poor health and places himself on a juice fast for 60 days. It’s got that typical understated, tongue in cheek Aussie feel to it and is really worth watching. He goes from being overweight and suffering from a debilitating auto-immune disease and loaded up on steroids to becoming an amazing picture of health, free of the illness and any medication. Very inspiring.
“We have an unprecedented opportunity in history today, to be healthy and live longer, and we simply don’t have to be unwell when we get old. We don’t have to have a heart attack, we don’t have to have strokes and we can dramatically reduce our chances of getting cancer.” Dr Fuhrman, author of, “Eat to Live” and specialist in Nutritional Medicine.
“70% of the diseases that affect us now are caused by our life choices. How we exercise, if we smoke, what we eat, that’s saturated fats, carbohydrates, salt and alcohol. Now, can you have some of that? Sure, but most people have too much of it.” Professor Penny speaking of Joe Cross, “He’s certainly changed his lifestyle, but he didn’t change just what went in his mouth. He become more active, he stopped drinking alcohol, he doesn’t drink tea and coffee and he doesn’t buy manufactured, processed foods. What he’s done will go a long way to prevent him from getting heart disease, cancer, mental illness, diabetes, and a range of other medical conditions because he’s committed himself to a healthy lifestyle, and he did it at 40.” Professor R Penny. Emeritus Professor of Medicine, University of NSW and Medical Director – Good Health Solutions
For the average person on the street not living with a major mental illness, living a simple, healthy lifestyle where you don’t do fad diets and live by the old adage of, “Everything in moderation,” where you exercise and have meaningful relationships and drink lots of filtered water and enjoy the outdoors, where you try new things and take calculated risks, where you learn to reflect and meditate and start trying to think outside the box, where you place money low on your list of priorities and a life rich in experience high on your list, where you recognize that something as simple as spirituality can bring amazing meaning and fulfillment to your life, you are almost guaranteed pretty good emotional and mental health.
Give it a go. I dare you. In fact, not only do I dare you, but I promise I’ll join you.