It is the 21st century. The modern world has changed so much over the last few hundred years and while many things have become advanced, I think nutritionally, we have gone downhill. Years and years ago, people would have been more in rhythm with nature and would have used things found in nature as medicine, on a day to day basis. In this quick guide, I will be sharing with you 13 ancient secrets to an ultimate healthy lifestyle.
Some of the links in this article are affiliate links and may generate a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only post links to products that I genuinely love and use.
Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.Hippocrates, the “Father of Medicine” c. 460 – c. 370 BC
CONSUME PURE FOODS
It’s quite obvious that in the ancient days, clean and pure foods would be all they had. They didn’t have processed, artificial, genetically modified foods that contain dangerous additives that are sprayed with synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and animals being raised with hormones and antibiotics. The food was pure. Real. Whole. Whatever was found in nature, in its purest form was food, and it was used as medicine. Read more about pure foods in this article: Are You Actually Eating Clean? These Are the Key Principles of Clean Eating
EAT SEASONALLY AND LOCALLY
Food that is grown locally contains more nutrients because the food hasn’t been harvested so early. If you go to your local farmers market, the food is usually harvested that morning or the evening before. Produce that you find in the grocery store could have been picked days and even weeks before it gets purchased and eaten. Also, food that is local to your environment has been shown to be healthier. Use honey as an example. If you consume wild local honey, it can actually help to adapt you to the allergens in your environment and make springtime less difficult. It’s kind of like a natural allergy shot.
Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and healing to the body.Proverbs 16:24
Eating seasonally simplifies nutrition as well as provides certain nutrients to your cells and organs during beneficial times. For example: in the colder months, cruciferous vegetables and root vegetables are abundant which help to boost the immune system, and in the warmer months, there’s many antioxidant and water-rich fruit and vegetables such as berries, tomatoes, and cucumbers to help protect us from the sun and keep us hydrated.
RESET YOUR CIRCADIAN RHYTHM
In the modern world with electricity, technology, and busy schedules, our circadian rhythms have become out of whack. This can disrupt our sleep, create imbalances with our hormones, and cause problems with metabolism, immune health, and healing. Our ancestors arose with the sunshine and settled in when the sun went down. They didn’t have bright screens and bright lights to disrupt their melatonin production, and they lived in alignment with night and day.
USE PURE PRODUCTS
We are bombarded with toxic chemicals that we use on our skin, in our hair, things that we clean with, and dangerous fragrances that we breathe every day. This wouldn’t have been true in ancient times. They would have used pure products like oils, vinegar, alcohol, essential oils, and even food.
SOAK AND SPROUT
Things like grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes would have been soaked in water and sprouted. This is actually still a common practice in some parts of the world. We weren’t designed to break down anti-nutrients (a defense mechanism plants have to help repel pests, bugs and other predators) and when we consume food that contains anti-nutrients we can experience indigestion and autoimmune reactions.
Ever heard someone complain about gas after eating beans? That’s due to the body not being able to break down that compound properly. When the beans are soaked and sprouted properly, indigestion shouldn’t be an issue because the sprouting process can break down anti-nutrients and make them more digestible for us.
Not only will these foods be digested and absorbed more easily, but this process also has been found to unlock healthy compounds by increasing the availability of nutrients such as calcium, iron, zinc, and protein.
This is probably one of my favorites. I’m not sure if you know this or not, but refrigeration wasn’t always a thing. Kidding. But seriously, fermented foods are so good for our health. Fermented foods are a rich source of enzymes and probiotics which are superfoods for our gut health, immune health, and brain health. Things like raw sauerkraut, kimchi, kvass, kefir, yogurt, and pickled vegetables. These foods are crucial for our immune systems because 70% of the immune system is found in the gut.
Probiotics also help to boost mood because it is estimated that 90% of serotonin is produced within the gut! Make sure to replenish your beneficial microbes each day by taking a couple tablespoons of a probiotic-rich food.
The forgotten taste. Bitter foods such as arugula, dandelion greens, grapefruit, citrus peel, culinary herbs like cilantro and parsley, and medicinal herbs. The bitter taste in these foods helps to rev up digestion by encouraging digestive enzyme release and increasing bile flow which helps to break down and absorb meals, and prevents discomfort and bloating. Bitters have been used for thousands of years to combat digestive issues and prevent them in the first place. Bitter foods stimulate the liver and help with detoxification!
“I am a firm believer in Bitter Deficiency Syndrome: a notion which posits that much of the health woes faced by modern folk has at its root a lack of bitter flavor in the diet, and that many of the digestive problems for which we see bitters as a “remedy” are actually symptoms of deficiency of this flavor. Perhaps it is not right to think that bitters should be used to treat sluggish digestion, but that a lack of bitter flavor in one’s diet can be a cause of sluggish digestion. Perhaps many of the conditions calling for bitters as a remedy arise from their omission, not unlike rickets arises from a lack of vitamin D.”Jim McDonald
Bitters are best eaten about 15 minutes before a meal. You can eat a salad with bitter greens and herbs, or you can get a bitter tincture like this one that I use. I actually love it and it has become a habit in my day to day life and my digestion has improved tremendously.
Fasting was a regular practice in ancient times. Dr. Michael VanDerschelden says: “In the absence of food, many biological repair and rejuvenation processes take place.” Fasting is very beneficial to the human body, especially the brain. Consider fasting every now and then. Intermittent fasting is a great practice. It just means to shorten your eating window and fast for longer periods of time. Eat the same amount of food you normally would, just eat closer together and fast during the other hours.
I usually take my last bite by 8 pm and don’t eat another bite again until 12 or 1 the next day. That’s when I break my fast. So I get 16-17 hours of fasting per day and then I feast during the next 7-8 hours. I love fasting. It makes me feel good. My mood is better, my energy is better, and my brain power is especially better! This is because while fasting, my body isn’t using its energy to digest food and is able to send more energy to the rest of the body.
HERBS AND SPICES
Herbs and spices like cilantro, parsley, dill, oregano, sage, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, are nature’s medicine. They contain powerful compounds that can help to fight and prevent disease. Medicinal herbs such as ashwagandha, and holy basil are incredible as well.
All disease begins in the gut.Hippocrates, the “Father of Medicine” c. 460 – c. 370 BC
Hippocrates said it! Our gut health is extremely important and is a foundation to flourishing health. Eating foods rich in fiber, enzymes, prebiotics, probiotics are great ways to benefit digestion. Don’t forget about the bitters as mentioned earlier! Also, drinking warm beverages such as tea or warm lemon water is great as well.:
GET IN NATURE
The sunshine vitamin D and fresh air. Be like your ancestors and get it every day. Walk around barefoot to get that electric charge from the earth’s surface.
LISTEN TO YOUR BODY
Have you ever been sick and just didn’t have an appetite? Maybe that was your natural instinct kicking in trying to tell you to fast for a bit so that your body could focus on healing itself instead of using the energy to digest the food. By all means, if you’re hungry and you have an appetite, eat! That could also mean your body needs those extra nutrients to fight off your sickness. The point is to listen to what your body is trying to tell you. This also goes for symptoms such as headaches. There is a root cause to that symptom. The symptom is your body signaling to your brain that something is imbalanced, toxic, or not working right.
JUST KEEP MOVING
We all know that exercise is good for us. But we don’t have to over-complicate it. Just get outside and walk around. Park further when you run errands, clean your house, work with your hands, do yard work. Just keep moving like your grandparents and great grandparents did.
Walking is man’s best medicine.Hippocrates, the “Father of Medicine” c. 460 – c. 370 BC