One of the best things I have done for my well being this year has been to join a local CSA (community supported agriculture) farm. Not only do we get organic, fresh vegetables to consume, but also we get access to spend some time at the beautiful farm. There is something about breathing the fresh air and being engulfed by nature that makes everything seem all right.
This fact became crystal clear to me after the loss of my father and son. But if I’m being really honest, this state of unwellness didn’t happen overnight. This enormous snowball was years in the making for a variety of reasons (excuses). My lack of wellness went far beyond the foods I was or wasn’t eating and the number of times a week I was or wasn’t going to the gym. Although there were many indicators, the biggest for me was that I was lacking healthy coping mechanisms to quickly bounce back from life’s daily curveballs. So when the big disasters came, I crumbled.
In my period of mourning and self isolation, I realized that although there were many things I could not control, the one thing that I could control and would have the biggest impact on my circumstances was to seek wellness. So I immediately went in search of wellness. And the very first book I found has become a game changer, and quite frankly a life changer, for me.
“How to Be Well” by Dr. Frank Lipman is the best “wellness 101” guide I have found by far. Dr. Lipman highlights basic health principles in the most straight-to-the-point yet profound ways. His Good Medicine Philosophy takes a look at each person’s state of mind and body to determine fundamental weaknesses and imbalances before even thinking about what medicine could be utilized. His Good Medicine Mandala identifies six pillars of health that can be optimized: How to Eat, How to Sleep, How to Move, How to Protect, How to Unwind and How to Connect.
Dr. Lipman encourages readers to focus on actions within each pillar, small and large, that positively impact our microbiomes, our inflammatory responses, our rhythms and our balance. These areas are often where our body’s dysfunction is exposed. These areas speak directly to why the practices he suggests can lead to overall improved wellness.
As a pioneer and leader in holistic medicine, Dr. Lipman educates readers on how to use spice as medicine, why its important to learn our food sources, why its important to play like a child, how clearing our spaces can impact our wellness and why counting our blessings should be a part of our wellness practices. This easy read is perfectly designed as a quick go-to guide, allowing readers to go straight to the topic they need exactly when they need it.
I can say with certainty that this book has significantly impacted my wellness for the better in a matter of four months. I reference this book almost daily in my life now. Although it is packed with countless easy to implement practices, the top 5 practices that had the most immediate impact on my own wellness are:
1. Know Your (Food) Sources – pg 66 – Inspired my husband and I to join a local CSA (Community-Supported Agriculture) Farm.
2. Microbiomes – pg 26 – This introduced me to my now favorite fermented drinks – kombucha and kefir. Keeping the microbiome functioning properly and balanced is critical to so many daily functions, such as stress response.
3. Boycott GMOs – pg 256 – A much needed reminder of why we must avoid genetically modified organisms in foods whenever possible.
4. Omg EMFS – pg 286 – Another reminder for me that the electromagnetic energy emitted by communication devices can and does impact our health.
5. Honor The Seasons – pg 417 – Obviously my love of the human connection to seasons shows, however Dr. Lipman wonderfully articulates this deep connection to the seasons and why we should pay more attention to this relationship.
Dr. Lipman encourages readers to start small with one practice and then add other practices in once ready. The interesting thing is when we start to make small positive changes in one area of our life, suddenly we realize that other areas of our life will experience positive changes as well. And this cycle leads to overall greater wellness.
I highly recommend “How to Be Well” to everyone and it will be my wellness reference guide for many years to come.