Watch this video before starting your evaluation.
The 7 Pillars are gateways to wholeness and a balanced life. Using this evaluation, learn more about the pillars you need to develop and find the resources to help you live a more enriching and meaningful life.
What is Nutrition?
I deeply nourish myself and cultivate radiant health by taking in high quality nutrients.
What most deeply nourishes the essence of who you are? What does your body need, not only to heal, but to THRIVE? What gift can you give yourself right now to feel your absolute best? What do you need to take in that will generate radiant health in every cell of your body?
Most of us never truly ask ourselves these questions when looking at our nutrition. Many of us simply view our nutrition as a means to an end: pleasure, fuel for energy, etc. When most people, even many experts, talk about nutrition, they typically focus on calories, specific nutrients (fat, carbohydrate, protein, vitamins, and minerals), and basic pieces of the puzzle that typically comprise what we eat. However, this fragmented approach misses the totality of what nutrition really is about. Yes, diet is a fundamental aspect of nutrition, but nutrition goes far beyond just our diets and food.
Ultimately, nutrition encompasses all of the essential nutrients, cofactors, and energies that are needed to assist us in cultivating whole person radiant health. This includes food as a form of energy (beyond just calories), diet as a foundation for healing and nourishment, how to fill in dietary gaps (supplements, superfoods, etc.), nutrition for optimal health and longevity (herbs, spices, medicinal plants, phytonutrients, antioxidants, etc.), how our nutrition influences our genetic makeup (epigenetics and nutrigenomics), nutrition for recovery and cellular regeneration, diets and global ecology, healthiest and safest food sources (organic vs. inorganic, pesticides/herbicides/fungicides, wildcrafted, soil health, factory/artificial foods, etc.), water, sunshine, breathing, and air quality. As you can see, nutrition goes far beyond just the foods we put in our mouths every day.
Scientific research has shown that there is no one “right” diet for every human being on the planet.1 Some diets that are right for certain people may include various amounts of animal proteins and/or dairy products, while for others, these may be completely unnecessary or even harmful. For some, eating raw foods and/or high levels of carbohydrates is highly beneficial, while for others, cooked foods and/or high levels of quality fats may be better. This is why it is important to begin really asking ourselves the questions at the top of this page and truly allowing our intuition to guide us. We all intuitively know what foods are best for us, but we often ignore that part of us in order to feed our addictions and beliefs. The first step to supercharged nutrition is cultivating internal nutritional wisdom and intuition.
According to a multitude of scientific studies, diet alone may be the largest contributor for promoting or preventing health and disease.2-5 Upwards of 75-95% of the diseases we see in our world today can be attributed to nutrient deficient and toxic food intake.2,5,6 Ultimately, a diet that has whole, unprocessed, plant-foods (vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, etc.) as the foundation (90% minimum of total calories) provides the most nutrient and antioxidant density with the least exposure to toxic chemicals.7-9 When it comes to nutrition, quality matters much more than quantity.9
There are three primary aspects of supercharged nutritional empowerment, and each step builds on the next (These steps are completely optional. You may have your own steps for nutrition that you prefer to follow. This is simply a guideline you are welcome to adopt if it feels right to you.):
Step 1: Diet – The foundation for what we eat on a daily meal-by-meal basis (Optimal: mostly plant-based, “nutrient dense”, vibrant, colorful, fermented vegetables, utilizing various herbs and spices, etc.). Daily sunshine during the middle of the day along with quality fresh air and pure water are critical to our daily diet.
Step 2: Insurance Policy – Once diet is established, the next step is to fill in the nutritional gaps that are missing from our diets due to various uncontrollable factors (e.g. demineralization of the soil, factory farming, poor climate conditions, sub-optimal growing conditions, etc.). Even a varied and completely plant-based diet in today’s commercial farming and mass producing world will be deficient in some, if not many, critical nutrients needed for health. Many people take a multi-vitamin and/or multiple supplements every day as a way to fill in the gaps, but as research shows it is significantly better to get our nutrients from whole food sources as much as possible (Superfoods: most nutrient dense foods on the planet to cover up gaps missing in diet. Examples: raw cacao, hemp seeds, chia seeds, brazil nuts, sea vegetables, goji berries, marine algae oils for DHA and EPA, etc.)
Step 3: Tonic Herbalism – Once Steps 1 and 2 are established, Step 3 is how we can take our nutrition to the next level to generate an internal reserve of support that will increase our body’s ability to adapt to stress and fend off disease. The ideal plan is for you to research the various herbs from around the world (Chinese medicine, Ayurvedic, etc.) for whatever attributes you find appealing (e.g. longevity, stress management, healthy hormones, libido, fertility, immune health, etc.) and pick the top one to three tonic herbs in those categories that you feel are most supportive for you. A tonic herb is one that is gentle on the body but has the capacity to build up powerful positive benefits over time. Therefore, you need to take them on a daily basis in order for them to work (Pick your favorite 1-3 herbs/tonics/supplements and take them on a daily/regular basis. Examples: chaga or reishi mushroom, ginseng, amala berry, maca, ashwaghanda, mucuna, he shou wu, etc.).
What is Activity?
I intelligently use and build my energy through physical and mental activities that promote optimal vitality.
What things do you do that make you feel most vibrant inside? How can you best use your energy to care for your body and mind and generate more vitality? What movements and activities make your body and mind come alive? If there was an energizing, fun, and vigorous activity you could do every day and not get tired of, what would it be? In what ways are your body and mind calling out to you to be moved? What parts of you are feeling stagnant or stiff, and how can you best move them?
When we ask ourselves these questions, we are drawn to tune in to how we feel when we are performing various activities. Not all activities have the same benefits for every person. For some, going to the gym to lift weights, swim, or participate in classes on a regular basis is beneficial, while for others, doing yoga, playing golf, or gardening may be the most positive ways they stay active. The same can be said for mental activities. For some, reading books and doing crossword puzzles is constructive for the mind, while for others, creative writing and playing intellectual games may be more helpful.
When it comes to activity, what is most important is that we do it regularly and consistently. Many people think that going to the gym for 30-60 minutes constitutes all of the activity needed for their day, and they spend the majority of the rest of the day sitting or rarely moving. However, as research has shown, constant sitting leads to stagnation that can actually negate all of the benefits of the vigorous activity we do.1-3 Standing up, shifting positions, and moving is important as a regular activity all throughout the day.4 We call these regular movements throughout the day “non-exercise physical activities,” and they are the most important activities for promoting longevity and overall health.5,6
Ultimately, it is important for each of us to find balance in our activity routines. Both the mind and body can become stagnant from a sedentary lifestyle, and they can also be overly stressed and taxed by too much activity.7,8 However, as we continue to perform activities on a regular basis, our bodies and minds build up reserves to better manage stress and can learn to use stress as a way to grow.9,10 This is the primary benefit of an active lifestyle and how exercise elicits positive physical and mental results. It is important to become mindful of the activities that work best for each of us and to stay consistent in what we do. The benefits will multiply over time.
Physical and mental activity are two of the most important factors in keeping your mind and body in vibrant condition and generating greater physical and mental strength and flexibility. By keeping both the mind and body active, we continuously feed them with various forms of energy. The human body and mind was made to work and be kept busy. Keeping busy keeps everything in working order, clean, and lubricated. Physical activity (exercise and movement) keeps the muscles, skeleton, and organs in working order. Mental activity does the same for the brain. It is important to optimize our activity levels. Too little activity is actually just as dangerous as too much activity. It’s important to find the right balance. Ultimately, the best plan for starting and implementing an active lifestyle is to begin slow and build up over time. Consistency is the key to building up a healthy mental and physical fitness routine.
Top Categories of Topics for Activity
What is Self-Care?
I naturally cleanse, build protection, and develop my inner power by caring for myself and my environment.
What kind of environment most nourishes me? What is my body telling me that I need right now? How can I serve and care for myself today? What can I do to best cleanse myself inside and out? What things do I do for myself that build my innermost power? What gifts do I give myself that build my internal strength and fortify me? What practices or routines can I add in to my life that will deeply nourish me physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually? How can I care for, enrich, and nurture my environment in a mutually supportive way?
In our fast-paced, achievement-driven society, self-care is highly overlooked and misunderstood yet an extremely critical aspect of a healthy and balanced life. Many of us give until we are depleted, struggle incessantly to succeed, and work beyond exhaustion. In our world, this is often considered a normal or even an exalted way of living. As a result, 59% of people say they are overly stressed, exhausted, and burnt out, which all lead to symptoms of anxiety, depression, and addiction.1
The mental “concept” of self-care often gets inappropriately associated as “selfish;” however, nothing could be farther from the truth. As decades of scientific research are showing, it is not possible for a person to give to others more than they already give to themselves.2,3 Many parents and other self-sacrificing people will argue that they give much more to their children and others than they do to themselves; however, there is no scientific evidence to actually support that. As an old African proverb says, “Be wary of a naked man who offers you a shirt.” Your capacity to give wholly and compassionately to others is determined by your quality of giving to yourself.
As research shows, a person who even takes just 30 minutes per day to give themselves what they need significantly improves their overall performance and outcomes.4 Nobody knows you better than you do, and nobody can address your individual needs more immediately than you can. This is why it is so critical for each of us to regularly ask ourselves the questions at the top of the page and to make our self-care a top priority.
Self-care is a way of life, from putting on your seat belt and using the crosswalk to proper rest and routine cleansing. The two most obvious ways that we care for ourselves is through our daily hygiene practices and sleep schedule. Regular cleansing and sleeping routines are critical for building protection and helping our bodies restore and regenerate. Fasting and detoxing are supplementary beneficial practices to do on a routine basis as a way to rejuvenate the body, allow the digestive system to rest and heal, and eliminate potentially toxic substances from the body.
Also, self-care is about how we can build and support our immune system to help us heal more quickly and more easily fend off disease. This includes looking at potentially toxic substances in our environment that damage our immune system (e.g. toxic cosmetic/hygiene products, poor air quality, cleaners, chemicals, etc.; look carefully at ingredients and research ones you are unsure of). As a safe rule of thumb, don’t put anything on your skin that you wouldn’t feel comfortable putting in your mouth.
Additionally, because walking is arguably the healthiest strategy for longevity and for improving overall health, we include a daily walk as a part of daily hygiene self-care practices and do not include it as a part of “activity.” As research has shown, there is no known upper limit to the benefits of walking, which means the more that you do it, the more benefits you will get. For example, walking for sixty minutes per week reduces your overall mortality risk by 3%, walking for 150 minutes per week (~20 minutes per day) reduces your mortality by 7%, and walking for 300 minutes per week (~40 minutes per day) reduces your mortality by 14%.5 An hour-long walk every day may reduce your mortality risk by as much as 24%!6
Lastly, true self-care requires us to examine patterns and behaviors that are no longer serving us and to make appropriate changes. As we move through life, it is often easy to get stuck in ruts and routines and to continue to live in patterns because we feel we “have to” or “ought to.” This is what our society calls “living.” However, in the light of self-care, you now have an opportunity to begin living the life that you truly want and to be the person deep down inside you know you are. In order to do this, you may need to step out of your comfort zone to break through the routines and patterns of daily living and establish habits that are truly supportive of who you are. You have that power already inside you!
Top Categories of Topics for Self-Care