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Organic Lifestyle

by Mary Ann Cavallaro, RN

Is there such a thing as an "Organic Lifestyle?" And, if so, can an organic lifestyle help make you fit? As all of America searches for answers to the obesity epidemic, following an organic lifestyle could be the height of trendy, or it could be the result of having a healthy attitude towards the environment and your body. If you don't have a healthy attitude, you may not be truly fit for health is not an end in itself, rather it is an ongoing process of making healthy choices and healthy people choose to have a respect for the rhythm of life and the gifts of nature.

How does one define "Organic Lifestyle"? Don't let the word "organic" intimidate you. An organic lifestyle simply means choosing to avoid synthetic chemicals by becoming aware of your environment, and respecting life by nurturing the soil and animals and protecting the people involved in its practice. Framed against this background, the organic process and vegetarian practices support one another. Both share a respect for life. Given the current popularity of vegetarianism and organic eating raises the need for more and more organic vegetables and other foods to be brought to market in mainstream food stores. Organic products do cost more, but as demand increases, supply should also increase and more competitive pricing can be expected.

Many people follow organic and vegetarian practices for health reasons as well as philosophies. Since pesticides live in the fatty tissues of animals resulting from crops they are feed, vegetarians have significantly decreased amounts of pesticides in their bodies. Organic food eaters put themselves in the same good position as vegetarians, using foods produced without pesticides or hormones. Whatever your motivation, the end result is a good one. Rest assured that using organic products does not take away any of the joys of life. Donuts, pancakes and oatmeal raisin cookies can all be made using organic wheat flour, for example, and the taste is not compromised in any way.

Incorporating herbs into your life is another feature of an organic lifestyle. Cooking with fresh herbs is healthful. Not only will it add sensational aroma and flavor but also it may have some medicinal value. Another plus is that, while preparing foods with fresh herbs, it's only natural to picture the plant that it grows from and gain appreciation for flowers and trees and their beauty and longevity. We can cultivate our own herb garden and further experience nature. Watching plants grow translates into feelings of hope and motivation. Using natural healing remedies with herbs helps bring us more in touch with nature.

Balance is important. Incorporating a healthful diet with regular exercise and a spiritual connection helps establish a rhythm in life. Awareness is another essential component for an organic lifestyle. You need to ask yourself the question: "Do I consider the environment and its existence as part of my health and fitness routine?"

Having an organic lifestyle must be developed over time through life's experiences. Vitamin supplements, conventional medicines and even use of herbs do not treat the whole person. There is no "quick fix" to regaining your health. Respect nature, become aware of environmental issues and choose organic products to help create a higher level of fitness and health. An organic lifestyle exists only when it becomes your state of mind.

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1999-2000; updates: 2002, 2004, 2005, 2007 Women's Heart Foundation, Inc. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use prohibited. The information contained in this Women's Heart Foundation (WHF) Web site is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment, and WHF recommends consultation with your doctor or health care professional.