This month I’m inviting you to take the challenge and develop the habit of health!  That sounds like a tall order, but don’t worry, I’m going to discuss how we can make changes in small, ‘do-able’ steps that will result in permanent change with minimal stress.

   The Habit of Health – What Do I Mean?

First, I want to define the ‘habit of health.’  Adequate regular physical activity and sleep are important components, as is drinking enough, good quality water.  Having said that, I’m going to focus on nutrition from here on.

Of course, it’s important to eat a diet that contains lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes and whole grains, while minimizing refined carbohydrates, processed foods, saturated fats, red meat and alcohol.

In addition to these basics, Nature’s Sunshine’s Habit of Health is a unique program that addresses the basic categories of essential nutrients to help you build a nutritional foundation strong enough to endure the challenges of life.

Fibre is vital in supporting intestinal function and proper digestion, which helps you get the most out of the foods you eat.  It adds bulk to the diet and promotes regularity.  Fibre has also been found to help lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of colon cancer.  The recommended daily intake of fibre is 25 to 40 grams, yet studies show many people consume less than half of that amount.

Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are just that – essential.  Your body used them in a variety of ways to support the nervous system, improve circulation and even build healthy cells.  Omega-3 fatty acids regulate heart rhythm, keep arteries from clogging and help maintain a healthy bloodstream.  They improve the function of cells that line the arteries and reduce cholesterol.  With so many benefits, it’s surprising to know that 8 out of 10 people don’t get enough EFAs in their diet.

Enzymes are specialized proteins that help accelerate necessary chemical reactions within the body.  Digestive enzymes work to transform foods into simpler, more usable materials.  All the food and nutritional supplements you consume won’t be as beneficial if they are not sufficiently broken down and absorbed by the body.  Enzymes unlock the benefits of vitamins, minerals, and proteins and put them to work inside the body.

The human body is home to a host of microorganisms that work together with the body to create and maintain optimal health.  Probiotics are dietary supplements that contain these helpful microorganisms that work to improve overall health.  Probiotics are most prominent in the intestinal system.  They act as natural health promoters by populating the gastrointestinal tract with friendly microbes, which strengthens intestinal defenses, boosts immunity and promotes greater health on several levels.

In plants, chlorophyll absorbs sunlight and converts that energy into life-sustaining carbohydrates.  Structurally, chlorophyll is amazingly similar to hemoglobin, the red pigment in human blood.  Due to this similarity, chlorophyll supports the body’s immune response, promotes circulatory health and has amazing pH balancing benefits.

Antioxidants are a special class of nutrients that protect your body against harmful free radical.  Left unchecked, free radicals cause cellular damage that may lead to an impaired immune system and a host of other health concerns.  Antioxidants may also help reduce heart disease, and they work to heal and maintain healthy flexible cell membranes.  The National Academy of Sciences recommends 5 or more servings of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables per day.  With today’s standard diet rich in processed foods, most people consume far less.

Vitamins and minerals are the basic building blocks of a healthy body and greatly impact your overall health.  They may help reduce diabetic tendencies, lower colon cancer risk and reduce the risk of heart disease.  Many vitamins and mineral also help the body overcome the effects of stress.  Studies show that, with the increasing prevalence of processed and refined foods, less than 5 percent of the world gets enough vitamins and minerals from their diet.

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    I’m sure you’ve read many claims that the solution to your problem lies in just 1 little pill or other remedy.  The truth is, there is no single remedy that can address all your needs.  Your body is a complex combination of tissues, organs and systems.  And each system has needs that must be addressed to achieve optimal health.
   Your Habits Are the Result of Your Beliefs1

You perceive and experience life according to your beliefs.  Your actions and words reflect your beliefs.  You are what you believe you are.  Your habits stem from your beliefs.  You cannot expect to change a negative habit into a positive one if your underlying belief remains negative.  Therefore, to successfully and permanently transform your bad habits into good ones, you must also change your beliefs.

But this isn’t so hard.  Your beliefs are simply thoughts that you’ve had repeatedly.  They are not carved in stone.  They are not even necessarily true.  And they can be changed.

You can work on changing the habit and the belief at the same time; you don’t have to change your belief first.  For example, you can work on believing that you have healthy eating habits (e.g. with affirmations, see below) as you are in the process of changing your eating habits.

You were not born with your habits, either good or bad.  Most of our beliefs, and therefore, habits, are formed from ages 0 to 6 when we absorb everything we see and hear, and don’t have the capacity to edit, or to decide for ourselves which advice we agree with and which we do not.  These beliefs are in our subconscious, as are our habits.  Our subconscious mind helps us function on “automatic pilot” so we don’t have to consciously think about everything we do, e.g. how to walk, how to drive a car (some habits are acquired later in life). 

Habits are intended to serve us well and free up our conscious mind to think and learn new information.  However, when you realize that a habit or belief is not serving you well, you can take steps to change it, and it’s pretty easy.

   Take the Challenge – Change Your (Nutrition) Habits?

Estimates vary regarding how long it takes to change a habit, from 21 to 30 days – take your pick, I’m sure individuals vary, and while 21 days may be enough for many people, others may need 28 or 30 days.  For the sake of simplicity, we’ll talk about 21 days here since that’s pretty commonly accepted, but don’t feel that number’s carved in stone.

21 days is the amount of time it takes for a new behavior to become automatic or part of your routine, so that you will stick with it without having to consciously focus on it.

Clearly, you must want to make the change.  You need to clearly see the benefits of the change.  And you need to believe that you can make the change you’re contemplating.

Set reasonable goals:  Rome wasn’t built in a day, as they say.  Don’t try to entirely revamp your health habits all at once.  Break down your goals into small, very specific and doable (and measurable) components, and get started on making small changes.  For example, implement one of the healthy nutrients listed above, such as fibre, and figure out how to make sure you include that in your diet every day.  Then move on to the next one, and so on.

You don’t have to wait until one habit is fully established to begin working on the next change.  Add changes as quickly as you feel comfortable doing so.  However, one change per month is a good average.  (This theory can be applied to other areas of your life too.)

Use affirmations:  Write or record affirmations about the changes you commit to making.  Read or listen to these affirmations at least twice a day, ideally first thing in the morning and again in the evening.  For example, to continue with the idea of introducing more fibre into your diet, you might say, “Every day I add a tablespoon of [chia seed/flaxseed/your choice of fibre] to my cereal.”  That would be a good start.  Note that the affirmation is in the present tense, and it is positively worded (no negative words, like no or not).

Reward yourself for your successes:  But do it with something healthy, not with a return to junk food!  For example, after a week of healthy eating you might treat yourself to a pedicure (or some other non-food treat).

Keep track of your progress:  Keep a daily journal to document your successes and also your lapses.  If you’re having trouble sticking to a change, you may need to alter your strategy or change some beliefs about what you’re trying to change.  The more detailed your journal is, the better you will be able to keep track of your progress and to see what works for you and what doesn’t.

Good luck!  I hope you will “take the challenge.”  Your good health is worth it.  Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

For additional information, please email; or call Ramilas Healing Arts Clinic at 613.829.0427 for an appointment. Please continue letting friends and family know about this newsletter. Also on our website, please see back issues of this newsletter, additional information about products, order products, and see information about our Clinic.

  1. Kotsos T. Changing habits – your habits or your life.  Accessed April 15, 2013.
  2. Krauss Whitbourne S. From bad to good habits in five achievable steps. Psychology Today. August 23, 2011.  Accessed April 11, 2013.
  3. Dodaro M. 10 steps to starting a new hapit and creating lasting change in your life. From: The MindBody FX lifestyle: Mastering The Mind-Body Connection For Permanent Weight Loss, 2010.  Accessed April 11, 2013
The suggestions and recommendations in this newsletter are not intended to be prescriptive or diagnostic. The information is accurate and up to date to our knowledge, but we are not responsible for any errors in our sources of information.

These newsletters will help you make better choices for better health. The choices that you make today can either have a positive or negative impact on your overall health. Begin by choosing better. It is a step toward longevity.


Ramila Padiachy
Ramila's Healing Arts Clinic