44 Things That Keep Me Healthy and Vibrant


Petite Organic Treats from Whole Foods

I just celebrated a birthday,and  I’m not shy to admit that I turned 44 this year.  I’m glad I can honestly say I feel better now than I did years ago when I was younger. I am still ironing out some wrinkles (pun intended) from less than ideal choices I made in my teens and twenties when the thought of long term consequences didn’t enter my mind.

But my energy is real (without caffeine) and my sleep is restful (with dreams, and without medications), I am not on any prescription drugs and can’t remember the last time I used over the counter drugs (for me or my family).  I don’t know what lies ahead for me, statistics show that I could succumb to cancer, diabetes or heart disease as I get older. So,  I’m doing all that I can to stay healthy and balanced for the long haul.  

I don’t want to just get by in life.  God willing, I want to be the best I can be for another 40+ years, to be effective and productive in the life that has been given to me. So here it is, a List of 44 things, not in any particular order, that help keep me healthy.  Some of them may seem ordinary, but I never want to lose sight of the privileges (and choices) we have as Americans.

  1. Family My husband is my biggest advocate and accountability for helping me stick with healthy living habits.  His patience and wisdom help me stay on course.  My kids are my inspiration of hope for a healthy future for all of us. I also want to be the best I can be physically and emotionally at any age for myself and for all of them.  One of my goals: I want to be able to climb a mountain with my 3-year old when he gets older. 
  2. Friends   Fellowship with friends energizes me.  I love to be around  friends as we support each other in physical, spiritual and emotional health. I have friends with diverse backgrounds that brings freshness and perspective to my eyes.  They help me appreciate that we can all do life a little differently and bring more richness into living than if we were all the same.  Friends are like flowers, they are beautiful in their own unique way and every one has the potential to bring beauty to the world.
  3. Yoga  My favorite benefits? Time to meditate in my faith (see #44), it’s non-competitive, personal goals, and I can adjust my workout to meet my needs each day. It keeps me flexible and strong, and practicing yoga is a major way I manage stress in my life.
  4. Therapeutic Grade essential oils My favorite right now is classic lavender because it’s food grade and ultra pure, versatile and safe for the most sensitive people especially babies and children. I use it for soothing the skin on my face & body, for burns, scrapes and to bring some calm at bedtime: just a drop on my pillow if I’m a little wound up. It cools a fever when you apply it to the soles of the feet or spine and a drop under my eyes eases itchy, allergy eyes.
  5. Pure water  I keep my glass water bottle filled with water  from home and save on plastic bottled water. We use Reverse Osmosis filtration in our home.
  6. Car  To drive to healthy locations like the farmer’s market that isn’t walking distance. 
  7. Local farmer’s market & CSA’s like Wellspring & Springdale Farms.
  8. Music – I like any music: classical, jazz, alternative,progressive, almost anything but country (sorry, country fans).
  9. Pure air  You will never find synthetic air fresheners or scented personal care products in our home. I also won’t use furniture made with particle board that emits toxins into the air. Cleaning with vinegar, baking soda and essential oils keeps our home free of toxic cleaners (oven cleaners are the worst). Many of these are considered as asthma triggers of which I’ve experienced and avoid at all costs. I am thankful for the ability to breathe deeply.  
  10. Sewing machine  for sewing clothes and home goods from organic and vintage fabrics. Nurtures the creative side of my self.
  11. My herb garden Fresh herbs just steps from my kitchen make it convenient to add a burst of flavor and nutrients to salads, main dishes and appetizers.  Most are perennials and low maintenance: sage, savory, thyme, chives, oregano, lemon balm. 
  12. Lilies growing outside my front door are easy to grow and brighten our yard with a lot of color in the heat of July. Nothing cheers me up like a fresh bouquet or admiring blooms in season.  Actually any real flowers boost my psyche: home or away, in the garden or a mixed bunch wrapped in newspaper from the farmer’s market.  Just fresh, real, flowers in any color.  
  13. Bees pollinate the flowers, vegetables and trees that produce all we need for a beautiful and delicious world. I love the honey in my tea, or just a small spoonful with a drop of lemon essential oil to soothe a scratchy throat. It’s real, wholesome, natural sweetness.
  14. Private well water  No city water for showers or watering my garden. I love how the kids get a drink from the hose on a hot summer day,  with no worries of heavy metals, artificial fluoride or chlorine. 
  15. Glass water bottle holds mostly water, hot tea in the winter with no residue of plastic.
  16. My computer  for researching new and updated info on wellness.
  17. Non-profits like EWG, Healthy Child who keep me up to date on current issues that will affect all of us.
  18. Vacation  Time away with family and friends is priceless. It’s also something that should be done more than once a year. So, don’t let the stress build up before you get away. Ideally take some time each week (at least a couple of hours) or each day to refresh your spirit and rest your body.
  19. Washing machine  After a week at a family camp, I’m reminded of so many people around the world who don’t have access to clean water. I can come home and wash clothing, towels and bedding without a second thought.  Clean homes are less likely to harbor dust mites and bed bugs that can trigger asthma and allergies.
  20. Unbleached feminine care products  NatraCare makes it easy to keep the things closest to me free of harsh chemicals like bleach and dioxins. Most health food stores carry pure options.
  21. Healthy fast-food that’s prepared with fresh, organic ingredients when I don’t have time to do it myself. (In Milwaukee I visit Outpost Natural Foods, and Cafe Manna).
  22. Small businesses committed to providing healthy living goods and services. My local choices include: Olive Organic &  KC’s Kafe, and Fair trade businesses that keep me from focusing on my self too much, help me see the need in the world, and inspires me to use resources wisely. Two of my favorites are Fair Trade for All, a local shop in the Milwaukee Area and IN Network, an international aid organization. 
  23. Kombucha – a fermented tea, an elixer that contains lots of good bacteria for a healthy digestive system. It’s super easy to brew your own and flavor it however you’d like. 
  24. Baking soda & vinegar replaces dozens of toxic cleaners in my home.
  25. Whole foods like cucumbers, lemons, blueberries and avocados are my favorite superfoods to give my body nutrients the way nature intended.
  26. My garden now producing basil, tomatoes, cilantro and blackberries to name a few.
  27. Sleep most nights I’m thankful to have a full nights rest, 7-8 hours. If I can’t sleep, my first choice is to rub some lavender on the soles of my feet.
  28. Vacuum cleaner – Mine has a HEPA filter to contain dust mites. I even use it to dust, which is a more thorough way to eliminate dirt and keep the air and my home clean.  
  29. Supplements – for when I need a boost in my diet, my favorite right now: a Calcium- Magnesium supplement in a effervescent formula that gets absorbed quickly.
  30. Local artisans who provide goods so I don’t have to rely on petroleum-based products Made in China.
  31. Glass canning jars I use them for storing everything: coffee beans, lentils, spices, and small ones for lunches.
  32. Cloth shopping bags – less plastic is better for everyone.
  33. Aubrey Aloe vera – my staple for soothing dry skin.
  34. Sesame oil – my go to for moisturizing skin every day.
  35. Olive oil – first choice for moisturizing my body from the inside out. Love it on fresh salad greens with balsamic vinegar (thanks Steph for the reminder 🙂 ) or with a squeeze of fresh lemon.
  36. Celtic sea salt – I’m not afraid to season my foods or scrub my skin with this salt, loaded with trace minerals including calcium & magnesium!I put this on my food and scrub it on my body, I even brush my teeth with it. Natural sea salt is packed with minerals, which your body needs.  Celtic sea salt is not the same as iodized salt which is processed. Unprocessed sea salt is a natural detoxifier, your body takes what it needs from it and eliminates the rest. Iodized salt is the equivalent of a fruit wrap.  
  37. Turmeric tea – I drink this mostly in cooler weather, but it’s a nice way I get some anti-inflammatory turmeric in my body. I’ve adapted a version from Dr. Weil that tastes similar to chai. It’s also loaded with other health promoting spices like cinnamon, cardamom and ginger.  Watch for a recipe I’ll post soon!
  38. My bike for obvious reasons of exercise, but also for fun and freedom.
  39. Dr. Bronner’s Baby Mild soap – I use this for most of our cleaning needs: bodies, baby shampoo and hand soap. Simple, no chemicals and fragrance free.
  40. Beeswax – I have a local resource that I use to make my own unscented candles with a cotton wick. Simply melt & pour.
  41. Indoor plants – keeps some green in our home, especially nice in winter. Bright flowers lift my spirits and purifying leaves keep the air fresh.
  42. Cast iron cookware – no teflon in our home. My cast iron skillets are naturally seasoned so I can use less oil if I want when cooking everything from eggs to stir-fry. I love that I can take from stove to oven to the table and it doesn’t cost a small fortune.
  43. Wood furniture  If I had a million dollars, my entire home would be of organic, sustainable materials. But for now, I’ve made the effort to have mostly wood furniture, no particle board that off-gasses chemicals into our air.
  44. Faith – This is listed last because my Faith is the most important element in my life. Whatever your faith or traditions, it’s important to be committed to what you believe in.  I am a Christian by faith, which is the foundation in all I do and gives me direction in all the choices I make. 
Most of these are choices I’ve made. They were not all convenient at one time, but as time went on and I developed healthy habits, it got easier. The effort was definitely worth it and I continue to search for ways to improve our lifestyle.  I do feel better and believe I am healthier than I was twenty years ago.  Having another birthday does not have to be synonymous with acquiring more “aches and pains”. It doesn’t have to be the norm, because it’s all about making the best choices you can each day: allowing your body to rest when you need it, give it the best fuel you can and keep the toxins out.   What healthy habits do you have? Write them down.  When you get overloaded, stressed, or feel like you’re not making progress, you can remind yourself of the good things you already do to stay healthy.   

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3 Responses to 44 Things That Keep Me Healthy and Vibrant

  1. anna August 7, 2012 at 12:53 pm #

    So many great ideas! I’m buying and book-marking like crazy!

  2. Susan P August 7, 2012 at 7:03 pm #

    Glad you are enjoying the content!


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