The great undo: Aspiring to A Natural Lifestyle

Many people talk about wanting to live a more Natural Lifestyle and are trying to do something about it BUT don’t know what to do, don’t have enough time, don’t have the money, they’ve tried it and it doesn’t work, their family and friends don’t support it…

All of the BUTS and the HOW TOs we consider in the Action and Appreciation part of Health Tractions.

What we consider over the next few weeks is the Aspiration of ‘A Natural Lifestyle’: ‘What are we talking about… what does A Natural Lifestyle mean?’ and ‘Who and what is driving this?’

We originally named this ‘The Natural Movement’ because it feels like some massive shifts are happening in the very foundations of our daily lives – food and drink; exercise and activity; and rest and sleep ‘the 3-legged stool’ as referenced by many sources. And it’s gaining momentum.

In reality, there are many options between one extreme and the other, steps towards and steps away from A Natural Lifestyle.

It also extends beyond the foundations to our own personal ecosystem and lifestyle choices – including personal care, cosmetics and clothing, medical and pharmaceutical alternatives, our home and environment, social interactions, how we blend work into our lifestyle, how we get from A to B, the role of technology, material things and experiences, travel and entertainment…

In a world that is increasingly busy and complicated, fake and fabricated, universal values such as simplicity and authenticity play a big role in living A Natural Lifestyle, the way nature intended.  

One ingredient. Real food.
Food as medicine.
Food as personal care.
Recognisable ingredients. Safe cosmetics.
Fabric that breathes.
Bringing the outside in.
Making time to shop, cook and eat food.
Being active.
Getting sleep.
Connecting to like-minded people.
Taking time out.

It all sounds real and simple.

Of course, we’ve made it complicated. And seemingly the opposite of ‘real’ has become our guilty pleasure – from treat food to fake boobs, there’s a lot of internal trade off rationalisation resulting in a mix of closet behaviour and open (sometimes dogmatic) justification.

One simple example is Sugar. This is a fairly common stream of consciousness (abridged output from an informal insight laddering exercise with a group of 35-49yo ladies)
I love chocolate but most has processed sugar.
Processed sugar is bad for you and it’s addictive.
If you have a sweet tooth, use alternatives.
But not the manufactured alternatives, the branded ‘sweeteners’, they have more ingredients that are bad or you.
The number one alternative was touted as Agave Nectar, which is now thought to be even more addictive than processed sugar.
I found this quote in the book ‘Eat, Move, Sleep’ by Tom Rath: “Sugar is like nicotine and sugar substitutes like patches”
You need to wean yourself off sugar altogether.
Which apparently means limiting your fruit intake because it essentially feeds your sweet tooth and sugar-related health issues such as candida, which can be an underlying cause of sweet tooth.
But personal trainers and dieticians permit treat foods, and of course sugar is usually involved.
So doesn’t this feed the addiction all over again?
Sunday comes and I’m craving more sugar and getting a bit narky about it.
Argh, am I allowed to have fruit or not?  
Forget it, I’m just going to buy that block of chocolate and risk it.
I’ll do an extra 20 minutes on the treadmill tonight.

Sound familiar? 

Chocolate all of a sudden becomes a risky choice, and risk is exciting, its emotional! And trade off has been rationalised with exercise. ‘Guilt-free consumption’ (trendwatching.com) at its best.

Of all the real and simple things you can do towards living A Natural Lifestyle, this example is one tiny part of the food and drink area of your life. So whilst the end result may be real and simple, the path to get there certainly isn’t.

Over the next weeks, we’ll talk more about who is driving A Natural Lifestyle and the ‘real and simple’ shifts people, brands and businesses are making towards living it. Next Wednesday lunch, stay tuned…

Written by Rachel Bevans in consultation with Brett Henderson PT.

Rachel is a healthy brand champion and owner of The Healthy Brand Company (ref: https://www.thehealthybrandcompany.com/about-us.html)

Brett is a trained and practicing Personal Trainer and Holistic Lifestyle Coach, with a Degree in Physical Education and Management experience. Working from an holistic health & fitness platform, Brett inspires
individuals’ goals to gain visible results by combining resistance training and cardiovascular exercise with nutrition and a positive mindset – considering all areas of individuals’ lives.

Feel free to share with acknowledgements to The Healthy Brand Company, Brett Henderson PT and supporting references.

© The Healthy Brand Company, 2013