What is Pura Vida? Literal translation means “Pure Life,” but when this is said down in Costa Rica, the phrase usually implies a relaxed attitude & simplicity towards life in that moment.
The car breaks down. Pura Vida.
Can’t find the umbrella. Pura Vida.
Plans are changing... again. Pura Vida.
While those are loose examples of Pura Vida, the concept is simple. Things don’t have to go always as planned and the little things we worry about aren’t worth the stress. However, I want to take it a step further but shedding light on what ‘Pura Vida’ could mean for your health.
Living a simple lifestyle here in the States seems impossible to achieve, and now that I’ve seen different, nothing angers me more than when someone tries to over complicate an individual's health. Health products sold by commercial companies & networking marketers with no reputable research backing up their products, paired with a lack of expertise in the health field, are confusing consumers about “what is healthy.”
I see this all the time. In fact, I was once ‘that person’ selling the idea of “fit” to my friends on Facebook because someone told me it was okay. Been there, done that, got selfies in the t-shirt; but oh how I wish that mistake didn’t take a toll on my body. While I usually live a life of ‘no regrets,’ I do regret my lack of personal research into the things I used & promoted in the past in order to make myself lose weight. My lack of research and full trust in my friends’ opinions caused chaos inside & out. You can read my story from my previous blog post.
So, how do we take control of our health in a way that’s not complicated?
How do we get our Pura Vida back?
Start with whole foods.
You cannot get any simpler than something grown out of the ground, washed, cooked, then eaten. We have these things called, “convenience stores” which have stripped away the connection between the consumer and the producer, leaving us disconnected from where our food comes from, and this mindset can be dangerous. Having thousands of options in one store has spoiled our ideas of buying fresh or local. The convenience of being able to “go by the store real quick” doesn’t take much thought. That mindset then translates into the way we eat our convenient food without experiencing gratefulness of the person who picked that produce. I see that this is a problem, and I’m guilty of being a part of this system. It’s easy to pick up the frozen & packaged because all we have to do is open a bag/box/packaging, heat, and eat.
Eating whole foods is not only important to the growers, but it’s vitally important to our health. Tell me the difference between eating a piece of fried chicken and eating a whole orange. Yeah, the chicken probably appeals to your tastes more, but that whole fruit has more nutrients and energy your body knows how to digest than the overly processed piece of chicken will provide for you.
Simply put, our bodies respond better to whole food nutrition more than anything else. Within a whole piece of fruit is the energy and sustainability we need to make healthy jumps forward throughout the day.
Start with small habits.
Health does NOT have to be complicated. You do not need supplements, wraps, teas, pink-drinks, and intense workout routines to be healthy. While the convenience with these products is…. Well, convenient… most of these options have proven to an unsustainable long term solution for your well being. It’s crap that these companies are pressuring potential consumers to buy their convenient product without regards to the long-term health of the general public. It’s definitely not right or fair to the people spending their money, and you have a right to know what you’re investing in.
Simply, you can start with whole foods, start with walking 30 minutes 3 times a week, and start with not buying junk food and buying lots of whole food. Start with trying a new plant-based recipes once a week for your family. Then once your foundation is built, add on from there.
Start limiting tech-time & start connecting IRL.
This is the hardest one for me. I absolutely love connecting with people online and it is invigorating to respond to someone’s need for my advice… but these social media apps are tricky. They’re just as addicting in the same way as gambling and a whole generation has been trained to live distracted from what’s right in front of them.
Taking intentional breaks for longer periods of time may sound daunting at first, but I promise: it’s worth the time you’ll get back. Being disconnected due to the elements in Costa Rica required me to get back into things that I had been putting off and allowed me to form new habits.
Things I’ve started doing more of since cutting down on screen time:
Talking to friends on the phone/facetime
Working on creative content
Start analyzing your emotional & mental health.
Do you often, “just react” to things and feel out of control about certain tasks or taboo topics? Does your chest get tight when you’re feeling stressed? Does your health suffer because of everything you have going on in your life? Do you feel hopeless about your body’s response to food or lifestyle choices your choosing to hold on to?
Now is the time to look at your mental health. While I’m currently in the middle of a mental health healing journey (which I will share more in the future about), I can say that feeling bad all the time got my attention. If it’s getting your attention, treat yourself well by evaluating your mental health. My friends, if you don’t have this part of health in check first, you probably won’t accomplish the rest. It’s worth the journey.
Start with these mindful practices and I promise you (with help beside you), your choices will start to add up to better health. Please remember, there are many aspects to health and we DON’T have to complicate them.
Until Next Time--