Diet Or Exercise: What’a More Critical To Living A Healthy Life?

adminMovement, nutrition

healthy eating or fitness

Now you’ll probably think I’m going to give you some diplomatic answer that doesn’t fully answer the question. Almost all health practitioners agree that both need to be addressed for healthy living.  After all, without addressing diet, the benefit of every burpee will be lost. To work you’re tush off in the gym, only to leave and go for a burger and a beer next door is NOT going to get you into your skinny jeans or give you your best 5km at Color Me Rad. On the flip side, eating squeaky clean without moving your body not only intuitively feels wrong, it can still put you at increased risk for osteoporosis and heart disease. So yes, I am going to give you the standard answer and say that both are critical to a healthy life. That being said, I feel as though there are a few other critical components to living healthy that are being ignored by the average person looking to lead a healthier life. I’m going to touch on two big bad boys that when addressed can lead to huge changes in your health AND happiness.

Reducing Chemical Exposures

There are sneaky chemicals all over the place. Two of them that we should all be aware of are fire-retardants and BPA. BPA is a scary plastic that has been linked to obesity and birth defects among others. It’s not just found as a liner in your cans (including some pop cans) and in plastic bottles, it’s everywhere and its gets absorbed into out bodies simply through touching it. The most frequent place you come across it is on your receipts. Because of this, I typically skip the receipt or get them to throw it in the bag.  Other sneaky places are plane tickets, dental fillings & sealants and DVD’s/CD’s. Companies are slowly phasing out the use of BPA and replacing it with BPS. Unfortunately, some of the first research that’s now been done on BPS is showing that it’s not any safer. Then there are fire-retardants. These can be found in most upholstery (couches, chairs, patio cushions), camping gear, children’s clothing (especially PJ’s), strollers, carpets, vehicles and electronics to name a few. Growing evidence shows that they have a negative impact on reproductive health, thyroid health, cancer and the neurodevelopment (aka. brains) of children. Learning this for the first time is frightening, especially since contact with these chemicals are unavoidable in many situations.  Since we don’t live in bubbles, and I never want to, I try to reduce my overall chemical load in environments where I can. The easiest of these is my home.

P.S. Did you know that in order to protect your vital organs from chemicals, your body stores toxins in fat. This means by simply reducing your toxic exposure it’s possible to loose weight… and not-muscle weight, fat!


When people brag to me that they are living each day on only 5hrs of sleep I usually clench my jaw and bite my tongue. Living in such a high-paced culture, we seem to think that squeezing in that extra 2 hrs of productivity during our day is something to be proud of. I disagree and so do many other experts. Sleep is crucial for cleaning up our cells and forming proper connections in our brain. It’s pretty ironic that as I write this I am sleep deprived from having a baby and trust me… I feel it in both mood and mental clarity.

So how much sleep do you need? It depends on the person and what is going on in their lives. Yes, there are some people who just seem to function fine on less. That being said, I don’t think anything less than 6.5hrs a night is healthy for anyone, however 7-9hrs is likely a more accurate range for adults. There are definitely a few life factors that will require more rest for proper regeneration in adult like heavy exercise, illness and pregnancy.

As easy as more sleep sounds, it can be a big challenge to get yourself in bed at a reasonable hour.  According to Ayruveda, our most regenerative sleep happens between 10pm and 2am. If you can only afford to get in 4hrs a night, this is when you should do it! Just think back to the time you were the designated driver and stayed up to 3am. The next day you probably felt as though you had been drinking all night. Now think to the time you had an early flight and made it to bed by 10pm, woke up at 3am and actually felt pretty decent.

What I Do

Some ways that I have reduced my overall chemical exposure is by switching to natural dish soap & laundry detergent, using essential oils with wool dryer balls, throwing out all your air fresheners (and using an essential oil diffuser), using vinegar to clean windows & mirrors, switching to fragrance & phthalate free beauty care products, taking lunches in glass containers, sleeping on a non fire-retardant sprayed mattress, checking for toxic molds in my home, burning beeswax candles, having green plants and running an air purifier. On top of all that, I eat a diet full of greens to support my liver and detox whatever else it can.

As for sleep, my advice is to establish a night routine that doesn’t involve the use of technology and gets you in bed by 10. Once you’re regular with that, work on a morning routine that begins with you moving your body. Trust me, it will do wonders for your health and energy.

If you’d like to read more about fire-retardants, check out this article from Yale