How to Create Healthy Lifestyles for You and Your Family
“We are a healthy family”… famous last words! Generally speaking, my sister’s family is rarely sick with an illness or cold. Then one day, everything changed. She brought one of her children, and later another, to the doctor for some ongoing complaints about their health. Fast forward a few months, and after a slew of tests, she now has two children who have tested positive for auto-immune diseases (Celiacs and Scleroderma). Life has thrown a curveball, but guess what?! She is equipped with the knowledge that diet, exercise, supplements, and a lot of prayers can and will relieve symptoms and even put the diseases into remission.
Often, medical dilemmas can put a strain on the home. Mom and dad are under a lot of pressure which can sometimes cause marital problems. Children then feel even more stress due to the medical problems mixed with mom and dad on edge with each other. It is important to have healthy support for your family. This may come from friends, family, and/or support groups. This resource from peters and may gives you direction on how to set up a healthy lifestyle for your family in the event of the breakdown of a relationship.
One such group is the National Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain Association (NFMCPA). This group offers online chats, phone support, newsletters, and a wonderful website with lots of helpful information (see Resources section at the end of this article). The NFMCPA also raises awareness and advocates for people with chronic pain and fibromyalgia.
Another type of support is a coach. This could be a nutritionist, an herbalist, or even a medical doctor that specializes in integrative medicine. This person can help develop a plan to improve your family’s health. This plan may include dietary changes, supplements, and/or exercise. This is an important step because it gives you some direction and a starting point.
Where do you start when you are looking for a lifestyle change for your entire family? I recommend starting with allergy and sensitivity testing before you choose what lifestyle changes you will pursue in your family. Why does this matter? Allergies are a root cause of many diseases and illnesses, and they are also the reason that many people do not see results when changing their diets. Unless you are willing to do an elimination diet for each member of your family, then I would start with allergy and sensitivity tests.
Once you have determined what allergies and sensitivities if any, your family members suffer from, it is now time to choose a lifestyle diet that works best for all the members of your household. For my sister’s family, every diet has things in it that some of them need to restrict or can’t have, so it has taken a lot of time and research to settle on one specific diet or a mixture of several diets. The great thing about a lifestyle change is that you, the mom or dad, get to choose what goes into the mouths of your family members.
Whatever diet that you choose can be tweaked to fit your family’s needs. Preparation is key to a successful lifestyle change. Some foods may need to be eliminated immediately, and others can be gradually reduced before they are removed. A meal planning site or app can help immensely with the planning. You can also go about it “old school” and use cookbooks with bookmarks and a paper planner. I find meal planning vital to sticking to the diet and meal prepping has been a lifesaver since we are often on the go.
The Keto diet is one hot topic right now. Diets can be overwhelming so it is very important to get the scoop on what will work best for you and your family to live healthy lifestyles. Do your research prior to starting the diet you choose.
Along with the allergy testing, you can request that your mineral and vitamin levels be tested. Unfortunately, even when a person eats healthy foods, there may still be vitamin and mineral deficiencies. At least three generations of our family suffer from a genetic Vitamin D deficiency, so we know that we will need to take Vitamin D for life. Underlying issues or poor diet can cause other deficiencies. It is also important to know what vitamins and minerals can also aid in certain conditions that your family may have – for me, I have migraines and bad cramping of my hands and feet, so I make sure that I take magnesium (as well as other supplements) daily.
There are so many fun activities that a family can do together that involve exercise. Take a hike or a nature walk (yes, even the older kids will enjoy this if you make it fun!), go ice or roller skating, enjoy a bike ride, have a family yoga night once or twice a week, or take time to stretch together before you start your day. Exercise doesn’t have to be in a gym or for a certain amount of time – get your family moving and come up with some creative ways to motivate your family to enjoy your time together.
You will notice a positive change in your family’s health – energy levels, emotions, focus, and sleep patterns are among the changes that take place when a healthier lifestyle is implemented. Small steps to a healthier lifestyle for you and your family can make a big difference in your family’s future. It can be overwhelming at first; however, the outcome will be well worth it!