Healthy habits - what to do when you can't achieve your health goals

A holistic approach to healthy habits

We all want to be healthy. If you read this article, most likely you already follow some good healthy habits. Unfortunately, sometimes no matter what you do, some aspect of your health - be it eyesight or something else - just doesn't improve.

The important thing to realize is that everything in our body is interconnected. One unhealthy habit may slow down your progress in another seemingly unrelated area, for example:

  • Sleeping better may help release chronic muscle tension.
  • Wearing the correct shoes may decrease lower back pain.

Some habits listed below are pretty obvious. Everybody knows that sleeping is good and smoking is bad.

On the other hand, some other habits are less known, more complex in nature and are often ignored even by medical doctors. Unfortunately, your doctor doesn't have enough time to investigate all aspects of your lifestyle.

These healthy habits are universal to all people

During the last ten years, I read a lot of books on health and well-being. The information from different books is sometimes contradictory, but sometimes it's very consistent when you compare different sources.

Almost all healthy habits on this page are universal to all people. We are one species and evolved over millions of years in a specific way. In other words, no matter your genetics, what you did in the past, or the environment in which you live right now, following these habits may have a great impact on your health.

And yet we are all different - find the habits relevant to you

Because of different genetics, some habits may have a bigger or smaller impact on the health of a particular individual.

For example, some people may smoke 20 cigarettes a day and live to 90 years old without major health problems. Others can work 8 hours per day on the computer and keep an excellent vision. For other people, both smoking and extended screen time are health risk factors.

Some habits below are more relevant to certain types of health conditions and some to others.

The list may seem overwhelming. I invite you to experiment one habit at a time.

List of good healthy habits

1. Move frequently

Low to moderate intensity cardio should be a part of your daily routine. Because of different genetics, a perfect exercise program that would suit everyone most likely doesn't exist.

No matter what your health goals are, even if you are a professional athlete, don't overdo it with your training. If your muscles are sore the next day after you exercise, it means you've done too much.

Recommended books

  • Exercised by Daniel Lieberman
  • The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson
  • The 4-Hour Body by Tim Ferriss

2. Find a way to release chronic muscle tension

The most affected areas are:

  • neck,
  • shoulders,
  • jaw,
  • tongue,
  • facial muscles,
  • muscles around your eyes,
  • back.

The tensed muscles decrease the blood flow in the affected and adjacent areas. That means less nutrients, less oxygen, and an increased buildup of waste products.

Recommended books

  • Facilitated Stretching by Robert E. McAtee
  • Relaxercise by David Zemach-Bersin

Recommended modalities

  • Feldenkrais Method
  • Yoga

3. Walk properly

The best way to achieve proper walking technique is to walk barefoot or in barefoot shoes. Such shoes have zero drop soles and, ideally, a wide toe box. Before buying new footwear, note that most barefoot shoes on the market are not earthing (see the section Practice earthing).

Walking barefoot will increase the chances of correctly using your muscles and joints. This applies not only to your feet and legs but also to other parts of your body, such as your spine and back muscles.

When you walk, slightly bend your knees and avoid the heel strike - it's when your foot lands on the heel when touching the ground.

Recommended videos

4. Use ergonomic furniture

If you work indoors, use ergonomic furniture. An adjustable standing desk is a good example. If you prefer sitting, look for chairs that allow an open hip angle position.

You may be tempted to find your "perfect" ergonomic position for maximum comfort. It's definitely worth exploring. But don't forget - you still need to move frequently.

It seems you will be better off with non-ergonomic furniture and frequently moving than with a super-expensive ergonomic chair but remaining still for extended periods of time. A wobble chair or a balance board may be a good choice.

Recommended books

  • Exercised by Daniel Lieberman

5. Improve your eyesight

This whole website is about healthy habits related to eyesight and light. You may want to start with the home page if you haven't done so.

Even if improving your eyesight is not your primary goal, I still highly recommend you check at least the following habits:

Effective use of your peripheral vision may help release chronic muscle tension. And the correct use of light - both natural and artificial - will improve your sleep and normalize hormone levels.

Recommended books

  • The Cure Of Imperfect Sight By Treatment Without Glasses by William Bates
  • Vision for Life by Meir Schneider
  • Improve Your Eyesight by Gloria Ginn
  • Optimal Eyesight by Esther Joy van der Werf

6. Get plenty of sleep

Ideally, sleep in complete darkness. No artificial light should fall on your closed eyes or any other part of your body.

It may be a good idea to give yourself about three hours between your last meal and bedtime.

7. Avoid processed foods

It applies especially to food containing sugar, salt, and refined oils. Processed food lacks vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other nutrients which are not yet fully studied by mainstream science.

By the way, white wheat flour and white rice are also considered processed food. The topic of whether to consume grains or not is still discussed in the literature. My perception is that grains are definitely not for everyone. Their safety will depend greatly on your genetics and your lifestyle. Almost everyone can find healthier alternatives.

Recommended books

  • The 4-Hour Body by Tim Ferriss
  • The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson

Recommended documentaries

  • Fed Up (2014)
  • Forks Over Knives (2011)

8. Prioritize whole foods

When it comes to which food is healthy, it becomes tricky. It will depend greatly on your genetics, physical activity level, and the climate you live in. There’s no one size fits all.

The general principle is to prioritize whole plant-based food:

  • vegetables, including greens,
  • fruits,
  • berries,
  • nuts,
  • seeds

I personally lean towards primarily a vegetarian diet with occasional eggs. Some people do very well on paleo. You will need to experiment.

It may be a good idea to keep a diary where you note which foods are good for you and under which circumstances.

Recommended books

  • How Not to Die by Michael Greger
  • The 4-Hour Body by Tim Ferriss
  • The Plant-Based Athlete by Matt Frazier
  • The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson

Recommended documentaries

  • The Game Changers (2018)
  • What the Health (2017)

9. Avoid soft or liquid food

Your jaw should get enough stimulation. It is the only bone in our body that can grow even when we are over 60. Eating soft and liquid food has a negative effect on the teeth, jaw development, and even on brain function. To put it bluntly, not chewing enough makes you stupid.

Think about how much fresh vegetables or fruits you should chew to get the recommended amount of vitamin C. It's a lot of chewing! Now compare it with swallowing a vitamin pill or drinking a veggie smoothie or fruit juice. In the latter case, there's almost no stimulation of your jaw muscles.

As a direct consequence of this point, do not overcook vegetables and avoid canned food.

Recommended books

  • Breath by James Nestor

Recommended articles

10. Hydrate yourself

Make sure you drink plenty of water during the day.

11. Breathe deeply

Make sure that your breathing is deep, slow, and abdominal most of the time. That means you use mostly your diaphragm for breathing. To make the breathing “deep”, put your focus primarily on making deep exhales, inhales will become deep naturally.

Recommended books

  • Breath by James Nestor

12. Keep your mouth shut

Unless you speak or sing, keep your mouth constantly closed during the day and tape it shut during the night.

Recommended books

  • Breath by James Nestor

Recommended articles

13. Adopt the correct resting tongue position

Unless you eat, drink, speak, or sing, your tongue at rest should adopt a specific position. Here are the steps:

  1. Fully close your mouth so your upper and lower teeth lightly touch each other.
  2. Make an "n" sound.
  3. Feel the tip of your tongue just slightly behind your upper front teeth.
  4. Leave the tip where it is and suction up the rest of the tongue as well.
  5. Do your best to make sure that all parts of your tongue feel relaxed.

Recommended books

  • Breath by James Nestor
  • The Singing Athlete by Andrew Byrne

Recommended videos

14. Avoid root canals

A root canal is a dental procedure when the nerve is extracted from your tooth, which leaves a piece of dead tissue inside your body for years. The bacteria which grow inside such teeth will secrete toxins. These toxins may negatively impact your health. They increase the risk of atherosclerosis, stroke, heart attack, pneumonia, arthritis, etc.

Note that the official position of the American Association of Endodontists and the Canadian Dental Association is that the root canal is a safe procedure. This is a lie.

Recommended books

  • Toxic tooth by Robert Kulacz
  • Root Canal Cover-Up by George E. Meinig
  • Cure Tooth Decay by Ramiel Nagel

15. Practice earthing

Earthing, also known as grounding, is making a physical connection between human body and the earth.

Earthing allows the natural exchange of electrons between your body and the earth. This practice reduces inflammation and boosts the immune system. It seems it also helps synchronize your biological clock with the Earth.

The easiest way to practice earthing is to walk barefoot.

If walking barefoot is not an option, you can use earthing mats, sheets, pillowcases, or shoes.

Recommended books

  • Earthing by Clinton Ober

16. Breathe fresh air

Spend more time outdoors. If you are indoors, make sure the room is well-ventilated.

17. Avoid exposure to high-intensity electromagnetic fields

That includes radiation.

18. Expose yourself to different temperatures

If you live at a constant air-conditioned temperature 24/7/365 and take only warm showers, you deprive your body of a chance to release some powerful hormones that can boost your immune system.

It seems that the ambient temperature when you sleep at night should be colder than during the day.

Recommended books

  • The Wim Hof Method by Wim Hof
  • The 4-Hour Body by Tim Ferriss
  • Tools Of Titans by Tim Ferriss

19. Fast occasionally

Just like with cold exposure, fasting will promote your body’s natural ability to recover.

Recommended books

  • Tools Of Titans by Tim Ferriss

20. Avoid ingesting, inhaling, or applying to your skin unnatural chemical substances

That includes alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine.

Even the chemicals naturally produced in our body or contained in foods, when consumed in high doses, may have unpredictable effects.

Obviously, do not stop any regular medications without discussing it with your doctor.

Washing your hands with soap is still a good idea. :)

Eyesight improvement tips from an evolutionary point of view