Back to Basics for Improved Health

| 3/3/2015 8:05:00 AM

Tags: spiritual health, mental health, physical health, Anneli Carter Sundqvist, Deer Isle Hostel, Maine,

One of the greatest boons with our homesteading lifestyle is how closely related it is to physical and mental/spiritual health. The fundamentals for how we pursue our days – outdoor work, homegrown, organic food and a relatively stress free environment – are important components for a healthy life. But there are other aspects too for why I as a homesteader see a much greater chance for enhanced and sustained well-being than in the conventional western lifestyle. To go “back to basics” usually refers to a move towards down scaling, simplicity and a more conscientious life style often lived closer to nature. For me, back to basics can be taken even further: to move towards some of the basic, life sustaining elements that we as humans have evolved for, something that I believe is the most fundamental aspect for health and inner balance.


To follow my food from seed to plant and back to soil brings me closer to nature and to some basic elements for our existence.

Throughout the entire existence of humans, our brains have developed for a certain range of input, environments and nourishment and our anatomy has evolved parallel with that. Some aspects of this are more obvious, like that we're built for physical activity, but I believe these evolutionary traits go deeper and are more subconscious and intangible than we're able to fully grasp. It's easy for me to imagine that inner city environments with their sights, sounds and artificial materials, screens on devices or blaring loud speakers add stress to our systems, simply because we have not evolved for that kind of input. Balance, and good health, is found when our brains on the most fundamental level understand the surroundings and our place and function in that: when our lungs understand what we breath – clean oxygen and not pollution, when our cells go about their task without confusion from foreign substances or toxins and our organs can do what they are “taught” to do without external stress from for example increased cholesterol or heavy doses of sugar.

The last century has drastically and rapidly altered many of the contexts we've evolved for, and one of the more concrete examples of how our modern western lifestyle has diminished our well being is the introduction of heavily processed food. The most common line of reasoning is that we have evolved to eat and digest certain types of food and the rapid and recent change in our diet now leads to overweight and diseases such as diabetes, gluten intolerance and other allergies, all being symptoms of unbalance.

As a social and cultural creature I believe our brains have a great elasticity, and in a society with an exponential rate of change, we've gotten used to adapting new circumstances, technology and even realities, such when we move to a new town or country or change our job.

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