Things That Seem Normal, But are Not
We do a lot of strange things, and unfortunately for our health, they often lead to illness. As a whole, our memories are short, we think that the things we do every day are the things that humans have always done, but this is just not true.
To determine what we should do, we often look to other people for help; scientists call this “social proof”. Social proof is fine when everyone around you is acting in accordance with their health and their happiness, but as you might guess from all the unhealthy people you see every day, this just isn’t the case. We have slowly moved from healthy living habits to destructive habits and the movement has been so slow we have barely noticed it. I’ve gathered together some of the weird things humans do that can seem perfectly normal because everyone else is doing them, but are not.
If you are looking to improve your health, you might want to steer clear of what everyone else is doing
1. Not Sleeping when we are Tired
|Look around you: dogs, cats – even the mice in your walls – all lie down and sleep when they are tired. We don’t do that. What do you do if you are tired? If you are like a lot of us, you reach for coffee. Animals don’t do that, they lie down and sleep when they are tired. There are actually two issues here: the first is that amount of sleep you need and the second is sleeping during the day. It can be a bit hard to determine what is normal for the amount of sleep we need, but looking at animals, they are sleeping much more than we are and they tend to break up their sleep into smaller chunks. You might need eight hours of sleep, but maybe your number is six or ten hours. You should also consider adding a nap into your routine. Next time you think you need a pick-me-up from your coffee cup, try a short nap. I’m a big fan of the nap and try to catch one every day; it is the best way I know to “reboot” my brain for an afternoon in front of the computer. Here is a great page for information on napping and a no nonsense guide to napping.|
2. Not Relaxing
3. Eating Grains
|I know what you are thinking when you read this: of course it is normal to eat grains; the government recommends that grains make up most of our diet, it has to be normal. But, once again, eating grains seems normal because everyone is doing it, but grains are not optimal food for humans. Humans have only been munching on grains – in any large amounts – for the last 7,000 years. Sure, that sounds like a lot of time, but it actually is not. Our bodies have not adapted to the large amount of carbohydrates we put into them. High blood sugar which results from eating grains is responsible for more ill health than smoking cigarettes (see my book Sugarettes). Try replacing grains with fruits and vegetables at every meal. You will be astonished at how much better you feel.|
|Putting shoes on your feet seems pretty normal, right? Actually, your foot is incredible complex and wearing shoes all the time can be harmful to your feet. I suggest you spend at least part of the day waking around without shoes. A great trick is to get a plastic bucket and fill it with small stones (like pea gravel) spend ten or 15 minutes just standing in the gravel. It gives your feet a massage and rebuilds many of the muscles that have atrophied due to shoe wearing. There are also shoes from Terra Plana called Vivo Barefoot shoes that have a Kevlar bottom so that your feet can have the barefoot experience while still looking like a normal shoe.|
5. Being Inside
|We live most of our lives inside and this is just not healthy. Not only is the air pollution inside a home or office often much worse than outside, we are also not getting enough sunlight. We have grown afraid of the big bad sun and have forgotten that it has a lot to do with our health. Yes, you should not be out in the sun long enough to get a bad burn, but skin cancer has a lot less to do with our exposure to sunlight than previously thought. It appears that skin cancer may have much more to do with the lack of essential nutrients than sun exposure; some research suggests that it is the lack of sunlight that causes cancer. We get vitamin D from sun exposure and that vitamin is so essential to our health that you should consider supplementing if you are not getting enough (I like cod liver oil for vitamin D supplementation).|
6. Drinking Calories
7. Stretching Before Exercise
|Okay, I don’t count this as a major health hazard, but there is a great recent article that shows stretching is not such a good idea for athletes.|
8. Not Moving Your Buns Around
9. Not Going to the Bathroom when we Need to Go
10. Cooking Foods
Well, there they are: the Weird Things Humans Do. I’m sure I missed a few; feel free to add them into the comment section. When you look at all the strange things we do you start to realize just how un-normal normal can be. Health is a matter of breaking free of the things most people do and charting a way through the world that prioritizes your health.
Take the plunge and try the 30 sugar free days challenge: