Purely Spring Magazine 2021:
Eating Right for Your Lifestyle
with Dr. Josh Axe
Dr. Josh Axe, DC, DNM, CNS, is a doctor of chiropractic, certified doctor of natural medicine, and clinical nutritionist with a passion to help people eat healthy and live a healthy lifestyle. His new book, Ancient Remedies: Secrets to Healing with Herbs, Essential Oils, CBD, and the Most Powerful Natural Medicine in History, encourages people to embrace age-old holistic remedies to improve their overall wellness– including tons of accessible DIY options to fit any lifestyle! Read on for his tips on incorporating healthy eating into your lifestyle in ways that work for you.
In your new book, Ancient Remedies, you talk about eating right for your lifestyle type and living in sync with your circadian clock. Can you elaborate on this?
Each of us has distinct traits that make us one of a kind. In my book, I outline five types (or five elements found in nature: fire, earth, wood, metal, water) that people can identify with, each of which has a corresponding diet, supplement and exercise protocol that tends to be most supportive. Ancient healers believed that each of these elements existed in humans, some more strongly than others.
I recommend that people first identify which element is their dominant one. They can then establish a personalized approach to healing that includes foods and other habits that create balance and harmony among all of the elements.
An important aspect of creating an individualized plan is to consider how your energy ebbs and flows throughout the day. Your circadian rhythm is also called your “internal clock” because it helps to put your body into a steady routine of feeling sleepy at night and motivated/awake during the day time. Your internal clock is also partially responsible for other functions like digestion, detoxification, elimination, concentration, and more.
You can support your circadian rhythm by creating a relaxing nighttime routine that helps you get sufficient sleep, and by adjusting your schedule so you get daytime light exposure to feel more energized throughout the day. Other things to consider are the best times of day for workouts, when you feel most productive in terms of working/studying, and at which points you may need to rest/nap/meditate to restore your energy.
Following a specific diet can be intimidating and unrealistic at times, can you share at least 5 tips for healthy eating without following a diet? (i.e. foods to avoid, swaps/changes, etc.)
1. Focus on eating a “clean diet” first and foremost, meaning one that includes plenty of whole foods like veggies, fruit, grass-fed meats, fish, eggs, bone broth, herbs, and spices.
2. Limit processed foods which can promote inflammation, such as those that contain added sugar, refined vegetable oils, processed meats, and artificial sweeteners and other preservatives and chemicals.
3. Fill up on protein, which can include both animal and plant sources of protein, depending on your preferences. Protein is filling and can help to keep your appetite and cravings in check.
4. Eat enough fiber, which has benefits for digestion, microbiome/gut function, immunity, heart health, and more.
5. Don’t drink your calories. Skip drinking things like soda, juice, energy drinks and sweetened coffee/tea, and instead have plenty of water, herbal tea, bone broth and coffee in moderation.
Can you talk about the importance of healing the body using essential oils, herbs and other natural medicines?
All of these natural remedies draw upon the wisdom of traditional systems of medicine that have been utilized for thousands of years, including Ayurvedic medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Biblical medicine, and others.
I believe that natural remedies should be our go-to treatments for non-emergencies. They can help to address underlying, root causes of common conditions, such as chronic stress and poor digestion, and can be combined in various ways that support an individual’s unique concerns.
Compared to the Western approach to medicine — which usually treats superficial symptoms and relies on pharmaceutical drugs that can often contribute to side effects — natural remedies tend to be more holistic and safer overall. Not only this, but they address people’s concerns on a deeper level, helping to promote healing of the physical body and mind.
The ancient healers who first came up with these remedies and handed them down for generations believed that human health is a complex mix of physical, emotional, and spiritual wellness. Today, we can still use natural remedies to treat a variety of different types of pains and ailments by supporting the body’s internal healing process from the inside-out.
Can you share a few mind-body practices to heal your body from the inside out?
Mind-body practices that focus on reducing stress, improving sleep, and supporting mental health in other ways can have widespread benefits.
Depending on which types you practice, they’re a helpful way to improve your outlook, energy, and confidence, which can translate to physical benefits as well — such as by improving gut health, reducing fatigue and decreasing cravings — due to the “brain-gut connection.”
Here are some mind-body practices that I recommend most:
• Acupuncture and acupressure
• Healing movement like tai chi and yoga
• Massage therapies
• Reading inspirational texts and books, including the Bible
• Journaling to help clarify your thoughts
• Time spent in nature