I wrote this blog post while I’m away on a beautiful tropical island. Hainan is the home of the Li aboriginals for thousands of years. To this day, a part of the population still stay close to their roots, living among the coconut trees and producing their own food. The locals are known for their longevity. Come on, it’s the first time I’ve seen a 90 year-old grandpa working in the fields! I heard local elders often continue working until the day they peacefully pass away in their sleep. Chronic conditions such as cancer, diabetes, and heart conditions are something the locals rarely experience (or even heard of). Naturally my curiosity peaked because I’m always open to discover ingredients to the secret sauce of optimal well-being.
Photo Credit: anonymous author
Even after a short 2-day stay, I have experienced a complete reset.
After a long drive from the city, I’ve entered another world. Locals here lead a semi self-sustained lifestyle. Families usually have very little need for going to the market because they grow enough produce in the fields. When they can’t finish what they grow, they trade it on the market in exchange for other necessities.
The work schedule here is something a city girl like me never experienced before. While spending Saturday evenings trying the newest healthy restaurant in town, followed by a dessert hot spot is amazing, I admit I’d be over-extending the amount of energy my body allows me for the day.
In contrast, I have discovered the villagers are attuned with the natural rhythms of their body. I followed what they did, so instead of turning off the blue light and setting bedtime on my phone, Mr. Rooster woke me up at sunrise. Then it’s time to take care of your food-go work in the field, collect coconuts and fruits.
I was shocked to find out I could get free star fruits if I help the villagers with the harvesting. Of course I volunteered!
It’s amazing how my energy was recharged and my sleep pattern was reset during my short visit. Even when you are too busy to get away from the city, you can still experiment resetting your routine over the weekend so you feel restored and ready to take on the world when Monday arrives!
Here are some ideas to consider for your reset weekend:
1. Get a Nice Dose of Vitamin N!
N stands for nature. Forest therapy has been dubbed ‘the medicine of being in nature’ according to the Association of Nature & Forest Therapy. The concept of ‘shinrin-yoku (forest bathing)‘ has been recognized in Japan since the 1980s. A multitude of studies have proven the stress reducing and mood lifting effects when we get close to mother nature.
Negative Ions Creates Positive Mood
Why being in nature feels so good? I have a question for you. Have you ever felt refreshed after taking a deep breath after a thunderstorm, standing near a waterfall or being near the pounding waves on the beach? Negative ions are in high concentration under those circumstances, and the forest is another major generator of negative ions. It’s been almost 20 years since University of Columbia researchers have discovered negative ions are effective to help people with winter depression. Clean outdoor air contains about 100-200cc negative ions, but the concentration can be so much higher in the forest. By the time I was visiting this rain forest, the meter reading was 11,600cc. Being in a place saturated with negative ions creates positive vibes! Try it for yourself!
BTW. If you want to return some TLC to mother nature, bring a few friends and share a ride!
2. Experiment with your optimal sleep pattern.
It’s common for us to feel like we need 25 hours in a day. We stay up late to work on to-do items we don’t get around to tackle during the day but this pattern tricks our body into night owls even when our body needs the rest. After getting some outdoor activities, try to disconnect from your electronic devices in the evening and just let yourself rest. During deep sleep, your body produce growth hormone to repair damages and rejuvenate your body.
3. Eat clean for a day.
I know after a long week, wine and dine is such an amazing way to treat yourself. During your reset weekend, try some clean protein and fuel up on a big salad instead. This is what I mean:
It’s very important to find out how your animal protein is raised and harvested because we are at the receiving end of the growth hormones, medications and other toxins that are potentially stored in the meat. It’s your right to know what is put into your food. Pasture raised animals may even have a superior nutrition profile although more research is needed to further establish guidelines for consumers.
I never had problem cracking open chicken bones with my teeth before, but these free-roaming chicken have really strong bones.They also get to clean up coconut shells so they are also getting some minerals and healthy fats on a daily basis.
4. Enjoy your food in small portions.
I discovered that people here eat in small portions. This small chicken stew is shared among a family of 6.
5. Get some superfood boosters into your daily routine.
Sip on Moringa Tea
People here enjoy sipping on moringa tea after a long day of work. The 2 most popular species cultivated are Moringa oleifera and Moringa peregrina.
Moringa gives you a boost in the following nutrients and antioxidants:
When fermented, the germinated seed powder also provide essential fatty acids and proteins and have less antinutrients and enzyme blockers.
Cook with Coconut Water
Coconut water is rich in minerals and folate, which is a clean source of hydration that keep the electrolyte levels balanced in the body after physical activities.
Have a beautiful and healthy week, dear friends!