You don’t have to be a genius to recognize that homestead living offers a much healthier lifestyle than mainstream city life. Anything is better than breathing in motor exhaust, giving into fried food temptations, being bombarded with unrealistic advertisements, and processing bright lights and sharp sounds every waking moment. But the reality is, we don’t realize just how unhealthy our day-to-day is until we step out of it.
Let’s take a peek in the looking glass and see how we can improve our health by living off the grid.
1. Eat Fresh
Do you know how many people touch your produce before it reaches your table? There is the farmer, the guys sorting and packing, the delivery truck drivers, the grocery store stock boys, and surely a few more dudes all touched that apple you just took a bite of. On top of all that, there could certainly be chemicals and pesticides sprayed all over those “healthy veggies”. You may be thinking that this doesn’t apply to you since you shop at the most respected organic supermarket in town. I hate to burst your bubble, but anyone can slap an “Organic” label on their veggies and sell them at 2x the price.
The strongest example of this nasty practice can be found with the ultra popular organic supermarket chain, Whole Foods. It’s come to light in the past few years that a hefty portion of their produce is grown in China. No big deal? Think again as the farming industry in China is full of pollution, corruption, and improper farming regulations. When you grow and harvest your own crops on your own land, you do away with the middle men and truly get farm-to-table produce that will give your body the vitamins and nutrients you intended to give it in the first place.
2. Move Away From Junk Food
Literally. Take it from a former Fast Food Queen who indulged in junk food, fast food, and processed food all the tie. Out of sight actually does mean out of mind. We all know that we shouldn’t be eating that bag of chips we grabbed at the gas station and we also know that driving through McDonalds for the third time this month isn’t ideal–but it’s so easy to eat junk when it’s the norm. You’ll find that as you transition to homestead life, staying away from empty calories and sugary drinks isn’t a challenge–it’s just the new norm.
Even better, in the land of homegrown grub, you get a chance to raise kids who aren’t baited by colorful cereal boxes and happy fast food clowns. Homestead kids are programmed on a healthier channel and grow up with healthier eating habits. While watching their parents set a good example of healthy eating and being an active participant in growing healthy food, junk food then becomes a treat instead of a staple.
3. Exercise Naturally
Experts say that just 30 minutes of exercise a day is all you need to drastically improve your health. When you work a 9-5 office job and go back to your city apartment, there isn’t much opportunity for you to naturally move around. That means you’ve got to get a gym membership, make room in your schedule, and really stay on top of your habits to make sure that you work out. For some people, this is totally possible. But for many people with kids, fulltime jobs, and a disdain for treadmills, it’s a loosing battle.
Luckily for homesteaders, the gym is all around them! To promote cardiovascular health, reduce your stress levels, give your body more energy, help you lose a couple pounds, and more, all you need to do is go about your day-to-day routine off the grid. Your daily chores such as mucking the stables, chopping wood, harvesting your fruit and veggies, or even just going for a stroll around the property all serve as a form of exercise that easily add up to an enjoyable 30 minutes a day. Voila!
4. Decrease Disease
Researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital conducted a study where they followed a group of over 108,000 women and found “that women in greener areas had a 41% lower death rate for kidney disease and a 34% lower death rate for respiratory disease than those living in areas with less greenery.” Those percentages are huge, yet not surprising. We can add years on to our lives simply by living in a greener area.
We can easily speculate that clean air, relaxing atmosphere, and perhaps more exercise are just a few factors that we can credit with these healthy results. But it seems that just seeing green is good for you. Pretty cool, right?
5. Attract More Happiness and Less Depression
In what is known as the longest human study in American history, the Harvard Grant Study followed generations of men for 75 years searching to answer one question: What is the key to happiness? These men varied in socioeconomic status, race, religion, location, education, smoking and drinking habits–the list goes on and on. The conclusion? Relationships. Healthy, fulfilling relationships and connections are the key to happiness. It’s not how much money you have, how straight your teeth are, how big your house is–it’s the people in your life.
Busy, plugged in lives have often been blamed for anxiety and the loneliness of heavy workdays and time in front of a screen can be linked to depression. Leave it all behind and make relationships a priority on the homestead. Plant a garden with your kids, have a BBQ with your neighbors, build a house with your partner, put the tablet down and talk to your siblings. This is how we find happiness, and happiness is what dissolves depression and anxiety.
Our mental health, physical health, and internal health all benefit when we move off the grid and into a homestead lifestyle. Suddenly, you don’t have to track your calories because you are naturally eating less processed junk and you don’t have to step on a scale because your body feels strong every time you work outside. It’s time to go back to living life the way it was meant to be. Fresh food, happy thoughts, and strong connections with the people we love.