We quietly crossed over the threshold of a new calendar year without the usual revelry and fanfare. Perhaps you renewed a commitment to eating better, exercising more, drinking less, or making time to meditate. As we move ahead from one of the most challenging years in recent history, we may want to set our intentions a little higher and make New Year’s resolutions that will exert a much broader impact on health. The pandemic has taught us many things, some we already knew but are now impossible to ignore, and others that we could never have imagined in our wildest dreams. How can we ensure that the learnings from this assault on public health and humanity not be in vain? Before doubling down on the same commitments as we have in the past, let’s first ask ourselves some vital questions.
How did we get here?
Am I living in alignment with my beliefs and values?
What part can I play in creating a healthier, more resilient world?
How can live more purposefully and intentionally?
The disastrous events of this past year have shined a gigantic spotlight on the sum effect of environmental degradation on the health of people and planet. Our vulnerabilities are exponential; The United States already had the highest disease rate burden comparable to other countries, growing consistently wider over the years. This put us at a significant disadvantage to the perilous effects of this pandemic and we will continue to be at risk if we don’t imminently change course. One large contributing factor stems from a broken and nutrient deficient food system where blatant disregard for common sense health protections are overshadowed by production practices focused solely on profitability and corporate interests. The CDC reports that one in six Americans currently lives with a debilitating, yet completely reversible, metabolic disorder that negatively impacts the immune response. These co-morbidities, an inevitable end result of overweight and obesity, and a pervasive processed food culture, are the leading predictors of infection, and ultimately death from COVID-19.
Biodiversity is King
Our baseline immunity relies on diverse microbiology in our guts and in the ecosystem overall. Everything from what we eat (or don’t eat) to the variety of persistent chemical and toxic exposures in the areas we reside predicates the ideal balance of microorganisms evolved to protect us from destructive pathogens. An ecosystem that is entirely out of balance as a result of human intervention threatens our ability to fight infections and our chance at survival. Unfortunately, our current extractive practices are perpetuating ecological damage and is driving us into extinction at a rate never before seen in history.
Setting meaningful intentions for 2021 requires that we acknowledge and accept the downstream effects of all of the choices that we make. After what we’ve learned this year, we need to awaken to our agency to improve not just our own health, but the health of the ecosystem at large. We can leverage our purchasing power to support the industries and companies that value and uphold health protections, environmental integrity, and restore the delicate balance of microbiology that humans depend on for life. Commerce has infinite potential to drive that positive change, possibly even more rapidly than legislative action, especially considering the deeply divided and dysfunctional state of government today.
At Navitas, our manifesto Superfoods with Purpose describes our commitment to promoting health across the ecosystem. This means we conduct our business with purpose and intention to contribute to the world in a positive, restorative manner. We will continue to evolve our practices to stay in alignment with these goals and encourage others to join us in our mission.
So, let’s resolve to make resolutions that matter in 2021! Here are five New Year’s resolutions that will not only make a difference for your own health, but that of the nation, and the world.
1. Eat more plants. Plant-forward diets reduce inflammation and prevent and treat a wide variety of metabolic disorders. This study demonstrates how powerful this treatment is for the reversal of Diabetes, cardiovascular disease and more.
2. Ditch the plastic. Aside from the microplastics accumulating in our oceans and the food chain, more than 99% of plastics are produced using chemicals derived from fossil fuels. See this report on the "Hidden Costs of A Plastic Planet."
3. Bike more, drive less. Reducing our reliance on fossil fuels is the challenge of our lifetime. Transitioning to clean energy will reduce the prevalence of oil drilling that is responsible for destroying the ocean at an alarming rate. Without the ocean, we simply don’t have life on earth. This documentary "Mission Blue" on Netflix tells the story beautifully.
4. Move more, Sit less! You may have heard that sitting is the new smoking. While science continues to debate this, there is widespread agreement that movement is a primary treatment modality for all kinds of health disorders. See this 2019 study for more information.
5. Live Life Purposefully. If every decision and purchase is made with a conscious awareness about impact, we can improve the health of our planet for all of its inhabitants. Let’s make 2021 the year that changed the course of our collective fate.
Author Bio: As an RN, MPH and successful healthy lifestyle business owner, Meg Adelman focuses her efforts on improving generations of population health by relentlessly promoting the lifestyle-health connection and pushing for policy and legislative change to support people in making healthy choices.