One of best parts of every trip is to look back and reflect on your experiences. I had the
opportunity to go to Italy last October. So many incredibly memories, but also something very perplexing.
You see, it was my first time in Italy. I wanted to experience everything I could. By everything, I mean, the sights, the food, the damn aperol, wine and grappa. Yes. We ate and drank ourselves through each day of this trip. Here’s what’s perplexing. We NEVER got hungover (and I’m a light weight that gets the WORST hangovers). It was legitimately a dream come true that I woke up feeling good AND I still fit in my clothes at the end of the trip. A quick weekend trip in the states and none of this is the case. But how? Why? What was this miraculous blessing? Well, the truth is, it wasn’t a fluke. There’s actually quite a few reasons we are not comparing apples to apples when we are taking in the same food and alcohol volume/type from where I normally would have very different outcomes. You might say adverse.
Here are the major factors that I feel influence our outcomes…
1. We walked everywhere.
All day every day. We didn’t have a car and we didn’t sit at a desk for a large part of the day. Here’s the deal. If you would look at my Apple Watch, it would certainly tell you I am active. I get a lot of steps day to day. Darn close to what I got daily in Italy. But here, I still sit a TON! There, we only sat at meals. The rest of the time, we were on our feet. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but getting all your steps in one cluster is not the same as dispersing your movement through the say. Dispersing your movement is superior! Your heath, your metabolism, recovery, etc. What if I told you you can get 15k steps daily, but still be considered sedentary. Sorry. It’s true. You could go for one long run and sit on your butt for the rest of the day and you are still sedentary.
I am just gonna tell you this. You can order the caprese salad here. It will have the same ingredients, but it is no where near the same. From the crops that get fertilized here, the water that is used on our crops, the pesticides, the oils that are seed based or mass produced and stored in plastics. All of these things add in to a bigger equation. I have said it one million times and I will say it again, nature knows best. The more we manipulate and mass produce, the less our bodies know what to do and how to process.
It was out and so were we! Sun exposure is sooooo under rated. Energy! Metabolism! Body rhythms, sleep cycles, MOOD. We all know we should supplement with Vitamin D in the winter, but most of the benefits I named above will never come with a bottle in a supplement. (I still supplement) But it’s not the same.
4. Blue light
As I type on this computer right now, I am reminded of just how little screen time I had there. I took a real work break for the first time in years. I think I worked a couple hours just a couple days. Sometimes we just don’t know the impact of something until it’s removed and we have a baseline comparison. Remember, feeling tired and falling asleep is not the same as quality of sleep. Brings me to my next difference….
5. SLEEP - I GOT IT!
Ok, we weren’t angels about early to bed. But!! The sleeping in was nothing short of what felt like a luxury. Isn’t that sad? I used the word luxury. The word should be “necessity” when it comes to sleep hygiene. Yes, sometimes knowing better is still not strong enough to refute the American and modernized way of life. I do health. When it comes to sleep- I. Am. A. Hypocrite. Unfortunately, less sleep is my tool to fit in how I do fit in other important health factors that would have worse health impact if I were to choose sleep over them. Wish I were perfect. The best we can with what we’ve got.
All in all, our bodies responded so favorably to less. Less stress, less sitting, less screen time, less time in doors, less toxins, etc. We were truly living closer to how we are all meant to live. Simply. Our bodies were more efficient instead of bogged down with every connected process. Not only did we recover faster, we had more energy. Our world had advanced and our bodies have not kept up. I highly recommend a trip where you can unplug, unwind. Try nourishing your body instead of YOLO garbage processed food. Let your system reset. Find what your baseline should be instead of the average American way that we all fall into. My realistic life goal is to stay conscious of what I can control within our day to day. It is our responsibility to do the best we can with what we’ve got. When it comes down to it, we all have the same exact goal. To feel good.