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Five Things a Naturopath Wish She Knew in her 20’s

Woman in 20's with naturopath

We’re not sure if anything beats personal advice from the experts! This got us thinking, if they were talking to a loved one, what would our naturopaths tell them about health & wellness? What are the things they wished they had known in their 20’s? Lynley has given her top 5 things here. Kelly’s tips are over on Instagram (head back to March 2020 if you’re a little late to this article). We love how different the two sets of tips are! Lynley and Kelly both came to naturopathy at different ages so have unique insights.

We hope you find some of these tips as helpful as our team have! If you want more information, you can even give our naturopaths a call. They can advise on many areas of health and wellness. Without further ado, here are the things Lynley wish she knew at 25…

1. If you’re active – Look after your joints and muscles!

Being an avid runner throughout most of my 20’s and 30’s I had my fair share of injuries – nothing too major – mainly strained muscles and the odd torn muscle or ligament.  I was quite competitive and these injuries were usually from trying to run faster than what my over-used muscles were comfortably capable of.  My attitude at the time was pretty much ‘she’ll be right’ or ‘go hard or go home’ and I gave little thought to supplementing with nutrients to help with injuries, performance or recovery.

If I had known then what I know now – I would have given my muscles nutrients like magnesium and adequate protein and supplemented with glucosamine and chondroitin to support my joints (which at the time I thoughts was only for old people with arthritis) not young, fit athletes. If you get injured, seek professional advice to get it sorted – or it will quite likely re-surface when you’re older.

2. Learn how to brush your teeth – I thought I was being clean and healthy!

I always thought that getting stuck-in and giving your teeth and gums a good brushing 2 or 3 times a day was beneficial. It sure made them feel clean and fresh. Apparently I confused the words ‘good brushing’ with thinking that meant brushing ‘hard’ with a ‘firm’ toothbrush. I was an enthusiastic brusher! Now I’m told to use a ‘soft’ toothbrush and ‘gently’ brush my teeth at a 45-degree angle (and not my gums) so I don’t worsen the receding gums that I developed from over-brushing! Who knew?? Also, don’t forget to floss!

3. Re-think Lollies! Don’t secretly hope they add some hidden nutritional benefit!

I could run for hours and I loved it.  I would run at least 3 or 4 mornings a week.  My well-deserved treat most Sundays (after running for over 20kms before breakfast) would be to lie in the park and eat a bag of lollies and wash it down with a Pepsi Max fizzy drink (I’ll get to artificial sweeteners next).  The lollies made me feel good – it was probably giving my muscles and brain the carbohydrate they desperately needed. What my body really needed was some nutrient-rich food. I did eat a healthy diet but probably not enough for the level of exercise I did.

These days, if I ever feel like lollies (which thankfully is seldom), it’s usually a sign of tiredness or stress. Unfortunately, there is no nutritional benefit in eating lollies (which I secretly already knew).  Refined sugar causes your blood sugar to spike (which can lead to cravings and make you moody), feeds the ‘bad’ bacteria in your gut and interferes with your immune system – just to name a few.

4. Avoid Artificial sweeteners

Going back over 20 years ago – I was never one to drink a lot of soda but for a time there I did drink a 500ml bottle of Pepsi max once a week. I knew artificial sweeteners weren’t healthy – but I enjoyed the taste and the fizziness of a cold drink on a hot day and chose to ignore the health implications – plus it didn’t seem to be a big deal.  I have since learned that artificial sweeteners not only cause sweet cravings (and a whole host of other things) but they damage your beneficial gut bacteria, which we know today to be linked to so many different vital functions of our body – including a large part of our immune system. These days I keep well away from anything with artificial sweeteners in.

5. Trust your instincts

Not only with big life decisions but also smaller day-to-day decisions and even decisions to do with your health.  When you’re in a situation and not sure what to do, ask yourself ‘by choosing this option do I feel a bit better or a bit worse?’ You won’t always get total clarity but moving step by step in the direction that feels a little bit better (rather than a little bit worse) you know you’re headed in the right direction.

My main regret in life was ignoring my intuition. On two specific occasions, I knew something was very wrong and I chose to ignore the alarms bells going off in my head. I finished up paying a hefty price for my mistake! Of course, it’s a learning opportunity, but it’s a tough way to learn a lesson. As a naturopath I chat with people on a daily basis about their health.  It’s quite common to talk with someone who knows what foods they need to avoid & what lifestyle changes to make. Sometimes they just want someone else to validate what they already instinctively know.

A huge thanks to Lynley for this honest, personal list. We’d love your feedback on what types of content you’d like to see more of from us. Send us a message on Instagram or Facebook! Catch you next time x