SurThrival Tip #1:
Know your water source. Nourish your body & build your blood with the cleanest water possible, preferably spring water!
SurThrival Tip #2:
Connect with your local food-shed. At SurThrival, we believe it is important that we stay connected to our local food production. Whether you grow and raise your own food, forage, fish, or hunt, or simply become a member of a CSA or shop your local farmers market, getting connected to a local food source is the beginning of personal and community food sovereignty.
SurThrival Tip #3:
You can use HEPA filtration, ionizers, de-humidifiers, and house plants in combination to recreate outdoor-like air inside of your home! Here is a link to NASA’s study on removing toxic VOC’s with house plants: http://www.scribd.com/doc/1837156/NASA-Indoor-Plants
SurThrival Tip #4:
More than just free, Sunlight is truly the source of all life-force and health. The vitamin D we manufacture in the presence of sunlight does more than build healthy bones, it stimulates the production of feel good neuro-transmitters, staves off dozens of cancers, and is even critical to the proper expression of our genes! Be sure to get enough sunlight for your skin type.
SurThrival Tip #5:
Nourishing your spirituality is nourishing your overall health. Take at least 10-15 minutes each day to dedicate your energy toward focusing on yourself, whether it be through meditation, doing something you are passionate about, etc. Fulfilled spirituality makes for wholistic health.
SurThrival Tip #6:
Consider switching to Glass Water Bottles.
We all know that reusable water bottles are better for the environment, but what material is best for our health?
We love glass water bottles because they are non-porous – meaning they don’t breath -keeping your water tasting fresher longer. Unlike stainless steel and plastics, glass is non-leaching, keeping toxic metals like nickel, and harmful petro-chemicals like BPA from ending up in your water. Glass, though delicate, is the SurThrivalist’s pick for our healthiest choice.
SurThrival Tip #7:
Keep a pair of “gas pumping” gloves in your vehicle!
Gasoline contains over 150 different chemicals, and is widely understood to be exceedingly toxic in nature. Due to its solvent properties, petroleum is readily absorbed transdermally. Keep a pair of gloves handy that you can use when pumping gas in order to minimize your contact with common toxic compound.
Try turning your water temperature control to cold when you are finishing your shower. The cold water causes the tiny musculature of the skin to contract, toning the skin. Not only does this practice lead to more taut and toned skin, it revitalizes your body, and is good for your metabolism and your immune system! Give it a try, you will thank us!
SurThrival Tip #9:
Practice the flat-footed squat.
Sitting in the flat-footed squat is a near ubiquitous human resting position. Only in the westernized world have we lost our ability to comfortably rest in the squat position, due of course, to the constant use of chairs. Set a goal to build up to 1 minute of flat-foot squatting per day. Start by positioning your feet just wider than your shoulders, exhaling as you sit your buttocks as close to the heels as you can, with your feet firmly planted flat on the floor. This can greatly benefit your hip, knee, and ankle mobility and preserve the long-term comfort of your lower back.
Try Pillow-less Sleeping!
It sounds strange, but pillow use may be a significant contributor to many people’s neck pain! Try out a few postures on your bed without your pillow to see what is comfortable. Hint: You don’t have to use your arm as a pillow, try tucking your arm and shoulder behind you. Once you establish a few comfortable postures, try sleeping a whole night without your pillow. You just might find this to be the answer to relieving that chronic neck tension!
SurThrival Tip #11:
Practice defocused vision for better eye health!
Our modern lives constantly demand that we use hyper focused/near sighted vision. We spend much of our time reading and computing, and being indoors where there is very little panorama. When you “take in” a panoramic view, as in the view from a mountain top, you are not “looking” at anything specific, rather seeing the whole scene with defocused vision. This relaxes the eyes, and helps to increase the longevity of our vision!
SurThrival Tip #12:
Give yourself the gift of EMF-free sleep!
Unplug your wireless router and power down your mobile phones and tablets (or put them on “airplane mode”) before going to bed at night. We have found that this allows for a deeper and more refreshing sleep.
SurThrival Tip #13:
Drink a cup of Herbal Tea Per Day!
By adding one infusion or decoction of medicinal or tonic herbs into your day you flood your body with phytonutrients that act as medicines in your body. Most of the domesticated produce in our modern food supply chain lacks the phytochemistry that we as humans are adapted to. The lack of herbal medicine in peoples diets today represents one of the reasons that we are so culturally dependent on pharmaceutical medicine. A cup of tea per day helps to keep the allopathic doctor at bay!
SurThrival Tip #14:
Have you tried using a standing desk?
Recent research suggests that chronic sitting may be as or more detrimental to your health than smoking! Consider creating a standing desk for your work, or just for your every day computer use. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22450936
SurThrival Tip #15:
Develop the skill of lifelong learning.
By observing the redundant underlying patterns in any field of knowledge, you can become the master of many skills. Here is a secret: When you meet a master, rather than memorizing what they know, study instead how they think. Try this easy mantra: “I learn easily, I’m always learning!”
Take a walk.
Its sounds so natural, so simple, but in our modern world it is - for many of us - the most underutilized form of exercise. We spend so much time, energy, and money on gyms, equipment, and workout gear, but our bodies are already optimized for this low impact, highly therapeutic form of movement. Studies indicate that the benefits range from reduced blood pressure to better sleep and enhanced mental well-being. Enhance the health benefits by walking barefoot in nature as part of your ReWilding practice!
SurThrival Tip # 17:
Develop a supplement station!
We all need to use supplements and medicines to maintain our health. The problem is that we have to take them in order for them to work! Set up an area where you will visit your supplements throughout the day, and make it a habit to use them as you pass by. Hint: Visit your station first thing in the morning, and again before bed!
SurThrival Tip # 18
Make a "no domesticated grain" rule.
And stick to it 95% of the time.
“Eating wheat, like ice climbing, mountain boarding, and bungee jumping, is an extreme sport. It is the only common food that carries its own long-term mortality rate.”
― William Davis, Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back To Health
If you’re not in the know on this, do your research on domesticated grains. They’re….not good for you. But this doesn’t mean you have to completely eliminate grains from your diet! Wild rice, for instance, is a complex carbohydrate (macro-nutrient), and unlike the mono-cropped and refined carbohydrates of the average American diet, it is a rich whole food grain, loaded with vitamins and minerals (micronutrients) as well.
Eat fermented foods to colonize your gut with healthy probiotic flora.
You have about 4-6lbs of microbes living within you, which is more than your brain weighs! Not surprisingly, research is uncovering that our microbiome affects way more than just digestion. Some studies show that it can even affect your mood (see more here)! Keeping your microbiota healthy and diverse is vital to achieving robust health.
Begin thinking of fermented foods as their own food group and incorporate them into your daily meals!
SurThrival Tip # 20
Consume a wide variety of nutritional fats.
Increase your omega 3 intake while reducing your omega 6’s. Both are essential components of the human diet, but the latter is far too common in our modern diets and can promote inflammation, while the former is often not consumed enough and is anti-inflammatory & brain-building. In short: eat less domesticated grains; eat more oysters & pastured meats!
SurThrival Tip # 21
Use more fresh spices.
These come from plants that are still near wild and rich in nutritional and medicinal polyphenols and terpenes. Plus, using spices is such a simple way to transform a simple dish of say, wild rice and veggies, into something much more entertaining for your taste buds!
Surthrival Tip #22
Choose wild caught seafood over farmed whenever clean and ethical.
Foods from the sea are brain-building and anti-inflammatory, and most of us do not get enough of these nutrient-dense foods. So, definitely eat your seafood, but be discerning of its source! Take salmon, for instance. Wild salmon is lower in calories and packed with more nutrients than farmed (see this infographic for the details). Also, GMO salmon has recently surfaced (yuck!), making it even more imperative that you opt for wild when consuming this fish!
Surthrival Tip #23
Discern not just between individual ingredients, but varieties of that species. Did you know that broccoli, kale, kohlrabi, cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts, and collard greens are all the SAME plant species (Brassica oleracea)?! Take time to learn about the veggies and fruits you’re buying from your local grocers from a species perspective — and try to choose the least domesticated options available. Bringing more wild foods into your diet can help ensure you’re eating from a wider range of species. Diversify your diet for better health!
Surthrival Tip #24
Small light snacking throughout the day is part of our natural way. In other words, it's okay to graze. This habit of grazing is something we often see in small children who have not had "3 squares a day" ingrained as a belief system. They are actually eating like a forager. Consider how often you have been told that eating actually turns up your fire aka increases your metabolism. Consider eating smaller portions more frequently throughout the day. Of course we are not all foraging our food but apply this principle to your daily routine and food choices. A handful of berries, a boiled egg at 10AM, A demi salad at Noon, An Elixir at 3PM and so on....
Surthrival Tip #25
Better yet, take several throughout the year (plants to harvest in the springtime will vary vastly from plants you might find in the fall!). There’s something satisfying about purple-stained fingers and an overflowing basket of wild blueberries you’ve harvested yourself. Picking up a shiny plastic carton of blueberries (stamped: Product of Mexico) from your local Whole Foods in mid-December wearing boots and a parka? Not quite the same…We know that wild foods are more nutrient-dense than their domesticated counterparts, and thus better for your health.
Another overlooked, benefit of eating wild foods is the act of foraging. It puts you in touch with your local food sources. You develop so much knowledge about your local environment when foraging! Harvesting your own wild food also gives you the opportunity to eat seasonally, rather than taking part in the never-ending growing season of your local grocer. And another bonus: You can skip your workout that day because chances are you got a ton of natural movement in when hiking to find that patch of watercress, squatting while harvesting, dipping in the nearby creek to cool off, etc etc :)
Surthrival Tip #26
They require no maintenance and offer abundant nutrients. Check out the SurThrival Seed Can for a plethora of delicious wild and semi-domestic edibles & medicinals all in one convenient (and apocalypse-ready ;) canister! Also, growing your own food is a life-enriching experience! Get your hands in the dirt!
“Wild plants represent the most nutrient-dense plant foods on the planet. Numerous studies show they are vitamin- and mineral-rich and possess greater amounts of beneficial phytochemicals (i.e., plant compounds) than cultivated plants. These phytochemicals are important for supporting human health because they exert many beneficial actions, including antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, cardio-protective, detoxifying, hypotensive, immune modulating, and tonifying properties (and many others).” -Arthur Haines
Surthrival Tip #27
Ever notice how fruits in the grocery store look almost too…perfect? We don’t know about you, but the crab apples on the trees in our backyards look a bit different than the rows of gleaming apples on produce shelves. Most grocery store fruits have been hybridized and modified to be extremely sweet, they lack the nutrient-density of wild fruits, and they’re often seedless (meaning infertile). Berries, especially wild ones, are vitamin & mineral-rich, flavorful, and low in sugar. Also! Berries are rich in antioxidants, giving you an internal sunscreen, so you can skip the chemical SPFs :)
We love eating berries simply by the handful, but Dina Falconi has some pretty mouth-watering berry recipe creations in her book Foraging & Feasting, if you wanna get fancy.
Surthrival Tip #28
Let’s face it…most of us are spending 8+ hours a day at a job (most likely on a computer and/or phone), so let’s make the most of that time by creating a dynamic workspace! Begin thinking of your workspace as your habitat, and incorporate equipment (doesn’t have to be expensive!) into your work habitat with the human animal in mind. Switch from sitting to standing to squatting. Vary the “terrain” on which you’re standing by using a topo mat (or grab a few rocks from your yard). Hang an exercise bar above your desk (or better yet -- hop outside and swing from a tree branch next to the office picnic table), and take brachiation breaks. Have a long phone meeting in your schedule? Strap on your Vibrams, and take that meeting on a hike! There are endless options for optimizing your workspace habitat — check out Daniel Vitalis’s video on ReWilding Your Workspace for more inspiration!
Surthrival Tip #29
Surthrival Tip #31
"Being more athletic does not make you more fit for daily life,” says our friend Scott Sonnon in his fascinating interview on the ReWild Yourself podcast.
To be truly fit, we must commit to regular mobility work. Full range of motion in the joints allows for better and more efficient movement. Maintaining flexibility in our joints keeps us agile, reduces pain & inflammation and helps us to recover more quickly from strenuous training or injury. Mobility work is a vital component of any movement regimen. Stay supple.
Surthrival Tip #34
Visit Springs and Drink Freely From Them, Find one on FindASpring.Com
More than half of your body is composed of water, so we think it’s pretty important to make sure the water you are consuming is the best possible water you can get your hands on. Needless to say, tap water — filled with chlorine, fluoride and an endless stream of pharmaceuticals — is not our first choice :) Spring water, on the other hand, rises up to the ground from aquifers deep within the earth — it’s the purest, most natural, most refreshing water you can drink. Use our user-generated database of springs, FindASpring.com, to locate your nearest spring. For spring water gathering tips, tricks and best practices, check out this episode of ReWild Yourself podcast.
Surthrival Tip #35
Forage your local food-shed -- both your Farmer's Market and the Wild plants in your area!
"Locavore" - A person who bases their diet on foods that are grown or produced in the geographic region where they live, are in touch with the seasonality of their food systems, and seek to cultivate relationships with local producers and processors. Locavores also have some kind of hands on interaction with their food (cooking, gardens, baking, fermenting) either domestically or professionally.
Surthrival Tip #36
Strength train — resistance training helps to maintain a robust musculoskeletal system!
Surthrival Tip #38
Go barefoot — whenever it makes sense to, develop proprioceptive and prehensile feet!
“Prehensility” describes the ability of an appendage, like a foot or tail, to grasp.
"Our feet are capable of a movement that is all but ignored by modern civilization. That is its ability to grasp the ground or even manipulate objects. Our feet are a living, active part of our anatomy!" —Daniel Vitalis, Dispatch 3 of ReWild Yourself Magazine
Rather than trapping your feet in narrow-toed boots, tennis shoes or foot-distorting high heels, try barefooting as much as possible! When shoes are necessary, opt for minimalist shoes that work with, rather than against, your anatomy. In terms of fitness, our feet are an oft-neglected part of our bodies. We tend to focus on building strength and mobility in, well, just about every part of our bodies but our feet. So next time you head out for a walk along your favorite trail — ditch the shoes & begin to develop prehensility!
Surthrival Tip #39
Learn what grows on your lawn — many of these plants are edible and/or medicinal, and fun and easy to use.
Dandelions are probably the most common example of lawn “weeds” that we often ignore or even go to great lengths to get rid of. But we ReWilders know better. The Dandelion is both a nutritious food and a detoxifying and anti-inflammatory medicine. Chances are your backyard has a bounty of other “weeds” that are both edible and medicinal. Grab yourself a wild plant identification guide for your area or check out a local foraging class, and start to learn what wild edibles are right in your own backyard! Check out the book Foraging and Feasting for really cool ways to use the "weeds" ;)
Surthrival Tip #40
Beware of the "I will start on Monday" mentality. Start today!
“Dare to be wise! Begin now. The man who puts off the day when he will live rightly is like the peasant who waits for the river to drain away. But it flows on, and will flow on for ever.” –Horace, Epistles
This mentality falls under (past ReWild Yourself podcast guest) Gretchen Rubin’s “Tomorrow Loophole” in her inspiring book Better Than Before. Delaying starting a new habit using “I will start on Monday” mentality is really just a way to procrastinate, which more often than not perpetuates a cycle of "putting it off" until a later date. When we have the motivation to begin is always the best time to begin. Rather than wait to start creating the life you want to live… Start today!
Surthrival Tip #41
"Everything you do is training, and so, restrictive clothing is “restrictive movement training”, and it's a training methodology we are all quite proficient in. What you train you get better at, and so we become very good at self-restricting.” -Daniel Vitalis, ReWIld Yourself Magazine — Dispatch 3
Surthrival Tip #42
Honor where you are today. Some days you can handle high intensity, other days we need to be gentle with ourselves.
In our fast-paced, modern world, sometimes we need a reminder that it’s not only just OK, but also extremely necessary, to SLOW DOWN. Tune in to the ebb and flow of how you feel. Our bodies are constantly giving us clues, we just need to listen. Feelings of overwhelm, anxiety, stress and physical symptoms like headaches, getting sick, exhaustion are all signs to watch for. When you notice the signs — or better yet, before you notice the signs — give yourself permission to take it slow and give yourself some extra self-care lovin’. Meditate, go for a leisurely walk, get a massage, take time to cook yourself a delicious meal — do something that will help to nourish and restore you. You deserve it!
Surthrival Tip #43
Keep it fun, keep it relevant to your life. Develop practical, real world fitness!
Develop fitness that FITS your lifestyle. What do you like to do? Rather than spending hours in a gym lifting weights and running on a treadmill (unless, of course, you love spending time in the gym!), incorporate fitness & training into your day through activities you enjoy doing. Love hiking in the woods? Try adding some variety to your hikes — rather than just walking/running on the trail, climb a tree every so often, hang from a branch, practice your balance on a fallen log. Need firewood for the winter? Chop and stack it yourself, and be conscious of varying your movements as you go. Become aware of all the opportunities you have each day to develop fitness that is practical to your life, and have fun doing it!
Surthrival Tip #44
Observe the difference between anxiety and fear. Primal fear should always be listened to — it is designed to keep you alive — anxiety should be confronted and overcome.
Primal Fear is a survival mechanism with which us humans have evolved to react to an immediate danger on our life (or that of our children, etc.). Unfortunately, we are eliciting this same primal fear response for day-to-day issues that simply do not need this level of response. Worries over an over-loaded email inbox, paying your mortgage, a difficult work project, etc. are stresses that, over time, can negatively impact your health. One powerful way to increase your ability to deal with daily stress and minimize monkey-mind syndrome is meditation. Carve out 10 minutes a day in your morning or evening routine, and try out a meditation practice! Check out this awesome TED talk with mindfulness expert Andy Puddicombe: All it takes is 10 mindful minutes. And learn more about Primal Fear and Primal Self Defense in this ReWild Yourself podcast with Tony Blauer.
Surthrival Tip #45
Listen to your inner voice before trusting anyone else. Turn the volume on that inner voice way up!
Surthrival Tip #46
Decide now that it is ok to identify a problem, even before you have discovered a solution.
“A problem well put is half solved.” ―John Dewey
Surthrival Tip #47
Notice when the words you speak and write don't match what you wish to express. Make a practice of resolving this.
"Language gives us the ability to think differently." -Arthur Haines
From pollution in the air to chemical pesticides in the lawns on our walking route, we are constantly bombarded with toxicity in our environments. We mitigate as much as possible by eating clean, organic foods, drinking spring water, using an air filter in our home, but the reality is, we can never completely eliminate toxicity from our lives. This means we need to develop a personal detoxification strategy, and using a sauna is a very powerful tool to have in our detoxification strategy toolkits. One of the ways our bodies eliminates toxins is through the skin. By using light to create heat, infrared saunas penetrate deep into your body, activating your sweat glands and thereby releasing toxins through your skin. Saunas also help to reduce inflammation, rejuvenate your skin, support your heart and promote relaxation! Make sauna use a regular part of your routine!