The 12 Core Principles

The foundations of the Mother Nature's Diet healthy lifestyle.

Core Principle 11

Enjoy nature, spend time outdoors every day, get some sunshine

It would be so easy to think that Core Principle 11 is “the least important one” but that would absolutely not be true. Please do not under-estimate the importance of spending time outside in natural places. Walk in the woods, climb a few hills, stroll barefoot on the beach. This is important stuff.

First, there are practical, physiological and psychological benefits to spending time outside in nature, around trees and in fresh country air:

  • Spending time around trees has been shown to have an appreciable positive effect on asthma and other diseases. Trees suck up carbon dioxide and put out oxygen, so they reduce air pollution. Studies show that spending time walking among trees every day has delivered improvements to asthma, heart disease, cancer and stroke
  • Improved mental health. Studies show better moods, positive stress reduction, and reduced depression. A Stanford University study showed just 90 minutes daily walking in nature showed an appreciable effect on symptoms of depression. How much better would it be to treat depression with a daily walk in the woods, rather than a lifetime of medication?
  • Reduces air pollution. Trees soak up air pollutants and provide us with clean air, trees in towns and cities are providing valuable cleaning services
  • Trees make oxygen. We breathe oxygen. When there are no trees left, then there will be no people. Please don’t write this off as insignificant, trees are literally fundamentally important to human life. Oxygen is our most vital nutrient…just 3 minutes without any and we die. Trees make our oxygen, all of it
  • Trees promote healing. A 1970s study showed that patients recovering from surgery in hospital, healed faster if they had a view of trees, compared with a view of other buildings. Just looking at trees helped people heal – for real
  • Improved cognitive function. Studies have shown that trees help people with clearer thinking, more creative thinking and better problem solving. Kids showed improved cognitive function when trees were present in school grounds
  • We should walk on hills from time to time. Psychologists have shown that climbing a hill or mountain and looking down on the land below helps us to feel good. We benefit from feeling like ‘the king of the castle’ when we look down on land below us

Beyond these clear, practical reasons, we must spend time outdoors just because it is so very nourishing for the soul. Quite a lot of people come to Mother Nature’s Diet overweight and out of shape, and they have not exercised for years, so they are out of condition and not fit and strong enough to start lifting heavy weights or running 10k. These people tend to start their journey back to regular exercise by initiating a daily walk. It’s amazing how many people quickly grow to love and cherish their daily walk as their most sacred time of the day.

Often that daily walk is at 5:30am or 6am, perhaps with the family dog, over hills and fields and along quiet country lanes. People take this time to meditate or cogitate on life, and they report back to us that this is their favourite time of the day. Some people develop this habit of walking two, three or four miles every morning, all year, whatever the weather, and it becomes the cornerstone of their weight loss and road to improved fitness. Don’t underestimate the value of taking time out to walk in nature.

Please don't miss out on the very real health benefits of spending time outside every day.

Science

Studies show reduced asthma, improvements in cancer patients, children getting better scores at school and patients recovering from surgery faster when they have a view of trees from their hospital bed! Clearly, with such studies it is hard to prove exact cause-and-effect, because there are so many variables to control for, but it really seems quite obvious that spending time out in nature can only help. Think about it, have you ever met anyone who thinks going out in the woods, walking on cliff top paths with sea views, strolling on the beach or taking to the hills makes them feel “dirty, smelly and harassed” and they “just can’t wait to get back to the city to feel clean and fresh again.”

No. That would be ridiculous. Everyone enjoys time outside in the beauty and calm of Mother Nature. Sunset walks, family picnics, meadows of wild flowers. Good for your mind, body and soul.

Time enjoying the surroundings of the natural world feeds your body oxygen, encourages clearer thinking as it feeds your brain with good views and uplifts your spirit. It also tends to mean you are outdoors, moving, getting some gentle, or perhaps strenuous, exercise. There is no need to over complicate this. Just get out there, go for a walk, enjoy nature!

Disconnect, get off grid

We all know how it feels good to walk barefoot on a soft sandy beach, but it also feels good to walk barefoot on wet grass. It feels wonderful walking in the dirt, on the hills, in muddy puddles in the rain, you should try it some time. Let’s remember, trees suck up carbon dioxide, and they make oxygen, so trees help to clean the air we breathe and reduce pollution. It stands to reason that you will be breathing in cleaner air walking in the fields and woodlands, than in the middle of the city, where cars are all around. Fertile topsoil is the very crucible of life on Earth, down in the dirt is where all our food grows, it’s the bed of nutrients that keep us alive. Don’t be afraid of dirt, of soil, it’s teeming with life, microbes and beneficial bacteria that are far too small for us to see.

Spending time around plants and touching soil has been shown to boost immunity, time outdoors will help you get sunlight (good for vitamin D production) and time in natural environments has been shown to improve vitality, mood and libido. Studies – and sheer common sense – show that spending time outside reduces stress and improves quality of sleep. Get out of the air conditioning, get away from the TV, turn off the Internet connection, put the smartphone away and take a break outside. If you live in a city, book a few weekends away each year, get out to the countryside and go camping, try to find somewhere with no mobile phone coverage, force yourself to detox from the digital world.

Summary

Make no excuses, get out there and get connected with Mother Nature. It’s good for you in every imaginable way!

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