Looking smokin’ whilst wearing next to nothing at a festival is great. There’s nothing at all wrong with desiring a fit physique. However, exercising and eating healthy solely for the purpose of aesthetic value is a rather shallow interpretation of vitality.
Far too often, people are adopting less than healthy habits to help them shed pounds and inches. This is because they are in it for purely image based motives. I can’t tell you how many times acquaintances of mine would go on “cleanses” in the weeks leading up to festivals, starving and overworking their bodies.
This is rarely healthy or sustainable.
Music festivals can be a rigorous experience. We subject our bodies to countless new pathogens, sleep little, and often overindulge in our vice(s) of choice. The worst thing you can do is deplete yourself of vital nutrients that will allow your immune system to defend against fatigue or illness.
Here are some tips to becoming your healthiest self so that you can continue to rave into the night for years to come:
Refined sugar is satan. In case you weren’t already aware. Type two diabetes and obesity have reached epidemic proportions in the United States, and the evidence points to that sparkling, bleached menace that lurks in most packaged foods. If you have a sweet tooth, like me, learn to love the natural sugars provided to us through delicious and wonderful fruit. It may take some time because our brains have been hacked by this sweet villain; causing natural, whole foods to taste utterly bland. Learn to read labels, cause that shit is practically everywhere.
Processed food is pretty much garbage. So many people in modern, western culture are overfed, yet still undernourished. Say “No!” to fast food, bread made with refined flour, and factory farmed meats. Opt for a sprouted (Ezekiel) or sourdough bread, as they have lower glycemic indexes. An added bonus of sourdough bread is its probiotic qualities. When shopping for meat choose grass fed organically raised options, your body (and the cows) will love you for it. For fish fans here is a great article on navigating the murky waters of the seafood market.
Veggies are your friend! Once you’ve cut the smut out of your diet and the inevitable cravings have lulled to a dull roar, you will likely notice that the kale leaf you have poo-pooed your entire life is actually a pretty dank salad base. As much as you don’t want to accept it, the bulk of your diet should consist of vegetables. If you’re truly having a hard time choking down those greens try blending them into a smoothie. Be careful, though, as it is easy to overconsume sugary fruits in blended drinks.
Big dairy is not your friend. Cows milk is formulated to help turn a tiny, feeble calf into a full-blown cow. The unsavory conditions in which dairy cows live requires that the product is pasteurized. During pasteurization, the enzymes which make milk easily digestible are destroyed. This is why so many adults are lactose intolerant. You can spend the extra money on grass fed, organic, ethically raised, raw milk. Or you can switch to a nut milk alternative. There are so many delicious, nutritious options for nut milk. My favorite option is homemade almond milk. If you’re interested in venturing down this path, check out this article.
Sleep. This is probably the most understated healthy living practice. With our busy, overstimulated lives sleep often evades us. You’ve heard it before, but I’ll say it again. Eight hours of sleep is the optimal amount of sleep that most brains require. For iPhone users, the night shift option is a handy way to reduce the blue light emitted by your phone. Blue light causes the brain to lower melatonin production, making those precious Z’s all the harder to catch. Also, avoiding stimulants such as caffeine and sugar later in the day will help you drift into dreamland much easier.
Stay hydrated. Hardly anyone drinks enough water these days. It wasn’t until I moved to the desert and started passing out left and right that I realized how horribly dehydrated I was. Don’t be that guy. I hated being that guy. Do right by your body and drink at the very least half an ounce for every pound you weigh. As the festival grows nearer you should significantly up your h2o intake. A room temperature glass of water with your meals will help aid your digestion as well.
Stay active. Especially if you’re stuck behind a desk for 8 hours a day, it is imperative that you get off that bum and move your body! You don’t need to go to the gym and lift a bunch of weights if you are not interested in that. There are so many fun and interesting ways to stay active nowadays. For me, having dealt with many injuries, asthma, and a minor heart problem; yoga has been a godsend. You don’t need to brave your social anxiety by going to a group class. YouTube is FULL of amazing, knowledgeable yogis who can help you find both a burn and your zen. Find an activity that brings you confidence, but also challenges you.
Health is a process, not a destination.
Be patient with your body. Listen to what your special little meat and bone sack is trying to tell you. We grew up hearing that “nothing worth having comes easily” and health/fitness is no exception. By treating your body with respect you will see amazing results. Your mind will be clearer. You will have more energy. Most importantly, you will have the stamina it takes to rage, rage, and then rage some more.
Don’t forget what your doctors have been telling you all this time: take your vitamins, drink lots of water, and try your hardest to make choices that are in your best interest. Stay safe out there, you crazy kids.