By Dr. Jeannie Thomason VND, co-founder of the American Council of Animal Naturopathy
Moderation – The Key to Health and Longevity
The 5th law of health is: Temperance or known more today as “moderation”.
“Everything in moderation.” Nothing holds more truth than this ancient phrase which reminds us to calm exaggerative tendencies, to not go to extremes in anything.
There are many actions we can take to promote great health in both our own lives as well as our companion animals.We often tend to overlook some of the simplest and most obvious though.
Wholesome, species specific foods, appropriate exercise, the use of clean, fresh water, time in the sunshine; these are, of course, crucial factors, but I would like to stress the importance of a longstanding, often-forgotten action that has improved the quality and duration of human and animal life since the dawn of creation: Moderation.
When we resolve to cultivate good health in our lives (and in the lives of our animals), we commit to a total awareness of our actions and take part in activities that advance our well-being. This is not to say we can’t succumb to periodic weaknesses. The key is not to go to extremes – too much or too little of anything usually has consequences. Too much exercise, too much time in the sun, incorrect water balance, micronutrient intake; virtually everything about our life has a gamut with the correct amount of what to eat, how much to exercise, etc., and sitting somewhere in the middle is usually where things need to be. How do we ensure this balance? Through moderation of course!
At a deeper level, moderation is a commitment to balance and wholeness. It is rooted in the recognition that each of us and the animals that we have brought into our lives have many different (and often competing) needs, desires, abilities, and goals in life.
I believe that this is personally true even of both work and play for example. I definitely go through periods of being a workaholic. This is sometimes great since I really do love the work that I do. But ultimately the lack of moderation or balance in my work causes me to dislike what I normally enjoy about it and to seek to regain that balance of work and play yet again. Likewise, when I play too much, I miss my work. When I am too social, I miss my solitude and when I stay home alone too much, I miss my friends and being out somewhere different. My life is constantly about trying to find balance and that balance comes with learning moderation.
When we speak of longevity, or maximized quantity AND quality of life, we see that it generally comes from investing in the pursuit of balance and moderation.
It turns out that moderation is the key to a long life. While it is now known that continuous moderate activity throughout the day is necessary to prevent disease and prolong life you might be glad to know that you don’t need to knock yourself out to stay healthy. Contrary to popular belief, your companion animal’s health and your own health, is in your own hands. And when you become conscious of this fact and perform actions that encourage wellness, you both can live the long, joyful, and extraordinary life you deserve.