If there is one thing that is for sure, homesteading is more of a way of life than a hobby. There is no doubt that living a sustainable and more ethical existence comes with challenges. It is interesting to read current articles in the press about automatization and the new robotic age!
One particular article by a young political activist in the UK stuck out in my mind. ‘With technology and robots doing all future jobs, we can now spend more time living’! As much as I found this statement a little alarming it demonstrated their complete lack of understanding of the human condition.
One thing I have learned on my journey in life is we all need purpose and challenges. This does not mean we have to like getting out of bed at 6 am to go to work. However a world with no work would lead to a world of addiction, obesity and depression.
The real problem we appear to have today is there is little meaning to our work! Getting up every day to sit in an office to pay for our mortgage and car repayment has no real meaning!
There is good health in a meaningful & ethical, existence
This is why people give up 6 figure salaries to build schools in poor developing countries. The con of materialism is you have to sign away the best years of your existence to pay down debt.
It is now so ridiculous the young can’t even save enough money for their first home. The result is a generation with suffering mental health and very low birth rates.
It is easy to look at self sufficient homesteaders of the past and think ‘what an awful existence’ however every single day is filled with meaning when you are a homesteader. Every afternoon washing clothes, every day working the land and tending to animals.
There is meaning to everything, every job and project comes with the peace of mind that it’s for your family! When your life has meaning and driven by ethical pursuits there is an inner healthiness which is enjoyed.
Self sufficiency is the healthiest way of life
The lifestyle of a self sufficient homesteader is one that takes responsibility for their impact on the planet. Indeed such a lifestyle is the only ‘real’ way to stop climate change and reverse ecological degradation.
The healthiest, happiest people on the planet are indeed self sufficient homesteaders. A study called the blue zones study gave the world amazing insights into the healthiest populations on earth.
The Greek island of Ikaria, Okinawa and Sardinia are some examples of locations with the longest life spans. These are also all locations where self sufficient homesteading is still practiced on mass. The Blue zones study was conducted across the top ten places of high longevity on the planet.
All similarities in environment, lifestyle and diet from these regions were analysed and compared. They found that the people with the longest, happiest lives all had a few things in common. These were some of the factors they identified
- Living in rural, low density environments with naturalistic surroundings
- Eating a diet which is locally and organically produce no more than a few miles away.
- Being self sufficient and sharing your life with animals and nature
- Being subjected to daily robust physical activity
- A diet rich in omega 3 fatty acids such as nuts, seeds and fish
- A diet consisting of between 80-90% plants based sources
- A diet full of medicinal herbs and fungi
- A stress free, happy and positive outlook with little material wealth
- Strong family ties and social structures
- A strong spiritual belief system
All these contributing factors for good health and longevity all parallel the lifestyle of self sufficient homesteaders. Hence in this article we will describe the 10 ways self sufficient homesteading is good for your health.
1. An active lifestyle
One of the biggest health challenges for developed countries today is inactivity. Scientific evidence has now shown that inactivity could be as bad as smoking for your health. Most people working a day job rarely get up from their desk only for a few minutes at a time.
Various studies have also highlighted a link between physical activity and an enhanced mood. It’s obvious that the daily activities of homesteading are far superior for your health than an office job. Taking care of livestock and vegetable gardening are both examples of physical homesteading tasks.
2. Better sleep
It is very true that when someone has a physical lifestyle and then stops they can no longer sleep. This cycle of working and sleeping is one human kind has had for millennia. We are not supposed to spend our days slouched behind a desk staring into a screen!
Robust physical activity, outside in the fresh air for hours on end is what every person needs to sleep well. Much evidence has shown that long uninterrupted sleep is essential for peoples hormone regulation. This can assist in fat loss and lead to an enhanced mood.
3. An enhanced mood
An enhanced mood is something money simply cannot buy. However depression amongst young people in particular is now a common phenomenon.
During the Blue zones study it was noticed that even people well over 100 had a joy full excitement about them!
When asked about their mood they would talk about how they love their life! The work they do, the landscape, the animals their food, their wine, their friends, their family!
It was clear that their hard work and hard play lifestyle was keeping them both young and happy. A life with hardly any stress and being around the people they wanted induced a positive mood! Again this is the result of a life enriched with small family farming operations.
4. Breathing good quality air
A shocking study carried out on the air quality of London uncovered some very distressing facts. Children in the capital already had between 5-10% less lung capacity than children in rural areas.
The truth is most people today live in urban environments. Even air within suburbs has significant amounts of dangerous metals and noxious gasses present. Self sufficient homesteaders have no such chance of early death due to air pollution.
By living and working in a rural location you completely eradicate such threats.
5. Eating a diet free of herbicides and pesticides
Unfortunately we are continuously hearing stories of revealing truths about what is added to our food. Claims that agricultural, chemicals are safe because there is ‘no evidence they can cause harm’ is not good enough.
There are historical examples of where chemicals that were once deemed safe turned out to cause serious disease. A recent legal case in America saw a large agricultural company sued for causing terminal illness with crop spraying.
This is not to mention genetic modification of crops, bred to grow faster and last longer. The full extent to how this affects our cells in unclear however I would feel more secure growing my own! Homesteading allows you to take control of your food supply and your family’s health.
6. Having a diet rich in fruit and vegetables
During the ‘Blue Zones Study’ it was found that the longest living people had a diet rich in vegetables. In fact their diets were between 80-90% made up of organic fruit and vegetables.
We already knew such a diet was healthy and recommended to eat 5 fruit or vegetables a day. However in truth I don’t believe some healthy food mixed in with an unhealthy diet is any good.
Self sufficient homesteaders continuously enjoy fresh, organic, home grown and seasonal fruit and vegetables in their daily diets. It has been also discovered that people following such a diet have a better mood and less likely to suffer from mental illness.
7. Exposure to naturalistic environments
In recent years there has been much research carried out on how environment affects our mood. Not surprisingly urban environments and enclosed spaces provoked feelings of distress and anxiety.
However green spaces and natural environments were more likely to make us feel relaxed and happy.
This is also true when exposed to animals whether it’s our own pets or farm animals. An early GIS study conducted in the seventies concluded that high density environments were detrimental to human health.
It was found that people living in cities were more likely to suffer with disease, poor mental health and addiction than their rural counterparts. Homesteaders almost always reside in rural environments rich in nature.
8. A diet rich in foraged, wild foods
Human beings only left a hunter gather existence about 10,000 years ago which in evolutionary terms is a millisecond. Therefore foraging for wild food probably made up the majority of our diet.
Very much like our closest relatives great apes we would have a wide variety of fruit, nuts, and vegetables. Hence surely it makes sense to do the same today. In the blue zones study they noted that many peasant farmers would regularly forage wild plants.
This is especially so on the island of Crete. Studies have shown there are many health giving qualities to be had from many edible weeds. Some examples of these are; common nettle, dandelion, plantain, and lambs quarters.
9. Improved mental state of mind
From discussing the ‘Blue Zones Study’ and recalling our own experiences it is clear homesteading invigorates the mind. Today we have so much pilled upon us both professionally and socially.
So many raised expectations and false comprehensions of success catalysed by aggressive consumerism. All of this is against a backdrop wealth inequality, failing financial system, and economic downturn.
It is true that money can’t buy you happiness, so let’s stop pretending it will. One sure and true way to gain an improved state of mind is to begin homesteading.
10. Abilities to distance yourself from other people
If there is one thing recent events have showed us it’s being away from civilisation can be positive. Whenever there is economic or civil turbulence urban areas are not very good paces to be.
Fragile supply chains can soon fail and lawless looting can follow. The Coronavirus pandemic showed us that being very close to other people can be bad for our health.
Rural homesteaders are in a much better position to fair both pandemics and social unrest. With such problems looking even more likely in the future, self sufficient homesteading could rejuvenate both physical and mental health into the future.
Thank you for reading our article on 10 ways self sufficient homesteading could be good for your health. What do you think? Feel free to let us know what you think!