This time of year brings up plenty of talk about cleansing and detoxing, which may be sexy topics, but they tend to bring up feelings of elimination and deprivation. It's all the things we can't eat, drink, or have. So I love to focus on Nourishment which is all about self-care! When we come from this place, the mind-set and approach are completely different, the end results the same, and the journey...a happy and healthy one!
If you're looking to achieve vibrant health and vitality, then it comes down to a few basic things; adding in more good stuff and taking out more bad stuff. That means better nutrition, exercise, rest, deep breathing, and less toxins, stress, and processed food.
Let’s begin with Mind-Set. It's really important to create balance by making time for self-care practices. We’re in such a constant state of doing, we forget about the state of being. Quieting the mind first thing in the morning really helps set the tone for the day. You can do this through a simple meditation practice. If you’re new to meditation, start with just 5 minutes and work your way up to 20 minutes a day. Sit upright in a chair, hands in your lap, and simply begin to breathe. When the mind wanders, come back to your breath. That's it! After you have mastered 5 minutes, move up to 6, until you reach 20, where you will experience all the amazing health benefits below:
Reduces stress, anxiety, muscle tension & headaches
Encourages a healthy lifestyle
Increases self awareness
Benefits cardiovascular & immune health
Increases serotonin which influences mood and behavior
Helps ease allergies & arthritis
Movement/Exercise: The most underutilized anti-depressant.
We need 30 minutes a day of movement for good health!
With the weather warming up, this is a great time to take your exercise routine outdoors. Choose an activity such as walking, hiking, biking, roller blading, or swimming and get moving! Grab the family to create bonding time. If you are unable to get all 30 minutes in at once, break it up. Get off the bus or subway a few stops earlier, park the car farther away, take the stairs, or a walk at lunchtime. Add functional movement such as push-ups, tricep dips, squats, or sit-ups. Use exercise bands for resistance training, jumprope, dance, skip...it all counts, and those 30 minutes add up quickly!
Hydrate: Water, the forgotten nutrient.
Despite the health benefits, most adults do not get the recommended daily amount of fluids. It's suggested to drink 8-8 oz glasses, but this varies depending on your health, activity levels, and how hot the climate is. With summer around the corner, we need more fluids! Either way, water is essential for good health. It helps fight fatigue and headaches, increases energy, flushes impurities and toxins, aids in weight loss, plumps skin and helps with acne, and improves mood.
Here are some simple ways to add more in:
Carry a water bottle with you and leave one at your desk
Add fruit like lemon, lime, kiwi, or cucumber to enhance flavor
Have a mock-tail of sparkling water with lime
Replace a sugar sweetened beverage with a glass of water
Start your day with 2 glasses first thing in the morning, and have 2 glasses about 15 minutes prior to meals
Rest/Sleep: Studies have shown that when people don't get enough sleep they have increased levels of a hunger hormone called ghrelin and decreased levels of the satiety/fullness hormone called leptin. This could lead to overeating and weight gain. One may consume about 300 extra calories a day, mostly from high-fat foods, snack more, and exercise less. Now is also the time to think about summer's slower schedule by taking time off! Vacations can help lower blood pressure, heart rate, and stress hormones such as cortisol, which contribute to weight gain. So book that vacation!
Eat clean: Let's take a stroll down memory lane, about a hundred years ago when all food was organic, local, seasonal, and fresh. We didn't have the concerns we have today. Now, we are in a constant debate as to which diet is best, which really suggests we have strayed from the basics of eating whole, fresh, real food. We have a disastrous rate of disease and obesity in this country from all the chemicalized foods people are eating. So what is the solution? Simply choose whole, fresh, unprocessed foods such as colorful vegetables and fruits, healthy fats from avocado, extra virgin olive oil, virgin coconut oil, raw nuts and seeds, whole grains, beans, and lean animal protein.
Now, embrace the amazing side effects such as effortless weight loss, reversal of high blood pressure, cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, various types of cancer, clearing of brain fog, lifting of depression and fatigue, and look years younger.
Remember to add plenty of phytonutrients, which are healing plant chemicals found in colorful fruits and vegetables. Today, the recommended daily amounts are 7-14 servings. Most people eat less than half that amount. Considering our toxic food, water, air, cleaning products, and beauty products, we need to protect our bodies in ways we never have before. Therefore, we must literally bathe our bodies with these plant chemicals every day to prevent and reverse disease and illness and achieve optimal health and vitality.
What does that look like? Think about filling 50% of your plate at mealtime with colorful fruits and vegetables, literally eating the rainbow. That includes all colors: green, yellow, orange, purple, white, and red. That should be your goal. Most people eat only the fruits and vegetables they like. Notice how you crave them once you add them in. Also consider taking Juiceplus+ (a variety of 30 fruits & vegetables in capsule form) to bridge the gap between what you eat and what you should eat to ensure good health.
"How you live today will determine the quality of your tomorrows"-Amy Salman
To your health & happiness,