Another year and more New Year’s resolutions! This year I thought I’d share some really simple resolutions you can make to have major impacts on your health. These are all FREE things you can do that will improve your health more than any supplement, product, or procedure ever will. All those things are only icing on the cake (the cake being a foundation of healthy habits!).
Start your day with a smoothie
Most of my patients don’t eat breakfast (or don’t eat something healthy for breakfast – Egg McMuffins, Tim Horton’s, or Starbucks are not optimal breakfast choices). Most of my patients also don’t eat enough fruits and veggies. And, most of them don’t eat enough fibre. Doing all these things will prolong your life and prevent disease. Here is a simple, fun, and tasty solution!
I blogged about my favourite smoothie, but you can really make whatever you want for yourself. If you don’t already have one, buy yourself a handblender (or Magic Bullet or blender) and throw together a superfood smoothie each morning! Make sure you include:
- Fresh or frozen fruit (choose beneficials for your blood type)
- 1/2 to 1 leaf swiss chard, kale, or equivalent amount of spinach (more veggies – these will just blend in, you won’t even know they’re there!)
- 1-2 tablespoons fibre (ground flax, hemp hearts, psyllium, etc)
- Protein powder (depending on your blood type, can be whey, vegan protein, brown rice protein, or you can use ground nuts/seeds)
- 1 teaspoon greens powder or spirulina (get even more green foods!)
- Juice/water to cover ingredients
Mix it all up and let it sit for about 10 minutes if you are using frozen fruit (this helps it soften up). Then blend and drink and you’ve got a bunch of nutrition to get you through your day!
Experiment on yourself
The best way to know if something works? Try it! I often recommend an elimination/hypoallergenic diet in which I have my patient avoid common food allergens/irritants for a month. During this month we can observe if their health concerns and symptoms improve (which they almost always do!). Then, I have them add back foods one at a time to observe how each food affects them and we learn what foods are contributing to their health issues. This is a great way to see quick results and learn something too. The challenge is that eliminating all these things at once can turn your diet upside down, although it does teach you how much healthy food is out there to eat!
Why not start with just one or two things to eliminate for a month and see how you feel? For the most effect, pick one or two of the following foods for your self-experiment:
- Wheat or all gluten grains (barley, rye, wheat, spelt, kamut)
- Refined sugar (including white/brown sugar, cane sugar, honey, agave, maple syrup) – no artificial sweeteners allowed either!
- Dairy (yogurt, cheese, milk, butter)
- Caffeine (coffee, tea, chocolate, pop)
- Pop/soft drinks
Replace, don’t avoid
Are you tired of being told all the things you should stop or avoid? I just gave you a bunch above! Whenever you want to stop one thing, you need to start something else. So, start by replacing some unhealthy (or less healthy) habits with healthier ones. Here are several examples:
- Replace your daily coffee with a green or white tea
- Replace pop/soda with water (or sparkling water with a splash of fruit juice or lemon juice, yum)
- Replace sitting on the couch through a half hour TV show with half and hour of stretching and yoga while watching TV
- Replace a packaged snack with a piece of fruit and a handful of nuts or seeds
- Replace the most toxic cleaning product in your home with a non-toxic alternative
- Replace sitting in front of the computer for an hour with reading a great book
I’m sure you can think of many other healthy, simple replacements. Why not make some New Year’s resolutions out of these?
Meditate every night before bed
However, meditation is also hard – hard to start, hard to make time for, hard to be good at, hard to remember, etc. But really, it’s so easy! You can sit, you can breathe, and you can count, right?
Try some simple alternate nostril breathing every night before bed. You will sleep better, de-stress, think better, focus better, and FEEL better. And, if you keep it up, your body will heal better, work better, lose weight better… You get the picture. Commit to 1 month of nightly meditation for 5-10 minutes minimum and then see how you feel.
Remember walking? The easy, free transportation system that human beings are great at? I know you think you don’t have time to exercise, but you DO have time to WALK. It will get you where you need to go and even just a bit of walking every day has major health benefits – lose weight, prevent cancer/heart disease/diabetes, improve mood, get/stay warmer in winter, etc.
Try adding just a bit more walking to each day:
- Park further away
- Take the stairs (even if it’s more than 5 floors, just take your time!)
- Skip a few subway stops
- Walk to the store, the restaurant, a friend’s house
- Take the long way home
- Walk around your house and clean