Here are a few easy steps to great health to try and implement for the summer. A gradual introduction of basic change allows people to create a large shift in their health over a period of time. No one way of eating will work for everyone as no two people are alike and no two people have the same food preferences. However as the chinese proverb says ‘we need only take one step at a time but we need to keep on stepping’. Find the suggestions that fit you, there is no need to follow the steps in order, they will all help your health. Go at a pace that is suitable for you.
Drink More Water – the body is 75% water so it make sense that this essential fluid must be continually replaced. A large majority of our population is dehydrated which contributes significantly to a poor state of health. Regular flushing out the kidneys and bladder with water ensures that dead cells and other waste can be expelled before they reach toxic levels. Keeping hydrated can help prevent premature aging, eliminate pain and headaches, promote weightloss and lessen hypertension. Try to drink most of your water in the morning and afternoon to avoid having a full bladder at night as your body needs its sleep and you want to try to prevent night time bathroom visits.
Eat More Vegetables – vegetables are seriously lacking in most people’s daily diet and they are extremely easy to prepare. Making a salad involves rinsing and chopping. Cooking vegetables takes a few minutes of prep time to rinse and chop and then a few minutes of cooking time to steam, sauté, boil or roast. Making a smoothie is an instantaneous way to prepare vegetables to have on the go. Other easy ways to eat vegetables are buying bags of baby carrots, celery sticks and radishes or simply washing vegetables and having them in their natural, crunchy state. Dip them in hummus, yoghurt or nut butters. The key is to have them available and ready for snacking. Try to avoid large bowls of white pasta, rice and white potatoes, particularly in the evenings and bulk up your plate with healthy vegetable swops. Blitz your cauliflower to make a cous cous, spiralise your courgettes and carrots as a spaghetti alternative, purée white beans with garlic as a mash alternative, slice, mash or bake sweet potatoes. Your body will thank you for this added boost of vitamins and nutrients, your skin will glow and you will feel fabulous.
Experiment with whole grains – the subject of whether or not to eat grains stirs up emotions in many. Some people live on brown rice and oats, others do better with less grains and some swear by avoiding them altogether. Experiment with whole grains and see which ones work best for you, if at all. People are gaining weight today because they eat too much processed and artificial junk food and consume too much caffeine, sugar and alcohol. Whole grains are some of the best sources of nutritional support containing high levels of dietary fibre, B vitamins and because the body absorbs them slowly, they provide long lasting energy and a steady level of blood sugar. The most common grain in our lives is wheat and many people are allergic to it but don’t necessarily know it. If you think you may have a sensitivity to it I recommend removing it from your diet for 4-6 weeks and see how you feel. During that time, stick to gluten free grains such as brown rice, buckwheat, quinoa, millet, amaranth, sorghum and teff.
Increase sweet vegetables – Almost everyone craves sweets or some form of sugar. Instead of depending on processed sugar, you can add more naturally sweet flavours to your diet and reduce the cravings. Certain vegetables have a sweet, deep flavour when cooked such as carrots, onions, beetroot, butternut squash, sweet potato, parsnips, swede, turnips and sweet corn. Other vegetables that don’t taste as sweet but have a similar effect on the body are radishes, green cabbage and red cabbage. They are said to soothe the internal organs of the body and energise the mind.
Experiment with protein – protein is the basic building block of the human body helping it to form muscles, skin and hair. Protein requirements differ dramatically from person to person. Try either increasing or decreasing your protein intake and trying different sources, animal or plant-based and notice the impact on your body and how you feel. For some, low protein can mean low energy and more cravings but for others it can mean give them a lightness and clarity particularly when reducing animal protein. For those wishing to lower their meat consumption, then eggs, beans and yoghurt are all good sources. Find what suits you as that is the key to a balanced and healthy life.
Exercise – many people go to great lengths to make sure they are eating healthily but they don’t bother to exercise regularly. Movement aids digestion, circulation and respiration and is a crucial part in any healthy person’s lifestyle. Many people don’t enjoy exercise as it is challenging and takes time. Find something that is convenient and easy to build into your day. Join a class to enhance the motivation. Take up something new and set yourself a goal – rope in your friends for support. Most importantly – do it regularly.
Make time for yourself – allow yourself some ‘me’ time, give yourself time in the day to take yourself away from your phone, your computer and enjoy some silence, some peacefulness. Practice meditation, Headspace or Calm are two useful apps to help you with this. Get outside and connect with nature, hearing the birds sing and seeing the sky can be very healing. Most people when they feel connected to the big picture become energised and therefore they get healthier faster.
If you feel stuck in a rut and unable to let go of unhealthy behaviours then let me act as your guide and ally in helping you create new and healthy habits, transforming your health goals into realities. I can identity potential stumbling blocks and hold you accountable so you have the best chance of reaching your goals. By teaching you the skills you need to live a healthy life, you are investing in your body and mind.