By Sheila Emery Murphy and Karen Rigney
Simple adjustments to how we live, eat, move and think can help bring us closer to feeling energized and balanced. Here are some easy tips to get started…
1. Your First Choice Counts
Small, simple changes add up to a bright-eyed start to the morning. Take a drink. You are the most dehydrated after a night's sleep. So replenish yourself with a glass of water first thing in the morning. For an extra detox boost add a wedge of lemon. Staying hydrated is a simple way to stay healthy and feel great all day long. Break the fast. Eating a nutritious breakfast daily is proven to help people have more energy, improve focus, and maintain a healthy weight. Some easy breakfast options to get you nourished and out the door include oatmeal topped with berries and walnuts or hardboiled egg and a piece of fresh fruit. Shift perspective. Starting the day with healthful choices shifts perspective making it more likely for better choices all day long.
2. Be Food Smart
Know what is in your food! Read ingredient labels. If the ingredients read more like a science project rather than a recipe, make a different choice. Best to avoid products containing high fructose corn syrup, trans fat (hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils) as well as artificial colors and flavors – all these additives improve the product’s shelf life, but doesn’t benefit your life.
3. Eat Real Food
Yes, it is that simple. Seasonal, whole foods – made by nature – nourish our bodies. Enjoy a variety of colorful foods. Wild Alaskan salmon, salads, smoothies, soups and spices pack a powerful punch of goodness. Opt for organic produce when possible to avoid exposure to pesticides and chemicals.
4. Power-Up with Plants
Besides providing micronutrient strength and protection, plant protein from grains, legumes, nuts and seeds give us all the necessary amino acids (building blocks of protein). Try to use your animal protein more for “flavoring” in your meals and be wowed by the results. Research has shown that good genes are awakened and disease genes are suppressed with much less meat and dairy than the standard American diet. In addition, greens and colorful vegetables and fruits contain the key to radiant health. Try to have servings of cooked and raw vegetables in as many meals as possible.
5. Kitchen Confidence - Simplify Whole Food Cooking
Prepare grains and legumes to be mixed in with different vegetables though out the week. Porridge bowls with nuts and fruit for breakfast using all sorts of grains such as quinoa, millet and amaranth can work for breakfast and savory grain bowls for lunch and dinner with easy sauces and spices. With a little practice, you can cook one day and eat for three.
6. Add More “Good” Bacteria
Replenishing our gut flora with healthy bacteria insures that nutrients reach us on a cellular level where they are needed. There are many delicious cultured foods that enhance every meal. Yogurt is a good place to start, but also try sauerkraut, pickles, pickled carrots and kimchi in the refrigerator section of the health food store or find easy make at home recipes online.
7. Think Outside The Box
Eating with the season can impact your energy. Root vegetables can be grounding and give focus. Greens and grains can provide light energy and serve as wonderful detoxifiers. Add spices to all dishes to create powerful synergies of micronutrients. For example, cacao with berries can triple the berry antioxidant power. Pepper unleashes the magic of turmeric and a little oxygen on cut onions preserves their immune boosters even after cooking.
8. Move More
Make a commitment to move more every day. Be creative, exercise doesn’t mean just getting a gym membership. Taking the stairs, parking a little further away or making plans with a friend to walk briskly regularly all add more movement to your day. Staying active helps your body release chemical messengers that tell arteries and organs to behave in healthful ways. So what is the best exercise? The one you will do!
9. Listen to Your Body
Practice mindful eating by slowing down and chewing. Savoring every bite can give you clues about how food affects you. You may notice certain physical and emotional states connected with a food or meal. When you incorporate a variety of tastes and textures into your meal, you will feel balanced and energized.
10. Be Grateful
Say thanks. Think of one thing you are grateful for before you get out of bed every day. Starting your day with gratitude can recalibrate your mind to focus on the good things that happen during your day and lighten your mood. Chronic stress can impact the immune system, not to mention ruin your day. More gratitude means more happiness, less stress and better health.
Note: Content is for information only. Please do your own research and speak with your physician about any health concerns.