Do you use the new year as an annual health seminar with yourself? In the past, I would host my own personal white board session, brainstorming all the ways I wanted to better myself in the coming year. These included exercising daily, losing weight, dining out less, reading more high-brow literature, analyzing business trade publications weekly and drinking less soda. I loved the idea of a new and improved me, but seldom made it past week two. In fact, only 8 percent of people actually achieve their New Year's resolutions. I clearly was in the 92 percent. So now, after a few years of living clean, embracing a plant-based diet, yoga, power walking and using green products, I've comprised a list of 10 simple wellness tips. Hopefully, these will make picking an easily-attainable goal less daunting and enjoyable. Cheers to a healthy and happy new year.
1. Add one new healthy food each week
Better yet, make it a family affair. Start with the alphabet: week one, A is for asparagus. Eat them raw, sautéed, baked, grilled. Week two, B is for Brussels sprouts. Eat them sautéed, baked with balsamic glaze or peeled into Brussels sprout hash. Check out #ONENEWFOOD hosted by MommyinSports and OhHonestly for photos and ideas or some of the small substitutions I made on my journey eating clean.
2. Drink half your body weight in water
When the body is dehydrated, it doesn't run efficiently. Drinking water has plenty of benefits including increasing energy, flushing out toxins, improving skin complexion and boosting immunity, to name a few.
3. Start the morning with a hydrating warm drink
I choose warm water and lemon because I like the taste. I've also seen apple cider vinegar concoctions that rehydrate and influence the body's alkaline state, which has been noted for added health benefits. Drink these before coffee and breakfast for instant energy, likely from the rehydration process.
4. Experiment with spices
There are many health benefits in using spices such as cinnamon, turmeric and garlic while cooking. Studies show that antioxidants in many of these have been linked to lower inflammation, which is often linked to toxic diseases.
5. Try new, green products when looking to buy new skin care ones
Check out the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep database to learn more about chemicals in every day products. They have an app that makes it incredibly easy to educate yourself while shopping.
6. Use wholesome and natural items for beauty products
The key is to find products with few non-toxic ingredients. For example, using cold-pressed organic virgin coconut oil can be a solid replacement for moisturizer. Scouring Pinterest for DIY soap scrub recipes is also an easy way to improve your beauty regimen while on a budget.
7. Use wholesome and natural items for household cleansers
Substitute vinegar and water to clean countertops and baking soda to cut grease rather than strong, toxic cleaners. Or look for cleansers filled with more natural ingredients.
8. Use lemons as a sponge
I take the lemons from my morning drink and throw them in the sink. It smells nice and is easy on my hands when scrubbing.
9. Meditate for 10 minutes early morning
Check out iTunes for guided imagery or other meditation resources. If you can't see yourself meditating then listen to the Deepak Chopra Pandora station while walking outdoors. It's calming and a great de-stressor.
10. Be active daily
Aim for 30 minutes of activity daily. Break it up throughout the day: 10 minutes before work, 10 minutes afterwards and 10 minutes home with the kids. Research from The Nurses' Health Study at Harvard indicates the importance of brisk walking for disease prevention including cardiovascular and breast health.
If a long-term resolution seems daunting, aim for new measurable goals monthly. Think short-term and create a new goal every month. For instance, come up with an idea like drink homemade juices or smoothies five days a week or don't eat packaged snacks for a month. It doesn't seem like such a life overhaul if you add or eliminate a certain food for just 30 days. Plus, if you get in the rhythm of it, you might continue. Or if not, you know you will start a new goal the next month.
Good luck. Happy New Year and always remember to check with your doctor or natural health care practitioner when making changes to your lifestyle.