Ever since January 1st rolled around and New Year’s resolutions were written into the fresh, first page of your new planner, we’ve been chatting about becoming our healthiest self and holding our goals accountable. Maybe you thoroughly succeeded in your goals and are ready for some minor updates and new challenges, or maybe your New Year’s resolutions lasted until your January 2nd hangover (no judgement!). Either way, “getting healthier” should not feel restrictive or make you unhappy.
I’m a big believer that health should be empowering, abundant, and help you feel self-love. Anything that feels more restrictive, depriving, or unhappy is anything but “healthy.” Some of my colleagues and I have challenged each other to lose 4% of our body weight for the month of May. Everyone put $20 and if you reach 4% you automatically get some or all of the money depending who else achieved the goal. I think this is great motivation and a great way to hold each other accountable. Wish me luck! But in the mean time here are a couple things you can do today to become a whole lot healthier without even trying.
1. Drink a glass of water
The easiest thing you can do to make your body a lot healthier in under a few minutes? Drink a big glass of water — seriously. You know that water is crucial for staying hydrated and healthy, but water actually packs so many good-for-you benefits, I’d say it deserves superfood status (step aside, kale!).
2. Go for a walk
Going for a walk is good for your physical and mental health. Taking a walk increases heart rate and strengthens muscles, even if it doesn’t feel like a workout.
3. Have a cup of green tea
Take a lesson from some of the most ancient health practices in the world that have used tea as an inherent part of optimal health for centuries — tea is loaded with numerous health benefits, with green leading the pack as one of the healthiest. It is loaded with many antioxidants, including EGCG, which has been used to treat many diseases. Green tea also increases physical performance, improves brain function, and kills bad bacteria. Replace your second cup of coffee with a green tea for a powerful health boost.
4. Add ginger to foods and smoothies
Ginger can help nausea and cramps, but the superfood root is also known to be an intense inflammation reducer.
5. Dry Brush before your shower
While we typically focus on “getting healthier” from the inside out, the lymphatic system is also important for our bodies to function properly. The buzzed about lymphatic system is a network of tissues and organs that is in charge of ridding the body of waste and toxins. The lymphatic vessels are similar to the circulatory system (like veins and capillaries), in that they can be targeted from the outside. Detox your body by getting a lymphatic massage, doing infrared sauna, or dry brushing (the easiest DIY) to detox your lymphatic system and help improve circulation. I’ve been dry brushing every day before my shower and have noticed significant results with cellulite on my thighs.
6. Make a meal out of only seasonal products
Eating seasonly doesn’t mean you’re restricted to local produce — you can still load up on all your organic fruits and veggies at the grocery store, market, or delivery service of your choice. What it does mean is that the fruits and vegetables you’re eating will be grown more naturally and locally than eating fruit out of season (aka more nutrients than your basic year-round produce).
7. Take your time when you eat
It’s so easy to get into the habit of eating on-the-go or behind a screen when life gets busy, but taking time to thoroughly chew food and eat slowly is better for digestion — it’s easier on the stomach (so no more uncomfortable bloat or stomach pain!), and chewing about 30 times per mouthful (yes, that many!) stimulates enough digestive enzymes to break down the food.
8. Add leafy greens to your meals
Leafy greens like kale, spinach, romaine, and arugula are some of the healthiest foods in the world. They’re loaded with vitamins, minerals, and fiber, while being incredibly low in calories. They prevent aging, help your heart, detoxify your blood and your organs (including your skin!), and feed your gut.
9. Add herbs to every meal
Basil on pizza or cilantro in soup sounds like a fancy garnish, but herbs are a critical way to get detoxifying, inflammation-taming phytonutrients into the body. The reason these tiny little greens are so potent is because they’re packed with antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins. Not only will adding fresh herbs like basil, cilantro, mint, or parsley to each meal make your food so much more flavorful, but it will regulate the digestive system, boost the immune system, provide anti-bacterial properties, and more.
10. Take a Breath !!!
While I’m a big believer in taking a deep breath in the middle of stressful moments (think: that tight work deadline or when your mom is reminding you to pay your taxes again), breathing does much more for your health than just work as a coping mechanism for stress. Deep breathing actually stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which stimulates hormone production, oxygenates the blood, releases muscle tension, eases digestion, and decreases cortisol levels. Take 5-10 expansive belly breaths (meaning you’re breathing through your stomach, not your chest or throat) as often as you remember throughout the day and before each meal.
What are your favourite easy healthy habits?