10 Healthy Habits to Start Right Now---Like THIS Second!
Well, the holidays have once again wreaked their usual havoc on my bod. I don't care how old you are, if you spend two consecutive months indulging in unhealthy behaviors (ME), such as eating whatever and whenever you want, not exercising, not getting enough sleep, perhaps imbibing a little too much, and more---well, your body and mind will be feeling it, my friend! Especially if you're on the other side of 50, like I am.
What's a girl to do? Well, I'm doing what just about everyone else is doing: Making resolutions. The thing is, since I have moved an hour away from town, away from my gym, I have become a master excuse-maker. Yep. I admit it. I'm too busy. I'm too tired. It's too far away to get to the gym. I don't have proper equipment at home....the excuses I am capable of making are endless.
It has become time to acknowledge that they are lame. It has become time to acknowledge that my health must become a priority, or the quality of the rest of my life will suffer.
So--here are the ten healthy habits I am starting right now. These are all things I've done in my past super healthy life, and I am re-enacting them as of this very second!
FTC Disclosure: There are affiliate links scattered throughout this article for things I love or are on my wish list! If you click through and make any kind of purchase, I'll receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you--Heidi
10 Healthy Habits to Start Right NOW!
1) Fast for a period of time every day
Why is fasting good for you?
Well, the answer is simple. Your body needs time to completely digest all the food eaten before more is added. Our bodies are not meant to be constantly trying to digest foods. It takes about eight hours to digest foods, and if you add another four or five hours to this time period, your body can actually begin to detoxify!
Your body can generate new cells and get rid of dead or dying cells that are no longer serving a purpose when enough time is spent fasting on a daily basis. According to Vani Hari of www.FoodBabe.com, fasting for a period of time every day contributes to anti-aging!
I read The IF Diet by Robert Skinner a few years back, and decided to try one of the intermittent fasting plans. It really does work! This book has been edited with new information too.
2) Drink warm lemon water with cayenne and perhaps a bit of ginger first thing in the morning
Lemon, cayenne, and ginger are all great kitchen herbs with medicinal qualities! Most of us have these right now! If you add them to some water and drink up first thing in the morning, your liver will have a speedy way to get its detoxification on first thing! AND, if you can drink this concoction hot, all the better for your digestive system.
Here's the plan: Juice one-half a lemon the night before, sprinkle in some cayenne and ginger powder to the juice--and leave it in a covered glass (I love Mason jars, and a pint size is perfect for this!) on the bathroom counter top.
First thing in the morning, get that hot hot water going from the tap, fill the glass the rest of the way with water, and drink up!
Isn't that easy? And your body will love you for it.
**You can get some great bulk medicinal and culinary herbs from Starwest Botanicals, including your cayenne and ginger!
3) Get rid of all sugars: hidden and obvious
Now I'll be honest here---this is pretty much impossible because sugar is everywhere. Even if you are checking labels, the manufacturers of processed foods have found some pretty sneaky ways to "rename" sugars so you don't know what it is.
The best thing to do to remove sugars from your diet is to eat whole, unprocessed foods. Did it come directly from the earth? Good. That's what you want to eat.
Even doing this, though---you will still be getting natural sugars from fruits and vegetables like carrots and beets. But these contain minerals and other nutrients we need, so they are just not as bad.
If you are going to be eating sugars, the best types to eat are raw honey, maple syrup (pure), sugar from dates/dried fruits, and sugar from coconut. Fruits are fine too.
Want to read a great book and body re-set plan that includes a list of hidden sugars? Visit the Whole30 website or get the book, The Whole30! I love this book, and I refer to it over and over again.
4) Use Herbs!
Drinking herbal teas that contain nothing but the herbs is one of the best gifts you can give to your body. Seriously.
I am not talking about teas from places like Teavana or the stale old boxed teas from the grocery store that contain flavorings and chemicals. Nope. I am talking about simple fresh or freshly dried high quality herbs and nothing else.
You'll find if you drink three to four cups of herbal tonic tea every day, you'll feel much better! It's likely your immune system will become so boosted, becoming ill will just not happen to you. And, if it does, you'll find that cold or flu going away a LOT faster.
Good herbs to use include green tea, black tea, rooibos tea, yerba mate, dandelion, nettle, calendula, peppermint, ginger, etc. You can create your own tonic tea using herbs of your choice or purchase great blends meant for certain health benefits.
My favorite place to purchase tea blends is from Starwest Botanicals. They sell bulk culinary and medicinal herbs and have a line of teas already blended for many health issues. Some examples are tea blends to support the adrenals (Energy Adjust), the brain, detoxifying the body, liver and kidney support, relaxation, sleep, and many more.
Another great company I just discovered is Mighty Leaf Tea. They specialize in just herbal teas, and have some pretty incredible choices! I love their Wellness Tea Infusions. They also carry lines of tea accessories, so if you are a tea snob---check them out!
If you want to make up your own blends, it's easy! Here are some articles to get you started: The Ultimate Herbal Tea for Relaxation, Happiness Tea, Manly Man Tea (supports the male reproductive system), and many more on the blog! If you want a great resource that tells you how to go about creating your very own herbal tea blends, check out my book, Creating Herbal Teas. There are lots of recipes for blends, plus guidelines you can follow to create your own!
5) Eat your meals without any liquids
The reason behind this is that drinking during your meal dilutes the digestive acids and enzymes, and actually slows down the digestive process. Taking a sip or two won't hurt, but honestly try to reduce or eliminate drinking while eating a meal.
What I've found works best for me is to drink some water about 30 minutes before I eat. After I eat a meal, I like to wait at least 30 minutes to an hour before drinking water or other liquid.
Creating an environment in your body for optimal digestion may also help you shed those unwanted pounds!
6) If you drink coffee, add Coconut oil or MCT oil
I just learned about this strategy! Evidently, adding an oil that contains a lot or is all medium chain triglycerides helps with brain focus, fat burning (how counter-intuitive), and improving energy levels. Coconut oil contains about 65% medium chain triglycerides, and MCT oil is a type of processed oil made from coconuts that contains 100% medium chain tryglycerides (MCT).
I haven't actually been able to try this for any length of time because I just started using either or both kinds of oils, but I'm excited to see what the outcome is!
There is something called Bulletproof coffee (and you could do this with tea or any hot drink) that is supposed to be the best way to consume these oils. Just add 1 tablespoon of the oil to your hot beverage and enjoy!
Coconut oil will have a taste, but MCT oil is flavorless and colorless.
7) Get good rest
This habit is pretty obvious. If you don't get enough sleep, your body and mind cannot function optimally. Your immune system suffers, and in fact, every system in your body suffers too. If you do nothing else, getting healthy restful sleep is one of the best things in this list to do!
Here's how I make sure I get a good night's sleep:
- I set an alarm to remind myself of when I need to stop doing what I'm doing and go get ready for bed.
- My alarm clock is amazing! I got this Phillips Sunlight clock, and the way it works is that the light mimics the sunrise. It begins to brighten however many minutes you choose before you want to wake up, simulating a natural sunrise. It's supposed to help with your circadian rhythms, and although I'm not sure it does this, I can tell you my ability to wake up better has improved a LOT!
- Use the 5-Second Rule to blast yourself out of bed. I agonize over getting up into the cold room, especially in wintertime. Mel Robbins wrote this amazing book called the 5-Second Rule, and I love to apply it to getting up out of bed. You just count backwards from five, then GO! Sounds crazy, but it works. In the book, she teaches you how to apply it to all kinds of other areas in your life too. Good stuff.
- Get a night time routine going, so your body will be in the habit of getting to sleep. I have a friend who turns off the T.V. an hour before bedtime, and just reads. She says this helps.
- Drink a soothing warm drink, like the Relaxation Tea recipe above!
- If you don't want a tea, try a tincture, like this one for helping get you into a Deep Sleep! It's got Valerian, Lavender and Hops in it, and it's a quick solution for sleeplessness or night time anxiety---or even if your hubs snores (like Mr. V.).
Yep---Just like it's pretty obvious about getting enough rest, getting enough movement is really a no brainer. Just get daily exercise of your choice.
I used to be really into weight lifting and body building in my twenties and thirties. In my forties, I got into yoga. I loved it all. Now, in my fifties, since our move to this rural area, I have not exercised. I can TOTALLY feel the negative effects.
My plan is to start lifting weights again, do some cardio a few times a week, and just maybe add yoga in once or twice. It's about making a plan. How about you?
9) Portion your foods correctly
Our American diet is not just unhealthy because these days everything is processed, but also because we just eat WAY too much.
Do you know when I realized that Mr. V. and I were eating super large portions without even realizing it? It was when we tried out one of those meal plan systems where they send you the recipes and ingredients for healthy meals. I was still working my previous career job at the time, so these were effective for us. But when we started making these meals and saw just how "small" the portions were, we were like, "WHOA!"
The portions were not really small at all. They were actually the size that a normal adult should be eating, and this has helped us to reset how much we eat now that we are back to making all of our meals from scratch.
It really doesn't matter how healthy the food you are eating is if you are eating way too much! Right? Well, I guess it does matter how healthy it is....but the fact remains, eating too much is not good for your body.
10) Add fermented foods to your diet
Finally, your gut health is SO important. People don't realize just how eating processed foods, taking antibiotics and other medications all the time, and eating too much sugar causes some really extreme imbalances in our microbiome.
Here are some articles you can read about keeping your microbiome healthy, in case you want more information: Fermentation: Why You Should Eat Fermented Foods Every Day, Defining the Microbiome (government website), and Gut Health (Global Healing Center).
Eating raw fermented foods provides your body with natural probiotics that help keep your gut flora balanced for optimal health. If you don't want to eat or make your own raw fermented foods, you can purchase a good quality probiotic to take once or twice a day. I recommend the natural foods way, though, or at least a combination.
Here are some articles on fermented foods you might be interested in: Fermentation Myths, How to Make Fermented Ketchup, Make the Perfect Sauerkraut, and SO many more on the blog, including Can Eating Fermented Foods Help You Lose Weight?
If you love video courses, The Traditional Cooking School has some excellent classes on fermentation and traditional cooking. That link will get you some free videos as examples! And my friend, Corina at Marblemount Homestead, teaches about making your own cheese, as well as fermentation too!
Final Thoughts About Healthy, Good Habits to Start NOW
Honestly, most of these are common sense, don't you think? The thing is, they do take some effort, even the simple ones. So. It's just a matter of DOING it.
I know what my problems are, and I know you know what yours are too! We all just have to put that plan together, come up with solutions that will work for us, and as Nike say, "Just DO it!"
Hopefully, we'll all start implementing some or all of these habits and also continue learning about natural health methods. It's a process and a journey, and I hope you are inspired to get some of these good habits going on!
OH! And I wanted to share this book I read with you, too. One of my sons graduated from West Point years ago, and while he was there, one of his professors had the class read this book by Charles Duhigg, called The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business. It's REALLY good, and the author not only goes into the science behind habits, but also gives you strategies for creating new, good habits, too! Enjoy!
What are your thoughts on some or all of these habits? Can you think of any I should add to the list? Please share your ideas in the comments!
Hugs & Self-Reliance,
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