…Steps to Impact Your Health!
I realized as I was going through my content ideas list that I had a bunch of “top 5 (insert nutrition, health, wellness tips)” so I thought I’d just start a “Top 5” theme and go with it. So, to start I’m going to go over my top 5 suggestions to make huge impacts on your health. Whether you’re looking to lose weight, gain energy, sleep better, get rid of pesky aches and pains, or just feel less blah in general, these are the steps you can focus your effots on. These will give you the most bang for your buck effort and will have you hopefully feeling much better! Keep in mind, this is more general advice. Depending on your current health and goals, I might have more specific recommendations for you. But, this is a great place to start!
1) Ditch the juices and sodas and just drink water! Sure, you can include some all-natural sparkling waters if that’s your thing, some coffee and tea, and the occasional adult bevvy but just reaching for some cool refreshing water, as one of my nieces called it, is going to be the best way to make sure you stay hydrated! Your body is about 60% water, or it should be, so keeping it that way is super important for every function in your body. Do you feel like you need more energy? Start by drinking more water. Do you have trouble going to the bathroom? Drink more water. Is weight loss your main goal? Joints feel stiff? Drink up, buttercup!
2) Say no thanks to the processed and refined carbohydrates. This includes refined sugar, wheat, and refined grains. This covers quite a large quantity of foods and most of what’s easy, crave-able, crunchy, sweet, salty, and snacky in those center grocery store aisles. I get it, it’s easy to make a sandwich, it’s easy to eat cereal, it’s easy to snack on crackers, pretzels, chips, etc. but these foods are also robbing us of our energy, vitality, health, sleep, stable moods, and so much more. Does this mean you can’t EVER have any of these things? Of course not, this is real life, and I for one enjoy some chips here and there! Keep these in the 10-15% part of your diet (or by all means avoid them completely) and let the other 85-90% be real, whole foods. Your body will thank you.
3) Lose the industrial seed oils. Chances are you aren’t actually cooking with these in your own home but there’s a good chance you have products that DO contain them. The carbs described above are often cooked in them and if you eat out you can almost guarantee you’ll be exposed to some of these. A few weeks ago I wrote about healthy swaps for your pantry, including fats and oils, so check that out for some tips. If you want to take a deeper dive into more info about why to avoid these seed oils, read on in this post.
4) Eat regular meals that consist of a protein, a few veggies, and some healthy fats. Avocados, olives, raw or dry roasted nuts and seeds are all good sources of healthy fats in addition to the options in those links in #3 above. Depending on your schedule and your health goals you might be better suited to two larger meals per day or three normal sized meals per day and maybe a snack or two if you need it. If you feel like you have to eat every two hours then that’s a good sign you aren’t getting enough protein or good fats in your diet.
5) Keep it simple! When you’re starting to make some big changes to your diet, don’t feel like you have to make massive changes all at once. You also don’t have to suddenly start cooking really involved meals and recipes with tons of ingredients. Roast a large pan of veggies all at once. Throw a bunch of chicken breasts, thighs, or a whole chicken in the crockpot. Throw a large roast in the crockpot with some seasonings and shred for use later. Bake a bunch of sweet potatoes at once. Buy large boxes of mixed greens. You can use them for salads or cook them. Check out suggestions on the pantry swap list for ideas for sauces and dressings that will make things easier but still be quality ingredients.