10 habits so you can feel GREAT in your body this holiday season.
Getting your health on track doesn't have to be difficult. Like most things in life, you can take baby steps. It's actually best this way so they become lifelong habits you can sustain.
It's quite simple, and these 10 tricks will start adding HUGE benefits to your health almost immediately, try it and see!
1. Water, water, and more water.
This point feels like a given, however I can't stress it enough. WATER is the key to life on this planet, and the one of the main reasons that most people's health is suffering.
Water is the way we get our body systems moving. It helps circulate nutrients and waste products through your body so they can be properly distributed or excreted, respectively. Water will aid in digestion and keep your body systems functioning optimally... especially during times of stress (external; food, environment, toxins, or internal; thoughts, emotions).
So be sure to drink enough water for your personal needs, and don't skimp out. If you find yourself reaching for juice, pop, coffee, or anything other than water than you know you're probably dehydrated but unaccustomed to drinking only water. Those other beverages are filled with sugars, preservatives, and acid-forming substances which actually dehydrate you further and may lead to dis-ease in the body.
A good rule of thumb is to take your body weight (lbs) and cut it in half. That's approximately how many ounces of water you want to drink per day.
*Please note that the formula above is for the average person and doesn't take into account one's individual needs, such as activity levels or health problems.
2. A.C.V (Apple Cider Vinegar)
ACV is one of the best secrets I ever learned, and so I'd love to share it with you.
ACV is excellent because it helps stimulate HCl production (stomach acid) which is meant to properly breakdown food particles.
Additionally, ACV is known to create an alkaline state in your body which is perfect for helping to offset the effects of sugar.
A great way to use ACV is by having 1 tsp - 2 tbsp approx. 15-minutes before a high carbohydrate meal, and this will ultimately aid in the digestive processes, and has even been shown to improve insulin resistance.
3. Fill up on veggies.
It's no doubt that veggies are a crucial part of any healthy diet. One of my favourite tools to indulging in all the treats is to fill up on veggies first. It's the fibre that matters most here.
Fun fact: fibre is the natural antidote to sugar. Fibre will offset the insulin spike from sugar intake.
For instance, if I intend on going to a potluck and I know there will be lots of sweet treats, I will first fill up on veggies... then go for the yummy treats. This will ensure adequate nutrient intake, as well as live enzymes which aid in the digestive processes. Veggies also improve insulin resistance and create an alkaline state in the body. This way, when you choose to indulge in your favourite goodies, you'll be primes with a force field of antioxidants, and likely you won't binge as hard as you would've if you didn't eat those veggies.
4. Reduce mixers (pop, juice...etc)
I'm not about to tell you to stop drinking alcohol, because sometimes a glass of wine or a gin cocktail is just... yummy.
Instead, I encourage you to look at what's going into that drink you're having.
Are you drinking mostly sugary sodas and juices with a shot of vodka?
Is it possible to reduce your sugar intake with each drink?
Could you possibly choose a drink straight, or mixed with something low-sugar instead? (Please don't confuse low-sugar with sugar-free. I highly recommend avoiding sugar-free beverages because the aspartame and most sugar-free alternatives are actually worse for your health than real sugar.)
If you must have a mixer, take a look at your local health food store for some inspiration. Maybe you can find a healthier option with no added sugar.
If not, and you're a die-hard rum and coke kinda person, then I believe the option for you is more water between drinks. Seriously. For each alcoholic beverage you have, have a tall glass of water in-between. This will give your vital organs some grace and help you to stay healthy in the long-term. Also, this is a great method for reducing hangover symptoms.
Chewing properly is the most underrated health habit. Most people are so concerned with the next thing on their agenda that they forget to be present in the eating of their food.
Here's a little challenge for you; drink your food and chew your drinks.
This means, chew your food to the point that it's liquid, and you can drink it. And when you're drinking (smoothies are a great example of this), remember to chew your drinks!
Digestion begins in the mouth. When you thoroughly chew food your salivary glands release amylase (an enzyme which breaks down carbohydrates). When you have begun the process of breaking down food before it enters your stomach, you save your stomach and intestines a lot of work - which means they will be more effective at digesting proteins and fats.
This means less bloating and gas for you - the consumer.
6. Plant-based digestive enzymes.
If you find you're typically have a hard time digesting (gas, bloating, abdominal pain...etc), perhaps it's time you look into a plant-based digestive enzyme to take with your meals.
It's important you choose a plant-based digestive enzyme because any animal-based pancreatic enzymes because your body will not become reliant on them in the same way. When you become reliant on pancreatic enzymes, you teach your body to stop producing those crucial enzymes for digestion and it can be extremely uncomfortable when you forget to take them.
Instead, I suggest you choose a high-quality plant-based enzyme and take with your food to reduce discomfort and pain - especially when you plan to eat dairy and gluten products.
7. Time between eating.
Time and space between meals is a valuable lesson.
Aim to space out your eating, especially during the holidays. If you plan to attend a huge potluck or family dinner (and indulge) then plan accordingly. Perhaps you fast most of the day leading up to the event, and again afterwards for approximately 12-16 hours.
This may sound like a long time, especially if you're hypoglycemic or diabetic, so take care of your individual needs as necessary.
Bring your own treats.
If you're going to a potluck, a road trip, or a long day out of the house, don't be shy - bring a treat for yourself!
My clients often tell me they get cravings and make poor food choices while they're out of the house. Well, this is my personal trick to save money, and my health.
Trail mix, protein bars, apples... there are so many great foods you can pop into your backpack or purse and keep there for emergencies. This way, when you've got a craving or your blood sugar is low, you can grab a bite and it will sustain you until you can find a better source of food.
Probiotics saved my life. I mean it. They truly did.
If you have taken antibiotics within the past 5 years (or ever, actually). If you experience yeast infections, bacterial infections, gas, bloating, or even struggle with mental health - probiotics could be your saving grace.
I'm a huge advocate of probiotic foods, first and foremost - however a good quality probiotic supplement is beneficial for most people.
Probiotics repopulate your gut with beneficial bacteria which aid in digestion, boost your immune system, and even produce serotonin. Probiotics are miraculous and it's unfortunate that most doctors aren't more well-versed in their countless benefits.
Finally, we get to gratitude. There are many studies done on the effects of gratitude and mindfulness out there, however to put it simply gratitude reduces stress and lowers stress hormones so your body can focus on digestion and healing.
Take a moment before sitting down to eat and express gratitude - possibly for a situation or person in your life, possibly for the fact that you've got an abundance of food and clean water... possibly for an event that took place recently or your heath. Whatever you have to be grateful for, express it! Recognize it. Feel it.