One of my best friends recently told me about how overwhelmed she feels these days. There’s so much information out there on basically everything. Eat this, do that, and above all shine and be happy. Really? Even for a super human it would be challenging to live up to all the expecatations we are bombarded with on a daily basis. For you and me, for us mortal human beings it’s too much. Full stop. I could go on and on but really want to only touch on a few simple things to support health and well-being.
Food and lifestyle choices are critical! The way we eat and live impacts our well-being enormously. It’s at the end of the day not so much our genes that determine our health but the environment, the signals we expose them to: “The genes are the ammunition, the environment pulls the trigger.”
Our bodies have an amazing ability to stay healthy when provided with the right amounts and types of healthy signals. Chronic dysfunctions in our bodies are ultimately caused by the presence of harmful signals, or the absence of healthy ones. We want to make sure our bodies get as many healthy signals as possible. So what should we focus on? E voilà – short and simple:
NOURISH | THE FOOD WE EAT
It’s important to eat consistently healthy. The body doesn’t like erratic signals. Every bite we eat has an effect on the body’s bio-chemistry. The foods we consume each and every day are the building blocks of our bodies. Those building blocks need to be really good, high quality in order to help build a healthy body from the inside out. Proper “raw material” is the foundation for good health and vitality.
HYDRATE | THE WATER WE DRINK
Water is our fuel. Our bodies use water in all its cells, organs, and tissues to help regulate its temperature and maintain other bodily functions. It is essential for transportation of nutrients and elimination of waste. Our bodies are around 70% water. Our blood is 92 % water, and our brain & muscles are 75 % water. Hydration is crucial! How much water “should” you drink? 8-10 glasses of water per day is a good rule of thumb. Put a carafe with filtered water on your desk or get an app that reminds you to drink consistently.
SLEEP | THE HOURS WE SLEEP
When we sleep we recharge our batteries so to say. While we sleep our bodies are detoxifying, rejuvenating, and healing. Sleep may keep your heart healthy, reduce your stress, lower inflammation, improve memory, and help lose weight. We relax while we sleep and yet our bodies are working hard on repairing whatever damage needs to be fixed. As you sleep, slow waves of electrical activity in your brain seem to help rinse away harmful waste products that could otherwise damage your brain cells. So many reasons to get a good night sleep!
EXERCISE | THE MOVEMENTS WE MAKE
Our bodies are designed to move. A sedentary lifestyle is not what we were made for. It’s crucial exercise becomes part of your daily routine. What does exercise do for you? Exercising regularly can improve your mood and reduce feelings of anxiety and depression. Daily physical activity is essential to maintaining a healthy weight and reducing the risk of chronic disease. What’s your favorite way to move your body? I love to hike, run, and do yoga. The Class by Taryn Toomey is on the top of my list right now. It’s super powerful and inspiring!
RELAXATION | THE QUIET TIME WE DEDICATE TO OURSELVES
Stress is inevitable in our busy lives these days. You’re sitting in traffic, late for an important meeting, watching the minutes tick away. Your hypothalamus, the tiny control center in your brain, decides to send out an order: Stress hormones please! These stress hormones trigger your body’s “fight or flight” response. Your heart races, your breath quickens, and your muscles are ready for action. This response was designed to protect your body in an emergency by preparing you to react quickly. When turned on constantly it may have a negative impact on your health. That is why it’s so super important to work on our stress resilience, wind down, and give ourselves enough time to relax every day. When you feel stressed consiously pause and take a couple of deep breaths! What’s your favorite way to wind down? I love to spend time in nature (so yummy and healing!) and then of course there’s meditation. Insight Timer is a great, free app with tons of guided mediation and more to help you stay on track.
And last but not least,here are some basic rules to follow when it comes to your diet:
- Choose nutrient-dense food to protect your body and promote optimal health through an ample amount of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants! Make sure you check out my next post on all things micronutrients.
- Variety is key! Follow the rainbow! That’s not only pretty but also healthy.
- Choose organic, local, seasonal, and unprocessed, fresh foods whenever possible! S.O.U.L. food is it.
- Diversify healthy fats, proteins, and carbs (in moderation; ideally from vegetables and fruits).
- Eat with awareness!