These days, eating healthy can be a real chore. Not only is eating healthier the more expensive option, but it’s getting harder and harder to resist the temptation of ordering junk food straight to your door (I’m looking at you, McDonald’s and your new delivery service). There are ways you can improve your overall health, without really trying.
Sugar. Oh Honey, Honey
It’s easy to be dragged to the dark side and eating some chocolate when you know you’re not supposed to, but it always seems as if it’s okay if you don’t have too much of it. Refined sugars aren’t just in chocolate though, it’s in a lot of food. Nic Makim, an expert on weight loss, cleansing, cleansing and stress relief, offers some hard truths about refined sugars, and why cutting back can make a huge difference to your health. “If it is made in a factory, it takes a factory to digest. White sugar fuels many of our modern diseases, spikes your blood sugar levels, taxes your immune system, robs you of minerals, is highly addictive and floods your body with excess insulin. Insulin is your fat storage hormone. I love blueberries and shredded coconut to kerb a sweet tooth. Blueberries are low fructose and packed with antioxidants. Adding enough protein to your daily diet will also manage sweet cravings.” Find out more about Nic Makim by following her on Facebook and Instagram. Sarah Moore, from Sarah Moore Wellness, offers her advice for those who need an energy hit, without the scary side effects. "If it’s an energy boost you’re after, get rid of the energy band-aids as they’re only making you feel worse. Switch those sweet treats, coffee or energy drink with a brisk burst of activity (like 10 star jumps and 10 squats), a few moments outside or a cup of herbal tea. They’ll have you energised and focused without the slump that follows a caffeinated or sugary boost. Refined carbohydrates are also energy zappers. Swap out those white foods for whole grains instead (like dense grainy bread, white rice and quinoa). The B vitamins and minerals are going to give you a needed boost while the sustained energy release will keep you going longer than a cupcake can." Find out more about Sarah Moore Wellness by following her on Facebook and Instagram.
Catch Some Zzz’s
We’ve mentioned it a bunch of times here, but sleep really is a crucial factor in a healthy lifestyle. Your brain needs time to heal after the hours of constant work, and without sleep, it can’t recharge. Sometimes you miss out on a few hours of sleep, which makes you feel a bit groggy the next day, but you make up for it by catching a few extra hours on the snooze train that night. Doing this, you pay back your sleep debt. Yes, it’s a thing. Sleep debt is a huge issue when it comes to your health. On average, adults need eight hours of sleep a night. However, with the ever constant flow of work, technology and social lives filling our world, we often find ourselves getting only six hours of sleep a night. It may not seem like much, but if you sleep two hours less than you’re supposed to, you will lose fourteen hours of sleep a week. That’s a lot. Sometimes it’s not even our social lives that are distracting us from our sleep schedule or our smartphones; it’s our mattress. A mattress has a life expectancy of five to ten years, so if it takes you a long time to fall asleep (which, according to science, it should take you from ten to twenty minutes), you may need to consider changing what you’re sleeping on. The issue here, of course, is that mattresses can be expensive. If your mattress isn’t quite at the ripe age of retirement, but it’s starting to feel a little lumpy, you should add some fresh life to it with a mattress topper. They can add an extra layer of support to your back and neck, help you fall asleep faster, and help you achieve that NREM stage 3 sleep that you, your body and your brain craves. If you’d like to find out more about sleep (we talk about it a lot here), read this article.
I Don’t See You Out Walking Children In Nature…
An easy way to improve your health without changing your entire life is by getting outside. You don’t have to join the gym, and you don’t have to purchase $5000 on athleisure, but you can spend a few extra minutes outside and reap the benefits. Aimee Clark from Primal Influence offers her advice for those who would like to improve their health, without having to fully change their lifestyle. “As a nature-based food and cooking coach, one of the suggestions I have for feeling healthier without changing every aspect of one's lifestyle is simply to experience more nature time. Humans are nature, we're not synthetic or made in factories, so to live to our fullest potential we need a big chunk of nature in our lives. From the foods we eat, the water we drink, how we move... as many elements of our lives we incorporate nature the better off we are. But just by spending time outdoors barefoot, breathing in fresh air and indulging our senses in the environment around us we can experience improved health and well-being. The more often we practice 'nature therapy' the greater the benefits, but by doing it as often as time and location allows, there is likely to be some noticeable benefits even if they are relatively small. The ultimate example of this is "Forest Therapy" or Shinrin Yoku as the Japanese call it, but even just a barefoot walk at the beach, at the local park/playground, by a river, whatever type of nature time we can access can have important benefits.” Find out more about Primal Influence by following them on Facebook and Instagram. It doesn’t matter if you walk a bit further away from the office in the morning, or walk your dog that extra block, grab your pet supplies and get your runners on. Your body will thank you for it. Marina Manasyan from Barcelona Eat Local has the perfect reason why you should move more. "Ensure you move regularly. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator or biking if feasible to go to work, have a walk around your office with a colleague instead of seating for a meeting are small details that keep your cells full of oxygen." Find out more about Barcelona Eat Local by following them on Facebook and Instagram.
H2O, Just Add Water
Water is one of the best things for you. It makes up close to 60% of our body, and it keeps us looking nice and fresh. Studies used to say that we need eight glasses of water a day, but recent studies have shown we may not need that much. We still need to keep hydrated, though. Coffee, alcohol and certain foods can make us dehydrated, and in the long term, that can be detrimental to our health. So, if you’re at the office and you find yourself reaching for a cup of Joe every couple of hours, why not switch things up and have a cup of tea instead? It offers us a good amount of hydration and it offers the caffeine needed for our 3pm slump. Julie Seamer, an investigative naturopath, offers her advice for those who love their tea but don't feel the benefits. "To obtain the maximum benefits of your tea, research shows you will gain the most of the antioxidants within the tea leaves by steeping for at least 2 minutes. Let it brew to feel anew!" Find out more Julie by following her on Facebook and Instagram.
If It Ain’t Green, I’m Not Interested
An easy way to get yourself on the healthy track is by adding some green on your plate. It honestly doesn’t have to be much, but a little can do a lot. Harshit Sekhon, owner of Feastively, offers his advice for those who want to up their veggie game, but don’t want to become rabbits. “Just add more veggies to your meals. It's nothing drastic and usually, you can swap meats for veggies in a number of dishes. They're cheaper and you can eat a lot more veggies than meats and starchy foods without feeling guilty. You'll feel a lot lighter and cleaner.” Find out more about Feastively by following them on Facebook and Instagram.
Getting healthy doesn’t mean you have to go on a juice cleanse, joining the gym and eating rabbit food. It can be done in small doses, but boy, can those small doses make a big difference. So go, walk it out and drink some water. Your body will feel better, and it’ll show.