1. Adding greens wherever and whenever possible -We live in a time where our produce is not nearly as nutritionally dense as is used to be, so we have to eat a lot more to get the correct amount of nutrients our body needs to perform its daily functions. Leafy greens are absolute super foods! There are so many wonderful micronutrients in them, they help boost your immune system, and encourage good gut bacteria. I will get a giant batch of spinach or spring mix from the grocery store at a time so that I’m motivated to finish it before it goes bad. I’ll add it to my eggs, smoothies, sandwiches, wilted on the side of my entrees…basically wherever I can fit greens into my diet, I will! Fruit is a great healthy option, but we should also be striving to have vegetables with every single meal. The more greens I eat, the easier it is for me to ward off a cold.
2. Mixing up workouts -Because I played volleyball in college, my love for the weight room is real. I have adored lifting and lifting hard since I was about 17, but that is not sustainable for my body! Light cardio, yoga, long walks and resistance training regularly make my lineup these days, and it has benefited my overall fitness immensely! When I tend to stick to lifting on its own, I get locked up and my body takes longer to recover, but if I mix things up, I notice how much better my body feels overall. Sitting in front of a computer screen all day was leaving me stiff; diverse workouts have been my number one weapon to combat the terrible desk body. I am much more flexible, I have increased stamina, and I feel as though I’m actually in much better shape compared to when I was only lifting. Our bodies weren’t meant to do the same motions over and over again; try something new. You never know how much it could benefit your overall health.
3. Supplements are your FRIEND – I was against supplements for a while…simply because I always had the notion that you should be able to get all of your essential vitamins and minerals via diet. In a perfect world, that would be true, but we don’t live in a perfect world. The fact is, most of us don’t get enough of what we need, even if we eat healthy and nutrient-dense foods. The key to supplementation is research. For example, I take a collagen supplement and have noticed a significant difference in my skin plumpness. Collagen itself is too big of a molecule to be absorbed in the body; however, hydrolyzed collagen can be absorbed into the body. I have done substantial research on the kinds of supplements my body needs based on its uniqueness, what I regularly uptake from my diet, and what the absorption requirements are. And I’m not talking about a quick google search. If you have access to them, make sure you are looking at scholarly and peer-reviewed articles! It takes a little bit of time and dedication, but it is worth it to see your body working at full capacity.
4. Eliminating all Toxins – It’s pretty much common knowledge by now that that parabens are regularly found in cancer cells, petroleum is terrible for your health, and that harsh chemicals wreak havoc on your immune system. What we don’t often hear about are how these synthetics are effecting our hormones, causing infertility, and worsening allergies. I have been slowly but surely switching over my skincare, haircare, household products, and food over to natural. What’s important about this switch is reading ingredient lists. DO NOT ever trust a “Natural” or “Toxin-free” label. Those are not regulated and there isn’t a requirement to meet in order to label products as such; they are simply marketing grabs. Always turn to that ingredient list! In terms of skincare, I typically refer to ewg.org/skindeep. This resource breaks down each product and its ingredients to tell you which ingredients might be harmful and why. It also tells you how much research has been done on the ingredients and what we know about long-term effects. Eliminating toxicity has not only increased skin and hair quality, but also a peace of mind knowing that I’m not putting potentially dangerous ingredients in/on my body!
5. Only drinking what will proactively help health – I know it sounds crazy, and if you would’ve told me this a year ago, I would’ve thought you were crazy too, but I quit coffee. Yes, it brings disbelief in me even typing it now. And not just coffee, but all caffeine as well. The only caffeine that enters my system is the trace amounts that are left in decaf tea. Now, I only drink water, tea, smoothies, and protein shakes. I cut out all coffee, soda, caffeinated anything, alcohol, etc. This has made a dramatically positive change in my life. I’m going to be honest with you, it took about 10 days to completely detox from caffeine. My days were filled with headaches, tiredness, and simply feeling gross, as I was full-blown addicted. Then, it took about two months for my energy levels to be restored to what a normal human’s should be. Since then, I’ve never looked back. I no longer wake up groggy, I don’t have a mid-afternoon crash, and I don’t have to worry about those dreaded caffeine headaches anymore. I honestly feel like I’ve reached the Promised Land and encourage anyone who’s willing to wade through the suck of a caffeine detox to try it!
6. Making your sleep work with you, not against – Sleep is a crucial part of our daily lives. We heal, recharge, and balance out while we sleep. Yet so many of us wake up feeling worse than when we went to bed! That is not the way God intended our sleep to be. One key to making sure you get a solid night’s rest is your mattress. Invest in a good mattress that meets your individual body, and watch your sleep be transformed. The number of hours you spend asleep won’t matter if it isn’t a quality sleep. I know so many of us also suffer from the inability to shut off our brains at night. Taking care of yourself by slowly winding down in the evening takes stress out of your life and prepares your mind for a restful night’s sleep. Instead of doing chores until it’s time for bed, draw yourself a bath, light a candle, and enjoy a good book. If you know me, you know that I am a stickler about screen time! At least an hour before I plan on actually going to sleep, I will turn off all the screens and not look at them until the morning. The blue light that screens omit messes with our sleep cycles and confuses our brains a bit. Sleep cycles are often overlooked, but I believe they are key to ensuring quality sleep. Another great tip is to go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning. Since creating a nighttime and morning routine with purpose to get better sleep, I actually wake up feeling refreshed!