When it comes to building healthy habits, there always seems to be a challenge we must overcome. Maybe it’s lack of knowledge, willpower or simply not having enough time. Making the right choices can be difficult.
The good news is a “healthy balance” approach can help you achieve measurable results through small, gradual changes in your eating, exercise, and stress-reduction routines. Here are a few simple steps to get you started, plus a very special gift for all members who order a share this week! You really won’t want to miss out on this one!
1. Build a healthy base
This one is key to a life of energy, health, and happiness. You are what you eat, but even more, you are what you digest. Your cells rely on the nutrition you choose to put in. It’s the building blocks to fuel growth and repair.
The constant bombardment of new “life changing” diets has really clouded the waters for people searching for a truly health-supportive lifestyle. I say “Keep it Simple!” Choose a variety of nutritious foods, preferably ones in season where you’re living. Buy food that still looks as it did when it was growing in the field, preferably from your local farmer’s market. Ditch the packaged and processed meals, choosing local and organic whenever possible. The quick boxed food may seem like an easy savior, but if you take a good look at the ingredients, you’ll see it takes a lot of chemicals to create food made in a factory that can sit on a shelf for 5 years! Avoid it!
Growing healthy cells takes real food. A good guide for building a health-supportive plate is 75% veggies with lots of color here! Include starchy root veggies like sweet potato and beets with about a palm size of high-quality, grass-fed, organic, wild protein. I love to roast several veggies (butternut squash and cauliflower are my fav) on Sunday night, then have a variety to choose from for a quick meal. My go-to dinner is lots of greens, roasted veggies, avocado, a little meat, nuts and lots of local olive oil and sea salt. The choices are endless, and the feeling after you eat isn't bloated and full, but nourished and satisfied.
2. Feed your brain.
Your brain is over 65% fat. It’s composed of mostly saturated fats that must be obtained from our diet. Many of us grew up in the fat-free craze! We now have scientific evidence that not only will the brain suffer on a fat-free diet, but our hormones that are actually made from healthy fats and B vitamins will become dis-regulated.
Studies show that keeping your mind sharp and your mood in balance may be largely related to the type of fat you eat. In fact, the fat contained in healthy fish oils includes omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). They are precursors of certain eicosanoids that are known to reduce inflammation in the body and have other health benefits. They are arguably one of the closest choices you can make to a miracle food for the mind. Over the past decade, studies have linked omega-3 fatty acids to brain benefits ranging from better blood flow to improved mood and memory function. There is also a link between omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil and decreased risk of Alzheimer’s disease as well as overall cognitive decline. The best sources of DHA are fatty fish like mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, albacore tuna and salmon. Wild caught is the best choice. I also incorporate lots of fats from coconut oil, nuts, avocado, pastured lard, and ghee.
3. Drink clean water
Water makes up at least two-thirds of the human body. It plays a large part in your normal functions, such as lubricating your joints and eyes, keeping your skin healthy by eliminating toxins, and facilitating proper digestion. Once the water in your body is reduced, it needs to be replaced because an imbalance between the salts and sugar in your body can affect the way you will perform.
If your body has lost one to two percent of its entire water content, you will feel thirsty, a sign that you need to replenish the lost liquids.
Dehydration happens when you've lost too much water in your body without replacing it, preventing your body from performing its normal functions. Mild dehydration can easily be treated, but if it reaches extreme levels, it can be life-threatening and will require immediate medical attention. Most headaches are caused by dehydration. Check if your city adds flouride to the water system, there are good filters that can remove this harmful chemical. I love my Pure Earth Technologies whole house filter.
Most people don’t get enough sleep. We are a society that burns the candle at both ends; a nation where people stay up all night to study, work, or have fun. However, going without adequate sleep carries with it both short- and long-term consequences.
In the short term, a lack of adequate sleep can affect judgment, mood, ability to learn and retain information, and may increase the risk of serious accidents and injury. In the long term, chronic sleep deprivation may lead to a host of health problems including obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, adrenal fatigue, immune disorder and even early mortality.
5. Reduce stress
Under normal conditions, there is some type of stress most days of our lives. To our physical body stress is stress. The consequence on the body is the same, yet the stressor can come in several different forms.
Mental/Emotional: fear, worry, excitement, anxiety, lack of purpose, negative perceptions, bad attitude, not living your truth, poor work environment, unhappy marriage
Physical/Biomechanical: trauma, fractures, injuries, nerve compression, receptive injury, intense prolonged exercise, poor posture, accidents.
Chemical/Biochemical: inflammatory foods, pesticides, GMOs, alcohol, caffeine, blood sugar disregulation, drugs, chemicals, radiation, antibiotics, parasites, bacteria, fungi, viruses, sleep deprivation, lack of exercise, allergies, overactive immune system
The natural rhythm of the body is to restore and repair when we get a good night’s sleep. It’s a cycle. During the day we use up muscle and blood sugar through exertion, and then we consume healthy protein, carbohydrates, and fats they act as building blocks to restore what we used up and heal our organs.
The problem with our modern world is constant chronic stress without providing the proper rest period. This robbing Peter to pay Paul approach ends up demanding more from our bodies than we can handle. To maintain optimal health, we need to support our body’s process of restoration and repair from the daily stress of life. When we don’t give our bodies the support to heal, we get sick….it’s pretty simple.
That’s the reason it is so important to make the time to reduce stress! Exercise, deep breathing, walking in nature, setting the phone down and enjoying your friends and family. My favorite way to reduce stress is through massage. It is a time where you have to stop, lay down, be quiet and only focus on yourself, allowing your therapist to provide their energy to recharge your battery.
Our favorite local massage spa (literally 5 doors down from Three Leaves Foods) is Soulstice Spa. They offer Swedish, deep tissue, prenatal, sports massage, Reiki, trigger point therapy and more! They use innovative formulations of non-toxic products (which we love) chosen for their superior effectiveness.
Three Leaves knows that a true wellness program not only includes a healthy diet, but must address the importance of rest, exercise, supplements and stress reduction. This week we teamed up with our neighbors at Soulstice Spa to offer you the gift of stress reduction and healing meals. Every share purchased this week, 5/11/16, will receive a very special 50 minute massage for only $39!! Sign up before Sunday at midnight and get to work on your wellness regime.