Are you looking to eat better, feel better, look better… but you just don’t know where to begin? There are solutions other than going vegan/vegetarian. You can start by…
1. Cutting down on the sugar.
Excess sugar causes anxiety and mood swings. It makes the body more acidic, aggravating chronic illnesses and even acne. I was shocked to find that one large chocolate milkshake at Burger King (22 oz) contains 1110 calories and just over 100 grams of sugar! *brief pause to gather composure* What human being would knowingly consume this? I myself used to be a sugarholic. A nice specialty drink or Cinnabon roll would always give me a quick emotional AND physical pick-me-up. The more I became reliant on sugar for this, the more I began to feel rundown. I eventually had to cut back.
I recommend baby steps… Start by swearing off soda and energy drinks (if you consume them at all). When it comes to beverages, they are the worst of the worst. Not only do they contain massive amounts of sugar (usually 36 grams or more a can) but they’re filled with chemicals. When adding sugar to your tea or coffee (brown or white), try adding less. For example, go from adding 3 teaspoons on the regular to adding 2 — or better yet — 1. Take your time and go as gradually as you’d like. It’s about acquiring a taste for it. It’s okay to go slow. Once you’ve cut out sodas and cut back on added sugar, you may want to consider sipping on water or herbal tea throughout the day (no sugar added) as opposed to commercial juice. This will keep you hydrated as well as cleanse your system, helping you feel calm/balanced. It will also help you manage your weight as well as keep your skin clear. You’ll look and feel great!
2. Getting more fiber.
You don’t have to consume ONLY brown rice, brown pasta, brown bread, etc, but having it on hand and consuming in regularly will provide you with the extra fiber needed to cleanse your system. Grains are often full of nutrients (B12, iron, manganese, etc.) that the “white” food items lack. Just think of it this way, if it’s brown, is likely less processed; therefore the nutrients haven’t been stripped. You want to stay away from highly processed food as much as possible. Try having whole wheat toast, oatmeal, cream of wheat, whole wheat crackers, brown rice, etc. as much as possible (ideally, at least once a day/every other day). Have a wheat intolerance, many veggies and legumes are high in fibre a well. An added bonus? The extra fiber these foods contain help you to feel full longer, thus lose weight.
3. Taking a multivitamin daily.
There are so many vitamins necessary for optimal health that you just may not get enough of on a daily basis (eg. B12, vitamin D, iron, magnesium, folic acid, etc.) Taking a multivitamin formulated for your age/gender/lifestyle helps guard against deficiencies, helping you feel at your best. I currently take a vitamin formulated for active women, but I was previously taking prenatal vitamins for my low iron. Check with your doctor to determine what’s best for you.
4. Keeping that body in motion.
Exercise does not have to be hard, sweaty work. Make sure you get at least half an hour of physical activity, preferably outdoors, every single day. This is easiest done by taking a quick walk around the block. Early morning, on your lunch break, when you’re about to run errands – it doesn’t matter. Being physically active does not mean you have to be confined to a gym running on a treadmill or lifting heavy weights. Yoga, boxing/kickboxing, basketball, dance, playing like a kid in the park, a romantic walk with your sweetie – there are a lot of fun ways to keep active.
5. Virtually unplugging.
People often overlook how easy it is to become overstimulated and stressed by the constant electronic devices/stimulants we deal with every day. Make it a point to refrain from checking your phone/email constantly, forgo an hour of TV time for some informal meditation or some interesting reading material. Make sure you don’t allow yourself to become overwhelmed by electronic devices/social media and you will definitely be able to think clearer and find more time for yourself.
I hope these tips are easy enough for most to follow. Getting healthier doesn’t involve some drastic detox, diet, or fitness regimen. It’s all about making positive changes to your lifestyle at a comfortable pace. That being said, go as slowly as you need to and don’t be too strict with yourself.