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The start of a new year can make us all feel a little bit more ready to make some serious changes to our lives, including improving our health. Because traditional New Year’s Resolutions can be limiting and overwhelming, we prefer to make simpler, sustainable changes that will last throughout the year. Rather than trying to do a complete makeover of your habits, choose one of two things to focus on, and then add more swaps once you’ve got those down. And remember that these simple swaps can have some significant effects on your health and how you feel.
Because you can easily incorporate it into all of your favorite recipes, switching to organic is one of the simplest ways to boost your health. One of the most obvious benefits of organic food is that it’s free of pesticides as well as antibiotics and hormones, which can have negative effects on your health. But the benefits of organic go beyond that - organic food is more nutritious, higher in nutrients like zinc, vitamin C, and iron. Plus, organic food is higher in antioxidants, which helps fight free radicals which can raise your risk of developing issues like heart disease. Organic food also has a much higher content of Omega-3 fatty acids (up to 50% more) which is important for heart and brain health.
If you’re someone who is constantly on the go or who is feeling a little out of touch with their hunger cues, learning to eat mindfully can help you get even more enjoyment out of your meals (yay!) as well as help with managing portion sizes. One of the simplest yet most effective ways to begin eating more mindfully is to eliminate distractions - this means no looking at your phone or watching T.V. when you’re sitting down to enjoy a meal. Beyond that, it can be helpful to take small bites, eat slowly, and focus on how the food makes you feel, using all your senses as you enjoy your meal.
We all know the benefits of exercise, but it can be overwhelming to fit in a workout some days. Focusing on upping your movement throughout the day can be efficient in helping you to burn more calories and maintain mobility and strength without the stress of trying to fit in a full workout. Some ways to do this are to park further away from the store, use a standing desk, or take breaks when working or watching T.V. for a bit of easy movement, such as squats, calf raises, or elevated push-ups.
Staying hydrated has so many awesome benefits for your health including helping prevent cravings, manage headaches, and boosting energy. If you’re looking to drink more water throughout the day, getting an insulated water bottle and carrying it with you everywhere is a great way to get started - when it’s in front of you, you’re more likely to remember to take a sip. If you’re still struggling to get enough, you can make hydration part of your routine by having a glass of water before each meal or setting regular reminders on your phone.
Sleep is an often overlooked aspect of our wellness. And while you’ve likely experienced negative side effects of not getting enough shut-eye like having difficulty concentrating, feeling fatigued, or experiencing trouble with memory, you might overlook the positives effects of getting enough good quality sleep like better mood, improved exercise performance, boosted immunity, and even improved heart health. Establishing a bedtime routine can make it easy to ensure that you drift off to sleep - and stay asleep - all that much easier. Your bedtime routine should start about half an hour to an hour before you plan to head to bed and can begin with ditching the electronics during this time period. A warm bath or shower, yoga or foam rolling, a light snack, or a warm drink are all great ways to help signal to your body that it’s time for sleep.
While we often think of herbs and spices as being a great way to add extra flavor to our meals, they’re also incredibly beneficial for your health. If you’re looking to reduce inflammation, ginger and turmeric are incredible spices to add to your meals, and are both an important and delicious part of this Cleansing Green Soup. For immune health, we love garlic, black pepper, cayenne pepper, saffron, and coriander. Add a boost of cayenne and black pepper with this yummy BBQ Made with Bone Broth.
Because your mental health is so directly tied to your physical health, it’s important not to ignore this important aspect out of your wellness routine. A regular gratitude practice can help to boost your mood, improve your happiness, benefit your relationships, uplift your self-esteem, and help to reduce feelings of negative emotions like guilt. Your gratitude practice can be unique to you but may include keeping a gratitude journal, thanking someone when they do something you appreciate, and practicing gratitude meditations.