1. Pack as much nutritional punch with the foods you eat
Eat super foods as much as possible on a weekly basis. Examples of super foods are broccoli, spinach, blueberries, wild salmon, natural oats, green tea, walnuts, beans and legumes, pumpkin and squash, sweet potatoes, dark leafy vegetables, avocados, and coconuts.
2. Eliminate or reduce empty calories
The biggest culprit is sodas. Eliminate them from your daily living. Even the diet soft drinks which are worse for you than even the regular sodas. Other empty calories include candy, chips, white bread, fried foods, and most processed packaged foods.
3. Reduce Sugar
This is related to empty calories as most foods devoid of nutrition are high in sugars. Be constantly aware of how much sugar you consume everyday and take preventative measures to reduce the amount of sugar your body has to process.
4. Avoid packaged foods
If you do tend to buy some, make sure you read the ingredients in the back. Packaged foods tend to have preservatives, more salt content, higher fat, and less nutrients.
5. Eat healthy fats
Examples include uncooked extra-virgin olive oil, avocados, nuts and seeds, and coconuts.
6. Cook and eat at home
Eating out is almost never as healthy as eating at home. Fast food restaurants followed by commercial chains serve food like products that taste good but are completely devoid of nutrition. They are fatty, salty, high in hydrogenated oils, and made to purely ignite your taste buds so you can come back for more. I am not advocating fried foods but even home cooked fried chicken is better than one from KFC. If you do eat out, choose your restaurants carefully.There will be restaurants in your area that pride in their ingredients and some chefs are focusing on local organic produce to come up with innovative cuisine.
7. Eat less meat
OK, I’m not saying become a vegetarian if that’s not your thing. I’m saying simply reduce. In most American diets, meat is the main dish, reverse that make meat your side dish with a balance of more veggies and some wholesome grains. If you are a meat eater, limit your “four Legged” meat to once a week. Eliminate factory commercial animal meat products. Start buying from local small farmers who raise organic pastured animals that are not only free of hormones and antibodies, they are more nutritious. If that is not possible, most grocery stores now carry meats without hormones and antibodies.
8. Absolutely no hydrogenated fats and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS)
As you begin to read the ingredients in packaging, you will realize how many foods actually contain these two ingredients. Especially, many of the cereals have HFCS. No excuses, just make a pledge, never to eat anything with those two ingredients.Another reason to buy organic is that organic cereals and other products have better ingredients in them even if it is plain sugar over HFCS and tend to have less sugar content.
9. Eliminate as much chemicals as possible from your life
This includes, eating organic, using natural personal care products without SLS, fragrance, parabens, and other synthetic harmful ingredients. Ask your landscaper not to use round-up for weed killer as you drag that in your home with your feet. Find a non-toxic pesticide company to treat your home. I choose to live with a few spiders that are a problem in our area instead to resorting to harmful pesticide chemicals that worsen the indoor air quality of my home. Stop using commercial harmful cleaning products at home. You can literally clean your entire home with vinegar, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide and vodka (yes Vodka, as a disinfectant!). For great homemade cleaning products recipes, see my article on natural cleaning products.
I know you have heard it before millions of time and this has to be on the list or else the list will not be complete. No one is saying that you have to run a marathon to get the benefits of exercise. Simply doing something active with exercise in mind 20 minutes 3-4 times a week will get you so many healthy benefits. If you’ve never exercised in your life, take baby steps (literally speaking)! Start with 10 minutes of walking, get a pedometer and hold yourself accountable to a measurable goal (2,000 steps equals 1 mile). Do something at least 4 times a week. I know there are days when you simply can’t even lift a finger but just walk or run 10 minutes if nothing else. It’s the amount of days per week that is most important. For example, it is better to run/walk 2 miles 3 times a week then walk/run 6 miles once a week.
11. Get to know your body
Start going to the doctor for annual checkups especially after the age of 35. Knowledge is power. The more you know about what’s going on with you, the more you will be proactive to take preventative measures. Know your vital numbers and make sure they are in a healthy range. If they need improvement, you can improve them with lifestyle changes rather than pharmaceutical drugs.
even for 5 minutes. Don’t forget your mental attitude about life will manifest into your physical attributes and vice versa. Have faith, and you can use other mental techniques to ensure you are emotionally healthy as well. You may want to look into Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) as a way to help you shed your negative thoughts. EFT is something you can do on your own to help you achieve your goals and to get rid of the subconscious negative thoughts that are hindering you. And just try to be happy and avoid negative thoughts that drag you down.
13. Take care of your teeth.
Floss everyday and add 2-5 years to your life. There are a lot of studies that show that dental health is related to your overall health. Also use a toothpaste that does not contain fluoride (this is a whole new topic on why fluoride is so harmful for your health which is not in the scope of this article) and sodium laureate sulfate.
14. Take whole foods supplements
With our current diet as well as the fact that today’s soil is so depleted compared to what our parents or ancestors had, it is vital to take supplements to get the nutrients that you need to maintain a healthy diet. Your annual checkup can also reveal some deficiencies based on your lifestyle to understand what deficiencies you are dealing with. And not all supplements are created equal. There are ones that are synthetic and others that are whole foods based, you want to focus on the latter. My basic supplement list is Vit D3 (especially in the summer), probiotic, and a multi vitamin.
15. Eat more Fiber
Most of us don’t consume enough fiber. Eat steal cut oatmeal over instant oatmeal, brown rice over white rice, whole wheat over white, etc. You should have at least one Bowel movement everyday. If you regularly experience constipation and bloating, increase your fiber and add a probiotic to your supplement list. The extra good bacteria will help you balance your intestines while keep you regular with your BM.
we all need it, at least 7 hours ideally 8. Sleep restores your body, your mental state and helps you cope better with the daily stresses of life. Millions of people are dealing with hormonal issues including complete adrenal fatigue. Adequate sleep truly helps you restore your body in more ways than one.
17. 80 – 20 Rule
I have applied this rule to almost everything in my life. We are not perfect, we all have weaknesses. The idea is that if you follow a healthy lifestyle 80% of the time, you will still reap the health benefits. And you give yourself a 20% margin to given in to a few life indulgences. Living healthy is a lifestyle and a habit and to know that it’s OK once in a while to eat that cake on a birthday or to have your favorite dessert is part of living while you are not giving up your healthy lifestyle. This 80-20 rule helps me deal with some of the weaknesses I battle myself. I do not eat sweet things but the chocolate lava cake at my favorite restaurant is something I won’t hold back on. The idea is that if you maintain a healthy lifestyle and occasionally give in to your weaknesses, you will still reap the benefits and you are still ahead of the game. Keep that in mind!
If this list is too overwhelming, start with one thing, and eventually incorporate the other suggestions. Even doing one of those above is a huge gift to your overall health.