With spring in the air this is a good time for re-evaluating the things you are doing right, and the things you want to do better. Every year when you take stock of how things are going in your life, make sure to look at how you’re doing with your health. By making five small changes you can make a big difference in your overall health. These changes are not difficult to make—just take the first steps, and soon they will become a habit.
1. Drink more water. Now, don’t equate water with just any kind of fluid—coffee and soft drinks don’t count as water intake. (Sorry!) We’re actually talking about pure, filtered water. Your body needs at about 64 ounces a day. Most people think they probably get around that much, but here’s the way you find out for sure: Keep a tally. Just jot down every time you are drinking water, and how much you are consuming. You probably aren’t getting enough. Reach for water before that can of Coke. You’ll feel better and your body will thank you!
2. Limit caffeine. When you drink a lot of caffeine, your body can’t stay hydrated enough. Coffee is a diuretic that causes you to lose fluids in your body. Try to lower your intake of coffee over a few months to only one or two cups of coffee a day. And that’s a normal cup of coffee, not a gigantic one! You may want to try switching to tea. The amount of caffeine in a cup of tea is less than half what is in a cup of coffee.
3. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Eating more fruits and veggies is something that we think we are doing (like with our water intake), until we start making a note of what we are actually eating. Once you start recording and looking at what you eat, you will probably find that you could do a lot better. When you are intentional about getting enough servings of fruits and vegetables throughout the day, you won’t have the usual cravings for processed carbohydrates. Plus, eating what is fresh, on sale, and in season gives you a variety of foods and the nutrients your body needs. Go for the most colorful choices when selecting your fruits and vegetables. Eat a rainbow!
4. Incorporate more healthy fats. You can enjoy healthy fats, and there are several to choose from. Stay away from unhealthy fats like fried foods and greasy chips, and other trans fats. Cook your food in grass fed butter or coconut oil. You can enjoy almonds, walnuts, black and green olives, avocados, and even dark chocolate! These healthy foods will fill you up longer and keep you from craving sweets.
5. Eat less grains. You may want to consider completely removing processed and bleached grains from your diet. Sorry but that morning doughnut is probably making you tired by 10 am and achy for the rest of the day! Whole grains: oats and whole grain flours retain all the nutrients of the wheat berries. Soaked and sprouted grains are best but if you are short on time, buy bread that is whole grain with seeds. You may want to forego a sandwich for lunch every now and then. When you fill up on healthy fats, protein and carbohydrates you may not even miss the grains.
As you move toward healthier changes, take notice of how your body feels. Just by making a few small changes, you can be improve your health and start to feel the difference!