During this month of giving thanks, I sat down and asked myself what do most people give thanks for. Family, friends, prosperity, and, of course, their health. So many people this month will give thanks for their health because without it all the responsibilities we take care of in our lives would be impossible to manage. However, how many of us take our health for granted, and how many of us protect and preserve it like the precious gem it really is?
On this Thanksgiving month I call all of us (yes I’m not proclaiming to be perfect myself) to take steps to protect our health. Below I have compiled 10 healthy habits that will maintain our wellbeing in the coming years, so that we may continue to give thanks.
10. Walk-Don’t park close to the store; in fact, park far away and get into the habit of walking. If you have an hour lunch, eat and then take the twenty or thirty minutes you have left and go walking.
9. Eat Breakfast-Studies show that eating breakfast gets your metabolism going. If you don’t have time to cook, try a shake in the morning. The great thing about a shake is that you can add some fruits, whole food supplements, and make a quick on the go drink. I like to use a single serving blender that makes one glass at a time because it saves on clean up time. You can find them at most retailers and online.
8. Avoid Eating Out- Pack your lunch. You have more control over the food that you make rather than meals someone else puts together. Trust me you will most likely use much less sugar and salt than a restaurant or a food company would. I love eating out too, but make it a special occasion. My family cooks our meals in bulk for the week on Sunday and eats them throughout the week. This helps us avoid the “order out” menus.
7. Fruits and Vegetables are Your Friends- Many studies show that we need fruits and vegetables in our diet to help preserve our health. The government calls for 7-13 servings a day, which is probably even a low estimate. Having trouble getting a variety of fruits and vegetables in your diet. Try a whole food supplement. They are easy to take and help bridge the gap between what we eat and what we should be eating.
6. Pick up an Active Hobby- Live by the ocean? Start scuba diving or snorkeling. Live by the mountains? Begin skiing and hiking. Play tennis, ride a bike, do anything that gets you moving and you find fun. Don’t want to do it alone? Get your family and friends involved, or join a local club for that activity; there easy to find if you look online and in local publications.
5. Watch Your Portions- When serving a dish, put less on the plate than you think you will eat. I know this is hard when you are hungry, but try it. Remember you can always go back for seconds. Scientists have done studies that tell us we want to eat all of what is in front of us (especially if our parents always told us to clean our plates), so don’t overload your plate. If you do, you will find yourself stuffed to the hilt and asking someone to roll you down the hall.
4. Use Better Sugar Alternatives-The stevia plant and agave are natural sweeteners that are low on the glycemic index, which means that these products won’t spike you blood sugar levels only to have you crash later on in the day. Also, stevia is free of calories, but it’s not a chemical like other artificial sweeteners (seriously, if it has the word “artificial” in it, don’t eat it). Another nice attribute of these products is that they easily dissolve in both hot and cold drinks.
3. Season it Without Salt-The word seasoning in many minds is synonymous with salt, but it doesn’t have to be. There are many seasonings out there that don’t have salt in them, or you can make your own from what you have in your cabinet. Thyme, basil, onion powder, garlic, black pepper, etc. are great ways to season your food without salt. Want to bring the heat? Use some crushed red peppers or paprika.
2. Take it Easy-Stress on the body can cause a litany of harmful effects. Here are some solid tips to cut out the stress. Don’t procrastinate. Leaving things off until the last minute will cause stressful situations that aren’t healthy for you. Also, create some “me” time. Whether you meditate, take a bath, do yoga or something else that allows you to have some quiet reflection moments, all of these will help you wind down.
1. Create Healthy Habits-Life is all about habits. If we develop the habits above we will be able to stay healthy year after year. Only do something once is a momentary choice; however, if that choice is consistent it becomes a lifestyle. Don’t make short-term choices to improve your health. Make lifestyle changes that will be evidence of the importance you place on being healthy for yourself, your family, and your future.