An Effort to End Nutritional Ignorance
I think we’ve all heard by now that we should eat more fruits and vegetables, get enough sleep, and drink more water, right? Yet we continue to deny our bodies! Life can be so much more rewarding and enjoyable when we take time to care for ourselves! So take a moment to do something everyday that will make you better, healthier, and happier.
Let’s review the 5 best things you can do for your body, shall we? I’m going to leave out a few basics like don’t smoke and limit sugar, alcohol and drugs, and don’t allow people to be mean to you, because, I know you are smarter than that.
1) Eat 5 vegetables and fruits every day
You know this! so what keeps you from doing it? when you eat out do you forget to order them?does buying 35 servings of vegetables for the week seem ridiculous? do you just not know the power of the leafy green vegetable?
Fruits and vegetables have cancer-preventing, anti-aging, energy-providing, super-healing, life-loving nutrients in them (especially the dark leafy greens veggies and the deep red and purple berries). Vegetables are essential for living! So find a way to sneak them in your diet. Start each day with a spinach smoothie (don’t knock it til you’ve tried it), or load up your sauces with mushrooms, broccoli, onions, asparagus and kale. Use spinach or lettuce as a base for you meal instead of potatoes or pasta. Try a new vegetable each week! I dare you! Oh, and unless you love toxins, opt for local organic produce!
2) Limit processed food
What does this really mean? Isn’t bread, rice, pasta and cereal processed? Technically yes. But what I really mean here is avoid food that has a 2 inch list of ingredients—ingredients you can’t recognize or pronounce. Anything that has been made in a factory, dyed a particular color (think fruity pebbles, popsicles, and m&ms), basically things that come in a bag, box or package. If you are going to have bread or pasta, opt for whole wheat. Brown is better.
I can’t tell you how many patients tell me “I dont like water”. Guess what, you cannot live for more than 2 days without it! It is critical for almost every physiologic function of the brain, heart and gut. Unfortunately a lot of folks are getting their water in the form of coffee or soda, which are quite acidic and dehydrating. When you live life in a dehydrated state, which most of us do, you eat more (because we often perceive thirst as hunger), you are more prone to injury and illness, you’re more easily fatigued, and often, you’re down right irritable! So, a good goal is1/2 of your body weight in ounces per day (ex: 150 lb person need at least 75 ounces) But you’ll need more if you are sick or exercising. Oh and opt for filtered water and glass water bottles when possible
4) Get Sleep. Yeah yeah yeah, I’ll sleep when I’m dead. Guess when your body heals itself? When you are sleeping. So for those of us who are getting less that 8 hours of snooze time each night, we aren’t allowing our bodies to heal. That guarantees that we will get sick more often than our well-rested fiends. Unless you like getting sick, get no less than 4 hours and no more than 9 hours of sleep each night. It’s essential for brain rest and cell repair.
5) Be Grateful. Savor the moments with loved ones. Encourage others. Tell people they matter and you love them. Don’t put too much on the schedule. Breathe, deeply. Find somebody or something you love. Find joy. Give. Show gratitude.
I now start each day, right as I wake before my feet hit the floor giving thanks for three things. Some mornings I am grateful for a good night’s sleep, the ability to ambulate, and for music and laughter. There is so much goodness out there, seek it out, bask in it and be grateful for it.
If you need help finding the healthiest version of you, Dr. Madeleine Vanstory is currently taking new clients in her Well & Balanced Health Program. Why wait for a happier, healthier you?