A lot of people come to me and ask what they need to do to be healthy. It’s an interesting question really, because there are so many things that contribute to or detract from our health. These aren’t just what we eat or how much we exercise, but involve our sleep, stress levels, emotional health, relationships, and the way we feel about our jobs, to name a few. This is why when people ask me what to do to be healthy, it’s a bit of a stumper. So I began to think about the raw basics of a healthy, vibrant life, and this is what I pinned it down to.
1. Make 50% of your diet come from the ground
The biggest study on diet was recently completed and after a 25 year longitudinal study on a large sample population, one finding emerged: the healthiest people are those whose diets comprise of at least 50% vegetables. So, drink juices, make smoothies, add veggies to your pastas, soups and breakfast burritos. Always have one or two fresh veggies on hand to add to meals. I like avocado, broccoli, bell peppers, spinach, cucumbers and tomatoes. They’re always easy to add to whatever I’m eating and ensure that my meals are always balanced.
2. Quality sleep
Sleep is the only way that our brains restore themselves properly and that our bodies get to actively reboot and deep clean. This is where quality trumps quantity, so even if you’re only able to get five hours of sleep it’s important that they’re restful hours. So, take time to wind down, turn of electronics, and have a little evening ritual to help you prepare for sleep, no matter what time it is This will ensure you spend more time in deep rest, instead of tossing and turning with worries and tasks interfering with your sleep.
3. Plentiful Omega-3s
Omega-3s are so important for every function of our bodies. From our brain health, to clear skin, to a fast metabolism, omega-3s are essential for a healthy system. They come from things like avocados, coconut oil, hemp seeds, flax seeds, olive oil, walnuts and fatty fish like salmon and mackerel. Try and eat them at every meal. I recommend keeping seeds and nuts on hand to sprinkle on my oatmeal, salads, and eggs, and if you eat animals, taking a high DHA fish oil daily.
4. Lots of water
It sounds really simple, but water is essential for optimal health. Drink it as much as possible to stay focused and functioning well.
5. Quality habits
Everyone knows what they need to do to be healthy, but what makes the difference between those who take action and those who don’t are our habits. This means having structures in place that support your goals and health. Things like buying healthy snacks, scheduling in time for the gym, and practicing mindful eating, are all habits that support overall health. Pick one thing to start, and do it now.
6. Reduction of dairy, sugar and gluten
These are all culprits of massive inflammation and do not serve your health. Start actively cutting back on them by reading your labels, buying products with low to no sugar content, and replacing your milk with a non-dairy substitute.
7. Adequate stress management
Stress is a killer. As big as an issue may seem, nothing is ever unsolvable. We cannot choose what lessons we are forced to learn in life. All we can choose is if we learn them through joy or though pain. Practicing deep breathing, simplify, be calm. Life is good. Do not let stress get the best of you.
8. Movement personalized to you
One person’s blissful yoga class may seem like hell to another person. Find what works for you and stick to it. Whether it’s a 20 minute walk in the evenings or a sunrise bike ride, find some way to get active that you enjoy and commit to it.
Photo By Sonja Langford