by Amy Mercovich, DC
- Get more veggies and fruits into your everyday life. No matter what your thoughts are about nutrition and optimal type of diet, research shows that the more fruits and veggies we eat, the better our health and possibly, the longer we will live. It starts with buying the produce, so spend more time in that colorful section of the grocery store. Put something new in your cart…pomegranate, oranges, sweet potatoes, beets, star fruit…and lots of the familiar veggies you like… carrots, cucumbers, greens, broccoli, cauliflower…and don’t forget those great frozen items…blueberries, cherries, mango chunks. Prep the easy to grab-and-eat fruits and veggies right away and put them at eye level in the fridge. Keep a fruit bowl on the counter. Always have 2 veggies in your dinners. Always have a piece of fruit in your lunch (“an apple a day..”). Make a frozen fruit smoothie for breakfast. Adding protein powder or peanut butter will give a smoothie a bit of extra staying power. Put blueberries on your cereal or yogurt. Start your afternoon sweet craving with a piece of fruit or dried fruit. Dried figs or dried mango taste like candy yet have some fiber, vitamins, and minerals that you won’t find in candy.
- Tickle your senses with soft things, warmth, and favorite scents. This time of year, we all love cozy pjs and blankets, heat from a fire or a hot bath, and the smells of citrus, pine, or your favorite cookie. We live through our senses so craft good ones and plant them in your day. This could look like lighting a scented candle, sipping sweet and spicy tea, enjoying a few extra minutes in the shower, using a sugar scrub on your face, putting essential oils in a diffuser, cinnamon and oranges simmering on the stove, snuggling under a new fleece throw blanket, or asking your partner for a shoulder massage. Aaaaahhhhhhh.
- “Habituate” your favorite junk foods. What does this mean? Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University found that if they had study participants visualize eating 30 M&Ms or 30 cheese cubes, they then ate fewer of them once offered unlimited quantities to actually eat. If you know you overeat a certain food, have fun imagining eating lots of that food before you pull out the bag, box, or bowl. It seems to me that you will enjoy the visualizing and the eating. Win – win. It’s a longer food experience and potentially you will be less likely to have the yucky consequences of overeating.
- Get moving. There is just no excuse these days to be inactive. If you are blessed with a body that moves in some way or another, then show gratitude for it by being active. You don’t need to run a marathon but you do need to go for a walk (or a roll if you are in a wheelchair), move your arms, lift heavy things, shake your hips or your shoulders, reach overhead and stretch, contract your abdominal muscles…you get the picture. It never has to be a formal “workout.” You can simply move, stretch, lift, and bend in a playful way. Just Dance anyone? Wii boxing is crazy good exercise. Walk down the road between dinner and dessert on the holidays. Twister! Simon says move your body like a hummingbird. Winter challenge: when we get a snowfall, go outside and build a snow person or make a snow angel. Sled down a hill – a thrill that will make you laugh like a little kid again. Got a pogo stick, trampoline, or roller skates in your basement? Do pullups at the playground…just try even if you won’t be able to actually lift yourself up. 100 jumping jacks while the “up next” show loads. YouTube yoga sessions. Kegels on your commute.
- Snooze, sleep, slumber. Our bodies regenerate, heal, and detox while we sleep. Get as much sleep as possible. Since it is difficult to sleep in due to kids, schedules, work, or just brains that won’t allow it, the best way to add sleep to your life is to get used to going to bed earlier. Try a weighted blanket, melatonin, a cool room, and kick out kids or pets (or snoring partner!) that ruin your sleep.