Ahhhh, summer has officially arrived. Visions of swimming, vacations, picnics, and family time run through our head. We have bathing suits to wear, outdoor projects to carry out and longer daylight hours to stay alert for. It’s important to stay on top of our game, not just for ourselves but to make sure our loved ones (kids at home anyone?) experience the best part of us all summer long. What better time to start incorporating new ways of living into our daily routines! That is why I am so excited to share some of my favorite tips, tools and resources to keep you going through the summer and beyond.
Tip #1) Drink more water.
Well, duh you say. We all know that drinking water is important. Especially since sweating is at a maximum (ahem) and also super important to keeping your body’s detox process going. We don’t want to stop the sweat. It needs to get out. But we also need to make sure our organs stay lubed up with agua while still sweating profusely. Here is a simple tool to get us to stop shoulding all over ourselves and actually start drinking more water.
Go to a Wal-Mart, Target, Big Lots, Rite Aide, CVS etc. and buy yourself a 64 ounce pitcher or liquid container. Mine looks like this:
Once you have purchased, take to your pitcher to your place of work or where you spend the most time. Fill it up in the morning and drink out of it all day until empty. Keep a glass or a cup on your desk if you like. Voila! Water is now constantly available to you throughout your day. You have just made it 10 times easier to make the sentence “drink more water” a reality in your life. Excellent!
*Bonus tip: Buy two and keep one at home to keep this good habit going through your weekends.
Tip #2) Incorporate more vegetables into your meals.
This one can be a little trippy because of three old, common beliefs that people hold. Old Belief #1 – I don’t know what vegetables to buy and what to do with them if I buy them anyway. Old Belief #2 – I have to throw out old vegetables when they begin to rot. What a waste. Old Belief #3 – Organic vegetables are confusing. Do I really need to buy all organic?
New Belief #1: Experiment with one fresh veggie a week to start with. Maybe celery to snack on? Avocado to make toast? Heard a lot about this kale stuff? Buy a head and try this simple recipe and see how you like it. We are so lucky to live in a time when loads of recipes are right at our fingertips, thanks to Google. Google away!
New Belief #2: Buying a lot of veggies but seeing them start to deteriorate before they are used? Cut off the rotting part and get creative! Very ripe tomatoes are perfect for making fresh pasta sauce. Just cut in half and squeeze the guts out into a bowl, chop up the remainder, heat everything up and see what happens. A little, salt, pepper, dash of sugar can be magic. An overripe avocado can make a small serving of guacamole. You can even add it to a green smoothie of almond milk, banana and ice. Throw in some of those wilting greens. Yum. Again, Google and YouTube can be your best friends in this situation. Trust me.
New belief #3: Have your heart set on buying organic? Click here to take the confusion out on what vegetables are recommended to buy organic and which are less important. Surprise – it’s not all of them.
These new belief systems can instantly transform your way of perceiving veggies as an exotic, too-hard to try food group into an easily accessible food group with zero pressure. Get excited to try veggies all summer long!
*Bonus tip: Sometimes I buy lots of salad greens and just eat them without making a salad – like chips or something. Who said you have to actually make a salad with it?
3) Stop counting everything and simply read the ingredients.
Many people have told me they don’t know what to eat anymore. With diets of high-protein, low carbohydrates, no trans-fat, low-fat, fat-free, skim, no-sugar, low-sugar, splenda-added, people are straight up confused on what to even pick up to snack on much less make a freakin’ meal.
As an ex-fat gram counter myself I am going to submit this idea to you – forget everything you have heard from magazines or news reports for now and just start reading the ingredients. We all know that reaching for those pop-tarts isn’t our best choice, even if they say low sugar, gluten-free, etc. I personally like to read ingredients such as quinoa, barley, evaporated can juice, etc. on the products I buy. I LOVE it when there are 5 or less written down. As wellness activist Kris Carr says, “If it takes a laboratory to make it, it takes a laboratory to digest it.” Eden Organics canned rice and beans, Amy’s frozen foods, Newman’s Own cookies, Ezekiel breads and Food for Life are brands that offer substitutes to some of our more basic packaged foods and have less, more reasonable (and legible) ingredients on their labels. These options can be found in health food sections of grocery stores that are quickly becoming well stocked with an abundance of tasty alternatives for us to buy. Maybe switch out one or two of your pastas for Ancient Harvests Quinoa pasta which in my opinion, blows whole wheat pasta out of the water. Kroger’s, Sweet Bay and Harris Teeter are all supermarkets that are chock-full of options for you to try out. I speak from experience of shopping there. They are ready to serve you.
Add to your reading list this summer by finding a book that will guide you on your healthy summer lifestyle. Some of my favorite healthy reads through years have been (in order of least to most in depth):
– Veg Out, a Vegetarian Guide to New York City. A restaurant guide for would-be veggies in NYC.
– Food Rules by Michael Pollan – Michael Pollan outlines simple ways to eat more, well…simply.
– Skinny Bitch by Rory Friedman and Kim Barnouin. My first introduction to vegan lifestyle along with information on how to shop for food.
– Crazy, Sexy Diet by Kris Carr. This fabulous cancer survivor discusses how lifestyle combined with healthy eating affects your overall health and life experience. Full of tasty recipes and a bonus 21 day cleanse at the end.
– The Beauty Detox Solution by Kimberly Snyder. Snyder discusses the importance of food combining, the constant detox process our body is in and supplies simple recipes to meet you where you are at.
– Perfect Health by Deepak Chopra. The famous Deepak talks about the fascinating principles of Ayurvedic lifestyle. You can figure out your dosha (Vata, Pitta, Kapha) in order to find out what your own definition of perfect health may be. Vata reporting.
Each of these reads has offered me a new way to look at my own health and wellbeing. “Nutrition is a fledgling science” says Joshua Rosenthal of the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. Meaning that a one size fits all method to our health is unrealistic in an age of food allergies, obesity, and disease. It is up to us to research, experiment and find the methodologies that support our bio-individuality .
There you have it! My favorite tips to stay on top of your health this summer. It’s a lot of information, I know. Pick the ones that resonate with you for now and get started pronto. I believe that it’s the small changes we make in our lives that add up to make a big difference over time. It’s been 6 years since I’ve been experimenting with my own health (wow!) and I still remember the first day I looked at soy milk with a grimace. If I can make small changes, grow them and make them stick, you can definitely do the same I know!
Here’s to your summer of health!
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