5 Effortless Ways To Improve Your Diet and Health Today
by Ali Washington
There are about a million diets out there, each one promising to help you create the body of your dreams. Along with those diets there are countless theories on ideal micronutrient ratios, optimal calorie consumption, which foods are designed to create human health and which foods should not be consumed at all.
It is enough to make your head spin and leave you feeling super confused and lost as to what actually works and what doesn’t.
The Two Basic Truths About Health
The first truth about health: Health is really not all that complicated.
The second truth about health: The most powerful thing you can do to start creating more health and wellness in your own body is to actually slow down long enough to tune in and connect with yourself and your innate wisdom.
Getting healthy, or even just getting healthier does not have to mean a total diet overhaul or taking on a new crazy workout routine. Improving the quality of your diet and your habits around food can – and should – be easy. This is because the easier they are, the more likely you are to actually make them a habit, rather than a passing fad.
Keep in mind that your health is a culmination of your habits over time. Eating one cookie a month is not going to destroy your otherwise balanced diet, anymore than taking a walk once a week is going to undo the effects of a fast food diet. That is why I recommend these simple, doable, practical steps for improving your eating habits. You will barely even notice a change in your day to day life, but the effects over time will be huge.
1. Start Your Day With Water
When you wake up in the morning, you are the most dehydrated you are going to be all day (unless you are going to go trekking in the desert for a few hours that day without any water in tow.)
Hydration is important for so many bodily processes that it would take me a long time to list them all.
To give you an idea of some of the bodily processes that depend upon water, here is a list of a few:
- Proper food digestion
- Creation of proper nervous signals and responses
- Optimal brain function
- Delivery of nutrients to your cells and toxins away from your cells
- Optimal muscle contraction and release
Drinking water first thing in the morning will also help your body to more efficiently flush out any metabolic or other wastes that were filtered through your system during the night – helping you to start your day on a fresh and clean note.
Aim for at least ½ a liter of water before you eat or drink anything else.
2. Add A Fresh Fruit Or Veggie To Each Meal
Again, you do not have to cut out all processed foods, go totally vegan or paleo or even commit to eating any other way than you are eating right now in order to start feeling healthier. By simply adding a fresh fruit or vegetable to each one of your meals you are going to be boosting your nutrient intake, providing your body with essential clean, plant-filtered hydration, increasing your fiber intake and increasing your consumption of disease fighting antioxidants and other phytonutrients that are only found in plants. Make it a fun game with yourself to see if you can squeeze in one more serving of fresh foods today than you did yesterday. Your body will thank you!
3. Stop & Breathe Before You Eat
Eating when you are stressed out basically guarantees that you are not going to be properly digesting your food, and thus you won’t be getting the full benefit of all of the nutrients you are ingesting. This is because when you are stressed the body decreases your saliva production, ushers blood away from your digestive organs towards your limbs, slows your digestive processes, reduces your production of digestive enzymes and generally encourages you to eat very quickly.
This all leads to improper chewing, decreased nutrient breakdown, decreased nutrient absorption and can even slow your elimination, leaving food in your system too long. By slowing down and taking a few deep breaths before you eat you are going to be stimulating your parasympathetic nervous system, which will have the exact opposite effect on your physiology that the stress response has. That is why it is also called the “rest and DIGEST’ response!
4. Keep An Honest Food Journal For A Week
Awareness is absolutely key to health. Many of us are very good at fooling ourselves – either a little or a lot – about how healthfully we are eating. By keeping a food journal for a week you will start to notice the number of times you reach for the candies on the snack table at the office, or how many times you clean your children’s plates after they are done eating. Often times just bringing conscious awareness to our habits is enough to stimulate a healthy change. This is not about finding your ‘faults’ or getting ammo for self hate. This is simply about giving you tools to work with so that you can make better choices for yourself. You can only change what you acknowledge!
5. Add Before You Subtract
Lastly, do not start by focusing on cutting things out of your diet that you know are not serving your health. This is going to put you in a ‘lack and attack’ mind space that will only serve to make you crave your ‘off limits’ foods more and leave you feeling deprived. Instead, start with adding in more healthy foods to your diet.
Look up exciting smoothie recipes and add those to your breakfast meal. Make yourself some fun salad dressings and add a salad to your lunch and dinner meal. Get yourself some new cookbooks and experiment with recipes in your own kitchen. Creating an abundance mindset as you shift your eating habits is going to make the whole process a whole lot more enjoyable, and a whole lot more sustainable! You may even find that as you add more and more healthy foods to your diet, you just naturally lose your desire to eat those foods that don’t make you feel good.
What do you think? What are your simple and quick tips for improving your nutrition? I would love to hear what has worked for you!
Ali is the author of The Perception Diet http://perceptiondiet.com/ and main content creator at www.perceptiontrainers.com. She is a Registered Nutritional Councillor, RYT, Trained Life Coach and Reiki Master with 10 years of experience in the health and wellness arena, coaching people on their path to a life where they are thriving. It is Ali’s mission to help everyone create a harmonious and loving relationship with their bodies, and to learn how to use their emotions to lead them to their desired lives. This article first appeared at Collective Evolution.