As you journey toward becoming your healthiest self, it's the small steps you take over time that build to achieve long and lasting results. There is no magic pill or fad diet that will replace the simple healthy changes you can make to promote a healthier life. BUT, that doesn't mean it has to be hard. By taking little steps over time, you can begin to reap the benefits of the changes you need for a permanent, healthy, lasting lifestyle.
Step 1: No matter what your personal health goals are, start small. For example, be sure that you drink enough water throughout the day. If you don't think you do, then you need to drink more. Optimally, drink half of your body weight in ounces per day. Make your water more flavorful by adding fruit to it. Adding lemon or lime will also help the alkalinity of your body. Fast foods and processed foods create acidity in our bodies. When our bodies become too acidic, disease is welcomed.
Step 2: Once you have increased your water intake, consider decreasing your sugar intake. Processed sugar is in many of our food products and has created a diabetic epidemic worldwide. Starting to eliminate sugar can be as simple as reading the ingredients on packaged foods. If sugar is listed in the first 5 ingredients, don't buy it. Eat more whole foods that don't have packaging. This is how nature intended you to eat, and your body will be able to easily digest these whole foods. Fruit is a wonderful natural form of sugar and fiber.
Step 3: Next, evaluate what you drink throughout the day. Are these beverages healthy for you or are they filled with caffeine and sugar? What benefit do these drinks provide? If you need more energy, consider juicing. You can make enough juice for 3 days and still retain most of the nutrients. Be sure to put the extra juice in a airtight jar with the juice filled to the top to prevent oxidation. Here is my favorite juice recipe which you can double or triple:
Add the following ingredients into your juicer:
1 organic apple, cored and sliced
1/2 lime or lemon, peeled
2 kale leaves
1 small cucumber
1 handful of spinach
1 small bunch of fresh cilantro or parsley, about 1/2 a handful
Step 4: Consider what exercise you get weekly. Simple things like walking your dog in the morning or doing some gentle yoga counts. Take a few laps swimming or stretch for 10 minutes before bed. Not only is exercise important for your body, it's a great stress release that benefits our minds and overall well-being. Can you add a trip to the local gym, join an exercise group, or do exercise videos at home to increase your weekly activity? Begin to add more fun activities to your schedule and consider getting an exercise partner to help keep you both motivated.
Step 5: Once you have taken these 4 small steps, you will start to notice a difference. Stay motivated and begin to look at your diet. The next step is to evaluate what you eat and determine if you can make healthier substitutes. For example, maybe you want to eliminate gluten from your diet. Determine what you eat that has gluten, like pasta. What can you replace traditional pasta with? How about brown rice pasta or spiralized veggies? This process will take a while, so don't try to change too many things at once. Experiment with small changes to determine if there is a difference in how you feel. Continue to make one food substitute change per month. Some may "stick" and others just may not be right for you. That's okay. Listen to your body.
While you continue to make changes to your diet, maintaining all the changes you've started in Steps 1-4, you will realize how much you have done, how well you feel, and how motivated you are to continue the process. You are worth it!
Leah is a Holistic Nutrition Coach and Registered Yoga Teacher with Yoga Alliance. She is the owner of In Tune Holistic Living, LLC, a Processed-Free America Certified Facilitator, and Strategic Planning Facilitator. Her personal journey of discovery and self-healing through a variety of holistic modalities has fueled her passion to guide you to achieve a healthier, happier life. She maintains a regular yoga practice and whole-food lifestyle and has been a vegetarian for over 27 years. She is a teacher at heart and has established work yoga programs for technology companies and the City of Scottdale, Arizona, whose program is now funded by the City's health benefits program. She also teaches Science and Math at a local community college. One of her passions is traveling and experiencing different cultures. She has traveled to over 20 countries. Leah's purpose is to provide edible education and empower you to "Tune In to Your Healthiest Self". Leah's heartfelt goal is to spread knowledge about healthy, clean living. Her belief is that we are all unique and discovering the diet and exercise that best suits your specific needs will open you to your full healing potential and lead you to a healthier, happier, sustainable lifestyle.