Hello dear Reader Friend! Nice of you to pop by! Here is the second part of the post on Health, if you missed the first part, you can read it here. You are most welcomed to stay and look around while I go and pour myself a glass of home-made lemonade.
4.- Clear your room before you go to bed: If you don’t have time to keep everything tidy, chuck everything inside a drawer or the wardrobe. This is not a long-term solution, but a way to deal with the problem there and then. A cluttered room won’t give you a good night sleep. If you think it does, try sleeping in an uncluttered room for a week and see how much better you feel in the mornings.
During sleep, not only our mind rests, our subconscious deals with unsolved issues and our body rebuilds cells and fixes tissues, so sleeping is of paramount importance.
5.- Let go of all sodas: Sodas have loads of sugar which are empty calories and will have you craving for more in no time. That’s the power of sugar my friend, you eat some, and in no time you want more.
Sugar-free sodas, despite not being as bad as sugared ones, still make you bloated and keep you hooked to the need for something sweet which means, sooner or later you’ll end up eating sugar in one form or another.
Every time you feel like going and buying a Coke, Lemonade or 7up, get a bottle of water instead. Believe it or not, sometimes when we feel hungry we are just thirsty (true fact). By drinking water instead of a soda, you’ll be satiated rather than starting the sugar cycle which will have you craving for more food (probably sweet) in 30 minutes. Try it. It will also be cheaper for you in the long run.
6.- Eat salad at lunch and dinner: This will give you 2 of your 5 a day, and if you make it a habit, you’ll be eating vegetables daily without having to think about it. Eating raw veggies is a great way to incorporate minerals and vitamins that normally are lost during the cooking process.
This shouldn’t be a big effort given that every supermarket sells pre-washed salads these days. All you need to do is put it in a bowl for dinner or in a tupperware to take it to work. If you can, avoid the pre-prepared salads, because those have been sitting on the shelf for a while and once a vegetable has been chopped it starts losing it’s vitamins and minerals. If you must buy a pre-prepared salad (and of course, a pre-prepared salad is better than no salad), get one that has as many non-cut veggies as possible. For instance, cherry tomatoes, green leafs and small peppers are left whole in most salads.
7.- Get rid of all those supermarket dressings and strange sauces: To season a salad you need: oil, salt and lemon, that’s all. If you add 2 tablespoons of a mayonnaise and cream based dressing to your salad, it stops being the healthy alternative you thought it was. And definitely it stops being a “weight-loss” option. If you read the levels on those dressings you’ll see that most of them have added sugar, cream and/or mayonnaise, and some sort of preservative, plus added salt. Sugar is addictive, the more sugar you sneak into your diet the more you’ll crave food. Any food. All the time. The less sugar you eat, the more your intake of food will be regulated by actual hunger.
8.- Read the labels: Specially when buying sauces, dressings, breads and pre-prepared food. And follow the Jamie Oliver rule: If it looks like you have to work for NASA to understand what it says on the label, put it back on the shelf. Your food shouldn’t have things like propionic acid, sulfur dioxide, hydroxybenzoate or sodium benzoate. If it says it’s tomato sauce and the ingredients are not only tomatoes, onion, oil and garlic, then maybe it is not tomato sauce after all, but some nasty wannabe tomato goo.
Look at this label:
Apart from the obvious “Genetically modified” and “May have adverse effect on attention in children” which on their own are quite creepy, look at the Ingredient list! It looks like it’s been made in a lab! Anywho, this is a pretty extreme example, but there it is.
Here is the type of label you should look for:
9.- Replace refined sugar for honey, maple syrup or Stevia: It all comes down to sugar, doesn’t it? Ideally, you should let go of it altogether. Go cold turkey. Removing sugar completely is not so simple, but you can try to stop adding it to your drinks and food.
You’ll find that the most innocent looking things will have sugar on them. The bread you buy from the supermarket, for instance, has added sugar. Strange, because all my bread recipes ask for salt, never for sugar (unless, witty reader, I’m making a sweet bread or an enriched dough). Same with most pre-prepared foods: mashed potatoes from one of our supermarkets comes with sugar in it. It’s because sugar is addictive (it releases dopamine in the reward centre of the brain) and makes everything taste nice.
Sugar, however, is also highly acidic, has no nutrients whatsoever and when eaten in high quantities can lead to insulin resistance (specially when also eating a high carb diet.) which is a driver for many illnesses.
Raw honey and maple syrup, while still containing fructose, have also minerals, vitamins and antioxidants, which are good for you, therefore they are a more nutritious option.
Stevia is a plant that is typically grown in South America, and while its extract is 200 times sweeter than sugar, it does not raise blood insulin levels and has no calories to speak of. It has therefore become quite popular. There are pros and cons to Stevia, here is a very complete article about it to help you make an informed decision.
As with anything, moderation is key.
10.– Exercise: Ah! This is a sore spot for most of us. We know we should, we know we could, and yet, we don’t.
Exercise releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centres. In other words, exercising makes you feel good. More energized and positive.
Walking is the easiest (and cheapest) way to exercise. Walking in a park or natural setting can also be very soothing and relaxing. If you have a green space near your home, going for a daily walk can do you tons of good.
But you don’t have to go to a park to exercise, this post is about keeping it simple after all. So, why not try this:
- Get off the bus one or two stops before your stop and walk that distance. If you walk fast you’ll exercise better than if you just stroll.
- Take your dog for longer walks. He’ll appreciate it too!
- Make the commitment to stop using the car for anything that takes place within a 20 block radius of your home. Simply walk. After the first two or three times, your body will develop the habit and you won’t even have to think about not getting the car, you’ll just leave your home on foot.
- Have you got stairs? Use them! Here is a great site with photos and explanations to loads of exercises.
Hope you found these tips helpful and hey… I know you are not lazy 🙂 Life can be a very busy place, but we must make the time to look after ourselves, our body does so much for us… it deserves to be treated kindly.
If you have any tips you’ll like to share, please comment below so that more people can benefit from them.
Have a great Friday! Go out and enjoy the sun!