Top 15 Steps for a Healthier Lifestyle

1. Drink More Water

In a perfect world, each day you should be drinking 1/2 your body weight in ounces (ex. a person weighing 160 lbs. should  be drinking 80 oz. of water). Now also keep in mind that a lot of us are drinking diuretics (substances that deplete our body of water such as coffee, caffeinated drinks – including tea, juice, soda and alcohol).

So think about this; if I were to start my day with an 8 oz. cup of coffee, I have already depleted my body of 12-16 oz. of water! I would have to dink 2 glasses of water just to get back to neutral!

Adequate water intake is so important in order for the body to function properly; it improves oxygen delivery to cells, transports nutrients, protects bones and joints, regulates body temperature, removes toxins from our body, improves cellular communication, and empowers the body’s natural healing process.

Toxins that enter our body are stored in the lymphatic system. This system does not have a pump (like how our heart pumps our blood) so it relies on water and exercise to keep these toxins moving out!

Another bonus: if you’re trying to lose weight, water helps rid your body of excess weight by removing toxins stored in the fat tissue (when toxins accumulate in the fat tissue, the body produces more fat cells to protect you!)

Symptoms of Dehydration:
Early signs: fatigue, anxiety, irritability, depression, cravings, cramps, and headaches.

Late stage dehydration: bags under the eyes, heartburn, joint pain, back pain, migraines, fibromyalgia, constipation, and colitis.

Water Tips:
Water should be filtered (and unfluoridated!)

Avoid drinking water from plastic bottles (plastic is a xenoestrogen, meaning it looks like estrogen to the body. This is extremely toxic and can cause a ton of hormonal issues).

Water should be sipped throughout the day, not chugged, and should be warm or room temperature.

Add lemon, cucumber, or mint leaves to add a little extra something!

*Morning Tip!* First thing upon rising, drink 16 oz. of water to flush your digestive tract and get those stomach juices flowing!

For more information check out Water The Ultimate Cure, by Steve Meyerowitz

2. Ditch the Microwave

Please! I beg of you! STOP USING THE MICROWAVE!

A Russian study conducted in-depth research to discover the biological effects microwaves might possess. They found that carcinogenic (cancerous!) substances were formed from the microwaving of nearly all foods tested.

Twenty years of the Russian research led to the international warning about the damaging biological and environmental effects microwaves possess. The warning also included other similar frequency electronic devices such as cell phones. This ultimately led to Russia completely banning microwaves!

Microwaves significantly deplete the nutritional value of food to the point of almost non-existent, plus it adds radiation and carcinogenic substances!

For more information please see this article from Dr. Mercola.

3. Avoid Fast Food Completely and Limit Eating Out

I don’t feel like I need to go into too much detail here. To put it simply – these foods are loaded with all sorts of nasty chemicals, GMOs, and things that in no way shape or form actually resemble food to our body.

4. Eat Whole Foods

Avoid foods that have been processed and refined. Processed foods are stripped of most of their nutritional value, and then are “fortified” with synthetic vitamins and minerals. If I stole $100 from you, and then gave you back $1 in Monopoly money, would you feel “enriched” or “fortified”? I don’t think so!

These “foods” are purely a chemical storm! In no way should this be accepted as food. Food is something that nourishes our body. These products do the exact opposite – they are detrimental to our health.

Ok – now that you know how I feel about that, *wink*, what do I mean by whole food? This is a great question because a lot of people just don’t know!

I’m talking about foods in their whole, natural form; fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh meats, think about shopping the perimeter of the grocery store (avoid the inside aisles).

5. Get Your Body Moving

As I mentioned above, the lymphatic system does not have a pump so you must get your blood pumping and drink an adequate amount of water to keep this system flushed out. Again, this is where our body stores our toxins. Not just toxins that we are exposed to through our environment, but also our own body’s waste from apoptosis (the natural process of death and birth of new cells).

Start dancing, walking, yoga, any form of exercise to get your blood and sweat going!

6. Stop Poisoning Yourself

Did you know that anything you put on your skin is absorbed into your blood stream 100%?! As opposed to eating/drinking/breathing something, that get’s filtered by your liver and kidneys.

Switch to natural body and beauty care products, as well as cleaning products that you use around your home.

See my homemade deodorant recipe here.

7. Avoid GMOs

This is a huge one. I wish people really took the time to understand the dangers of this. GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organism.

Let me use this for an example:

Several decades ago, scientists genetically modified wheat. Wheat stocks naturally grow tall and thin, causing them to break and therefor become unable to use or sell. They modified the seed in a way that the crop would grow short and wide. When they did this, it altered the genetic expression of the wheat ultimately creating a whole new food – because up until this point for our entire human existence,  our bodies had never eaten that particular food. This is partly the cause for a skyrocket in Celiac disease and other gluten intolerance’s, where as before it was nearly unheard of.

GMOs are poison and have severe health side effects! Please educate yourself on the dangers of these foods.

For more information please go to the Institute for Responsible Technology.

8. Eat Good Fat

This is probably one of the least understood topics about a truly healthy diet, although I am happy to see this is slowly changing.

Good quality fat is one of the most important nutrients for our body. Each cell in our body is surrounded by a double layer of fat (lipid bilayer) which creates the cell membrane. This is what keeps our cells strong, and gives them good integrity. Without the proper fat, our cells become weak which leads to toxins getting into our cells, and nutrients getting out.

Fatty acid deficiencies are an epidemic. It can lead to musculoskeletal issues, hormone imbalances, cardiovascular issues, immune issues, allergies, skin problems, depression and so much more!

One of the most common issues is inflammation in the body. Our body has these things called prostaglandins (and there are 3 different inflammation pathways, PG1, PG2, and PG3). Two of the pathways are anti-inflammatory, and one is inflammatory (like if you were to sprain your ankle, the ankle would swell for protection). When you have a fatty acid deficiency due to eating the wrong kind of fat, or not eating enough of the good kind,  you will have chronic inflammation.

Also, I want to insert here – I have had issues in all of my pregnancies and several miscarriages (I kind of have a bum uterus – it’s weak and tilted). In my three successful pregnancies, the ONE thing that kept my babies in was proper fatty acid balance.

For more information, check out my posts about The Importance of Fatty Acid Balance and Good Fat vs. Bad Fat – Know The Truth!

9. Eat at Regular Intervals

How many people skip breakfast, drink coffee, eat a late lunch, and then by dinner they are ravenous, angry monsters? Yep. I did. That was me. Heeeey!

Not only will everyone not like you, it also turns out to be terrible for your health!

Who wants an anatomy lesson?

Ok – so you’ve got 3 main players when it comes to blood sugar regulation; pancreas, liver and adrenals.

Job of the pancreas – produce insulin when blood sugar gets too high, and produce glucagon when the blood sugar is too low.

The liver’s role – insulin signals the liver to convert glucose (sugar) into glycogen (stored sugar). Glycogen is stored in the liver, and if there is too much (because we eat too many foods containing sugar) the liver converts it into triglycerides and cholesterol (hello high cholesterol and fatty liver).

Glucagon (the hormone produced by the pancreas when the blood sugar is too low) signals the liver to to release glycogen (stored sugar) back into the bloodstream.

So where do the adrenals come in? The adrenals are kind of like the boss that’s telling everyone what to do. They are the ones ringing the alarm and screaming “EMERGENCY!!!” This is referred to as the fight or flight response.

So, if you are not eating at proper intervals throughout the day, your body is in a constant state of emergency. By not eating breakfast (or going too long in between meals) your blood sugar drops – signaling an emergency response. Therefore all the organs jump on board doing their job thinking they are saving your life. Over time, this kind of pattern can wear out these organs – which could ultimately lead to diabetes, fatty liver, and adrenal exhaustion.

In addition to this, every time the adrenals have to fire (a stress response), cortisol is released. Cortisol is responsible for that beautiful “spare tire” we can get around our midsection. (When I am stressed, I can’t fit into my pants! That’s my first cue that I’ve gotta get a handle on some things – seriously, it happens overnight!)

10. Get Real With Your Emotions 

This should actually be closer to the top because it is one of the MOST important changes for true health.

Stop lying to yourself, stop pretending you’re fine if you’re not – address these things. I know this can be one of the scariest changes of all, but if you are serious about getting healthy, this is the best thing you can do for yourself.

Start evaluating your life, where are your joy suckers, and what replenishes you? Do you have unhealthy habits like alcohol, drug use or smoking? Do you have low self esteem? Are you constantly beating yourself up?

Emotions are caused by neuropeptides, which are released by different organs. For example, anger comes from the liver. Grief comes from the lung. Fear is from the kidneys.

So what happens overtime is that you get these “clusters” of neuropeptides that build up, and actually hinder the function of the organ. The ability of your organs function will decrease, resulting in physical symptoms in the body.

By addressing emotional issues, your body is free to function to the best of it’s ability, and not only that, but you’ll be a whole lot happier too!

Read more about this topic on my other blog post: How Emotional Blockages Affect Our Health.

11. Seek Out Help From Professionals Who Believe in WHOLE Health

Start working with health care professionals that agree with and support your lifestyle changes. Chiropractors, acupuncturists, massage therapists, naturopaths, and holistic medical doctors are some examples.

12. Find Your Tribe

Find the ones that set your soul free. The ones that you can be raw and real with. The ones who you never have to worry if you’re good enough for. This alone will jumpstart your healing process. “Find your tribe, and love them hard”. There is no other medicine for the soul that compares to unconditional love.

13. Eliminate Toxic Relationships

Or at least put up boundaries! I understand that sometimes you can not completely sever all toxic relationships. The first step is identifying which relationships suck the life out of you. Have you ever noticed that after you’ve been around a certain someone, you’re energy is very low? Those are the life suckers. It may even be someone you care deeply about. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a relationship with them, it just means choose the time you spend with them wisely. And if it truly is someone who is detrimental to your well being – you need to cut them loose.

14. Try Something New

Create new experiences for yourself. Shake things up, get out of your old habits! Join an exercise class. Take on a new hobby. Go skydiving???

Maybe you need to take it slower. Do you interact with people in public? Try taking a step out of your comfort zone and compliment a stranger.

15. Connect to Your Higher Power

Whoever that may be for you. There is no greater feeling than knowing you are 100% loved and provided for.

Take time to give gratitude to all of the blessings in your life, because there is always – ALWAYS – something to be grateful for. Can you breathe on your own? Do you have two legs? Do you have food to eat?

By focusing on the good things, this switches your thinking from a negative state to a more positive one – which will in turn attract more positive things to you.

When you have worries, try to give them to your higher power. Again, by releasing these fears you are making room for solutions to come in.

And certainly in my experience, the universe has a WAY better plan for you than you could have ever imagined.

Incorporate these 15 changes into your life and you will be amazed at how great you feel and the healing that takes place!

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