You know, back when I worked in marketing for a huge financial services firm, when people found out what I did for a living they’d quickly change the subject to something far more interesting, like the weather. Now that I answer the ‘What do you do for a living’ question differently, with ‘I’m a Nutrition Therapist’, 50% of the time it’s met with wanting to pick my brain on how that person can be healthier without me actually knowing their individual situation. The other 50% of the time that answer is met with the individual barking ‘I ALREADY KNOW HOW TO EAT HEALTHY’ at me as if I’ve somehow judged or lectured them in merely stating that I’m a Nutrition Therapist. It’s quite entertaining actually because when I get the latter reaction it always reminds me of the random ‘I LOVE LAMP’ scene from Anchorman… but I digress.

So, for the 50% of you who already do know how to eat and be healthy and all the things, this blog post is not for you. You will not learn anything new so no need to comment and point that out to me (I already know, thanks!). I will, however, be writing a blog post in the future for your 50% titled ‘I already know how to eat healthy I just choose not to’. For the other 50% who are on the ‘can I pick your brain’ bus and actually care to hear my thoughts on quick and easy ways you can improve your health, then stick around and read my top 5 SUPER easy and effective ways to improve your health!

Water

Yeah, I know you’ve heard it before, but you’ve heard it before because it’s really effective and easy and cheap. There’s really no excuse for you to not be drinking water. It literally has 0 flavor, making the ‘I don’t like water’ argument really unacceptable.

Why is water so good for you? Here’s a list of reasons!

  • You’re made of 60% water, so you actually need it just to live. It’s more important than food even when it comes to living, so there’s that.
  • It flushes out toxins
  • It boosts skin health
  • It regulates body temperature
  • It helps maintain blood pressure
  • It lubricates joins
  • It boosts energy
  • It improves digestions (read: it helps you poop better)
  • It helps you better absorb nutrients from your food
  • It boosts exercise performance
  • It helps with weight loss

That’s just the tip of the iceberg (hey- those are made of water too!). At a minimum, one huge change you can make in your day is to start off every morning by drinking a glass of warm water with fresh squeezed lemon juice in it. It slowly wakes up your digestive system and literally gets your day moving. But really, if there’s any 1 simple thing that you can do right now, it’s to start drinking water. Aim to drink half your weight in ounces a day!

Meet my hydroflask. All my clients recognize her, she goes with me everywhere and even stays on my nightstand while I’m sleeping in case I wake up thirsty. I aim to drink at least 3 of these a day (it’s 32 oz).

Avoid foods with a shelf life longer than you! If you must have a processed food, choose ones with 7 or less ingredients. Bonus points if you can easily pronounce all of those ingredients too!

I think in this day and age most of us have heard how processed and refined foods are bad for us. We know they’re full of gluten, trans fats, sugar, chemicals, preservatives, and Lord knows what. Those ingredients are largely what cause inflammation and weight gain and unfortunately these are all regular components of American meals. Macaroni and cheese, cake/muffin/cookie/bread mixes, instant mashed potatoes, cereal, crackers, and pasta are all things commonly consumed on a daily basis.

So, if these are items that you eat regularly, I challenge you to find options that have 7 or less ingredients in them. If you can’t find an option that has 7 or less ingredients then I challenge you to making said item using whole foods, from scratch. Like the good ‘ol days.

Examples of foods with a long shelf life that really don’t have any nutritional value whatsoever.

 

Ditch the fake oils (canola, margarine, ‘butter spreads’) in place of real oils like avocado, coconut, extra virgin olive oil.

We’ve been taught to fear fats. We’ve been taught to eat ‘fats’ that are made up of less fat. The problem with that is that we’ve taken an otherwise healthy substance, removed the beneficial nutrients, and created something that does more harm than good in our bodies. Canola oil, margarine, and butter spreads are highly inflammatory- but gained popularity because it is cheap and is marketed as being heart healthy since it’s unsaturated and low in cholesterol. The problem with that is you’ve got a product (margarine contains plastic btw) that actually is incredibly unstable. It becomes rancid easily, and when ingested your body basically treats it as a trans fat. That in turn increases inflammation in the body, which can lead to higher cholesterol, chronic illness, and other diseases.

Real fats like avocado, extra virgin olive oil, coconut, ghee, and butter are an important part of a healthy diet! They provide a lot of essential fatty acids that are so beneficial for our overall health, in addition to providing a save way to cook our food. Pay attention to smoke temperatures of oils and how they relate to your cooking. For pan frying and sautéing, choose high heat oils like Avocado, Coconut, Ghee, and even Lard. For salad dressings and marinades, choose lower heat oils like olive and sesame oils.

You cannot go wrong eating real food, plain and simple.

These are the fats you’ll always find in my pantry! A wide variety for all types of uses. Real fats.

 

MOVE your body. Get that heart rate up!!!

We were made to move! We know that exercise is important, but movement of any kind is really beneficial to our overall health. Whether you like high or low impact, just find something that you enjoy and do it! As a society we are so sedentary- we sit at our desks, we sit in our cars, we sit on our couches and stare at a screen all night. And, the more you sit the more stiff you become, which actually leads to greater risk of injury because you’re not working the muscles that are designed to support your body. Here are the many benefits that movement can provide!

  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Helps control blood sugar (read: helps improve hormone balance)
  • Helps control weight
  • Builds a strong, healthy heart
  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Improves circulation
  • Improves digestion
  • Helps boost metabolism
  • Helps strengthen lungs
  • Helps the body detox

Ideally, you’d be moving 4-5 days a week for 45 minutes or so at a time. But if movement and exercise is new to you, just start small! Aim for 10 minutes a day. Go for a walk over your lunch break, take the stairs, park far across the parking lot from the store- every little bit counts and it’s never ever wasted.

My little boy, Pudge, and I out for a hike last fall.

 

Eat the RAINBOW

If you’ve been following me for any amount of time, you’ve probably heard me say this a time or two, to EAT THE RAINBOW. And I don’t mean Skittles. I’m literally talking about paying attention to the colors on your plate. Hopefully you’ll be choosing a wide variety of whole foods, and eating with the rainbow in mind is a simple and effective way to ensure you’re getting a wide variety of vitamins and minerals that serve your body.

Who doesn’t love a beautiful, colorful salad?!?

 

So, there you have it. My 5 easy tips on improving your health. Hopefully you find this informative and helpful, and remember, you don’t have to do all 5 at once! Take it one week at a time. Start with simply drinking water for a week, then add another item the following week. This is your journey, and you’ve gotta make these work for you so that they become a permanent part of your healthy lifestyle.