It can be overwhelming to change our habits and when it comes to improving our health we soon realize that our habits aren’t the only things that need to change, but also our attitudes, our shopping patterns, our routines and our whole lifestyle! Once this hits us, we are prone to want to give up. It seems overwhelming and even impossible. But, it is possible to make big changes with small steps. Each of these three things will improve your health, save you money, help change your attitude toward health and best of all, will get momentum in the right direction. The best thing about making your lifestyle more healthy is that it takes on a life of it’s own. We want to feel better, have more energy, have restful sleep, enjoy our time with friends and family. When we see how small changes in one part of our life can impact and improve all parts of our life, while also giving us undeniable evidence that it is working through energy, reduced stress and anxiety, better sleep we want to continue on the path and adopt more healthy habits. So, if you want to make health a priority, try changing these three things this week. Or try changing 1 of the 3. Any step in the right direction is a step.
Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase. — Martin Luther King Jr.
1. Eat at Home
The benefits of eating at home are well documented and include saving money, improving nutrition, and smarter kids!
When you eat at home, you are in control of ingredients and portions. You can limit use of processed foods, easily store leftovers for the next day and easily control portions to reduce over-eating. And while for many, “time is money” there are still ways to cut down on the time it takes to cook at home without giving in to the convenience of eating out. You can subscribe to meal planning lists to cut down on your planning time, order groceries only, you can even order organic and non-GMO foods online and have them delivered to your home.
A study published in the March 2000 Archives of Family Medicine showed that families eating meals together “every day” or “almost every day” generally consumed higher amounts of important nutrients such as calcium, fiber, iron, vitamins B6 and B12, C and E, and consumed less overall fat, compared to families who “never” or “only sometimes” eat meals together.
According to the British Columbia Medical Association, children who eat at least one meal a day with their families in the home develop more nutritious eating habits, are more likely to have higher grades, better vocabulary and improved communication skills.
2. Stop Drinking Soda and Energy Drinks
In addition to the well known link to increased risk of obesity and diabetes, soda is also linked to kidney stones and other renal problems. In a study published in the journal Epidemiology, the team compared the dietary habits of 465 people with chronic kidney disease and 467 healthy people. After controlling for various factors, the team found that drinking two or more colas a day — whether artificially sweetened or regular — was linked to a twofold risk of chronic kidney disease.
Risks of caffeine poisoning, irregular heart beat, hallucinations brought on by consumption of energy drinks has been well publicized in recent weeks as the popularity of energy drinks has taken off. Some organizations are moving toward regulating caffeinated drinks
“There’s many physiological effects large quantities of caffeine can have. Increasing blood pressure, heart and respiratory rate. In some, it can lead to cardiac arrhythmias, and hyperactivity and anxiety in young people.” Bruce Goldberger, professor and director of toxicology at the University of Florida College of Medicine.
There’s no benefit to soda and energy drinks and a lot of risk. For hydration, drink water. For variety, drink green tea for its antioxidant and stimulant properties or drink something like all-natural Performance for flavor and hydration.
3. Eat less meat
Reducing your meat consumption will improve your cardiovascular health. Consumption of meat has long been linked to high cholesterol, high blood pressure and a greater risk for diabetes and cancer. Recent research from Britain shows the links between consumption of meat and meat products with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Meat is difficult to digest and can take longer to process and remove from your body than plants and fibrous foods. Because meats also generally contain a high number of toxins, this means the toxins stay in your system longer too giving them more opportunity to be absorbed into your colon, your intestines and your blood stream. Dioxin, one of the deadliest toxins, is concentrated in meat at levels 22 times what are safe, according to the EPA. As early as 1961, The AMA journal stated that 90+% of heart disease can be prevented with a Vegetarian diet.
You don’t have to go vegetarian to realize the health benefits of reduced meat consumption. Simply reduce your meat consumption by preparing one vegetarian dinner a week. Once you see the incredible variety that can be found in vegetarian meals, you may decide to plan them more regularly.