Last year, I ate vegan for three months as an experiment. It didn’t work as I was constantly light-headed and sluggish. I wasn't able to consume the right amount of foods to make this diet successful for me. (And I really wanted to!) Once I added in small amounts of lean animal protein, along with my vegan dishes, I felt better.
Each one of us is different in what works best for our bodies. It's easy to get confused about how to eat; there are so many contradictions! Some say eat eggs, some say avoid them. Others say to go vegan lifestyle while some preach Paleo. This is why you have to listen to your own body and decide what makes it feel best. We're all different and have different needs.
Here are 11 tips to better health for anyone to follow, regardless of what eating plan you're following.
1. Eat a balanced diet of vegetables, proteins, and fruits.
Only add beans and grains if you can tolerate them. Listen to your body!
2. Start your day with a green drink.
This small change can kick-start your journey to wellness. Starting your day with fruits and vegetables (in the form of a juice or a smoothie) is much better than fast-food coffee and an Egg McMuffin. You'll feel the difference almost immediately. Also, you may feel ready to try making a chlorophyll drink to alkalize your body and give you more energy. Another bonus: The morning smoothie is your gateway to trying new foods. Start slowly and make one change at a time. Small changes make for lifelong habits.
3. When eating animal products, choose nitrate- and hormone-free options and buy organic, if possible.
I encourage you to find a local farm to help cut down on these costs. Always read your labels when buying animal products at the grocery store. Look for brands that state they are free of antibiotics, nitrates and hormones. Try something new like buffalo or a wild caught fish and see what you like.
4. Only buy whole foods for your home.
The fewer processed foods you eat, the happier your liver (and body!) will be. Plan to grocery shop twice a week so you always have fresh foods available and ready to cook. If you only have healthy food in your house, you're setting yourself up for success. I don’t keep unhealthy foods in my home. When kids come over after school, they know they'll get a delicious snack of fresh fruits, veggies and hummus or another healthy dip.
5. Indulge a little. (Just be smart about it!)
Make your desserts using all-natural sugars such as raw honey or coconut sugar. There are plenty of healthy treats that are easy, delicious and guilt-free! See below for one of my favorite recipes, Almond Butter Fudge Truffles.
6. Aim to exercise at least 4 times a week for 30 minutes.
Sweating is a powerful tool to detoxify the body. You don’t have to run a 10K to get the benefits of exercise. You can do a yoga class or even a walk in your neighborhood. Schedule time in your calendar to get moving and don’t cancel on yourself. Finding movement in your life gives you so many benefits that you can feel immediately. Find an activity that you enjoy so you are more likely to stick with it.
7. Pay attention to your bowels.
Proper elimination is key to keeping your body running at its best. Add foods high in vitamin C or magnesium if things are not flowing properly.
8. Do deep breathing and visualization on a regular, daily basis.
Our lives are stressful, so it's essential to stop, pause, and just breathe. I find myself so focused on the finish line many times in my day so I make a point to stop and just relax for a few moments. This is something so easy to do yet we don’t always allow ourselves this pleasure. It's essential to staying present in the moment and enjoying where you are right now.
9. Ditch toxic skin care products and opt for all-natural options.
Avoid buying beauty products that are loaded with toxins. In addition, look to clear out all your household cleaners that are highly toxic as well. You can make your own cleaners that are much less expensive, safer and just as effective. This will decrease the toxic load on your body.
10. Smile, love, and laugh more.
You're worth it.
11. Treat yourself!
This is one of my favorite recipes.
Almond Butter Chocolate Truffles
- ½ cup Almond Butter
- ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 to 4 Tbsp. Raw Honey
Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Once combined, use your clean hands and roll into one inch balls.
You can top with coconut flakes for additional flavor. Store in the refrigerator or freezer.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com