Small, Healthy Rituals: These Are The Ones This Top Functional Medicine Doctor Won't Go A Day Without
It can sometimes feel like living a healthy life requires a LOT of effort. From meal prep to supplements to HIIT workouts versus cardio, our heads can spin off our bodies just trying to decide on the right wellness plan—let alone actually follow it. But Dr. Frank Lipman's new book, How to Be Well, is different. It feels refreshingly simple. Have trouble sleeping? Do this. Want to lose weight? Try this approach. It doesn't feel like brain surgery—and we love that.
We sat down with the doctor himself to talk about simplicity in wellness and how to us, his new book feels like the start of a movement to make health more accessible and more straightforward.
According to Dr. Lipman, who is already the author of five best-sellers, the idea behind this book was "to inspire people to take charge of their own health and become their own authority" so he aimed to make things as simple as he possibly could. In that vein, he's convinced that the normal things we do every day can make a huge difference in how we feel. For example, "Going for a walk on the beach, being kind to others, having a pet. These daily activities can be used to make you feel better and get you healthier. It's about the extraordinary effects of the ordinary things you do daily." In other words: Yes, cleanses and personalized nutrition are important, but it's the small things that can make us truly healthy and happy. And ironically, these are the things we usually take for granted.
So what activities does he incorporate into his everyday routine?
1. Mindfulness meditation
Every single day Dr. Lipman wakes up and does 20 minutes of meditation. At 63, it's an absolute staple in his life—as normal as brushing his teeth—but he admits that it took years to get into the habit. In How To Be Well, he recommends experimenting with different styles until you find one that resonates with you—just make sure you're working with a trained and certified teacher.
2. A few minutes outdoors
We're learning more and more about the healing powers of nature, and Dr. Lipman tries to walk from Grand Central Station to his office every morning, which is about 20 city blocks and 1.5 miles. This starts his day off with some exercise and time in the fresh air and under the sun.
3. Simple foods
Dr. Lipman tries to embrace simplicity in nutrition. He focuses on healthy protein and vegetables for most of his meals and tries to up his vegetable content to 70 percent of his total diet. In the book Dr. Lipman also recommends becoming a "real food snacker," which means avoiding sugar-filled protein bars and packaged foods—and only eating between meals if you are hungry, not just bored or antsy.
The benefits of gratitude extend far and wide, influencing our physical, mental, and emotional health more than we ever imagined. Every day Dr. Lipman tries to be kind and express gratitude. Not sure where to begin? Try starting a gratitude journal.
Music brings people together and is very calming, which is why Dr. Lipman fills his day with it. There's music playing in his office and at home. One of his favorite genres? Reggae.
These small things help us bring attention to personal reflection and establishing a greater purpose in life. According to Dr. Lipman, "The goal was to help people bring greater awareness to who they are and what they're about." That's a message we can definitely get behind.