I see my Women’s Health Integrative Medicine Doctor once a year for a check-up and blood tests and that’s it. I could not tell you the last time I was sick or even had a sniffle.
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I put this down to eliminating as many toxins as I am able to from my life, eating whole foods, exercising regularly, knowing when enough is enough, resting when I need to rest, saying no when I need to say no, and having daily rituals in place which I am going to share with you. And no, I am not an over-the-top crazy woman with unrealistic rules or ideals, I have simply discovered what works for me.
I believe it’s the day-to-day things that you do that makes an enormous difference to your health and well-being and you know what? It’s not as hard as you may think.
Here are 8 tips to boost your health today…
1. Lemon Water Or Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)
This is a perfect cleansing tonic to start your day. First thing in the morning before you have anything else, have a glass or warm water with half a lemon squeezed in it or a tablespoon of ACV. Simply put, these assist with digestion, are effective in body cleansing and detoxification and help get things moving. They are a great boost for your energy, metabolism, and overall well-being.
They also assist in alkalizing the body to help nourish and balance the pH levels (potential hydrogen). Research has proven that disease, yes even the big C (cancer) cannot survive in an oxygenated alkaline environment.
Human blood pH should be slightly alkaline (7.35 – 7.45). A pH of 7.0 is neutral. A pH below 7.0 is acidic. A pH above 7.0 is alkaline.
I am not the food police, and certainly do not preach or lecture anyone on what they should and shouldn’t eat. The best advice I can give is to keep it simple and eat as close to nature as possible – then you really can’t go wrong.
Fill your plate with the colors of the rainbow – no, not jelly beans, but beautiful seasonal fruits and vegetables. There’s a simple rule when it comes to nutrition: Nature gets it right, human interference often gets it wrong. Eating food in its natural state is a great way to nurture your mind, body, and spirit.
4-5 serves of fruit and veg daily is what the Government recommend for the average person, but really…who wants to be average?! Science says 12-14 servings is required daily for the mind and body to function at their optimal levels and for your immunity to be strong.
I know I don’t get 12-14 servings every single day so I have introduced an extraordinary whole food fruit and vegetable supplement that contain over 30 fruit and vegetables.
3. Green Juice
I am certain one of the main magic medicines is my regular nutritionally packed immunity “green juice”, as I’m injecting liquid sunshine straight into my body. These contribute to keeping the nasties away and are great for alkalizing, detoxing, and providing a boost in energy.
My green juice generally looks like this: Two cucumbers, four kale leaves, two silver beet leaves, two celery stalks, two broccoli florets with stems, a handful of parsley and baby spinach, one lemon, one pear or green apple and an inch knob of ginger.
Be creative and use ingredients that suit your taste. Make it your own, but remember if you are having juices daily, ensure that the ratio is more greens than fruit (focusing on the 80/20 rule). The greener the better!
Reconnect with your body and get it moving. Exercise will decrease stress hormones, such as cortisol, and increase endorphins, feel-good chemicals that make you feel good both mentally and physically. A great reason to get exercising: Who doesn’t want to be in a good mood and happy?
Endorphins are known to assist in treating depression. They can give you a euphoric feeling, also known as “runners’ high”.
It’s said that they have a similar chemical structure to morphine. The endorphins produced can be so powerful that they actually mask pain, as they are the body’s natural painkillers.
They are also said to be released during orgasm and laughter. So, my message is: Exercise, make love and laugh more, and you will experience a huge boost in your health!
The best exercise is always the exercise you enjoy. Move your body in a way that makes you feel good. It could be a walk or run out in nature, a bike ride, a swim, dancing, yoga, Pilates, or a gym class.
Incidental exercise is something else you can easily add more of into your day. Take the stairs instead of the lift, walk as much as possible, do some gardening, get off the bus one stop farther from your usual stop, get outside and play with your kids, park your car in a space farther away from your destination.
Most spiritual gurus will tell you the answer to everything is to: meditate.
Meditation changes the structure of the brain. If you can introduce meditation into your life, you will experience tremendous changes in your life.
Meditation can be done in a seated posture in a chair or on the floor with your legs crossed and spine erect, while still being comfortable (maybe a cushion under your bottom). Other people prefer to lie down on their back, and others like to lie with their legs up against a wall, which is a great inverted pose that brings relief to the legs, feet, spine, and nervous system. The main thing is to be in a position that you feel is conducive to your meditation practice.
Meditation has so many benefits:
- Lowers stress (and cortisol)
- Allows you to think clearer – improves cognitive function
- Connects you to your true self
- Lower depression and anxiety
- Increases happiness
- Supports weight loss (your body is less likely to store fat when you feel safe and supported as opposed to operating on fight or flight, and when you feel at peace with yourself, you don’t look to food to cope).
- Helps you sleep better
- Strengthens your immune system
- Lowers blood pressure
- Better ability to deal with mind chatter and emotions
- Plus, so much more
6. Gut Health
It’s imperative that you have good gut health because the state of your gut has a profound influence on your psychological well-being.
The gut produces more serotonin (happy hormone) than the brain does. Approximately 90% of serotonin lives in the gut, and approximately 70% of your immune system is located in your gut.
So how do you ensure a healthy gut? Antibiotics are a major player in the destruction of gut health, as they destroy both the bad and good bacteria, so it’s important to avoid antibiotics whenever possible. There are numerous natural antibiotics that can be utilized for good gut health: garlic, ginger, Echinacea, Manuka honey, turmeric, and oregano. They all have anti-bacterial properties. Fermented food rich in probiotics, like kefir, live yogurt culture, and sauerkraut, also contribute to good gut health. You may also want to visit your local health food store and look at investing in a good probiotic supplement.
7. Reduce Chemical Exposure
The body is absorbing and being exposed to toxic chemicals every day through food, drink, skincare products, the environment, and household chemicals. Reducing your toxic load is really a great step towards your wellness.
Make sure you wash all of your fresh produce before eating it, doing your best to remove the pesticides and herbicides. Remember, they may look clean, but you can’t visually see the bacteria or chemicals lingering on them – a good reason to buy organic as often as possible.
Have a look at what’s in your skincare. Your skin is your largest organ; what you expose this important gateway to needs to be clean. The products you apply absorb into the skin and then enter your bloodstream, and you know that beautiful perfume smell? Toxic! I stay clear of perfume!
What hand soap do you use? Have you got caught up in the whole hype of anti-bacterial, disinfectant and sterilizing products? There is really no reason for anyone who is not in a medical setting to use these products.
Household cleaners are another minefield for chemical exposure. I have not used chemicals to clean my house for over 13 years now – I prefer to clean with microfiber cloths.
We really need to educate and protect ourselves and our families from such harmful toxic chemicals. We will never entirely rid all chemicals from our life. It comes down to being realistic and doing all that we can to maintain good health by looking for healthier alternatives.
Sleep plays a major role in healing and your overall well-being. Sleep is vital – every individual requires a different amount, but everyone needs to rest, switch off, and sleep to allow themselves to repair, renew, rejuvenate, and feel alert and alive. Poor sleep is linked to mental health problems such as anxiety and depression.
If you are someone who finds it difficult to sleep at night, I’m certain it’s because you’re too busy through the day to listen to what your mind, body, and spirit are asking you for. So in the quiet of the night, they will communicate with you by keeping you awake. This is why mind chatter and pain are heightened at night, and why you have trouble sleeping.
If you spend all day distracting yourself and not giving yourself time and space to hear the messages your mind, body, and spirit are giving you, they will make sure they get your attention in the stillness of the night.
Apart from learning to slow down through the day and allowing yourself to be instead of doing all the time, here are some other ways to help you sleep better:
- Set a regular bedtime and wake-up time.
- Chamomile tea. It has a mild sedating effect, which makes it the perfect natural antidote for restless minds and bodies.
- Magnesium. Soak in a warm pure magnesium or Epsom salts bath. Magnesium is an excellent muscle relaxant and sedative for the nervous system.
- Lavender. Place three to four drops of essential oil on your pillow or put a few drops in your bath with the magnesium. Research shows that the scent of lavender eases anxiety and insomnia.
- Relax. One hour before bedtime, try to switch off from TV and technology. Instead, listen to relaxing music, take a relaxing bath, read a relaxing book, listen to a relaxing guided meditation. Note the frequent use of the word relaxing?
- Caffeine. Have your coffee mid-morning or early afternoon, and give up your late afternoon or evening coffee.
- Alcohol. Avoid alcohol before bedtime. It’s a depressant, and although it may make it easier to fall asleep, it causes you to wake up during the night.
You need to hear and notice the messages your body is trying to give you. It will always talk to you and tell you when it is feeling run-down and coming down with something. It will always give you signs and signals, and it will happily tap you on the shoulder. If you’re too busy to notice the tap, it will tap again and again, and eventually it will give you a big whack to make you take notice. Being conscious and mindful and taking in what your body is telling you is really something you need to master.