8 Simple Health Tweaks (That Don't Require A Cleanse or Whole 30)
January is the month of abstinence for many people, and part of me watches this unfold every year with admiration. But the reality is, I’m a person of moderation. I still like my treats. I’m not interested in giving up sugar and cream in my coffee. I want to live healthy and well and I don’t want to torture myself. Especially since I already feel pretty tortured these days given the political climate.
So I figured that right now -- as people are getting close to winding down the month of abstinence or are perhaps feeling badly about falling off the train -- would be a good time to share my favorite simple health tweaks. I was feeling pretty bloated and gross after the holidays and my detox in moderation approach has felt really great and involved the following 8 steps:
1. Drink lots of water
This is a really simple tip, yet it’s so easy to lose sight of! I always start my day with a big glass of water with a splash of coconut water in it. And otherwise, my one easy tweak has been to keep a 32 oz. Nalgene bottle right next to my laptop in my office. I drink 32 ounces through the morning and another 32 ounces through the afternoon while I’m working. Any additional water I consume in the evening feels like a gold-star-on-the-forehead bonus! If you remember, squeeze some fresh lemon into your water for added benefit.
2. Pulverize your fruit
I love fruit but during the winter, my brain rarely motivates towards fruit salad. At best, I might grab an apple or banana. So to make sure I get in my fruit servings, I opt for a smoothie first thing in the morning -- sometimes green, sometimes not.
3. Eat more dark greens
My favorite way to pack in a lot of greens is buying one of those huge bins of kale or baby spinach at Whole Foods and then I lightly saute or steam a giant pile into a normal looking serving to add to whatever I’m eating. I’ve also been eating lots of steamed broccoli.
4. If you eat meat and fish, think of it as a side
Several years ago we adopted the approach of consuming meat and fish as a side dish (versus a giant main course). Over the last year or so, we’ve also stepped way back on our chicken and beef consumption, instead opting for fish.
5. Add nuts
Nuts add good nutrients so I’ve been sprinkling sliced almonds on my dark greens and also have recently brought back this chocolate cashew milk recipe as my afternoon snack. YUM!
6. Enjoy your treats in moderation
Reality = I love both sweet and savory treats. I've found that the key is to go small with the serving sizes. The best, most appreciated bites are the initial ones anyway!
7. Ease up on the coffee
Ever since publishing this article on 7 steps to better sleep, I have shut down the coffee train after 2pm. I realized that I liked the routine of an afternoon coffee but it actually didn't sit that well in my stomach. Ideally, I just have one cup of coffee in the morning, though more regularly it’s one cup first thing in the morning and a second cup in the late morning. When I’m craving a hot beverage in the afternoon I’ll opt for green tea or hot water with lemon and honey.
8. Be active every day
Healthy food tweaks are important, but I think the best thing you can do is be active every day. And it doesn’t have to be a crazy work out -- a walk around the block counts too! The point is just to move. I had a rough fall with running so I've been switching things up and have been LOVING the free Nike+ Training Club app -- even the 15-30 minute workouts get you sweating. I actually put "Exercise" as a recurring daily to-do on my Wunderlist to-do app because I love chasing check boxes.