A healthier you in one week
We all long for a healthier lifestyle but it doesn’t always fit neatly into our budget or schedule. We’re bombarded daily with videos, social media posts, commercials, and advertisements praising the latest trends in diet, vitamin alternatives, home training programs… the list goes on. Why you should eat eggs. Why you shouldn’t eat eggs. Why sleeping too much is bad for you. How not getting enough sleep can hurt you. It’s not that we don’t want to try to be healthier, it’s that just so hard to know where to even start. Even after doing your due diligence and fact-finding how do you know who and what to trust. After all, this is your body and you’ve only got one. Slacking or making mistakes is not an option. So, how can we not only live longer but also give ourselves a quality and enriching life?
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“Without health, life is not life; it is only a state of languor and suffering — an image of death” -Buddha
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The key lies in the little things. As a number one rule generally, natural is best. Think organic. We are organic beings and the more chemicals and artificial substances we expose ourselves to, the worse off we’ll be. Here’s a list of ten simple steps that anyone can easily incorporate into their lives to hoist themselves up onto the track to a more holistically healthy lifestyle.
1. Ditch the toxic cleaners Have you ever gotten a sore throat while cleaning? A typical day of cleaning the house could consist of misting Windex on the windows and mirrors, some bleach for the bath and toilet, Comet in the kitchen sink, and some Frebreeze on the furniture and drapes. That’s an awful lot of chemicals in one day to be inhaling. It wasn’t uncommon for me to get a headache after cleaning. My throat would feel a bit raw and my lungs felt heavy.
I dreaded cleaning.
One day, as a form of rebellion, I decided to research what folks used to clean with… in the old days. They clearly didn’t have access to the advanced chemicals of the modern age and would have been forced to use natural resources. So how did they do it? Here’s what I learned.
An all-purpose cleaner for laminate or Formica kitchen countertops, trash cans, and wall smudges, mix one-part water, one part white vinegar, and lemon rind in a spray bottle.
For glass cleaner, mix 2 cups water, 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol, 1/2 cup white vinegar, and a few drops of orange essential oil in a spray bottle.
To make a natural heavy-duty scrub, mix 1/2 cup borax powder, and one squeezed lemon… and scrub away!
For homemade brass cleaner, mix lemon or white vinegar and table salt.
2. Guided Meditation
Incorporate meditation and guided stress relief hypnosis into your nighttime routine.
Many highly-regarded doctors and hypnotherapists such as Michael Sealey offer completely free videos online. My favorite is a two-hour video by Sealey titled “Deep Sleep Hypnosis for Mind Body Spirit Cleansing”. His soft guiding voice walks the listener flawlessly into a deep slumber as rain gently falls in the background. Within thirty minutes I’m swinging from the stars.
You may also want to experiment with the repeat method. Lots of people find that listening to the same song tracks on repeat helps them to focus and relax. I enjoy dreamy instrumental tracks with little to no words. Here are a few of my favorites:
Etude №2 by Philip Glass
Clair de Lune by Claude Debussy
20 Lakmé, Act 1 Sous le dome épais Flower duet
Gynopedié №1 by Erik Satie
3. Essential oils
Everyone knows how hard it can be to unwind and allow your mind to fall asleep after a busy bustling day. Reaching for an Ambien or Lunesta could feel like an easy fix. But are you really doing yourself any favors by pumping your body full of medication? Consider experimenting with a diffuser. These make a stellar addition to any room. They come in all sizes and styles to fit your decor. Using a diffuser is as easy as filling it with water and a few drops of essential oil. For centuries lavender oil has been praised and highly regarded for its relaxing qualities and is the perfect fragrance to naturally induce calm. Here’s a list of other popular essential oils and their use associations.
Cedarwood — Stress relief, calming and improved circulatory system
Cinnamon — Revitalizing and refreshing
Lemon — Uplifting and clarifying
Pachouli — Relaxation
Peppermint — Alertness and memory retention
4. Drink more water
Our bodies are largely made up of water making it critically important for us to maintain the proper level of hydration on a daily basis. Consider this, the human lungs are made up of 90% water, our blood is 83% and our brain is 95%. Those are some pretty incredible numbers. Now think about how much water you currently drink. I’m going to make an assumption that if you’re like most people… it’s not enough. Take on this challenge. Try drinking the equivalent of eight glasses of water each day. Within a week’s time, you’ll begin to notice your skin looking and feeling clearer, headaches will lessen, your digestive system will work more smoothly, your focus will improve and you’ll feel less fatigued.
I’ll admit, drinking water isn’t exactly the most exciting thing to do, making it hard to commit to. But keep this in mind. Struggling through a busy day, it’s easy to grab a sweet tea, soda, smoothie, or coffee. These aren’t the same as drinking pure water. I know what you’re thinking… All those drinks have water in them. While that may be true they also contain caffeine and sugar… both of which are known diuretics. That means that instead of helping you retain fluid they actually increase the need to urinate. In other words, drinking a soda during a hot day does the opposite of replenishing… it accelerates dehydration. The human body needs clean pure water to function properly and efficiently.
5. Handmade soaps
Love do-it-yourself projects? Here’s a great one for a Saturday night! Jump online and buy yourself a pour and mold soap kit. All you’ll need is your favorite essential oil, a pot, a stove, and any silicone cooking mold. Making your own all-organic soap is a lot easier than you may think. The first time you bask in the sweet-scented buttery lather of a homemade soap you’ll be hopelessly obsessed. A few hours of work and you and your family will be enjoying quality organic essential oil-infused soap for the rest of the year… without breaking the bank!
Many of your favorite store-bought soaps contain harmful chemicals and toxins like sodium lauryl sulfate. It may seem inconsequential at first thought, but consider that what you put on your skin can easily be absorbed into your body. Just because a product is a household name brand doesn’t make it the healthiest option.
6. Read labels
Start reading the labels of the products you purchase. It may shock you. Don’t just buy products because your friends buy them or because they’re mainstream. Take some time and really examine ingredient labels. Familiarize yourself with the most common toxins.
The next time you go shopping, try to avoid foods containing aspartame, high fructose corn syrup, monosodium glutamate, and artificial coloring for starters. Doing this will help you sift through the products that you may want to pass up.
7. Take the extra steps
Make small changes in your daily schedule and start racking up the steps. Even something as simple as taking the stairs instead of the elevator at work can significantly impact your long-term health. Take the parking spot that’s just a little farther away. You know your dog would just love to be your new jogging partner! Looking for something to do on the weekend? Go explore your local park and walking trails. Like shopping? Take a few extra laps inside your favorite mall with your best friend. Your body will thank you.
Walking improves blood circulation, lowers blood pressure, strengthens muscles, improves sleep, and much more!
8. Ditch fast food
Just stating the obvious here. We all know the health risks related to hopping on the fast-food bandwagon. It’s a slippery slope indeed. Pulling in the drive-through of your favorite burger joint is fast and convenient, but it’s literally killing you.
“One study found that processed food contains phthalates. Phthalates are chemicals that can interrupt how hormones act in your body. Exposure to these chemicals could lead to reproductive issues, including birth defects” -Healthline
The long-term effects of consuming junk food include some pretty heavy hitters including obesity, depression, cancer, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. If your days are hectic and you know it… plan for it. Try meal prepping a week in advance. Make healthy snacking options readily available at home and at work. Don’t fall victim to junk food simply because it’s easier.
“The growth of fast food in America seems to coincide with the growth of obesity in the United States” -Healthline
9. Fresh air
When was the last time you changed the air filter in your home? Experts recommend changing filters every sixty to ninety days! That’s fairly regularly and for good reason! Mold spores, dust, pollen, and other harmful irritants can build up and invade your air space causing a host of formidable health problems. Take a close look at your window blinds and shelves. Run your finger across them. Is there a nasty dust film? When the sun shines in your bedroom window early morning, do you see tiny particles floating through the air? Odds are you need a new filter or worse, a duct cleaning. Air ducts, when left unkept for too long, can build up and recirculate dust, pet dander, and bacteria into the air. Perhaps you’re thinking a little dust never hurt anything. Wrong. Family members affected by asthma, allergies, and pulmonary conditions can all suffer from dirty air.
As an added precaution consider purchasing a Hepa filter air purifier. These come in all shapes, sizes, and stylish designs. Often times they run silently and can be easily moved from room to room as needed. Keeping an air filter running throughout the day can significantly reduce the effects of seasonal allergies. Many report noticing a difference within the first day of use. I personally have two and absolutely love them.
10. Trade in your Teflon pans for glass
If you’re cooking at home, good for you! That’s awesome. Let’s make sure you’re doing it as safely as possible.
The invention of Teflon took kitchens by storm with its nonstick surface making cooking and clean up a breeze. But I bet you didn’t know that it’s a little devil in sheep’s clothing. Teflon is a stable and safe compound up until 570°F or 300°C. After that, the coating begins to break down releasing toxic chemicals causing what’s known as Teflon flu or polymer fever. At the 2019 Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry’s Annual European meeting, the FDA announced the link between nonstick cookware and cancer, thyroid disease, liver damage, and infertility. Invest in a quality set of glass stovetop cookware. In the long run… your body will thank you!
In closing… start today. Don’t wait. Your health is important. You are important. I hope these simple ideas for getting on the track to a healthier you on a budget, jump-starts something wonderful in your life.