The new year brings promise for the healthiest, best version of you. Although I love to personalize and get very precise with individualized recommendations, there are some functional nutrition and lifestyle solutions that can positively impact just about everyone.
So here they are, my 2018 top ten recommendations for the promise of vitality:
- Hara Hachi Bu. Unless you are Okinawan, you are probably thinking “Huh?” I was just reading a great newsletter from Blue Zones (The Blue Zones identify regions where people live very long and healthy lives) and they reminded me of a great strategy that the people of Okinawa Japan use: Hara Hachi Bu. This phrase means stop eating when you are 80 percent full. It takes time for our brains to recognize that we are full. Practice eating until you are no longer hungry, instead of until you are completely full. Blue Zones encourages effective techniques such as eating from smaller plates, slowing down and mindful eating to work toward Hara Hachi Bu.
- Track your intake of added sugar and take steps to drastically cut back how much sugar you are eating. The American Heart Association recommends the upper limit of 37.5 grams of added sugar per day for males and 25 grams for females. Currently the average intake for American adults is nearly 100 grams per day! Added sugar is a major contributor to the health woes of Americans including and especially obesity. A new review in Obesity Facts confirms that sugar sweetened beverages are a major contributor to causing people to be overweight and obese. Obesity is linked to many chronic diseases plaguing our society including cardiovascular disease, depression, and certain cancers.
- Don’t just move more, incorporate interval training. Bursts of working intensely for short periods of time alternating with short periods of rest boosts your metabolism for the whole day, helping you burn calories more efficiently. Check out this great resource form The American College of Sports Medicine on High Intensity Interval Training
- If you are not taking supplements currently, consider adding them to your diet. Our food supply has been depleted of essential nutrients due to commodity-based agriculture and the mass use of highly processed corn, wheat and soy in the foods stocking our grocery shelves. For quite some time I believed we could get all the nutrients we needed from the food we ate, unfortunately, things have changed. If you would like to know what supplements I would suggest for you, please contact me via my website. I have partnered with fullscript to provide my clients with medical-grade supplements at below-retail price. If you are currently taking supplements, consider the source. Many supplements have no controls or safety checks in place making their quality and safety highly questionable. A couple seals that are helpful to look for when shopping for supplements are USP (United States Pharmacopeia) certified or GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) certified. This ensures a supplement has been third party tested for potency, purity and identity.
- Practice mindfulness. Check out this article from Berkely on mindfulness Many of the steps to achieve mindfulness center around breathing exercises. Focused breathing connects you to the present moment thereby allowing you to calm the mind, achieve focus, and appreciate the happiness that surrounds you.
- Take steps to protect and heal your gut. Our gastrointestinal tract is critical to maintaining the health of multiple systems in our body. If your gut isn’t healthy you increase our risk for mental health problems, diabetes, obesity, certain types of cancer and more. If you frequently experience gastrointestinal problems such as constipation, diarrhea, gas, pain, and/or bloating, consider an elimination diet to see what foods might be injuring your intestine. I can help guide you through the process. Look into Promise of Vitality Functional Nutrition Services
- Eat clean. Read my blog on limiting highly processed foods
- Live clean. Read my blog on limiting exposure to toxins
- Eat more healthy fats. These include foods such as extra virgin olive oil, nuts, seeds, and avocados. For years we have been told to follow a low fat diet and what that has led to is us eating too much added sugar and sodium which has caused us to become fat and sick. These healthy fats will help keep you satisfied for a longer period of time so you are less likely to graze on carbohydrate laden foods throughout the day. Our intake of carbohydrates generally needs to decrease as we age because our ability to metabolize them drops as we age. Most adults have some form of insulin resistance that prevents us from effectively using the carbohydrates we consume for energy. Instead it gets stored as fat.
- Finally, do what you can to connect with people. Having support and love in our lives promotes health. Likewise, surrounding ourselves with individuals who value health and healthy living promotes healthy behaviors and choices. Health is contagious!
Wishing you a wonderful 2018 filled with health and vitality!