If you sampled 20 people an asked them what a healthy person does, they’d likely give you 20 different answers and all of them could be correct. Health is a complex, multi-faceted concept. To some it purely means “the absence of disease” and for others it means “living life at your fullest potential”. I side on the second description, even though the first is medically accurate. I’ve lived in the first definition of health my entire life, however, there is no doubt in my own experience that I was not healthy in this “absence of disease” state. My experience in the last decade working in the health field is that most of us walk around life feeling ok but very few of us walk around feeling happy and vibrant on a daily basis. These days, I do, and it makes me feel incredible. What’s even more incredible is that I get to share my knowledge and experience with you.
How can i feel happy and vibrant all the time? Now that’s twisting my words… I feel happy and vibrant on a daily basis but it doesn’t mean I feel happy and vibrant 24/7, 365 days of the year. There is a part of each day, no matter how bad, that I am able to come to a place of appreciation and love for myself and my surroundings. It’s the timeless idea of “finding the sliver lining”. This is not something that I’ve always done. It’s something that I have established though different holistic practices. I believe that gratitude and appreciation for life with all of it’s challenges is natural. I believe that in our fast-paced, modern world, finding the time to slow down, nourish our mind and nourish our body is very difficult. This makes the natural human desire to appreciate and feel grateful for their life situation very difficult.
So how do we nourish our body and mind? There are a few areas that I am constantly working to improve…
Nutrition, Movement, Spirituality
Sleep, Relationships, Environment
My goal is to give you my rules of powerful and vibrant health. These are 10 small daily rituals that leave me feeling proud of where I am and excited to see where I’m going.
Give Gratitude: When I’m still in bed, I thank God for giving me life. I then think of 3 things that I’m grateful for. Sometimes they are the same the entire week and sometimes I surprise myself with what pops into my head.
AM Hydration: I drink a tall glass of water. The more alkaline the better. When I started doing this consistently, I no longer had any desire to have a morning coffee and I felt just as energized as when I did. Adding in a slice of lemon or organic lemon juice concentrate is even better. This helps to set the alkalinity of the body first thing in the morning which promotes better digestion, elimination and cell functioning. I find starting the day with water also help prom the brain to remember water during the day. Putting it first highlights it’s importance in the brain and reminds us later on that it is necessary.
AM Movement: I try my best to get in movement within 2 hrs of waking. Sometimes I go for a run, sometimes I walk around my yard (checking the garden, feeding the chickens) and sometimes I do some sun salutations or 15 min of yoga. My body and my brain feel so much better when I get this in.
Eat My Greens: I track my daily consumption of greens. I notice a real difference in my body when I’m low on green leafy vegetables. If I’e had a rough time getting them in during the day, I will make myself a salad plus wilted greens (kale, collards or chard) for supper. If even that feels like it’s not enough, the next morning I will down a serving of a high quality organic greens powder. My aim is 5-8 servings a day. That’s not veggies. That’s not veggies and fruit. That’s only green vegetables.
Only Whole Foods: I stick to whole foods. That means foods from a grocery store that don’t have a wrapper. There are some exceptions to this definition like seeds, nuts and dried fruit. If I’m in a rush and stuck for food, I try to pick up a bag of cashews (without GMO oil), dried mangos (no added sulfites or sugar) or bananas instead of protein bars. I get plenty of protein at breakfast and super and most of those bars have added sweeteners and other icky fillers.
Daily Breathing: I do short breathing exercises in my car at lights or (very simple ones) while driving. This can mean taking 5-10 long deep slow breaths, doing 3 rounds of fire breath, practicing breath retention and even doing some bee breathing. I find this helps me decompress my day, decrease my impatience on the road and prepare me for busy nights. It is also very effective for me to do on my way to teach classes. It grounds me and relaxes me giving me a really clear head.
PM Communication Clearing: At the end of the night, I tend to take a quick survey of my day and check in to see if there are any things that have been “left unsaid”. This helps me with my communication skills and has helped me tremendously in my relationships. If the phrase “I really should’ve said…” or “I’m not sure if ____ understood what I was saying when” comes to mind, I take the time to send our a text or an email to explain my actions earlier in the day. If it’s my husband and we’re together, I obviously just tell him instead of texting. lol.
Clean My Environment: At the end of the night I walk through my house and eliminate any mess that I know will make me feel uneasy. For example, if my kitchen is a disaster, I usually feel like my life is unbalanced and I have way too much going on. If I’m able to keep it clean, internally I feel more balanced and at ease. It’s become a bit of a gauge for me. Clean kitchen=clear mind. I tend to be ok leaving some toys out or laundry unfolded. It doesn’t give me the same sense of uneasiness. All of us have different triggers in our home environment. I also try to remember to water the plants (this helps with air quality) and I only use natural body care products to remove my make-up, brush my teeth, help in skincare etc.
Sleep: Getting enough sleep is critical to my energy and brain function. I will let my house become a disaster before I loose hours on sleep. I will leave emails and “to-do tasks” to get to bed. If I don’t, I’m miserable, I make bad food choices, I use stimulants which leave my stomach upset and my heart rate jittery and I will often say things that I have to resolve later. The amount of hours is so dependent on the person and the season. I need more sleep during the winter months when I get surrounded by viruses that my immune system needs to battle. I need less in the summer. I need more during periods that are demanding on my creativity or when I am learning tons of new material. I need less when I’m eating well and exercising moderately. I need more during pregnancy. I need less on vacation (I know, weird). Getting to know your sleep needs can really change your mood and perception of stress. Most adults fall in the spectrum of 7-9hrs. If you feel like you need more than 9 and you are still tiered, this can mean something else is going on. If you feel you are fine operating on less than 7, you might actually be accelerate aging and burn out. To find out your needs, find a day or 2 during the week when you are able to go to bed around 10pm and wake up naturally. If you feel alert for the rest of the day, this is likely a good amount of sleep for your set of variable (workload, season, activity etc).
More Fat, Less Grain: The last personal tip that I’d like to share is the most recent shift that I’ve made that has lead to the biggest energy increases. I shifted my thinking around nutrition and switched to a higher fat and low grain diet. This went against all of my university learning. If completely challenged the Canadian food guide which has been stuffed down my throat since childhood but WOW has it made a difference. I needed to really learn why people were preaching this kind of diet so I dug into multiple physiology talks and articles to back up this new shift in eating. The research was compelling enough for me to change. I eat plenty of good fats and oils. This feeds my body energy, some of which can completely by-pass storage (grains need to go into storage (aka. fat) before you can use them). When I eat this way (more fat), I feel less hungry and do not reach for grains to attempt to sustain me or provide energy for exercise. My fats of choice are coconut oil, grass fed butter, grapeseed oil, avocado oil and olive oil. Now, if I go through a few days of increased grain consumption, my lethargy goes way up and my energy and motivation steadily declines. For carbs I consume lots of veggies, fruits, squashes, mushrooms and sweet potatoes. These all have a slower sugar release and help to keep my body and more importantly, my mood, stable. It also LARGELY curbed and eliminated my desire for evening snacking.
These are most definitely my #1 tips for pure powerful living. Try them out. Keep a log of how you felt before you started and how you feel each day after practicing them. Give yourself a 21 day challenge. Experts say if take 21 days to form a habit. If you can incorporate these tips for 21 days, I guarantee that your health will feel vibrant and every day you will have at least one moment of pure happiness.
Love and Light