However, there is a silver lining!
Each one of us has the power to ignite a wellness revolution in our homes today! Today you can change. Today you can alter what you buy at the grocery store (or farmers market). Today you can learn to live like you really mean it and inspire and teach others to do the same. You are the one that gets to take care of the brilliant, strong and capable YOU!
I propose the following guiding principles to incorporate into your lifestyle to help make simple health habits stick and to make a huge impact in your life and the life of your loved ones and the lives of all of us on this planet!
1. Get back to nature!
Grow a garden if space allows. Pledge to eat organic when possible. Say ‘no’ to the pesticides that not only kill pests, but leach into the ground water and cause disease and death in the surrounding animal and human communities. There are over 80,000 chemicals in our world today. All of them stress our livers and immune systems. Do yourself a break and reduce your exposure where you can.
2. Create an anti-inflammatory diet.
Inflammation is the leading cause of pain in the body. Do you know the most common foods that cause inflammation? Wheat, gluten, dairy, meat, sugar, coffee, soda, energy drinks, alcohol and processed foods. Learn how to replace these food and drinks with healthier alternatives (maybe even hire a holistic nutritionist to help you out!).
3. Did you know green is the new black?
A nutrient dense green juice or green smoothie is a great way to start your day. It’ll give you a boost of energy via vitamins and minerals that are alkalizing to your body. Instead of your morning cup of coffee, reach for a fresh vegetable juice or smoothie to rev up your engine! There are plenty of great juicers and blenders out there. I personally prefer the Vitamix for all my blending needs. Still not ready to replace that caffeine boost yet? Well how about a compromise: blend up a chai (or black tea) with almond milk and a banana.
4. Drink lots of clean, purified water.
And no, tap water does not count as clean. It’s loaded with fluoride and plenty of other chemicals deemed as ‘safe’ that you certainly do not want in your body. Look to drink around 2 liters of water a day. Think about freshening it up by adding a squeeze of fresh lemon (or lemon essential oil), a couple peppermint leaves (or peppermint essential oil), or a couple of slices of fresh cucumber.
5. Decrease the amount of animal products you eat (especially dairy).
Animal products bring a whole host of disease, parasites, and chemicals with them. They also have an acidic end product, which is not favorable to our alkaline bodies. And, studies have shown that the more animal products we ingest, the more our chronic disease rates soar. Click here for more information about that last one. Just begin by reducing your meat and dairy consumption to 2 or 3 times a week, instead of 2 or 3 times a day.
6. Ditch refined sugars and refined products.
Michael Pollan said it best, “If it comes from a plant, eat it. If it’s made in a plant, don’t.” Most, if not all, products created in a factory are not suitable for human consumption. Bologna and kraft singles on white bread? Are you kidding me? Most refined products are loaded with sugar and salt. White sugar fuels cancer and candida, it spikes your blood sugar, it impairs your immune system and actually robs your system of minerals. Table salt raises blood pressure, causes weight gain, and is generally toxic to the body.
7. Move your body!
There are plenty of ways to move -- just make sure it feels good to you! Walk, run, bike, do yoga, kick-box, dance, skip, jump, hike, whatever it is just do it 5 days a week for 30 minutes each time!
8. You are what you eat and what you don’t poop.
It’s funny, and it’s true. Whatever you eat gets absorbed into your body to make new cells. Whatever you don’t poop out gets impacted into your colon and prevents absorption of minerals into your body. Do yourself a favor, make colon irrigation and/or enemas part of your spring (and summer, and fall, and winter) cleaning. Check out Puma St. Angel’s video on how to do an enema at home. They really aren’t as scary as they sound.
9. Use natural hair and skin care products.
Your skin is your largest organ of detoxification. Let me repeat that: YOUR SKIN IS YOUR LARGEST ORGAN OF DETOXIFICATION. Everything you put on your skin is going to be absorbed into your body. If you’re putting toxic chemicals ON your body, they are going to end up IN your body. Then your liver and kidneys have to work hard at removing them out of your body. Allow your skin and liver to stay friends and buy organic skin care products. Or, did you know you can even make your own! Click here to learn how! It’s really easy.
10. Chill out!
Stress is the number one cause of illness in the body. It suppresses all systems and puts your body on red alert! Think about ways to help you de-stress including: yoga, meditation, deep breathing exercises, journaling, prayer, and time in nature.
11. Get your ZZZs.
When we sleep our body detoxifies. It also gives all of our major systems a chance to take a break. Do yourself a favor. Try to get to bed by 10pm each night and stay in bed until 6am.
12. Chew first.
Then swallow. Your stomach doesn’t have teeth. Step one of digestion is actually to chew your food enough that it becomes liquid (or close to it) in your mouth. And don’t eat late. Your body needs to detoxify at night, not digest. Not to mention that your digestive system needs a break now and again. Which leads me to my next point...
Yes, take a day a week or a day a month to completely abstain from eating. Studies show that people who regularly fast actually live longer! Refraining from eating for 24 hours (but ingesting only water or vegetable juices) actually frees up about 70% of your available energy!! Know what this energy goes towards?? Making you feel better. Your body allocates the energy normally used for digestion towards other areas of the body that need healing energy.
14. Make time for fun.
What do you enjoy? Make sure you are doing it. Laughter is great for the immune system. And deep belly laughter is fantastic for strong abdominal muscles.
15. Educate yourself!
Don’t just believe what I say. And don’t just believe what your friends, family or the TV says. Do the research and find out for yourself what your truth is. Let go of the old paradigm of how we think about illness. Did you know that vegetable juice feasting has actually cured cases of cancer?! It has and it most certainly will continue to do so.
16. Detox regularly.
I like to do one large cleanse with the changing of each season. That’s four a year. There are plenty of ways to clean your body (and your mind). And don’t stop there. Clean our your closet, your home, your office and your car! A bunch of ‘junk’ energetically clogs us up. Create space by detoxifying your body, mind, and personal space.
17. Build a support system.
This one I cannot stress enough. My support system includes a chiropractor, acupuncturist, massage therapist, life coach, business coach, yoga teachers and personal trainers. Our bodies are complex systems. We need a pitt crew to keep them running efficiently!
18. Take your health on the road.
Learn about how to easily bring your healthy lifestyle with you. Read about super foods that travel.
19. Surround yourself with love!
That’s right, keep yourself surrounded by positive, loving and uplifting individuals! Anybody that isn’t making the cut? Simply bless them and move on. You deserve to be around those that make you a better person.
20.Think happy thoughts.
I know, I know, it sounds a bit corny. But the thoughts in your mind actually can influence your life!! Read more. And that’s it. If you start embracing any (or hopefully all) of these wellness concepts, you are well on your way to being a happier, healthier and brighter individual!!
(Inspired by Crazy, Sexy Kris Carr -- check her out!)
Erin Schumacher is a Certified Natural Health and Holistic Nutrition Practitioner (CNHP; CHNP) She specializes in detoxification programs, internal cleanses, and helping clients build strong immune systems. She also travels internationally to do raw food workshops, yoga retreats, and personal coaching. In addition, Erin is a Certified Power Yoga Instructor and a Certified Raw Food Chef from the SunKitchen. For more information, visit PureRadiantSelf.com.