Experts agree - it's the small habits that form your daily routine that will make you reach your goals, not crash diets! Here are 30 tips that will renovate your health.
Want 2017 to be your happiest, healthiest year yet? No matter what stage you are on the journey to wellness, it’s never too late to start forming new habits. It could be something such as adding meat-free days to your weekly routine (eating too much meat can increase your risk of disease and lead to long-term weight gain) and include more delicious vegetarian recipe options.
Here are 30 tips from Sydney's top wellness experts on how you can be the best version of you and glow from the inside out.
1. Eat more nuts
According to research, those who eat nuts on a regular basis (more than three times per week) weigh less than their nut-free counterparts. Nuts are also loaded with protein, vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acids, zinc and selenium, nutrients that help to protect your skin from dryness, sun damage and premature ageing. So if you’re looking to slim down this year and want to care for your skin, nuts are a great choice. The Nude Nutritionist Lyndi Polivnick APDN suggests swapping your post-workout protein bar for a handful of mixed nuts or add seeds and nuts to your morning yoghurt or muesli for an extra hit of nutrition.
2. Start each week with an outdoor training session
First thing on a Monday morning, says Personal Trainer Kirsty Welsh. The combination of fresh air and endorphins can make an extraordinary difference to your health, increasing your energy levels and overall feelings of wellbeing.
3. Get your Vitamin D naturally
Kinesiologist Dr Kate Wood says 10 minutes of full sun exposure every day increases your natural vitamin D production. Be sure to get your tummy out in the sun as you have lots of Vitamin D receptors there too! Sitting in the sun behind glass (like in a car or window) does not give you the same effect.
4. Load up on avocado
Avocado is a wonderful fruit to eat and versatile too, not only in your morning smoothie. Did you know that it makes the perfect chocolate mousse? Author Lee Holmes suggests adding half an avo, a tablespoon of cacao powder, a tablespoon of chia seeds and ¼ cup coconut milk and blend until creamy.
5. Stop comparing yourself to others
We all have different rates of progress but we look at others and want to be like them. If you set achievable goals then it’s going to be easier to get positive long term results, says Lee Holmes. Say for example you want to cut down on eating processed foods. Maybe try to eat one fresh meal a day and see how you go with that. Then, once you have achieved that goal, stop and think about how much better you feel inside.
6. Swap coffee for a morning juice
Start the New Year by swapping your morning coffee with a morning juice. Your adrenals will thank you for it and you will still get that energy hit but it will be a clean version. Try to make or find cold press juice for maximum benefit. Instead of an espresso try a shot of wheatgrass, lemon and apple cold pressed juice for a healthy buzz. For more ideas head to Vitality 4 Life.
7. Swap margarine for butter
Margarine is made from vegetable oils, which are oils extracted from seeds like rapeseed (canola oil), soybean, corn, sunflower, safflower etc. What many people don’t know is that these oils (unlike butter and coconut oil) can’t be extracted naturally or cold pressed, the oil must be removed using heating and many toxic chemicals, says Kinesiologist Dr Kate Wood. To make margarine, these oils are extracted under high heat and pressure, hydrogenated (so margarine can harden), steam cleaned (extracting vitamins and anti-oxidant but don't worry it leaves the pesticides there!), emulsified (smoothing the lumps), steamed and deodorised (removing the smell) and then bleached (removing the charming grey colour).
8. Snack smart
Snacking throughout the day can result in eating too many calories or grabbing the first thing available. A great way to create healthy snacks is a Food Dehydrator. These easy to use at home appliances can activate nuts for easier digestion, make healthy home-made yoghurt, create really tasty chips out of a kale leaf and dehydrate fruits that still retain loads of flavour and are 100% natural. For more ideas head to Vitality 4 Life.
9. Enjoy a cup of green tea after breakfast, lunch and dinner
It’s high in antioxidants and can help increase your metabolic rate, says The Fit Foodie Sally O'Neil.
10. Look after your gut
Your body is it's own ecosystem. You are a walking bacteria colony and you must keep them happy, starting with your gut. All systems in the body are linked to your digestion, so keeping your gut flora healthy keeps the rest of your system functioning optimally, especially the brain. Happy bacteria equals a happy life! So make sure to include a good probiotic (powder, dairy-free yoghurt, kefir, kombucha) and other fermented foods as part of your regular routine, says Health and Wellness Facilitator Hannah Ubi.
11. Keep moving
Decrease in skeletal muscle mass is one of the biggest contributors to mortality, says Kinesiologist Dr Kate Wood. Find something you like to do as you are more likely to stick to it. If you have a sedentary job then get a step counter to help make you aware of your activity. Some easy tips include to walk to or from work (or park further away if you have to drive so you still get a walk), exercise with a friend as its more social and you can keep yourselves more accountable, take the stairs instead of the escalator and incorporate exercises like one leg standing and wall sits into your daily routine (e.g. while doing your teeth or waiting for the printer!)
12. Avoid cooking with olive oil!
Once heated, olive oil becomes rancid and is very bad for you. Stick to butter, ghee and coconut oil for cooking and use olive oil as a dressing instead, says Kinesiologist Dr Kate Wood.
13. Use a tongue scraper first thing upon rising every morning
The Ayurvedic self-care ritual known as ‘tongue scraping’, is an oral hygiene practice that removes bacteria, fungi and toxins from the surface of the tongue. This is a simple and affordable daily detoxification practice that is essential for good health, says Renee Leonard Stainton.
14. Avoid refined olive oils
Olive oil is only good for you in it most pure form. Cold pressed extra virgin olive oil means it comes from the FIRST press of the olives, heat has not been used (heat changes the chemistry of olive oil) and no chemical processes have been used to extract the oil. Please note that oils labelled as pure olive oil, olive oil, 100% olive oil or light olive oil are all REFINED oils which are no longer good for you, so read the labels carefully, says Kinesiologist Dr Kate Wood.
15. Add dry body brushing to your routine and reap the benefits
Our skin is our largest organ and plays an important role in elimination of toxins. Use a natural bristle brush with a long handle on dry skin, working in circular upward motions, starting from the ankles and then working upwards to the heart. For your back, brush from the neck down to the lower back. Shower afterwards to wash away dead skin cells and toxins. Not only will dry brushing help to break down unwanted toxins, it will shed dead skin cells resulting in smoother, brighter skin, and it feels amazing. For other ideas head to Vitality 4 Life.
16. Live in the moment
Practice bringing your awareness to your breath from the moment you awake. Watch your day unfold from a more effortless space as you observe your thoughts rather than be in them, says Jamie Gonzalez.
17. Make your own almond milk as a dairy alternative
It’s yummy, cheap, quick and easy! Simply soak your almonds for 24-48 hours, throw them in the blender and then strain the milk through some cloth! It also leaves you with some almond meal to bulk up your cooking, says Kinesiologist Dr Kate Wood.
18. Supercharge your goals
When setting your goals, the most important thing is to ensure that you create a truly powerful vision of the end result, says Personal Trainer James Anderson. We think in pictures, not in words, so make sure to use descriptive words that create a powerful image of what it is that you want to bring into your life.
19. Drink more water
Your body is more than 70% water so if you are dehydrated many of the important functions like methylation and detoxification don’t work optimally. If you are stressed, sick, injured or sweat a lot then the rule of thumb is 43ml of water per kilogram of bodyweight per day! 35ml per kilogram of bodyweight as maintenance. Ideally drink filtered water but quantity over a quality to get started, says Kinesiologist Dr Kate Wood.
20. Invest in a water filter
We all know we should drink more of the good stuff, a water filter ensures you are getting the most out of your H2O intake. Excess heavy metals and various pollutants in drinking water can lead to health concerns so do your research and invest in a water filter. Not only will you get great tasting, healthy water, you will be benefiting the environment at the same time by reducing bottled water consumption. For more ideas head to Vitality 4 Life.
21. Kick start your digestion
Start every morning with a glass of warm water mixed with two teaspoons of Apple Cider Vinegar which will kick start your digestion, help to detoxify your system, aid in weight loss and keeps blood sugar levels stable. For other ideas check out Health Coach and Wellness Blogger Brenda Janschek.
22. Learn to meditate
High stress levels can leave muddy footprints in our mind and body, making it challenging to be happy and make healthy choices. Cleanse your mind and start each morning fresh with 5 minutes of mindful breathing, says Personal Trainer Kirsty Welsh.
23. Avoid industrial seed / vegetable oils
Kinesiologist Dr Kate Wood says industrial oils such as sunflower, safflower, cottonseed, corn, canola and soybean have not been part of our diet historically but they have been promoted as “healthy” to many unsuspecting consumers. NIH researcher Joseph Hibbeln has published a few research papers saying that the increased consumption of industrial oils is one huge big human experiment to which he believes without a doubt the results directly contribute to the increase in violence, depression, cardiovascular mortality and inflammatory disease.
24. Plan a realistic time frame to accomplish your goals and track your progress
You may want to write down your eating goals and post them on the fridge to serve as a great reminder and motivator. Author Lee Holmes likes to post recipes on the fridge that she knows are healthy and ensures she has all of the necessary ingredients at hand so she won't have any excuses not to eat well.
25. Always carry a high protein snack with you
Think nuts, hard boiled eggs or homemade protein balls. They will stop you from reaching for unhealthier alternatives while you’re on the run, says The Fit Foodie Sally O'Neil.
26. Add 1 tablespoon of coconut oil to your (herbal) tea each day
Coconut oil helps reduce sugar cravings, aids in weight loss, boosts energy, enhances the immune system, supports thyroid function, assists in balancing gut flora and aids digestion, says Cassandra Michelin.
27. Minimise your bread intake
If you must eat bread then go for a sprouted bread, which is mildly alkaline and easier to digest as the seeds have been sprouted before cooking. If these are hard to find go for wraps instead of sandwiches and look for yeast free/gluten free varieties. Sourdough is low GI so is a much better option too, says Kinesiologist Dr Kate Wood.
28. Add more anti-inflammatory foods to your diet
When I adopted an anti-inflammatory diet, almost straight away I noticed small changes like my skin was more radiant, my hair shinier and nails stronger, says Author Lee Holmes. Anti-inflammatory foods that you can begin to include in your diet are ones that are rich in Omega 3’s such as sardines, mackerel, salmon and tuna and good fats such as flaxseed oil and chia oil.
29. Find balance
The one thing that will create a healthy happy 2015 is finding balance in your life. Balance in your exercise routine, eating habits, work schedule, relationships and within yourself. Sometimes we put too much energy into certain areas of our life or perhaps too little and it can create physical or mental stress on our bodies. If its anything you do in 2015...find that right balance that makes you fart rainbows!! For more ideas head to Mental Foodies.
30. Ditch the scales
Obsessing over the number on the scales can be detrimental to your mental health. It's important to remember that muscle weighs more than fat, so while you're reaping the benefits of your exercise regime, you're lead into the false belief you're gaining weight. Instead, go by how your clothes feel on - are your jeans or skirt suddenly tight? And go by the mirror.