*Warning: curse-words below.
I consider myself a relatively realistic healthy person, if that’s a thing.
I eat pretty clean, but I also adore craft beer. I exercise daily, but I also love a good Sunday nap. I have a fetish for all things grammar, but curse like a sailor. So, you know: balance.
It’s my jam.
Through my professional and personal studies—learning, reading, practising, and good old fashioned trial and error, I’ve uncovered the simple truth that no dieting company really wants you to know:
Being healthy is ridiculously easy.
As in, not complicated or expensive, and even more simple than a meal delivery system. It is, quite simply, a series of a few key choices in your day-to-day habits.
Here are my top ten most immediately impactful and user friendly suggestions.
The Healthy Shit List:
1. Eat Real Food.
If you’re reading this, you probably already know the hazards of processed food. You might understand how the more a food is processed the more energetic and nutritional value it loses, therefore the lower the benefit to your body. And yet, come snack time, I’ll bet you’re headed straight to the wholegrain, agave-sweetened, fiber bar, because it’s fast. And healthy, like it says on the label.
Except it’s not.
See above. That’s not real food, as I’m explaining. Ditto for the low-fat, all-natural quick and easy processed product packing fifteen ingredients with more syllables than a Mary Poppins song.
Walk away from the wrapper. Choose something that is in (or close to) its original form. Find an apple. Eat some nut butter that’s made from—only nuts. Slice up some cucumbers and drizzle with lemon juice and olive oil.
Taste the rainbow, but um, not the kind that comes with a monogram.
2. Don’t like vegetables? Drink cold-pressed juice. Like vegetables? Drink cold-pressed juice. Don’t G.A.F? Drink cold-pressed juice.
This is not just the most amazing thing that has ever happened to my digestive system, it’s also the most produce my body has ever had on a daily consistent basis. Like, ever, ever.
I get my juice from a local small business that uses all organic vegetables and (very little) fruit to bottle juice that pack six pounds of produce in one bottle. I’ve replaced my morning meal with a green juice and a nut milk or blended upgraded coffee similar to Bulletproof coffee, and I feel amazing.
Skin, energy, digestion, well-being, you name it—it’s been improved since I starting drinking cold pressed juice every day.
Two things to note: First, cold pressed juice offers different benefits than juicing using a Vitamix or similar blender. These are two entirely different processes. Second, juice can be expensive ($10 a bottle and up) but many locally owned places offer a chance to work for free juice, so you get to learn how the juice is made while you scrub (these) beets for four hours, and walk home with a week’s worth of happiness in a bottle.
Win. Win. #Winning.
3. Eat, drink or swallow your vitamins.
I’m not talking Flinstones chewables here, friends. Nor am I talking about that crap on the shelves of every major “nutritional” store. I’m talking high quality, high potency, legitimate vitamins, minerals, omegas and aminos.
Pay up for the good shit and your return on investment will show up via deposits of energy, clearer skin (and thereby fewer make-up purchases), an elevated and stable mood, fewer illnesses and ailments and healthier digestion (so, like, less crap in your body. Literally).
Vitamins, it’s what’s (be)for(e) breakfast.
4. Ditch your car.
So, guess what? Before there were cars, and saddles, and wagons and wheels in general, we had this amazing mode of transportation available for our use at any given time. In Sanskrit, we’d call these your hastas, in Spanish, los pies, and in English—yeah, your feet.
Walking. It’s a real thing. Try it. Often. To coffee. To lunch. To work. To pick your kids up from school. After dinner.
It is the simplest, easiest, most generally accessible tool we have available and offers more gentle and direct benefits to the body than nearly any other form of exercise. Want to up your game? Ride a unicycle. Want to be more practical? Go for something with two wheels, brakes, handlebars and pedals. Want to really get fancy? Ride your bike to public transportation, take the light rail, ride to work from there, lock it up then take the stairs up to your office.
You have lots of places to go: use your own motor.
5. Laugh with (not at) other people.
Name the last time you belly-laughed with your best friend. Now name the last time it was over conversation, and not while staring passively at a screen.
Laughter is soul medicine. Conversation, connection and joy bring our chakras into balance, give our endorphins a giant high five, fill us up with life energy and get our blood moving. Plus, depending on the company, you might even get a decent ab workout. Shut down so you can check in—engage in real life conversation, experience the give and take of dialogue and find out what the man behind the tweet is actually saying.
Trade the emoticons for some real life emotions.
6. Yin yoga.
Oversimplified, this means taking long, deep, quiet stretching poses. For serious.
It’s very simple, you can do it at home, on your office floor, in the car, on an airplane—ahem, speaking from experience here. Even if you only take ten minutes of your day to do three poses, Yin yoga offers the opportunity to break up connective tissue that’s impacting your range of mobility and flexibility, move stuck energy, and hit deep relaxation. It improves sleep, digestion, mobility, and best of all, your attitude.
If you want to move better, hold still for a little while.
Two minutes of silence. This, you can do. Don’t even start with me. Actually, no, do start. Just not the whining, more of the sitting and the nothing and the quiet. This is legitimately life changing shit. So like—do it.
Sit down, shut down and be in it.
8. Move it on out, every single day.
When we experience stress or trauma we store it in our tissues, and it can manifest as illness or physical pain and suffering. The best way to release it is to literally shake it out of your body.
This means we don’t avoid it by pretending it didn’t happen, but we don’t feed it either by giving it power and making it the big fucking deal of the day. Simply recognize what’s come into your space, acknowledge what’s bothering you, feel into it and move it out with breath and movement. Yoga is great for this, as is dance, obviously. Running might be a good option for others. Even going to the batting cages can provide an somatic release.
Whatever you do, don’t be an ostrich, shake your tail-feather.
9. Go the Fuck to Sleep.
Yes, this is the name of a hysterical children’s book.
It’s also real, true, legitimate advice. No matter how you justify it, you are literally stealing from tomorrow’s happiness by skipping rest at night. Your brain, your endocrine system and your sympathetic nervous system, just to name a few, all depend on adequate rest. Lack of sleep results in decreased function, productivity, energy and eventually, happiness. It makes us more susceptible to injury and illness, encourages swelling, poor eating habits and confusion.
All of this, as you well know, puts you in direct alignment to become Captain Crankypants by noon. Lay down, turn the lights out and get some rest.
If you don’t protect your sleep time, who will?
10. Drink lots water.
Not eight-glasses-lots (that’s not actually that much), but like, actually a lot of water. I know you know this. I also know you’ve come up with reasons why you can’t, don’t or won’t. Better hydration, clearer glowing skin, fewer toxins in the body, more energy, a clearer mind—nothing I have to say here about the benefits of getting more H2O in your life is particularly novel.
Except, quit making excuses and just drink more fucking water.
Author: Michelle Sweezey
Editor: Khara-Jade Warren
Image: The Casas-Rodríguez Postcard Collection/ Flickr