Well, the days are finally getting longer, but we still have plenty of winter left. It’s great to stock up on healthy cold season healing alternatives, vitamin C or zinc lozenges, but an ounce or two of prevention is a good rule to follow.
Here are a few of my favorite suggestions towards a healthier winter:
1. An inexpensive pedometer is a great investment. Studies show that regular walking is a beneficial, low impact exercise, and a goal of 10,000 steps each day is a reasonable goal. Pedometers make great stocking stuffers for those on your shopping list that may need a bit more incentive to get moving. On my work days, I easily pass this mark, and I always feel better than those ”couch potato” days.
2. Use lavender in its many forms. Try using lavender essential oil in an essential oil diffuser, and enjoy the relaxing benefits. Dried lavender flowers can be used in a sachet under your pillow to help you relax or sleep. The oil can be used topically for rashes and acne, and in a tea it can help settle your stomach. Add some dried lavender flowers into your oatmeal with some blueberries and butter for a healthy fragrant breakfast.
3. Raise your hands if you ”multitask” while eating. Try an ”eating meditation” meal. This only requires your presence, good food and the time to enjoy the meal without talking or multi-tasking. Chew each bite thoroughly, savor the flavors, and focus on the health benefits of what you are eating. Try this during as many meals as possible, feel better, eat less and digest more! Chewing your food thoroughly is one of the best ways to support a healthy digestive system. A side effect may be healthier weight!
4. Include ground flax or chia seeds in your diet, both are great sources of Omega-3 essential fatty acids. Add these seeds to cooked oatmeal, smoothies or salads. Essential fatty acids are fats we must have in our diets since we cannot produce them otherwise (and we really need them). Research shows that flax seeds, besides being anti-inflammatory, may also help reduce the risk of diabetes.
5. Try homeopathic remedies. They are amongst the safest choices for your self-healing without side effects. These remedies are available at our local stores that sell nutritional supplements, and many of their staff members are trained to help you find the best products. A popular flu remedy is Oscillococcinum, by Boiron, which has been shown effective for reducing the severity of flu symptoms.
6. Drink some green or white tea each day. All green and white teas are loaded with antioxidant polyphenols called catachins. A particular catachin EGCG, (epigallocatachin gallate), is the key to teas’ anti-cancer benefits. So popular is this particular constituent (EGCG), it is also available in capsule form at health food stores. To avoid a bitter taste, steep your green tea gently (in water temp. of 140-185 degrees) for only a couple of minutes, then enjoy!
7. Another great beverage choice is chamomile tea. Chamomile has long been a popular remedy for indigestion and stress, and can be helpful for menstrual cramps. Cooled chamomile tea is also an effective mouthwash. Steep chamomile flowers for 2-4 minutes, any longer will bring out a bitter taste. Avoid chamomile if you have ragweed allergy.
8. Drink pure water. A rule of thumb is to drink half your body weight in ounces of water daily. If you drink bottled fruit juice, sodas, black/green tea or coffee, which are all diuretics, drink extra water to make up for the lost fluids.
9. Get regular exercise. A 20-minute walk at least three times a week is a great start. Try walking the track your local school during some of our periodic dry(er) weather or walk a few laps at the mall. (Use the pedometer mentioned above)
10. Try flower essences, which are useful balance remedies. Keep the popular Rescue Remedy flower essence blend handy in the glove box and first aid kit for stressful situations for you, your family and your pets.
11. Our winter days are shorter and darker, make sure you have full spectrum lighting in your rooms. This is a simple way to fight the winter doldrums. For improved sleep, make sure your bedrooms are dark. Banish those bright digital clocks to other rooms in the house.
12. Use non-toxic body care products. We absorb as much as 60 percent of the chemicals present in many soaps, shampoos, etc. Check out www.ewg.org for healthier choices.
13. Try oil pulling with organic unrefined coconut oil for a gentle cleanse and whiter healthier teeth. Oil pulling works by detoxing or cleansing the body through your mouth, removing disease-promoting toxins, allowing the body to heal itself and improving health problems of all types. Swish a teaspoon of coconut oil when you first awake for 20 minutes, spit out the oil and rinse your mouth with warm salt water.
14. Add spices such as cayenne to your foods. Besides adding flavor, cayenne is warming, pain relieving and will support healthy circulation. Cayenne is a styptic ingredient and can be used on a cut to stop bleeding, a great addition to your first aid kit as well as your kitchen.
15. Reduce white refined sugar, refined salt and flour in your diet. If it is white, it has had most of the important nutrients removed. Use whole grains, sea salt with specks of color (trace minerals), and use stevia, raw honey or pure maple syrup as sweeteners.
16. To quote author and healthy food expert, Michael Pollan, ”Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.”
These are just a few tips towards a healthier winter. For additional tips, schedule a free coaching session with me; just come in or call for an appointment. Salud!