It’s that time of year again… kids are preparing to return to school, and our summer energy is winding down as is the sun. We’re ready to put away our party spirit and get back onto a routine, which often involves reprioritizing our health goals!
This September, I invite you to get back to the basics – in regards to your health. Instead of signing up for a high intensity workout routine or filling your grocery basket with the latest fancy “super foods” that you can’t even pronounce (let alone know what to do with!), concentrate on developing a rock solid foundation by incorporating these basic strategies – the pillars to any wellness plan:
1. Go to bed on time
Sleep gives our bodies the opportunity to rest and repair, and is therefore crucial for longevity. Without proper sleep, our brain feels tired and cannot cope with day-to-day stresses as easily. And a tired brain craves sugar. What a way to shoot your health goals in the foot! Because the brain operates on glucose, it will release a hormone when it’s tired that causes us to seek out high sugar foods! To keep with our natural circadian rhythm, it is recommended to be asleep by 10:30, and not a minute after.
How to start? Figure out what time you naturally go to bed and work on moving it 30 minutes earlier every day for a week. Repeat this until you’re in bed by 10:00.
2. Drink water
Water is more essential to our health than any other nutrient but is too often overlooked. Water is the body’s transportation system, travelling our body’s highways to deliver nutrients to each and every cell, and pick up toxins to excrete them from our body. So help your hardworking circulatory system out and give it a healthy dose of water every day.
How do you know what’s enough? Aim for six to eight glasses a day, but your urine should be a light straw yellow colour.
3. Chew your food
Chewing your food sets the stage for the rest of digestion to occur. From absorbing nutrients to excreting toxins via the bowels, chewing starts off the chain reaction for the rest of the digestive tract to work! So take the time to chew your food, very well.
How many chews to aim for? Your food should be like liquid when you swallow it. Start by counting how many chews per bite you naturally take. Then aim to increase it by five chews. The following week, add another five chews per bite. Continue this until you’re “drinking your solids.”
If these basic principles aren’t motivating enough, you can also add something new to your routine to give you the inspiration you need to reignite your health goals! Pick one new item from the grocery store (but don’t fill up your cart with too many new things, as they’ll only overwhelm you in the kitchen). It could be nutritional yeast sprinkled on organic popcorn if you’d like to incorporate more b vitamins and protein into your diet, or kombucha if you’d like to add a healthful, fermented beverage to your meals. Or maybe it’s trying out coconut aminos in place of soy sauce if you’d like to work on balancing your hormones.
Whatever you decide with your wellness plan, keep it simple and make it achievable. Start with one principle goal, and add a new one when the first has been achieved. No health plan (or anything in life for that matter) can last on a rocky foundation. So I hope the above inspires you to stick with the basics and witness for yourself what a profound basic things can make.