I’m always curious as to how I can easily improve my health, and I know one of the most powerful ways to improve health is by choosing what to eat. I know variety is the spice of life and that includes a wide variety of vegetables. So we eat on average 21 meals in 7 days (unless you’re intermittent fasting….more on that in another post) and I want to review the current variety of vegetables I eat in an average week and see if I fall short of 21 different vegetables. So here goes
- Baby spinach
- Sweet potato
- Alfalfa sprouts
- Snow peas
So I’ve listed my most common vegetables that I would purchase on an average week (mainly organic) and I’m eating two thirds of the concept of 21 different vegetables in a week! This makes me think what can I add to improve this variety. Here goes:
- Asparagus (although seasonal)
- Spring onion
- Bean sprouts
- Bok choy
So if you have a think about your usual favourite vegetables you buy/grow on a weekly basis, are you getting close to a variety of 21 vegetables? What extra/different veggies might you add to your weekly shop to increase the variety?
And why is it recommended to have a wide variety of vegetables in our nutritional intake?
Well each different vegetable provides different nutritional benefits to us, so to optimise our cellular needs through what we eat, we need a good variety of vegetables on a regular basis.
Sleep is the number one medicine everyone should be taking!
I highly recommend a good intake/dose/amount of sleep every night. Research shows on average we are sleeping 2-3 hours LESS per night than in the 1980s – that is a big loss of sleep over 365 days.
So why is sleep so important for good health? While we sleep our brain cleans out metabolic waste products, so we can think more clearly, create more memories and be more engaged with what we do. The most important time to have undisturbed sleep is from 11pm to 3am.
Why do so many people have sleep issues?
I believe there are a whole range of reasons for this including lifestyle, nutrition, stress and environmental. Firstly I strongly believe and have read the research on the impact of screen time on our health. This has been a big change in our daily routine over the past decade and a half since portable devices have become easily available. So what is the issue with screens in the evening? Our screens emit blue light which is part of the natural light spectrum. Blue light tells our brains it is daytime and that we should be awake and not be producing melatonin (our go to sleep hormone). So by using a blue light emitting device right up until you close your eyes (your head may already be on the pillow!), your brain is wired and active and takes longer to relax into the restful state.
What can you do to help your body and mind settle into sleep better?
There are a range of supportive measures you can use:
- Avoid using technology including tv, computers, ipads and phones for 90 minutes before bed.
- Avoid overhead light globes and use warm lighting for example salt lamps or warm globes.
- Buy some blue-light blocking glasses if you must use a screen late in the evening.
- Use a screen dimming application on your computer for example f.lux, to decrease the blue light emitted from the screen – it looks slightly yellow.
- Use the Twilight mode with an Android phone and Night Shift with an iPhone to automatically dim your screen from 7pm to 7am.
- Go for a morning walk to get sunlight on your retinas (back of your eyes). Sunlight is a trigger for our circadian rhythm and if you teach your body when it is morning and time to be up and active, it will help train it to slow down and rest in the evening. Failing time to have a walk, even 5 minutes outside for your morning cuppa is beneficial.
If you can improve your sleep you will notice changes in your health in as little as 24-48 hours. It is fundamental to good health and there is no medicine that can replace regular restorative sleep.
Are you aware that your surroundings may contribute to you and your family’s health? An important part of maintaining and restoring good health is to address your environment and the impact it can have on a cellular level.
Potential sources of toxins I commonly find in clients seen in clinic include:
- water supply
- chemicals used for cleaning in the home
- gardening supplies
- furniture which can release toxins, called “off-gassing” which can be harmful particularly when the item is brand new
So what can you do to help your body detoxify these toxins from the inside out?
Supply your body with plenty of phytonutrients. These are naturally occurring compounds found in plants which increase your body’s ability to detoxify. We have receptors in our gut lining for phytonutrients.
Examples are whole, real foods such as broccoli, bok choy, kale and Brussel sprouts. Foods which are high in antioxidants include dark, leafy green vegetables and berries are great choices.
Avoid plastics. These are commonly found in items such as disposable coffee cups, canned foods and even in supermarket receipts.
Bring your own keep-cup to the barista, buy tomatoes in jars or cartons and avoid touching the supermarket receipt.
Use glass or stainless steel for a water bottle and to store leftovers in. Rather than buying water in a plastic bottle, install a water filter at home – I have a reverse osmosis water filter installed at the kitchen sink.
Avoid mercury in foods you eat. Choose smaller fish like sardines or cold water fish such as salmon or mackerel. These fish have lower mercury levels than some of the big fish such as tuna and swordfish. For fruits and vegetables select organic where you can to minimise exposure to environmental toxins.
Look at your cleaning products and personal care lotions and potions. Where you can, make changes to use natural, simple products. These can include easily available items such as vinegar and baking soda for cleaning the house. For personal care, coconut oil is natural and smells great. It can be used for make up removal and moisturising.
Just think, if you would be ok eating the product you’re using then it’s safe for your skin.
Finally get moving! We can detoxify through exercising and sweating. Find a buddy and get out into the fresh air or try a sauna or steam room.
So make your life cleaner for yourself and your family. Look into where you can combine a whole-foods diet with a less toxic environment and a healthy lifestyle and notice what rewards you reap.