Amidst A Sea of Advice, Here Are the Health Tips That Have Worked for Me
You may have noticed that every day there’s more and more information available online in the world of health and wellness. Much of this information is conflicting advice on what to eat, what type of exercise to do, what morning routine to try and so on. Even worse is that a lot of the articles published online don’t have very good evidence to back up their claims.
How I like to sift through this sea of advice is to ask friends and family what has worked for them, and view content by my favourite honest, authentic bloggers (I’m currently very much into Georgie Stevenson, lawyer-turned-health-coach who promotes eating intuitively and ditching the intense #bodygoals).
In light of that, I have compiled a list of health tips that have actually worked for me. I’m not presently doing all of these activities all the time, but I always go back to them when I feel I need them. Keep in mind that every body is different and what works for me may not work for you (or it may work even better — fingers crossed!).
My goal is that this list will help you decide — from a real person and not a list of trends — which health hacks you want to try. Without further adieu, here they are by category:
Allergies & Immune System
When my seasonal allergies kick in or my sinuses are clogged, I turn to my Neti Pot (I use the NeilMed Nasalflo brand). It not only helps clear my sinuses and provide relief, it feels relaxing too!
This tip is also helpful for both allergies and general sinus congestion: add about 4-5 drops each of Eucalyptus and Lemon essential oils into a diffuser and have it running while you sleep. It will work its magic overnight so that you feel less congested and more well rested in the morning.
During flu season I use my Lemon Detox Elixir recipe, which is a daily shot of superstar immune-boosting ingredients including lemon, honey, turmeric, cayenne pepper and apple cider vinegar.
Sweat it out! I believe that even if you’re not feeling well sweating one way or another helps cleanse impurities out of the body. Whether by working out, using a sauna or steam room or smothering yourself in blankets, working up a sweat might not be pleasant but it can really help.
Diet, Exercise & Energy
The most important tip of all is to not stress and obsess about your body image — instead of counting calories and perfectly curating your diet, every day reflect on your favourite physical aspects of yourself and follow an 80/20 rule with your diet: eat well 80% of the time and have a little fun 20% of the time.
On the topic of gastrointestinal distress such as bloating and gas, one of the greatest tips of all time is to eat your fruit before other foods and preferably in the morning. This is because fruits are digested very quickly, so if they are eaten after denser foods they may get held up in the digestive tract and begin to ferment, causing the GI symptoms we hate so much. As another one of my go-to wellness gurus Dr. Mona Vand often says, organic berries first thing in the morning is one of the best ways to begin your day.
Intermittent fasting is definitely one of those raging diet trends, but I have to say when I’ve done it in the past it has made me feel great, experience fewer cravings throughout the day and led to less overeating and thinking about food. It doesn’t really make sense that not eating for a long period of time could have this effect but somehow it works. My structure for IF is to follow a 16-hour fasting period (no eating between 8pm and 12 noon the next day) no more than 3 days per week. I allow myself a “bullet” coffee or tea — when you add grass-fed butter, ghee or coconut oil to your beverage — upon waking and hydrating in the morning to hold me over. My IF days are also typically the mornings I do cardio, so by the time noon hits I’m ready for a big power bowl or some other nutrient dense meal!
Speaking of cardio, I find working out in the morning much better than later in the day. As the day goes on, my motivation to work out significantly declines. I also find that if I have burned a bunch of calories in the morning, I have more willpower when it comes to food and my energy is sustained throughout the day.
Use Epsom salts, take a Magnesium supplement and/or use a Magnesium spray to soothe and relax sore muscles and recover faster. Consult with your health care practitioner to ensure that Magnesium is a safe supplement for you to use.
Enjoy a liquid breakfast. Sometimes solid foods first thing in the morning can be hard on the digestive tract and lead to improper absorption of nutrients and gastrointestinal discomfort. I like to make filling smoothies at home with fruit, a plant-based unsweetened milk or coconut water, a green like spinach or kale, nut butter and plant-based protein like hemp. A smoothie is really easy to eat on the go and when the right ingredients are in there, it will keep you satisfied until lunch.
As mentioned in the first section, I find my Lemon Detox Elixir recipe is a great metabolism booster to help detoxify the body and shed excess pounds, especially after a period of overindulgence.
As a vegetarian, my B12 intakes are often inadequate and/or not properly absorbed. When I first started seeing a Naturopath I was getting B12 injections every month, then eventually I was able to maintain my energy levels by going down to every 3 months. If you feel your B12 or iron levels may be low, visit your health care practitioner to check your levels before self-diagnosing.
Sleep & Mental Health
This tip is so, so important: minimize your screen time in the one or two hours before sleep as much as possible. I also recommend taking advantage of the night mode on your devices if available so that the light is gentler on your eyes. Exposure to bright device screens can prevent your brain from entering sleep mode and prevent you from enjoying a deep, restful sleep.
Take Melatonin as a gentle sleep aid — but don’t rely on it! I use the NFH brand Melatonin SAP on those restless nights when I’m having trouble falling asleep. I don’t get into the habit of taking it every night, because while Melatonin is natural and not addictive like other sleep aids or stimulants, it can become a crutch and prevent you from actually training your body to fall asleep faster and stay asleep. Consult with your health care practitioner to ensure that Melatonin is a safe supplement for you to use.
Try bedtime meditation! When I feel I need a little extra help unwinding, I get comfortable in bed with the lights off and listen to a sleep meditation video on YouTube. My go-to channel right now is Meditative Mind.
Try a daily Kundalini Yoga challenge by Mariya Gancheva’s Kundalini Lounge channel on YouTube. Yoga, especially when practiced regularly, can work wonders for your mental health. Mariya also tailors many of her videos to specific issues, such as anxiety, depression, fatigue, brain fog and more.
There you have it! I hope these tips are helpful to you and provide you with the benefits you are looking for.
Live Well & Be Free