Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Healthy Habits for 2020

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I think getting healthy is a goal on almost everyone's new year's resolutions lists, in one way or another.  Weight loss, yes, but also plenty of other health related goals.  Which is great!  They can be hard to stick to though, given how pervasive those unhealthy things can be in our society.  It's usually so much easier to pick the unhealthy route.  The best way to start, then, is by committing to some smaller habits that are even easier than the unhealthy things.  Here are a few healthy habits you can adopt this year:

Start with water, preferably lemon water.  Starting the day with water is an easy habit but one that can change the whole course of your day.  Our bodies are mostly water, so we need water to survive.  But it also aids digestion and encourages mindful eating - you're likely to overindulge on breakfast, and every other meal, thinking you're hungry when you're really just thirsty.  Bonus points if it's lemon water, so you get the big vitamin C boost.

Don't buy the stuff you don't want to be eating.  Probably the biggest rule in our house in terms of healthy eating - if we leave it at the grocery store, we're far less likely to eat it.  That's not to say you can never have it again, but if you make the decision not to buy it and store it in the house, you'll find that you eat way less of it and enjoy it more when you do finally get it.

Carry a water bottle everywhere.  Not only is this a money and waste saving habit, since you won't buy single use plastic bottles of beverages, but it's also a great health habit to adopt in 2020.  You can make sure you get in water before every meal and try to hit that magic 8 glasses a day rule.  (It's really half your body weight in ounces, FYI.  200 lbs = 100 ounces of water.  150 lbs = 75 ounces, etc.  One cup is 8 ounces, which is where the 8 glasses a day rule came from.)

Brush 30 minutes to 1 hour after eating.  A lot of people want to brush their teeth right after eating.  It can be a good trick to stop eating, since no one wants to grab a sugary dessert right after they brushed.  But if you can, try to wait 30 minutes to 1 hour.  Eating actually weakens the enamel on your teeth, and brushing while it's weak can further damage them.  Enamel isn't replaceable, when it's gone it's good.  Protect your teeth as much as possible.  To freshen your mouth after eating, just swish water around instead.

Walk more.  It's very hard to adopt and stick to an intense workout routine, especially if you're starting from zero.  Instead, just commit to walking more.  Walking is a great exercise and really all you need to do to stay healthy.  Take the stairs more, parking further away, walk more often do housework by making multiple trips instead of carrying a giant laundry basket around.  Just get up and move.

Read more.  Keeping your mind healthy is just as important and one way to do this is to read more.  Make the time and get yourself a library card.  I do love audiobooks for my busier seasons but I still like to read it for myself whenever I can.

Get vitamin D.  Vitamin D comes from the sun and everyone in the northern hemisphere is low on it. It causes so many issues, from sluggishness to allergies, so just get more.  15 minutes in the sun without sunscreen on would do it, but you can also take supplements.  Just remember that vitamin D, like many supplements, is fat soluble, not water soluble.  Which means taking it in the morning with your glass of water isn't going to do you much good.  It has to be taken with fatty food if you want it to be absorbed by your body.  Take it at night instead, when you're more likely to have eaten something fatty, like avocado or nuts.  Or ice cream.  No judgment.  Things you learn being a doctor's kid.

Get vitamin B-12.  People like to worry about your protein and iron levels when you tell them you're vegan, but the fact is that the worry is with low B-12 levels.  It's not just a vegan thing though.  Although meat eaters have higher B-12 levels, most people are still low.  It's a common misconception that B-12 then comes from meat, but it doesn't.  B-12 comes from dirt.  And what do animals eat?  Grass.  Hay.  Plants.  Dirt.  Which is then stored in their flesh, which people then eat.  The reason that vegans are lower in B-12 is because we don't eat that flesh and because we all wash produce like crazy now.  We have to, because of pesticides.  So.  How to get more B-12?  Buy from farmers.  Buy organic.  So you don't have to wash it as much.  Not a fan of eating dirt?  Fine, take a supplement.  I get a shot once a month (fine, every 2... 3 months, sue me) from my dad, but Whole Foods sells a super easy spray you spray once a day under your tongue.

What healthy habits are you committing to in 2020?

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