10 Ways to be Healthier in 2019

Are you ready to UP your WELLNESS game this year?

 I wanted to share some of my best tips to help you have a healthier year in a DOABLE and SUSTAINABLE way. And no, it doesn’t matter that it’s already February! Hopefully you already got a kick start in January, but if you didn’t, don’t fret, just start applying some of these steps ASAP and you’ll be on your way to a healthier year in no time!

The key lies in finding your happiness, destressing, and learning to enjoy more healthy foods and healthy habits that sit well with you. The idea is NOT to stress about what you haven’t done, or to do something that will cause more stress in your life. Instead, be kind with yourself this year, and know that any little steps you take will be making you healthier and deepening your sense of wellness.

 Here are 10 key ways you can start improving your Health and overall Wellness this year:

1.      Nourish Your GUT. The health of our gut (where the bulk of digestion and absorption takes place) is key to our overall health. And very often the answers to healing yourself, fixing those unresolved issues (like the eczema or acne, constant bloating/gas, mood swings, headaches, etc) and reaching your health goals, all starts with healing your gut.

Action: An easy place to start improving your gut health is by adding probiotics to your daily diet – both in the form of fermented foods and probiotic supplements. Additionally, it’s key to discover which foods you digest well and which ones you don’t. And regardless, it helps to periodically do a bit of a gut cleanse. So this year, consider trying a gut-focused detox (like my 10 day detoxes) or schedule an Ayurvedic panchakarma if you have the ability to do so. I did my first Panchakarma this summer in the Ayurvedic Institute, loved it, and definitely reaped the gut-health benefits. And check out my tip #10 for more on how you can get more support on improving your gut.

2.      Choose ORGANIC when possible. The research is out there. We NEED to minimize the toxins in our lives, and one of the biggest sources of toxins comes from our food, from the excess pesticides and herbicides, as well as the preservatives, genetically modified ingredients, unnecessary chemicals, colorants, etc. So make that conscious effort this year to choose organic products. By definition, certified organic food is produced without artificial hormones, antibiotics, chemicals, pesticides and is always non-GMO. Plus, organic foods tend to be more nutrient-dense as well. When it comes to animal products, both grass-fed organic meat (vs. grain-fed) and wild fish (vs. farm-raised) have more omega-3 fatty acids.

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Action: Join a CSA (community supported agriculture) where you sign up, contribute a weekly or biweekly amount, and get your bag/box of fresh, local, seasonal ORGANIC produce each week or every 2 weeks. When you shop at your local supermarket that has organic and non-organic options, if you can’t afford to buy everything organic, just make the effort to buy organic when it comes to the “dirty dozen” and to save money, you can buy conventional when it comes to some of the “clean 15.” See more here: https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/dirty-dozen.php

For animal protein including eggs, chicken, meats, fish – it’s always worth it to choose organic, to ensure that are not fed GMO-grains nor injected with antibiotics nor hormones. And opt for those raised in the wild / pasture-raised. These little things make a big difference to your health especially when you’re eating them in large quantities.

3.      Swap your Personal Care Products for “Clean” Options. Clean Beauty is all the rage – in my opinion – for a valid reason. There are over 80,000 chemicals in personal care products! And studies are proving the harmful effects of all the parabens, sulfates, fragrances (and more) on our skin, so it really is worth it to start investing in cleaner options. No need to get overwhelmed nor spend a ton of money. Start slow.

Action: No need to get overwhelmed nor spend a ton of money. Start slow. Think which are the products you use most / on more of your skin? Do one swap at a time. Ex. start by swapping your body wash (I love Dr. Bronner’s https://amzn.to/2RZl6T5 ) or your daily facial sunscreen. *Some great “clean” brands that I love and use include: SW Basics (love their cleanser and toner), Drunk Elephant (their entire skincare regime is amazing), Beautycounter (for sunscreen, and everything), Odacite (love their targeted face oils), Acure Organics (I use their face scrubs, oils, and more), One Love Organics (love their vitamin C serum and cleansing oil), Herbivore (amazing rose moisturizer), RMS (my favorite for makeup), Briogeo (best for hair products), and a few others include Osea, Tata Harper, Andalou Naturals, True Botanicals, 100% Pure and W3LL People

4.      Quit Sugar. Make this the year where you finally cut back on sugar. Sugar is highly inflammatory and honestly, problematic for everyone. Not to mention its addictive and contributes to weight gain. So get real about your sugar intake this year.

Action: I suggest 2 options. 1) Do a full blown sugar detox for a month (highly recommended as it will significantly lower your sweet tooth forever) or 2) a bit easier - just commit to reducing your sugar and sweetener intake (including all natural sweeteners like stevia) gradually, making a point to reduce every week, or every month, the amount of sweetener you use until you practically no longer need it in your coffee/tea, and no longer need that afternoon dessert. YES its possible. Maybe consider working with a health coach to help you with the process.

5.      Meditate. Pray. Practice Gratitude. These practices are AMAZING for your overall health and happiness. I would say that in today’s chaotic world, it’s almost essential to practice at least one of the 3 things every day. Doesn’t matter so much how you do it, nor when. It’s just about making time to sit in silence and be present with yourself and your environment.

Action: Choose one thing that seems most feasible to you, and commit to it for 1 month. Ex. start a gratitude journal, and commit to writing what you’re thankful for twice a week at least. Start slow. Then maybe keep up the habit where every Sunday you take 5mins to do your gratitude list, and start adding in Meditation the next month. There are tons of suggested meditation methods, but at the end, it’s about finding what works for you. If you don’t yet have an established practice, I highly recommend starting with mindfulness meditations. There are some great beginner meditation apps that can guide you through useful techniques, until you find what works most for you. I love Insight Timer, Headspace and Calm that all have free 7 day guided meditations of 10 mins per day. Choose one, download it when you’re ready, and commit to it for a week (or give yourself 2 weeks if needed to complete the 7 days).

6.      Get MOVING. This one is obvious, but I have to include it because it’s a non-negotiable in my view. Make an exercise or movement goal this year. Start with this month. The benefits of regular exercise go without saying, and nowadays, there is no excuse. Working out from home is easier than ever, not to mention the options of gyms and boutique fitness studios are endless. There is something out there to suit your needs!

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Action: To benefit from the extra motivation of a teacher and a group, and to build on the “community” aspect in your life, join a small boutique gym or studio that you enjoy. Your options are endless and it is 100% worth it – for both your physical and mental health.

7.      Eat More Plants. Plants – especially veggies - are nutrition powerhouses that by increasing them in your diet, will bump up your level of health and wellness almost no matter what (as long as your focus on the ones you digest well and the preparation methods that sit best with you). Eating more veggies can help you have more energy, lose weight, reduce inflammation, live longer, and more.

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Action: Maybe start practicing Meatless Mondays. Or commit to have a serving of leafy greens, plus a serving of other veggies, at every meal. Or at least with 2 meals per day. This does NOT mean you have to become vegetarian. It just means you will make that commitment to eat more vegetables, which are a cornerstone for better health.

8.      Unplug and Spend Time Being Social (in person). Internet addiction is getting a bit crazy and it can affect our brain health, mood, and more. Finding an hour of the day to unplug and connect with others and/or connect with yourself, are all promoters of better health.

Action: Commit to spending time in nature without your phone once a week (ex. go for a walk or hike on Sundays with a loved one). Or commit to meeting up with a friend once a week – in person – over coffee/tea/lunch etc. And join a fitness studio that forces you to turn your phone off during class, share space with others, and sweat. A triple win!

9.      Meal Prep every Sunday and/or Monday. Getting healthy is all about organization and commitment. Ad eating more home-cooked meals is also key, so I consider meal prep a must.

Action: Some ideas for meal prep include:

a.      Make a big batch of roasted veggies that will last you a few days

b.      Make a big batch of blended veggie soup for easy dinners, and freeze half.

c.       Make a healthy dessert that you can have when a sweet tooth comes along, and keep them in your freezer (out of site) (ex. superfood energy balls)

d.      Make sure that once a week you buy plenty of fresh, organic leafy greens to last you a few days.

e.      Make a small batch of quinoa and/or other gluten free grain (if its something you like to have in your diet), alternatively, make a batch of cauliflower rice. And again, you can always freeze part or all of it, and take out when you need it.

f.       Keep easy healthy options in your freezer that can be cooked in 5-10 mins. Ex. Make some healthy veggie burgers (from lentils, quinoa and kale for ex.) and freeze them so you have some on hand for a last-minute dinner (and if you’re in the US, you can always buy some premade ones, like Praegers https://drpraegers.com/our-food/ that have yummy options free of gluten, dairy, soy, GMOs and preservatives.

10.   Invest in PERSONALIZED nutrition instead of tackling a short-term fad diet.

a.      Make an appointment with a health coach

b.      Test your GUT – try VIOME

c.       Test your DNA – try 23 and me:

I love how technology has advanced and all the information it can give us. I have no affiliation to these, but personally tried the 23 and Me genetic testing (which gave me lots of interesting ancestor data, and useful info on gene mutations related to methylation, meaning I should take methylated forms of B-vitamins including folate, vs folic acid) and have just ordered VIOME (so am happy to follow up later and let you know how it goes).

And even after doing these tests, having a health coach to help guide you through your results and help you commit to making changes is priceless. I myself, as a health coach, started seeing another health coach this year and am so happy!

  For more on my top health tips, go HERE. www.balancewithmariana.com/blog/2014/11/25/top-ten-health-tips

 So share with me – what steps will you start implementing today? I suggest choosing 2 things at a time to focus on each month, and keep building on these steps/tips as you feel ready.

Lots of Love and to a Healthier 2019!

Mariana