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7 Ways to Kickstart Your Health!

7 Ways to Kickstart Your Health!

One of our Naturopathic Doctor partners, Renata Taravski, has shared with us 7 easy ways to kickstart your health this year--and they're all doable. Check them out and get started on your way to health! And get help along the way with our email newsletter - sign up here!  

Are you ready to improve your health so that 2016 can be your healthiest year?  Get excited! Below are some tips for a healthier and happier you.  

Throughout our day we’ve all experienced, myself included, mindlessly jumping from one activity or thought to the next. “Feeling rushed” is something most of us are too familiar with. We easily and automatically default into auto-pilot mode in order to get through our day, which inevitably takes us away from experiencing the here and now. This constant cycle of non-stop doing has become a major source of our stress, anxiety, worry and frustration. Eventually we become disconnected from our loved ones, the world around us, and ourselves.  

So what might a simple solution be that can bring us back to the present moment? I recommend the practice of mindfulness. Mindfulness is paying attention and observing, deliberately and non-judgmentally, to the present moment.  

Studies show that simply 5-10 minutes of mindfulness a day can reduce stress, curb cravings, decrease emotional eating, improve focus and concentration and brighten our mood. And it costs nothing! New to mindfulness? There are a variety of mindfulness app’s that you can download on your phone or computer to help you get started. One of my favourites is Headspace.  

It is time to seriously re-think your fear of fat. Fat is essential for optimal health.  We need fat to function properly. However, not all fat is created equal. The key is knowing how to incorporate healthy fats and to reduce unhealthy fats.  

The healthy fats are known as omega-3s. These are the good guys that ward off chronic disease and support your ticker. In addition, omega-3s decrease inflammation, can help slim your waistline, promote lean muscle mass, fire up metabolism, support your mood, slow down aging and are imperative for healthy fetal development.  

You can boost your omega-3s by eating fish twice a week. Not a fish person? Some plant based choices to consider are walnuts, flaxseeds and chia seeds. For good measure, take an omega-3 supplement.  

We are meant to move. The health benefits of regular physical activity are difficult to ignore. Besides helping control weight and build muscle, exercise can also boost your mood, increase energy, lower your risk of chronic disease, support sleep and even improve your sex life!  Start by doing an activity that you enjoy to do. It may be a yoga class, dancing lessons, walking or kick boxing. People who actually enjoy the activity they do are more likely to commit to it on a regular basis.  

Do you get distracted by social media every time you look at your phone or computer? Does the thought of going without your smartphone for a day cause anxiety? Sounds like it's time for you to take a little break from good old technology. While I’m extremely grateful for technology, there are several downsides: elevated stress hormones; headaches and eyestrain; isolation from others; a loss of focus and concentration; and increased weight gain, anxiety and depression.   While it is next to impossible to avoid technology in this day and age, minimizing our exposure to it can have positive benefits on your mind and body. Start by powering down all electronics at least one hour before bed, since our TVs, smartphones, and computers emit blue wave lengths which trigger alertness and suppress melatonin (the sleep hormone).  

IS YOUR FOOD A FRIEND OR FOE? Many of us have food sensitivities and don’t even realize how bad we feel until the problematic food is removed from our diets. So many people’s health problems resolve after they identify food sensitivities and remove the offending foods. A few common side effects of food sensitivities include: headaches and migraines, weight gain or troubles losing weight, anxiety, depression, bloating, gas, constipation, joint and muscle pain, fatigue, mood swings, acne and skin conditions, asthma and sinus congestion.   S

PICE UP YOUR LIFE Besides adding flavour to your food or drink, spices or dried herbs are packed with a nutritional punch. Studies show that many spices and dried herbs offer astounding health benefits.  For example: cinnamon curbs inflammation; caraway, fennel, ginger, and peppermint are good for soothing tummy troubles; garlic and oregano strengthen the immune system.  

Also, seasoning your food with spices and dried herbs may even help you control your weight. Spices and dried herbs excite your taste buds without adding extra calories. This may even help you decrease the amount of salt, sugars or fats you use without giving up any of the flavour.  

Do you consume artificial sweeteners in order to control your weight? While the belief is that consuming fewer calories will lead to weight loss, this is not the case when it comes to using artificial sweeteners like sucralose, aspartame, saccharin, etc. The evidence is out that using artificial sweeteners can cause weight gain, increase cravings and stimulate our appetite.  Without the calories in artificial sweeteners, your appetite is triggered by the sweet taste which confuses your body because no calories actual come. As a result, your hunger is there to stay and your cravings grow stronger.  

Renata Taravski, ND, is passionate about empowering and educating her patients so that they can optimize their health naturally.  In her private practice she has a focus on womens health, infertility, weight loss, food sensitivities and digestive conditions, pain management, stress and mental health. She is currently practicing at Lococo Wellness Clinic in Hamilton and GoodLife Fitness Health Centre in Burlington.   Sign up for our email newsletter for awesome deals on healthy products and great health content!

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