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Are you looking for more healthy habits this new year? I’ve listed 10 wellness habits that you may not see in other healthy habit articles. You will notice that quite a few of these habits are a reflection of my mission here at Purely Flourish, and you can be a part of it too!
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INCORPORATE “THE FORGOTTEN TASTE”
For centuries, bitter foods and herbs have been used to help with digestion. In today’s modern world, the bitter taste has been missing in a lot of our meals. Jim McDonald says that the lack of the bitter flavor can be a cause of sluggish digestion. Bitters encourage digestive enzyme release and increasing bile flow which helps to break down and absorb meals, and prevents discomfort and bloating. This is a game changer for digestive health and nutrient absorption!
Make it a habit to incorporate some sort of a bitter food or herb into your mealtime. I like to use this bitter tincture 15 minutes before and 15 minutes after I eat a meal. Here’s a list of some bitters:
- Apple cider vinegar
- Bitter melon
- Broccoli rabe
- Brussels sprouts
- Coriander Seeds
- Dandelion greens
- Dark chocolate
- Sesame seeds
For thousands of years before refrigeration and grocery stores, food was often fermented because people essentially had no other choice. It’s funny because now we have to be taught to eat these kinds of foods for our health. This is one of the ways the modern world has complicated our health.
Gut health is on the rise in the wellness community, and for a good reason. Our gut and digestive health have a huge effect on our overall wellbeing. I am actually super excited more and more people are learning about how important our gut health is. Thousands of years ago, Hippocrates said “All disease begins in the gut” and this is becoming more scientifically backed as we learn more about how the body works.
Poor gut health can cause all kinds of life-threatening diseases, including autoimmune conditions, as well as toxicity build up, food allergies, anxiety, depression, brain fog, and skin issues like acne. Over 70% of the immune system is found in the gut, and it is estimated that 90% of serotonin (your happy hormone) is produced in the gut. So, it’s kind of important to keep your gut happy for you to be happy.
Fermented vegetables like raw, uncooked sauerkraut, kimchi, and pickled vegetables that have been fermented are extremely nourishing for the gut because they provide beneficial bacteria and enzymes which help to break down and absorb food properly. Probiotic-rich veggies help to crowd out bad bacteria, so that’s one reason these foods are so great for the immune system.
Make it a habit to consume some sort of fermented vegetable with your meals. At least one meal per day. I love adding a couple tablespoons of raw sauerkraut or kimchi with most meals. So delicious! You can make your own sauerkraut at home with just three ingredients: cabbage, salt, and water.
HERBS AND SPICES
The standard American diet lacks herbs and spices. These are more than just seasonings for our food, they are nature’s medicine! Herbs and spices like cinnamon, turmeric, oregano, and paprika have medicinal properties, and are high in antioxidants. Cinnamon is helpful for blood sugar, turmeric is more than just anti-inflammatory, oregano is a powerful natural antibiotic, and paprika is high in antioxidants that are wonderful for the eyes.
Start a new habit to add at least one herb or spice to each meal. I usually try to aim for 2-3 in my meals. They add so much flavor and benefits!
BE OUTSIDE DURING GOLDEN HOUR
There are two times per day that golden hour takes place. Are you outside during that time? Research is starting to show that being outside during golden hour can help to balance your circadian rhythm. It makes perfect sense because, before electricity, people would have probably been outside during at least one of those times, if not both, and they would have used dim golden fire and candlelight when the sun was down. They didn’t have artificial lights and especially blue light from screens. These blue lights disrupt our melatonin production and boost cortisol making it harder to get to sleep or sleep well.
Each day or a few times per week, set aside 10 or 15 minutes to enjoy the peaceful golden beauty of a sunrise or sunset. Your circadian rhythm will thank you.
SET A BEDTIME ALARM
Are you trying to get into a better sleep schedule? Do you want to wake up earlier? The key is to set a bedtime alarm instead of a morning alarm. After a while of a consistent bedtime, your body will gradually start to wake itself up at a regular time. It is much more natural for the human body! Thing about animals in the wild, like birds, they all go to their nests at dark and they wake with the sun. If this isn’t very important to you, at least setting a bedtime alarm will give you more sleep!
DO ONE THING THAT BRINGS YOU JOY
Sometimes we get so busy and focus on other things, that we forget to do things that we love. Make it a habit to do one thing that brings you true joy and peace each day. For some people, doing this first thing in the morning will set you up for a great day. Watch the sunrise, go for a walk in nature, read a book while drinking your morning tea or coffee, or eat breakfast outside. These are some things that bring me joy.
TURN YOUR PHONE ON AIRPLANE MODE
Every night before you go to bed, maybe even one hour before bed, make it a habit to turn your phone on airplane mode, especially if your phone is in the same room with you. This will reduce the amount of radiation present and will help to take stress off of your body. If you want, you can also use this habit to build another habit, which is to stay off of your phone first thing in the morning. Just keep your phone on airplane mode for the first hour every day.
USE BLUE LIGHT BLOCKER GLASSES
If you do choose to look at screens two hours before bed, it is so important to use some blue light blocking glasses to help protect your eyes and your melatonin production. These glasses really should be used any time we look at screens, since we look at them so often these days. As a habit, grab your glasses any time you plan on looking at a screen.
EAT SEASONALLY 80% OF THE TIME
Eating seasonally has a number of health benefits because local and seasonal food is typically days and even weeks fresher. Seasonal foods also provide certain nutrients for each time of year.
One way I suggest to make eating seasonally a habit, is to create a rhythm to visit your local farmers market once per week.
HAVE A GAME PLAN FOR STRESS
It’s important to have a game plan for when stress or anxiety comes upon us. When stress shows up during the day, make it a habit to use your game plan as a tool to help calm you and give you a sense of peace and rest.
Any time I feel emotions of stress or anxiety, I like to simply slow things down. Some ways that I do this are to listen to an audiobook, pet my cats, or head outside into nature.
If you’d like to listen to an audiobook you can start your 30 day free trial on Audible and grab two free audiobooks!