Dr. Kristen Mitteness
10 Simple Things You Can Do Right Now for a Healthier Life
Updated: Dec 23, 2018
I hate to be the barer of bad news, but there is no magic pill. To be healthier, you need to put in the work. However, it doesn't have to be miserably hard, you just need to have diligence and patience. These are my 10 favorite (simple) things you can implement into your day right now to live a healthier and happier life.
1. Get enough sleep. It's the cheapest and most successful strategy for good health. Sorry new moms, this one is going to be tough! I've written on the topic of sleep before, so if you need more strategies check them out here.
2. Make your first meal of the day count. It should be high in protein and quality fat to prevent blood sugar crashes mid morning. It doesn't not have to be consumed immediately upon waking, but, for many, should be within an hour or two. If you find you are ravenous late in the evening, start eating your first meal earlier. You are literally breaking the fast, so you need adequate, quality calories in the morning. Don't limit yourself to eggs. Just because certain things are "breakfast foods" does not mean you need to eat them for breakfast. I have a great post on eggless breakfast ideas, premade breakfast ideas, or my all time favorite and common go to, breakfast hash (which I basically eat for every meal).
3. Get up and move. We spend far too much of our time sitting. We sit at the computer, we sit in our cars going places, we sit when we eat, we sit and watch television at night. Sit, sit, sit. Standing in one spot isn't much fun either, but if you are walking, then you're really going places (figuratively and literally). Walking is a great way to add some low impact exercise into your day, will keep your heart healthy and will keep your brain sharp. Go out and explore your city or neighborhood! And don't think you need to be walking for hours to get something out of this. If you simply walked for 5-10 minutes every hour, you would be adding easily 1-2 hours of movement to your day without even realizing it!
4. Drink bone broth. The only caveat here is that it needs to be homemade. Like the way grandma used to make it. A cup of bone broth a day will keep your gut healthy and give your bones nutrients it cannot get anywhere else. And it's way easier than you would think.
5. Get some vitamin D. Whether in the form of sunshine during the summer, or via a supplement during our less sunny months (October through April), vitamin D actually works like a hormone more than a vitamin. It is the feel good vitamin. It is necessary for the production of other hormones. If our hormones are out of whack, you will not feel well, my friend. We sell it in liquid form which is easier to absorb, as it needs fat to get into your system. Upwards of 5000 IUs per day are necessary for some people to reap benefits.
6. Find some "me" time. No matter who you are or what you are doing, you need time to take care of yourself. Carve out a minimum of 30 minutes every day to be selfish. But, you really aren't being selfish, you are taking care of yourself. And if you aren't able to take care of yourself, you won't be able to take care of anyone else. But, be mindful during this time. Don't simply zone out in front of the television. Or, if you are, consciously be aware that this is you personal "me" time. I enjoy stretching, reading or going for a walk.
7. Add some fermented foods to your diet. In our modern world, we are missing many quality foods that we once ate regularly. One of them is fermented food. Many traditional cultures eat fermented food in some capacity. It's necessary to provide your gut with good bacteria to keep your immune system healthy. Find more traditional food ideas here.
8. Stay hydrated. Our bodies aren't always the greatest at differentiating hunger from thirst. So, sometimes we might feel hungry if we haven't drank enough water. Start your day with a minimum of 10 ounces of water. The general rule of thumb is to drink half of your body weight in ounces then a bit more if you have done a fair amount of sweating during the day or have drank caffeine (caffeine is a diuretic so it will slightly dehydrate you). Our bodies are made of lots of water, so if you stay hydrated, your hair, skin and nails will look better, too.
9. Get connected. I would argue that we are technologically very connected most of the time. But, I think we would all benefit from connecting more face to face. Whether this means making conversation with the store clerk as you are checking out, calling a friend or relative or reaching out through work or volunteering, these personal interactions are what truly make us feel purposeful. You will fill your own cup by filling others. And who knows what you'll find out! If we were as outgoing in our every day lives as we are when we are traveling, the world would be that much nicer of a place to be in.
10. Read a little. Whether it's a magazine, blog, newspaper or book, using your eyes to read is a great way to keep your mind sharp. You can learn a little bit and create new neural pathways at the same time. Carve away as little as 10 minutes a day, read a bit and you will feel smarter and healthier in no time!