Well, maybe not so much “easy” as they are potentially manageable. One reason that “turn-over-a-new-leaf” resolutions often fail is that folks bite off too much thereby setting themselves up to fail. (Some also just set a goal weight reduction rather than working on being healthy first.) Studies at Stanford University offered tips for forming good habits. They also found that making an emotional connection to the desired habit helps.
Consider tackling one of the following tips and working on that until it becomes a habit (which may take weeks). And then try another. Everyone is different, so pick the one you think might make the biggest change in your health and energy. Tackle that first. Or go for one that sounds easy and build on that success. Having the goals written out helps. Perhaps print this out and assign a month to each item (I’ve given more than 12 choices). Post the plan where you will see it daily and remember that a trip of a 1,000 miles starts with a single step.
- Reduce sugar in your diet. The more you remove, the better you will feel and the less you will crave it.
- Consider reducing your intake of grains like wheat and corn. They are starches that turn into sugar and are at the top of the list of most common allergens, but there are a lot of other reasons. Learn more from my Library article on grains.
- Eat more vegetables. Every study that I review, no matter what the disease focus or overall diet plan, agrees that veggies are crucial. One reason is that they are what our intestinal good guy bacteria like to eat. Frozen vegetables are okay if you can’t get fresh.
- Choose more organic foods. The Environmental Working Group is a great resource. They rate the foods they have found to be the most contaminated with pesticides and weedkillers and those that are safer. You can download a shopping guide and a list of hormone disrupting chemicals to avoid. CLICK HERE.
- Plan meals a week at a time. A lot of our nutrition indiscretions occur when we are very hungry and our survival instincts lead us zombie-like to a vending machine or drive-through window. Twenty minutes a week of planning before going to the market will make sure you have what you need. You can pull something out of the freezer or turn on the crock pot before you head out for the day.
- Drink sufficient water. Our cells contain a total of about 30 quarts of water. It is needed to move nutrients in, toxins out and to facilitate all the chemistry of the cells. The standard advice is to divide your body weight in half and drink that many ounces per day. (For example, a 150 lb person would drink 75 ounces.) Measure out that much into a glass bottle or pitcher and monitor throughout the day how you are doing. Of course, I’m talking about pure water, not tap water. Water filtered at home is much better and less expensive than any brand in a toxic plastic bottle.
- Get 8 hours sleep. Because of our body runs processes on a clock, hours of sleep before midnight count more. If you are in the habit of staying up late, try going to bed ½ hour earlier each night until you reach your target. Computer work or staring at the phone screen before bedtime makes shutting down your brain harder. A warm bath or shower helps. If prayers or visualizing a relaxing vacation spot doesn’t send you to dreamland, consider a supplement of melatonin.
- Improve your digestion. Chewing thoroughly and being relaxed when you eat are a good start. Probiotics are very important. (Learn more in my book, The Probiotic Cure) If you need more help, consider a fiber supplement, enzymes and adequate water (as suggested above). If elimination is slow, try drinking a large glass of very warm water when you get up in the morning. As I discuss in my heartburn book, it is a very, very dangerous idea to corrupt digestion with acid-blocking drugs for more than a couple of weeks.
- Get your structure straight. Make a standing monthly appointment for a chiropractic tuneup to make sure you aren’t stressing your body with something being out of place. Miss-alignments can cause interference with nerve supply and/or circulation to almost any body part or system.
- Reduce stress in your life. You likely know where unhealthful chronic stress is coming from. Make a plan to get rid of the sources and add in more pleasurable things. Stress Reduction Ideas. At the least, be determined not to let the things you can’t change control you. Don’t forget the little stressors that add up–like clutter or the annoying ding that says you have email. Pay attention to your breathing. Slow deep breaths from the gut are relaxing and cleansing. Count 4 in 8 out.
- Reduce toxic chemicals in and around your home. Substitute natural, environmentally safe cleaners like vinegar and baking soda. Use organic pest and weed control—follow the advice of Howard Garrett.
- Be regular about supplements. Make up packs (in little zip lock baggies) so that you are more regular with your supplements. These are described in my article on supplements. You can get the right size baggies in the bead department of a craft store or on Amazon. (You can put in a note to take ones that are stored in the refrigerator.)
- Take better care of your gums. Gum problems lead to cardiovascular problems and adult tooth loss. Use a Sonicare brush and Water flosser (on low setting and perpendicular to the gum line so you don’t force anything below). Dissolve a Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics gel cap in your mouth as you sleep. Have your teeth cleaned twice a year.
- Exercise. I saved this for next to last because advice to exercise is everywhere. Start wherever you are and make gradual improvements. If all you can do today is walk to the mail box, maybe by next week you can get to the neighbor’s. We are reminded less often to do strength training, but it is equally important. You don’t have to go to a gym or even have fancy equipment. I have a page on this website that lists 16 reasons to exercise and here is a site with some useful suggestions: Link.
- Lose weight. This is most likely the New Year’s Resolution made and broken most often. (As the joke goes, I vowed to lose 10 pounds…I only have 15 to go.) It too can be turned into steps starting with some of those above, especially the more water / less sugar ones. Another you might not have thought of is to watch for yeast overgrowth because your gut bugs have a lot to say about what you crave.
Unfortunately, no one can do these things for you and it is clear that if we keep doing what we’ve been doing, we will keep getting what we’ve been getting (and maybe some other unwanted stuff we didn’t see coming.) Good luck!