Ever wonder if there are little things you could do daily to maximize your health? Well, turns out there are! Here are 7 healthy habits that can help you manage your weight, feel refreshed, and add gusto to your daily routine!
Oil pulling first thing in the morning
I’m not sure if everyone has heard of the ‘new’ oil pulling technique of placing a tablespoon of oil in your mouth and swishing it around for 20 minutes first thing in the morning, but I’d suggest giving it a try! When using coconut oil, sesame, or sunflower oil, this ancient Ayurvedic approach has been used for years to improve not only oral health, but some speculate overall health as well.
The basis behind this approach is because the microorganisms swarming around in your mouth causing gingivitis, bad breath, and plaque adhere to the oil when it comes in contact with them, allowing you to flush them out of your mouth at the same time you spit the oil out. I found that coconut oil works the best because you get the added benefit of the anti-microbial action of the oil (ahhh, the never-ending miracles of coconut oil!)
Pull before you eat or drink anything first thing in the morning. I find it easiest to do while I’m showering or making coffee. Don’t worry if you feel you can’t do the full 20 minutes, you can still attain some of the health benefits from just 10 minutes as well.
**Side note: Don’t swallow the oil because it contains the toxins you were just pulling to get rid of! And don’t spit that oil in your sink! Oil has the tendency to gunk up your pipes – simply spit it in the trash and start your day with a squeaky clean mouth!
Dry brushing before your shower
Brushing your skin with all-natural vegetable fiber brush can be your go-to solution to decreasing cellulite, increasing blood circulation, exfoliating your skin, and getting your lymph system back in business.
It’s simple! Before your shower, grab your dry brush and brush in sweeping, circular motions, starting at your feet and working your way up using gentle strokes. I like to brush in the direction of my heart, so up my legs, arms, back, and stomach, and down on my chest. Avoid brushing your face where your skin is more sensitive. You may notice your skin getting slightly flushed, meaning you’re experiencing increased blood circulation. Just don’t brush too hard that your skin feels red and raw.
Once done, simply take your shower and notice how refreshed and lively your skin feels!
Eating a salad for breakfast
A salad for breakfast? Preposterous!! I know what you’re thinking, it’s hard enough to get your daily dose of veggies in as it is, now I want you to eat them for breakfast?
Just hear me out! Salads are refreshing, filling, and full of macro and micronutrients to help you slim down your waist, keep you satisfied, and maintain optimal health… A win-win, as long as prepared correctly!
Tips for a hardy salad:
- Start with hardy base of mixed kale, spinach, and any other leafy greens you may be packing.
- Add color! Red tomatoes, yellow bell peppers, green onions, white cauliflower, red pickled or pre-cooked beets, blueberries, oranges, apples… the list is endless! But pile ‘em on none-the-less! I want to see that rainbow!
- Add your protein – hard boiled eggs are always a staple, otherwise, uncured bacon, sprouted chickpeas, almonds, salmon, or any other leftover legumes or local meat will work just fine! My go to protein at the moment is smoked salmon, thanks to my dad getting me on that kick!
- Don’t forget about your healthy fats! An avocado, olives, some walnuts or almonds, chia or flaxseeds or pumpkin seeds are all full of the healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats your heart and body needs, along with added fiber and omega-3 fatty acids.
- For the dressing, keep it simple! Infuse olive or grapeseed oil and white wine vinegar with chopped garlic. Trust me, this adds a kick of good flavor! Or you can experiment with mustard, balsamic vinegar, coconut aminos, or any other natural ingredients. Stay clear of store bought salad dressings that are too often full of additives such as high fructose corn syrup, canola or soybean oil, artificial sweeteners and loads of sugar.
If this salad doesn’t give you a good jump start on your day, then I’m not sure what will!
Fermenting your own foods
Fermenting foods has been used for years by our ancestors to promote healthy gut flora, maintain optimal health, and ward off disease. Consuming fermented foods regularly aids in the intestinal symbiosis between the good and bad bacteria in your gut, which in turn has a positive influence on your mental and physical well-being. And considered that 80% of your immune system is supposedly located in your gut, I’d say that maintaining that environment is definitely crucial for optimal health.
Some examples of fermented foods include the increasingly popular kombucha, sauerkraut, Kefir, sourdough, and pickled fermentations of veggies such as pickles, beets, asparagus, mushrooms, and basically any vegetable you can imagine. You can eat these foods straight, mix them into your favorite dishes, or blend make them into yummy drinks like non-alcoholic bloody marys made with canned tomato juice from your garden! Nom nom nom!
Drinking roasted dandelion root coffee
Now I’m not saying that I’ve boycotted coffee because that is absolutely not the case, but every now and then I like to mix up my routine a bit by drinking roasted dandelion roots in place of that coffee.
Dandelions are a highly nutritious addition to any diet, full of minerals and other nutrients that their long tap roots pull up from the soil. While their young leaves and flowers can add a burst of color to any salad, their roots are known for their effects on the liver. The dandelion has a bitter flavor in general which is what mimics the flavors we are used to experiencing with coffee. This bitterness is also what stimulates digestion and cools and cleanses the liver to promote bile flow. And since it’s an herbal remedy, this will give you that coffee flavor late in the day without having to worry about caffeine.
Dandelion roots also contains inulin, which some scientific studies suggest can be used to balance blood sugar levels. So if your feeling up to it, put those pesky ‘weeds’ to use! Harvest your own where you know no pesticides have been used (because if those long tap roots can take up nutrients, you can be sure they are taking up other things as well…), and get to work roasting and grinding for a coffee alternative you’re sure to enjoy! And remember to save those greens and flowers for your salads. If you have no access to this marvelous plant, you can always buy them from one of my favorite stores here.
Mixing organic butter from grass-fed cows into that dandelion root coffee, or even your regular coffee!
Butter from grass-fed cows is often better than the butter made from cows fed a high corn diet because it contains the types of fats that help regulate cholesterol and contains a good ratio of omega-6 fatty acids to omega-3 fatty acids, which can reduce your risk of heart disease.
Conventionally, cows are fed corn or soy, both of which their stomachs aren’t capable of digesting. Where does that leave your milk and dairy products that are produced from these cows? Devoid of the proper fats and nutrients that their counterparts, the grass-fed cows produce.
The healthy fats in grass-fed butter are actually good for you mental focus, your energy levels, and even your waistline. And if mixing it in with your morning drink doesn’t quite appeal to you, another simple way is just including it with breakfast – scramble veggies and eggs in it, spread it on your favorite snack… whatever you feel like! You can’t go wrong with healthy fats!
(6 ½.) Actually liking that dandelion root coffee!
I’ll admit, mixing butter into your coffee does take a bit of getting used to, but it’s such a little amount and it adds such a unique flavor that it kind of just grows on you!
Sprouting your own nuts, seeds, beans and grains
Nuts and seeds have enzyme inhibitors surrounding them that keep them from germinating early, but it also keeps YOU from digesting them properly. By soaking them, you essentially break down these inhibitors, increasing the nutrient content in the nuts and seeds and making them easier for your tummy to handle.
Grains and beans contain high amounts of phytic acid, a component that blocks our absorption of certain minerals that these foods provide. Soaking and sprouting them reduces phytic acid and again, bumps up the nutrient and mineral content that our bodies are now able to absorb easier.
To soak, simply place these foods in a container with 2 times the amount of water. Cover with cheesecloth or a coffee filter, and let soak for 24 hours. After the initial soaking, drain the water and rinse them and again cover. Keep moist in the container for a few days, until you are able to see little sprouts forming. Then if you’re preparing beans or grains, cook and serve!
**Nuts and seeds will not sprout, so after the initial soaking, they should be good to eat.