How to Pick a Healthy New Year’s Resolution
Still forming your New Year’s Resolutions? We got you!
The start of the New Year is an excellent time to direct our focus towards optimizing health. With the vast array of cleanses, exercise routines, diets, meditation practices, supplement regimens, and other health tips out there in the media, it can be difficult to differentiate the patterns that actually yield health from those recommendations that are purely marketed well. In Naturopathic Medicine, we frequently refer back to the “Foundations of Health.” The foundations are the key elements of well-rounded health, from which all other health practices are built upon. Without these foundations, the other practices will only yield temporary results. So, what are those foundations?
- Organic Whole Foods Diet
- Quality Sleep
- Quality Water
- Stress Management
Organic Whole Foods Diet:
Food can either be medicine or poison, and this has nothing to do with calorie content. It doesn’t matter what diet you decide to employ, it is most important that you eat organic, non-GMO, and unprocessed foods. Pesticides, herbicides, hormones, and antibiotics are “poison” to our cells. They act as toxins and disrupt our hormones. On the other hand, organic fruits and vegetables contain the phytonutrients our body is craving to boost detoxification and energy production. Organic animal protein is important too! It supplies the body with the necessary iron, b12, zinc, amino acids, omega 3, and more! If you are unable to afford an entirely organic diet, consuming organic animal protein and fruits/vegetables on the “Dirty Dozen” list are the most important. To find an updated list of the dirty dozen and clean fifteen, visit ewg.org. Finally, the goal is to consume as little packaged food as possible. Packaged foods are usually highly processed. Processed foods are often high in unhealthy fats. They usually contain cheap fats, refined seed- and vegetable oils (like soybean oil) that may be hydrogenated, and are all inflammatory in the body. Instead, shop the perimeter of the store, purchasing the majority of your food as fresh produce and organic animal protein.
Sleep is one of the most underestimated foundations of health. During sleep, the brain is washed with cerebrospinal fluid, which essentially cleans out harmful toxins and restores the brain. Lack of sleep impairs reasoning, memory recall, problem-solving, immune function, hormone regulation, skin health, weight management, and more! For adults, the goal is to get 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night. Quality sleep means that you are sleeping through the night, can recall dreams, and do not experience snoring, restless legs, or pain. It is not only important to get enough sleep, it is also important to sleep during the appropriate time! The best sleep occurs in alignment with our natural circadian rhythm, as this is when the majority of our melatonin is released. The ideal sleep pattern is from around 9pm-5am. Every hour you sleep before midnight counts as double, so the earlier the better!
Clean water hydrates our cells and helps clear our toxins via the kidneys. The goal for water consumption is ½ your body weight in ounces. For example, if you weight 160 lbs, the goal would be 80 oz of water per day. CLEAN water is also important. Staying away from plastic water bottles is then number one goal, as plastics often contain hormone-disrupting chemicals. Instead, opt for water stored in stainless steel, glass, or ceramic containers. Next, please do not drink water from the tap! Our water is not properly filtered, meaning that it contains trace amounts of heavy metals, medications, fluoride, chlorine, and other chemicals! Unfortunately, Brita filters or fridge filters aren’t going to cut it. Reverse osmosis filters (ex: Aquasana), ceramic filters (ex: Berkey Water Filter), and natural spring water (ex: Palomar Spring water and Carlsbad Spring Water) are the preferred sources!
Your health depends on movement. The body contributes far more to our lives than just physical attributes such as strength and endurance — it plays a major role in emotions, learning and relationships. The body is intimately involved in all our thought processes, understanding, emotions, and decision-making. Notice that we are calling this movement, rather than exercise. You do not need to go to the gym, a yoga studio, or ride your bike to get exercise! Exercise can be dancing with your partner, chasing your kids around the playground, a morning beach walk, or a good ‘ole deep cleaning of the house. The goal is to move DAILY.
This is a big one! We live in a world where “stress” has become normalized and even admired by some. We think that unless our schedule is packed full, we are somewhat “lesser-than.” We think that self-care is selfish. This couldn’t be further from the truth! This chronic stress wreaks havoc on our hormone regulation, leading to weight gain, emotional instability, hormone depletion, thyroid disruption and more. My goal for you is two-fold. 1) Learn to say no. We do not need to attend every event, say yes to every project, and take advantage of every opportunity. 2) Pick up a new self-care practice that can be done daily! Examples include writing in your journal, taking a morning walk, having some alone time in the evenings, taking a bath, meditation, prayer, time in nature, and so much more!
Your health is in your hands
As well as in your shopping cart, your mouth, your bed, sink, planner, and mind. Start by making one tweak a week and see how much better you can feel! Contact our office for help with toxin testing or customized nutrition or lifestyle plans to optimize or regain your ideal health. We offer a wide variety of health-supportive treatments and services to support your goals.
Written by Dr. Ari Kasprowicz Calhoun, N.D.