It’s heating up out there, so this month we got a little advice on hydration, health and nutrition from our neighbor and guest blogger Rebecca Argano of The Abundant Life Health Coaching. Grab a glass of water an enjoy the read. Here’s to your health, Verrado!
10 Simple Steps to Nourish and Feel Your Best
I feel so grateful to live in Arizona. The desert is gorgeous and our community offers hiking, walking and biking trails right outside our front doors. In addition, we have beautiful pools, workout facilities and other activities available to us. With an active lifestyle, it is so important to hydrate. Even before you think you are dehydrated, your body is craving the liquid of life, WATER. You guessed it, step number one to feeling your best, is to drink water, water and more water. It turns out you can “upgrade” your water consumption and get more bang for your buck if you follow a few simple guidelines.
Drink a tall glass of room temperature water upon waking in the morning. After that, tea with Matcha powder (good for weight loss and loads of other things), ¼ fresh squeezed lemon and a pinch of honey. You can also try tea with ¼ fresh squeezed lemon and a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. You may want to start out with less vinegar and work your way up to a full tablespoon. Apple cider vinegar and lemon help balance your gut which is so important to overall health. Coffee drinkers, don’t fret, after your water nourishment feel free to have one cup of coffee.
Make sure you leave the house with a water bottle. Add some lemon, perhaps some coconut water for electrolytes or even a splash or two of aloe vera water which helps sooth and cool; especially during Arizona’s hot days of summer. You may add some mint leaves, fruit or cucumber slices, too. Tune into your body and know what it needs. The key here is keep the water flowing.
While enjoying your morning water, nourish yourself with some quiet time. Spend some time alone in a relaxing setting where you can practice some deep breathing and meditation. Don’t let the word “meditation” throw you off. There is no better way to start the day than to sit quietly and be grateful for everything good in your life. An attitude of gratitude always feeds the soul in a positive way. Make sure you give yourself a good 20-30 minutes for this ritual. If you have to wake a little bit earlier, it is so worth the time investment.
What to eat is such a hot topic. There are hundreds of dietary theories out there. To keep it simple, step three encourages you to eat more WHOLE FOODS like fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains. Stay away from processed foods and sugary drinks. Be conscious of what you are putting in your mouth. It is extremely beneficial to eat cooling fruits and vegetables in the summertime, when they are ripe and ready to eat. Conversely, deep rooted vegetables such as carrots and squash thrive in the fall/winter months and add warmth to the body.
Chew your food slowly and savor the experience of eating. Take a bite and chew it at least 15-20 times. This will aid in digestion, slows down your eating so you will eat less, and the longer you chew the breakdown process of the food creates a sweeter taste which will help you not crave that sugary treat after your meal.
Step 4 is decreasing inflammation in your body. It will nourish you in so many beneficial ways. What does inflammation look like ON the body? Redness, swelling, irritation, pain and hives are a few indicators. What does it look like IN the body? Arthritis, chronic pain, diabetes, MS, fatigue, fibromyalgia and the list goes on. Here are some foods to implement into your diet to help fight inflammation: fish, nuts, chia seeds and quality oils. Spices to include are turmeric, ginger, garlic and cinnamon. Try some mustard and dandelion greens. Aloe vera is also a great addition to your dietary consumption to help fight inflammation. You can purchase aloe vera water and add that to your daily water intake.
You also need to balance your life to help decrease stress that can lead to inflammatory responses in your body. Make sure you are cultivating healthy relationships at work and at home. Get some exercise each day. A 30-minute walk is a great way to destress, breathe and create another opportunity to practice gratitude. As you walk, think about all the things you are grateful for. This is a sure-fire way to keep the stress at bay.
Step 5 is nourishing yourself with supplements and oils. Many of us do not get enough Omega-3’s in our diets. A good quality Omega-3 supplement may be necessary. Be sure to get enough Vitamin D, Vitamin C, B-12, calcium and magnesium and a good quality probiotic. Essential oils such as peppermint and lavender also help balance us.
Step 6 is one of my favorites. Nourish yourself with water therapy. My favorite water therapy, and not readily available in the desert, is the ocean. There is nothing better than planting your feet in the sand and letting the ocean crash up on your legs. If you can’t make it to the beach, try a sea salt scrub in the shower or a hot towel scrub. Wash off the day and moisturize your body with a quality oil.
As mentioned earlier to help reduce inflammation, it is important to get your exercise. Find what type of movement suits you. The goal here is to get at least 3-5 days of cardiovascular activity, a good balance of strength training and at least 5-6 days of stretching. Do what you love and it will keep you motivated to keep moving!
Nourish yourself by doing something nice for yourself. Pull out those good dishes and make your favorite meal, get a manicure/pedicure (yes men can do this, too), take a 20-minute nap, get on the road and go for a long drive with no timeline or real destination in mind. Whatever it is that you feel you need, DO IT!
Step 9 brings us around and puts someone else first. Doing something nice or unexpected for someone can bring great joy and harmony to our lives. It doesn’t have to be monumental. Maybe it is holding the door open for someone or extending a smile to a stranger. It feels incredible to step outside ourselves with love and awareness of others.
And the final step, nourish yourself by creating a bedtime routine. Check the calendar for the next day and get everything ready that you will need. Turn off all the electronics at least 30 minutes before you go to bed. Your mind needs time to decompress from all the stimulation it receives all day. Get in the habit of using a gratitude journal and write down what you were most grateful for that day. Grab a good book and relax! You have successfully made it through another day being the best possible YOU.
The Abundant Life Health Coaching