“Unleash your fabuosity on an unsuspecting world.” ~Maven
Everyone wants to be the best version of their self possible right? Giving yourself a few simple gifts is the easiest way to achieve that goal. Everyone is also always asking me as a Naturopathic Physician what I recommend the most, so this page is dedicated to all of my favorite things that will help you unleash that inner fabulosity.
Pick the easiest things to try to start with. As you become more healthy and balanced your body will naturally crave that which is good for you. Becoming healthy will gradually become that much easier.
Freshly ground flaxseeds- One of the cheapest easiest things a person can do to enhance their health is purchase a small coffee grinder that is strictly used for grinding flax seeds. The omega 3 oils in flax are extremely delicate so it is best to grind them up fresh right before you eat them. I thought this was a huge inconvenience when I first learned about it and was disappointed to get rid of my expensive bag of pre-ground flax seeds kept in the freezer, until I simply started to keep a little container of flax seeds with a tablespoon scooper on the counter right next to the grinder.
It literally takes a minute to make a few tablespoons of ground flax to add to smoothies, brown rice, soups, or salads. Flaxseeds are also rich in protein, fiber, and have phytoestrogen like properties for those going through menopause. A tablespoon of ground flax has 2 grams of fiber.
Blueberries- The freezing process of blueberries actually makes the proanthocyanin pigments inside more bioavailable. Eating a half cup to a cup of lightly thawed blueberries daily is a delicious trick for slowing down aging, protecting your heart, and reducing inflammation.
Carlson Cod Liver Oil- Be sure to buy a quality cod liver oil that has been independent laboratory tested for mercury content as the FDA does not currently regulate vitamins and supplements. While flaxseeds are a great source of omega 3’s the body actually has to convert them to the docosahexanoic acid (DHA) and eicosopentanoic acid (EPA) via the delta -6-desaturase enzyme which some people lack or is not functioning properly because they are deficient in the enzymatic cofactors, especially common in vegans as they tend to be deficient in the minerals necessary for biochemical conversion. Most people of northern European decent tend to suffer from this problem because traditionally their diet was rich with cold water fish. Signs that you are omega 3 deficient include: excessive ear wax, dry skin, dandruff, calluses on the heels, and any signs of inflammation or any condition that involves inflammation especially cardiovascular disease.
I typically recommend Carlson lemon flavored cod liver oil in the green bottle, because it is widely available at most health food stores. This doesn’t mean there aren’t other quality fish oils to choose from, I am simply trying to reduce confusion surrounding fish oil. You get more bang for your buck if you purchase a liquid oil instead of capsules. One to two teaspoons of fish oil a day taken with meals is a great way to supplement the omega 3 oils that our body’s rely on for necessary brain and nervous system functioning.
Sleep- Working to improve your sleep will absolutely improve your overall health. Building good sleep hygiene habits will definitely serve you well in the long run.
Water- A five percent decrease in hydration easily translates to a 25% decrease in overall energy. Water is the easy cure all and fix all for most people that are dehydrated. I can’t tell you how many headaches and bad cases of fatigue or muscle cramps I have “healed” by simply recommending 8- eight ounce glasses of water daily.
Green tea- The key to preventing disease and aging well is to have plenty of antioxidants in your diet from fruits and vegetables and green tea. Green tea also has “thermogenic properties” which means that it helps you to burn fat. Start substituting one cup of green tea for a cup of coffee each day until you are eventually switched off of coffee. You don’t have to entirely give up coffee, just save it for special social occasions, or those mornings when green tea just isn’t going to cut it.
There are many different flavors of green tea available and some definitely taste better than others. The Japanese are role model “health nuts” as they use a really fine powdered green tea that is whisked in hot water for their tea ceremonies. I can only imagine how rich in antioxidants that intensely bright green tea is! Asian tradition always uses the freshest, most high quality foods possible. Americans would be much healthier if they adopted this philosophy and stopped stocking up on “dead foods” at warehouses each month to “save money”. It is unavoidable that you will have to pay for your health one way or another and you might as well do it with fresh healthy organic foods and a gym membership instead of medications and hospital visits.
Exercise- I would say that most people that exercise regularly can get away with having a myriad of other bad health habits. I’m not saying that you should start exercising and then adopt a bunch of new bad habits. But, exercise does seem to cancel out much of the bad eating and bad lifestyle decisions that most of us make. Adopting a regular fitness program is the absolute key to “unleashing your inner fabulosity” while preventing high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, osteoporosis, depression, and anxiety to name a few.
Vegetables are essentially “free foods” meaning that they have virtually no caloric value. This means that we should all be able to eat most veggies liberally while reaping the vast rewards of the vitamin, mineral, antioxidant, and fiber content for virtually no calories or other consequences. Veggies and artichoke dip, nut butters, or hummus are a great snack because the calories from the dip is basically incidental since the veggies are so low in calories.
Find a new vegetable to “make friends with” each week at the grocery store. Ask friends for recipe ideas or have fun together experimenting with how to cook new vegetables. Try to eat a “rainbow” of vegetables each day. Some of the best “free foods” are: Celery, broccoli, cucumbers, lettuce, asparagus, peppers, spinach, kale, and sprouts to name a few.
Emergeng-C is a great thing to keep on hand for after exercising, fatigued afternoons, or when you feel like you are coming down with a cold. Sometimes a packet of this in some water is all you need to get perked back up for you day.
Designer Protein is my favorite readily available protein powder. It is a whey based protein powder that is great for athletes. Starting your day with a protein smoothie takes a matter of minutes and a busy person can even drink it on their commute. Simple add 1-2 cups of soy milk, rice milk, or almond milk, a cup of frozen fruit (great way to get in your cup of blueberries for the day), a scoop of vanilla protein powder, and 1-3 tablespoons of freshly ground flaxseeds. Protein and fiber for breakfast will keep you energetic and feeling satisfied for your day.
Chewable fiber tablets are a great way to “cheat the system” for those with diabetes, trying to lose weight, or just stabilize their blood sugar for better energy. Fiber tablets are great to keep on hand for those occasions when you eat too many carbohydrates and need to pull down the “Glycemic Load” of a meal. Fiber also increases the “satiety index” which means you will stay full feeling longer than usual.
Cholesterol and toxins are also pulled out of our system through fiber, so fiber is essential to a good detoxification program. Most people do not consume enough whole grains or fruits and vegetables to meet the recommended minimal requirements for fiber. Until you have perfected your diet you might want to consider a chewable fiber tablet to keep on hand. Be sure to purchase those from a quality health food store that are without artificial sweetners and chemical additives.
Breathing- learning to breathe appropriately as a means to reduce stress is a very easy way to lower stress and keep centered in this crazy world. Breathing exercises are a great thing to practice at the end of the day to calm ourselves down. Whenever I find myself bored I find myself concentrating on my breathing. Set aside five minutes out of your day to work on deep breathing to properly oxygenate your system.
My favorite diet: is the Low Glycemic Index Diet. Although it is intended for those with diabetes, I sincerely believe it is the best diet for most people wanting to lose weight, keep a steady amount of energy throughout their day, prevent aging, and stay satisfied in between meals.
Gratitude- Things are almost never perfect, but they can always be worse, right? Focusing on what is positive in your life was recently shown to improve mood and reduce depression in those that listed the three positive attributes about each day. Share your successes large and small with your family over the kitchen table each night. Keeping a positive mental attitude and seeing the humor in things is the easiest way to reduce stress.
Optimal health is about keeping yourself in balance. Usually it is as simple as adding a few good things in to your routine so that a few other bad things can get shoved out. Most of the favorites listed above are the “foundations of health”. You wouldn’t build a house on a cracked or weak foundation, and neither should you try to build your health without these basic foundations.
Start with the changes that are the easiest to make and then work your way along from there. Enjoy the process of realizing how this positive change you are trying to get going is making you feel better. Each year we need to tighten up the reigns on our health care routine if we expect to experience the same level of health as the year prior, and even that much more if we want to be that much better, stronger, faster, healthier, and more fabulous.
Let me know if you have any questions, and feel free to share your favorite things in the comments.
Thanks for stopping by my “kitchen table”.
Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.
She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.
For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
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