We as a family are embarking on a big adventure (an international move) this summer and have been in the midst of some major spring cleaning. Everything from selling the “can’t live without” Honda Odyssey to pulling weeds in the backyard to make room from fresh growth.
As a Lifestyle Medicine physician and holistic nutrition coach, I find myself having the conversation of “spring cleaning” often. In light of an ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, and the ramifications of it that we have seen particularly in the US, I know we have some work to do to improve the wellness of our overall population. According to the CDC, almost half of our population is obese, and as we well know, obesity alone increases the risk of the top causes of preventable death – heart disease, cancer, diabetes and stroke. Those with obesity have also been the hardest hit with the virus, whether in post-COVID syndrome or increased hospitalizations and death.
But why aren’t we talking more about rehauling our food and healthcare system and not just about the short term importance of mask wearing and handwashing? Why are physicians still reimbursed on number of patients visits and medications prescribed? Why are public schools still serving antiquated GMO-laden lunches where high fructose syrup ketchup is counted as a vegetable? That is likely worth another article altogether, but of course it comes down to politics and money.
My passion in medicine has been to help transition people to become more empowered with their own health, to peel off prescription medications and to mostly avoid needing conventional “sick care” clinics altogether. Now as we start to open back up to get back to “normal” post-pandemic, I urge you to step back and take a birds eye view of your overall health.
Here are 4 nutrition tips you can institute today to start to spring clean your body:
- Hydrate. Aim for 0.5-1 ounce of water per your weight in pounds. Ideally on first awakening, drink 1-2 glasses of room temperature water with lemon for an alkaline detox.
- Eat slowly. This is a lost art but so important for proper digestion, better nutrient absorption and less overeating. Take a 5-10 minute pause in between servings to allow yourself time to feel satiated.
- Remove processed foods. If it has more than 5 ingredients in it, or ingredients that you can’t pronounce, don’t eat it. Eat as much as you can from food without labels or packaging at all.
- Eat more plants. Every “diet” in the world agrees that eating more plants will improve brain, bone and overall health. Make it pretty and eat the rainbow!
Remember, small steps lead to big steps. Pick one and stick with it for a week, then move on. And don’t beat yourself up. After a few months, you will start to see bigger changes that you never thought were possible. You will improve your energy, increase the quality of your sleep, enhance your mood, and just have more “spring” in your step. If you are on medication maybe you see them fall away.
I am always excited to chat with motivated people about next steps, if you want to chat about your health journey and if you are ready to start the path to feeling your best. You’ve got this!