The other day I went through my old school notes and found this circle with 12 steps to better health. I thought it was so good and covers so many of the basics that I teach my clients, so naturally I wanted to share it with you.
The Integrative Nutrition plan has 12 steps, but you do not need to follow the steps in any order.
Pick one and then go onto another when you’re ready. You could tackle one new step a day, a week, or a month. Remember, this isn’t a short-term diet; this is long-term lifestyle.
Trust your instincts, and know that each change you make has a tremendous impact on your present and your future.
1. Drink more water: I don’t believe there is a perfect prescription for exactly how much water you should drink, but I would say to aim for at least 2 L of water per day. More or less, depending on your activity level and climate. By increasing the amount of water you drink you can significantly reduce cravings, aches and pains and increase your energy.
2. Practice cooking: Cooking is a fundamental step to healthier living. By making your own meals you know what’s going into them. Meals don’t need to take hours to prepare and involve multiple ingredients. Find easy recipes that you are familiar with and start from there. Maybe challenge yourself to find a new recipe once per month?
3. Increase whole grains: Whole grains have been a central element of the human diet since early civilisation. They are an excellent source of nutrition, as they contain essential enzymes, iron, dietary fibre, vitamin E, and B-complex vitamins. Because the body absorbs grains slowly, they provide sustained and high-quality energy.
4. Increase sweet vegetables: Almost everyone craves sweets. Rather than depending on processed sugar to satisfy cravings, add naturally sweet foods to your daily diet to satisfy your sweet tooth.
5. Increase leafy green vegetables: Green vegetables are the most commonly missing food in modern diets. Learning to incorporate dark leafy greens into the diet is essential to establishing a healthy body and immune system. Greens help build your internal rainforest and strengthen the blood and respiratory system. When you nourish yourself with greens, you may naturally crowd out the foods that make you sick. Leafy green vegetables are also high- alkaline foods. Alkaline minerals in our bodies neutralise acidic conditions caused by the environment. Green vegetables help to replenish our alkaline mineral stores and filter out pollutants.
6. Experiment with protein: In the nutrition world, how much and what types of protein one should consume is highly debated. Some say that high-quality animal meat is needed for optimal health, while others advocate for a plant-based diet. Experiment with what works for your body at this time in your life. This way you’ll be able to successfully guide yourself to your appropriate protein source.
7. Eat less meat, dairy, sugar and chemicalized, artificial junk foods; consume less coffee, alcohol and tobacco: Did you notice I said eat less instead of don’t eat? If I told you not to drink coffee or eat chocolate you would want it all the more. By increasing your whole grains, vegetables and water you will naturally crowd out the more processed items.
8. Develop easy and reliable habits to nurture your body: People get so wrapped up in their busy lives that they forget to take care of themselves. This can be something as simple as a relaxing bath and as nice as a day at the spa.
9. Have healthy relationships that support you: It’s rare that I meet someone who feels entirely supported by his or her family, friends, coworkers, boss and significant other. Sometimes the answer to getting the support you need is as simple as asking for help from these people or from a professional. Other times, the answer may lie in creating new relationships and letting go of the old ones that no longer serve you. Start by developing the relationship you have with yourself. When you find ways to nurture and love yourself, you will be better able to communicate your needs to others.
10. Find physical activity you enjoy and do it regularly: Movement helps with digestion, assimilation, circulation and respiration and is a crucial part of any healthy person’s regimen. Many people don’t like exercising. It’s challenging for them to find an exercise they enjoy. Think about what you loved to do as a kid. Did you dance, bike or hike? This is a good place to start when looking for a new exercise routine. Look for a gym or yoga studio near your home or on the way to the office where you can work out. It’s important to find a location that’s convenient, and where the atmosphere is pleasant, comfortable and welcoming. This will enhance your chances of going regularly.
11. Find work you love or a way to love the work you have: So many of us spend 8 hours a day in a job that is unfulfilling and end up stressed out which leads to a slew of health problems. Ask yourself if your job is aligned with your values.
12. Develop a spiritual practice: Some people freak out when I tell them this, but it’s really about connecting with yourself. You don’t need to start going to church or praying every day. Maybe being spiritual means spending time in nature while gardening. Finding a spiritual practice, like meditating, can help you slow down and appreciate the non-material things in life.
I hope you enjoyed this quick and easy summery of the Integrative nutrition 12 step plan. These guidelines are excellent to follow and can vastly improve your health and overall wellbeing. You don’t need to follow the steps in order and you can do one step a week. Pick the step that you are most interested in trying. Have you wanted to try a pilates or yoga class? Go for it! Maybe you’ve wanted to experiment more in the kitchen? Just keep adding little healthy actions to your lifestyle and you will intuitively start crowding out unhealthy habits.
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