Hey everyone! It’s the end of January and this is a common time for people to fall of track of their New Year Resolutions! I have a great passion for health and being the best you that you can possibly be. I think it’s so important to look after your body, so that when you reach your goals later in life, you’re able to live them and enjoy them to the fullest without having to worry about fixing your health then. So I decided to start this series of health related posts. This first one will be about how you can get started and the very easy steps you can take on your self-improvement journey. If these go down well, I hope to make more articles like this, including recipe ideas, easy healthy switches you can make, work out routines and photosets showing how to correctly do certain exercises so that you don’t hurt yourselves (maybe a video, showing a workout routine?).
Anyway, here are my tips on how to can start out eating healthier! My first little tip, don’t feel overwhelmed that you have to do all of these things within a week. If it takes you a month or two months to get everything sorted, then that’s perfectly fine. Work at your own pace so that you’re comfortable with the changes.
Go to your doctors and ask for a blood test to find out what nutrients you’re getting enough of and what you’re needing to get more of. This is really easy for them to do. Your blood absorbs everything you put into and onto your body, so it’s the best way to figure out the kinds of things you need more of. If you hate needles (as I do, so I understand the horrific struggle!) take someone with you to squeeze their hand and eat something high in sugar, like some pineapple or pear, beforehand to avoid fainting or light headedness. I have real issue with injections and blood tests, I have always fainted from freaking myself out too much so I find that laying down really helps me because then, all my blood doesn’t get pumped by my heart to my legs and not reach my brain, causing the fainting (yay, a lil science lesson!). Laying down helps prevent all the blood being pumped down the body, away from the brain and will keep you conscious and calmer. Once those results come back a lil while later, sit with your doctor and analyse them. Ask for a print out of what the nutrient content of your blood is, compared to what it should be (example given below) With this, you can work out if you have a deficiency in something (a lot of people are iron or B12 deficient) and it’ll really help you get to know your body. Ask your doctor to walk you through it and then take this print out home. This will be your bible!
(Disclaimer; Neither Neko Palace nor myself have any connection to this image. All credits to the owner of this image)
Figure out foods that are rich in those nutrients you lack
This is super easy to do; google will be your best friend! I can’t really give much advice on this because it’s very individual to each person. Just find the things you are personally lacking in and google “foods high in ___” and you’ll get loads of results. Look through those and find the foods you already like or are interested in trying. Just make a note to eat more of these. Don’t start with trying to eat foods you know you hate just for the sake of getting the nutrient because you’ll just be setting yourself up to fail. If you can truly not find anything, just skip it and come back to it later.
Don’t fret about getting every single micronutrient (vitamins and minerals) every single week. It’s okay if you don’t hit every single one, so long as your getting the most important ones; I’d suggest asking your doctor which ones will be most important for you. Work on those first. Over time, you’ll find nutrient dense foods that you like and you’ll be getting a wide variety of nutrients. No one gets every single micronutrient their body needs all the time, even nutritionists!
Don’t quit everything at once, you won’t last! Try not to think of it and treat it as a diet; think of it as your new lifestyle! It’s not an immediate starting diet, it’s a long process of self-improvement that may take a few months to a year for you to get really good at it! Start incorporating foods you need the nutrients of into what you already eat and start switching. A really quick and easy switch to make is eating sweet potatoes instead of regular potatoes. You’ll still get the same texture and filing-ness as regular potatoes but with more benefits of the sweet potatoes. If you like Sheppard’s Pie, add some frozen veggies and some lentils into the meat mixture (or if you’re vegetarian/vegan, use the mix of lentils and veggies as the base rather than the fake meat mince).
A not so easy but extremely helpful switch is to cut out caffeine – it over stimulates your adrenal glands (the bits of your body that product adrenaline, giving you an energy boost), giving you a crash when it wears off, causing cravings for sugary or bad foods. Switch it out for a fruit smoothie. It does have a high sugar content, which will give you a boost, similar to coffee/energy drinks. It will give a crash later on but it won’t be anywhere near as bad as caffeine. Smoothies are best as a late morning snack, so that the crash happens later on in the day, so overtime, work on eating a good breakfast and having the smoothie half an hour after, then an hour after and just work up to only needing that little boost of energy later on in the morning. As you become more experienced in learning what you like and what your body needs, you’ll learn what you want and need for breakfast to keep you going til that smoothie; you won’t have it all figured out right away and that’s okay.
It’s okay to supplement. In fact, most people encourage it! Being a vegan, it can be difficult for me to get my B12 since the only natural B12 source is a micro-algae (which is why fish are high in B12, because they eat the micro-algae). As you can imagine, my micro-algae consumption is pretty damn low! XD So I take a Vitamin B12 supplement. There’s absolutely no shame and no problem with supplementing! It helps you get what your body needs. If you don’t like taking pills, you can get some spray supplements that you spray into your mouth or other liquid ones that come with a pipette that you can either squirt into your mouth or add to a smoothie/water. There’s also powders that can be added to a smoothie. My favourite is Spirulina, it’s bright green! Do your research on ones you feel would be best for you. If you don’t know where to start, try finding a ‘daily vitamin’ that has lots of things you need daily. You can find them everywhere, at local chemists or health food stores and they’re not generally too pricey either, so that’s a great place to start.
And lastly, stay motivated!
I know all this information can be intimidating and discouraging but just remember, I’ve been researching all of these things for almost a year now. You can get to this stage too, it’s not too difficult, I promise! Just always keep in mind the reason why you’re trying to become healthier. Is it to lose weight? Is it to gain weight? Do you just want to feel healthier? Do you want to get more into cooking? There are many reasons why a person could want to make the transition to a healthier lifestyle, but just pick one or two main focuses. Keep a note of them in your phone or write them on a piece of paper and put it on your wall or in your planner/diary. Any time you feel like you’re falling off track, come back to those goals and remind yourself that the are attainable and that you can do it! I know you can, I believe in you.
Thank you so much for reading my article and I wish you the absolute best in your health journey!