Hi friend! I hope you’re having a beautiful week. Starting January 18th, I’m going to be running my Love Your Healthy Self Nutrition Program for the first time in 2021. It’s an evolution of my old Reset Yourself Nutrition Challenge that takes those foundational concepts a step further.
It’s a 28 day guided program (complete with online cooking classes, guided meditations, yoga classes, and Q & A sessions!!) to give you the tools & knowledge to make lasting habit changes to help improve your sleep, clear up your skin, improve digestion, & balance out your moods with just a little bit of time dedicated to your self care & nutrition every day. You can check out all the information right here.
In honour of this new program, I’ve been looking back over all the changes I’ve made over the last few years and thought I would share some of the ones I made that have had the biggest impact on my health.
Not all of these are going to be applicable or necessary for your journey, but you may find something that piques your fancy, so keep an open mind. Now without further ado, here are
My Top 20 Habit Changes for Lasting Health
1. Quit smoking
I don’t think this one really needs much explanation, but suffice it to say my skin is nicer, I can breathe easier, and I don’t smell (well, usually). This habit change is always an ongoing process so be gentle with yourself if you have any slips. Just trust that the fact that you are actively working to make the change is such a good place to start!
2. Gave up grains
This habit change is relatively new in the last few months. While I did go strict Paleo when I first came to the healthy living world, over time I began reintroducing a lot of GF grains. In October I was having some bad sciatic pain and decided to try a grain, dairy, and sugar-free program and well, I felt so damn good, my skin was so clear, and my digestion was so on point that it’s been about 6 months since grains have had any regular place in my diet. You can read a bit more about why I eliminated them here.
3. Went dairy free
Again, this elimination happened fairly recently but upon reintroduction I realized that dairy was giving me pretty bad tummy pains & bloating and making my skin look like I was back in grade 7. A lot of my clients, especially the ladies, feel so much better dairy-free due to the high sugar and hormone content that can interfere with their cycles and hormone balance. It’s worth testing out if hormone imbalance and skin issues are one of your major concerns.
4. Started eating healthy fat
If you’ve been around my site or to any of my cooking classes, you know I am a huge fan of healthy fats. Through some trial and error I’ve discovered that I do much better on a higher fat, lower carb style of diet, so I’ve made a ton of room in my life for high fat delights like Matchaga Elixirs, Golden Milk, Spicy Hot Chocolate, and Stress-Busting Lattes.
Since making the change my energy and weight are way more stable and I literally never get hangry. You can read more about why I love fat right here!
5. Learned to cook and eat vegetables
If you ask any of my room mates from my undergraduate degree they will tell you that I subsisted on a diet of pizza, garlic fingers, rice, microwaved cheese, and meat, with nary a vegetable in sight. I slowly learned to enjoy things like spinach, sweet potato, and avocado, but the real change came when I moved to Toronto and I taught myself how to like different veggie flavours and textures.
I started with lots of pureed soups and slowly left them more and more chunky until I learned to like raw veggies too. I learned how to roast them, turn them into dips, make pakoras, create biscuits, and of course my favourite salads and soups!
It was a process, but now I crave vegetables and I love the different textures and crunches they bring to dishes. So if you hate vegetables, stop letting that be your excuse not to eat them and teach yourself how to cook and enjoy them by checking out some of the recipes I linked to above.
6. Learned how to ferment
I don’t think any one thing has had as much of an impact on my health than taking care of my microbiome. Learning how to create fermented veggies, salsas, sauerkrauts, kombucha, and switchel has helped me create healthy balance in my gut bacteria.
Keeping your microbiome healthy and robust can play a huge role in the development of inflammatory conditions, preventing weight gain, aiding in the digestive process, and supporting your mental health. You can read more about the role of probiotic bacteria in health and disease right here.
7. Bone Broth!
I am obsessed with bone broth. In fact I am eating a bone-broth infused soup as I write this post. Broth, whether you kick it veggie style or omnivore, is packed full of highly absorbable nutrients that help nourish your digestive tract and build healthy cells and joints.
This habit is seriously one of the easiest, cheapest, most delicious, and beneficial on this list. You can find my recipe and tips about bone broth right here or if you kick it veggie-style try this fabulous vegan “bone” broth.
8. Invested in an eye mask and black out curtains
So the first 7 habit changes I shared above were all food-related because I truly think that starting with sustainable diet changes can give you the energy and focus to want to make changes elsewhere in your life. After food, I think creating healthy sleep habits can be absolutely life-changing.
One of the big things to focus on is ensuring that you are sleeping in total darkness so that your pineal gland can get the message that it’s time to release melatonin, a hormone that’s required in order to fall asleep and get the rest you need. Investing in a cozy eye-mask, curtains that block out ambient light from outdoors, and making sure there are no lights from electronics blinking in your room can set you up for the best sleep of your life!
9. Made my bedroom a laptop free zone
In addition to making my bedroom a dark cozy cavern, I also keep my laptop out of my room and do all my show watching in the living room. Creating the habit of watching shows or browsing the internet in a space that should be designated for sleeping and other horizontal activities can make it harder for your body to get the message that it’s time for bed. So find somewhere else to binge your current favourite Netflix show and let your bed be reserved for electronic-free delights.
10. Started putting my phone and kindle on airplane mode in my room
This habit change is another recent one that has changed the way I wake up in the morning. While I’ve always put my phone on silent when I go to bed, because who do I really need to hear from at 3am, I would always wake up to a million messages and emails.
Now I put my phone on airplane mode and I don’t turn it back on until after I’ve done my morning meditation (more on that later!) so that I start my day feeling calm, focused, and ready to tackle my inbox without activating that fight or flight response first thing in the morning.
Well friend, this is starting to get a little bit long so I’m going to save the next 10 Habit Changes for next week (read here!). If you only take one thing from this list I hope it’s the empowering knowledge that lots of small changes made over time can really help you find YOUR best version of health.
And if you’re interested in some tips on how to improve your digestion, I just published a great little guide with my Top Ten Tips to Banish Belly Bloat, which you can download right here!
As always, thank you for your love and support. Please stay safe and take care of one another!