Well, we’re halfway to 100. How are you keeping up? Have you embraced some of these truly simple daily habits? If not, choose one from today’s collection (I recommend planning your dinner) or choose one from the past 40, which you can find on the blog: [1-10], [11-20], [21-30], [31-40].
Getting healthy, losing weight, and preventing disease is really as simple as changing your daily habits. Day by day, these habits add up to big results.
#41 Upgrade Your Salt
Sea salt and other commercially available natural salts have been shown to contain a higher trace mineral content than refined table salt. Regular table salt is heavily processed, generally devoid of trace minerals, and commonly contains undesirable additives like sodium silicoaluminate or sodium ferrocyanide. Therefore, generally avoiding table salt is a good idea, though care must be taken to ensure adequate iodine intake from other sources once iodized table salt has been removed from the diet. Sources of iodine include dairy, eggs, seafood, seaweed, and prunes.
#42 Plan Your Dinner
For a large number of people, myself included, by the time dinner comes around, I’m tired and out of ideas and energy. If a meal is planned, then I don’t have to think about what to eat. This means I don’t take the easy way out and do take out or drive thru. This means that I stick to my nutrition plan and goals.
Meal planning takes practice, like any habit. You’ll need to create a system and a routine that supports meal planning. You might choose recipes while sitting on the couch Saturday morning, make a list from the recipes and go to the store. Keep in mind that there are also an abundance of services to support you. For example, you can have your grocery shopping done by someone else and either pick it up at the store or have it delivered. This is not a service for the affluent, Walmart offers grocery store pickup. You can also take advantage of meal planning services. My favorite service is Real Plans They support you to choose your nutrition approach, including Paleo and Vegetarian. It’s super easy to use and once you’ve chosen your recipes for the week, it generates a shopping list. It’s really fun to use and makes meal planning easy. Try meal planning for a month and see how it changes your eating habits.
#43 Know Your Blood Pressure
Your blood pressure is a health indicator. The higher your blood pressure, the harder your heart has to work to get blood to your vital organs and tissues. The harder it has to work, the shorter its life. Chronically high blood pressure takes years off of your lifespan.
It’s important to know that even otherwise healthy people and athletes can have high blood pressure.
There are many factors that impact your blood pressure.
- Exercise habits
The first three factors are under your control. In the past we’ve talked about steps you can take to reduce stress, improve diet, and exercise.
Today, get your blood pressure checked. Know what it is and track it over time. Know where you are right now in terms of this health measurement. You can go to any pharmacy and use their free blood pressure monitor. You can also buy a simple blood pressure monitor online or at the store. Stay away from the ones that are positioned on your wrist. In my experience, they’re highly inaccurate. One that fits on your upper arm work well. Follow the directions and make sure you buy one that has a cuff that fits your arm.
Knowing your blood pressure gives you the power to make better decisions for your health.
#44 Eat Starchy Roots and Tubers
If you’re eating low-carb or keto, then there’s a general avoidance of starchy veggies like yams, plantains, and taro. Yet these vegetables are extremely beneficial for your digestive health. They also provide slow-burning carbs, they’re low glycemic, and they have a lot of fiber. They have a positive effect on your gut microbiota because they’re rich in fermentable fibers they help you grow beneficial bacteria in your gut. If you struggle with IBS, digestion issues, or leaky gut, try adding starchy roots and tubers to your diet. If you are physically active, the low-glycemic carbs from “paleo-friendly starches” may help you recover and perform better. So what are “paleo-friendly starches?”
- Sweet potatoes
- Japanese Yams
Not sure where to start? Find sweet potatoes and yams at your supermarket. They can be mashed, baked and topped with your favorite toppings (I like to add taco toppings to mine), and made into amazing muffins. (Check out this recipe: https://paleomg.com/thanksgiving-side-dish-bacon-chive-sweet-potato-biscuits/)
I make them often, they’re amazing!
#45 Cook Your Veggies Sometimes
Did you know that cooking your veggies can make nutrients easier to digest and absorb? It’s true. It’s also true that eating raw veggies can provide different nutrients, including cancer-fighting nutrients. The solution? Cook your veggies sometimes and eat them raw sometimes. If you’re eating veggies at every meal, there’s ample opportunity to do both. Here’s a terrific compilation of studies on cooked veggies and nutrient density – https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/raw-veggies-are-healthier/.
#46 Increase Your Potassium Intake
Potassium has been shown to lower blood pressure, and a higher intake is associated with lower blood pressure. Additionally, your sodium/potassium ratio (lower sodium and higher potassium) has been connected to lower blood pressure and better heart health. The good news is that there are an abundance of fruits and veggies that are high in potassium, including:
- Dark leafy greens (like beet greens, spinach, and swiss chard)
- Sweet potatoes
Yes, you can supplement with potassium. If you have high blood pressure or a family history of heart disease then absolutely talk to your doctor about your potassium levels and supplementation. In the meantime, eat your potassium-rich fruits & veggies.
#47 Express Gratitude for Your Body
You’re probably already aware that gratitude is a powerful emotion. What if you took a hot second every day to thank your body for something? To acknowledge your body for all that it does for you. Think about the mere act of breathing and wow, it’s such a complicated and essential process.
Let’s get basic and think about your ability to experience tactile pleasure; the nerve endings in your skin and the complicated system of chemicals released when you touch something pleasurable or you are touched – it’s all so amazing. From petting your dog or cat to putting on a soft cotton shirt, to sex, your body’s ability to experience tactile pleasure is something to be grateful for. And yes, breathing too. There’s so much to be grateful for.
Because gratitude is such a powerful emotion (with positive physical outcomes) make it part of your daily life. Every morning, or night, thank your body for something that it did for you.
#48 Learn To Do Something New With Your Body
Teach your body a new way to move. You might learn to squat, do a push-up or a pull-up. You might learn the Texas 2-Step or learn to walk on your hands. The mind/body connections that you make when you learn a new way to move your body are huge. They create new pathways in your brain. They give you more control and confidence in your body and your abilities. They keep you young and help you move forward in your quest for better health and fitness. I don’t care where you are in your fitness journey, learning something new will greatly benefit you now and in the long run. As you choose your goal, be patient with yourself, get help, and stick with it. It took me a year to learn how to do a muscle-up, and it’ll probably take me just as long to learn to walk on my hands, but I’ll get there — and so will you.
#49 Read The Labels On Your Food – Always!
Without exception, you should be reading the label of every single thing you put into your grocery cart (an eventually into your mouth). Why?
Because you will likely be quite surprised by what you read.
For example, here are the ingredients from a local bacon product that has lots of good keywords on the package like “no preservatives” and “natural”:
Pork, water, sea salt, rice sugar, rice starch, brown sugar, molasses, celery powder juice, hickory smoked flavor, canola oil, silicon dioxide, and a host of “natural” colors and flavorings.
That is quite different from this label from a different brand of bacon:
Pork, Water, Less than 2% of: Salt, Vinegar,Citrus Extracts, Pomegranate Extract, Rosemary Extract.
Lunch meat, cauliflower pizza crusts, soups, and sauces are huge culprits for having a tremendous amount of additives, preservatives, artificial flavors, and added sugars. A large number of gluten-free products are pretty awful, with milk powders, refined oils, and sugars added.
When you know what is actually in the food that you’re buying, you can make educated decisions.
Here’s a link to a good article on how to read a nutrition label – https://chriskresser.com/why-you-should-know-how-to-read-a-nutrition-label/.
Just get into the habit of looking on the package – and of course the fewer packaged food products you buy, the easier it is to embrace this habit and the easier it is to eat healthily.
#50 Lift Heavy Things
Lifting weights is one of the best things you can do to strengthen your body and improve your body composition (ahem, burn fat and lose weight).
Weightlifting also leads to massive improvements in metabolic health, including improved insulin sensitivity. The best approach is to go to a gym and lift weights, but doing body weight exercises can be just as effective. Dumbbells, kettlebells, and a good old fashioned sandbag work well too.
For more ideas on how to move your body, and occasionally lift heavy things, check out the 101 Ways to Move Your Body Challenge, it’s free. https://renegadenurse.com/101-ways-to-move-your-body-challenge/.
We’re already moving forward working our way toward 60. Visit RenegadeNurse on Instagram to keep up with tips, motivation, and information. https://www.instagram.com/renegadenurse/.