Adopting a more plant-based diet
In June 2017 I started eating a mostly vegan diet. After a couple of months of slowly reducing my meat intake and increasing my vegetable intake, I made the leap. I still occasionally eat some dairy and eggs, the difference that I feel in my body is dramatic. The only way I can describe it is “vitality.” Every cell in my body feels like it’s firing. I have more energy during the day. I never feel gross after a big meal. Added bonus, it’s simplified my cooking.
Around the same time that I changed my diet, I also started exercising on a regular basis. Though I was quite active in my teens and early twenties, in the last couple of years my relationship with exercise wasn’t great and I felt it. I was out of breath climbing a flight of stairs and my clothes weren’t fitting as well as they used to. That’s right. I changed my diet mainly for health reasons, I started exercising for pure vanity. I wanted to look good. For nearly a year and a half, I exercised an hour a day, six days a week (if you want to know what I did, just leave me a comment and I may write a separate post about this). In the last couple of months, I’ve been exercising 30 min a day, six days a week. Sometimes stuff comes up and I cannot work out but that’s ok. I’ve gotten to the point where missing a day or two won’t cause me to “fall off the wagon.” Exercising is a habit ingrained in me, like brushing my teeth.
Reducing my alcohol consumption
I used to split a bottle of wine with my husband over dinner nearly every night. I love wine but it did leave me feeling sluggish the next morning. Once I started eating healthier and exercising, I naturally stopped drinking every day. I still love wine, especially red, but I only drink occasionally, maybe on the weekend or a special event or something.
Drinking a smoothie every morning
This is a more recent habit I’ve adopted. I start off every morning with a smoothie. It’s basically a couple handfuls of greens, usually kale, a banana and berries. Sometimes I may add some ground flax seeds or hemp powder but lately just the greens and fruit. Even if I don’t eat healthy the rest of the day, I know I got it a few servings of fruits and veggies at the beginning of the day with very little effort.
Taking time for myself
I have a little time to relax on the weekend but they’re mostly spent doing housework, running errands and cooking. It can be frustrating to have to do some much “life admin” after a stressful week at work. I’ve learned that it’s ok to say no. I don’t always want to go out and hang out. I don’t always want to have people over for dinner. Sometimes, I’ll skip a week of cleaning. It’s learning to listen to what I need and not forcing myself to take care of everything. Instead I will read or watch my favorite movies. The world will not come to and end if my floors aren’t mopped.
These five health habits have definitely made a difference in my life but there are still a couple of areas that I’d like to focus on next: sleep and stress management. In a way, these two things are probably linked. Work can be very stressful at times. I also have a difficult time staying asleep. I’ve tried meditation, acupuncture, etc but so far nothing has really worked. Eventually I will figure it out.