I get it: sometimes being healthy seems to take so much effort. This is particularly the case when we are already in a downward spiral and our good health slips further and further away.
We all have so many competing demands, and some things just seem a lot more urgent. But are they? When we are in good health and feeling our best, we are so much more capable of taking on other things. We can focus on what we need to do, we are more productive and energised.
Instead of putting health on the back burner, flip it around to make it your priority, and then see how easily other things fall into place.
Here are a few tips on putting your health first when you are feeling you already have time constraints:
Skipping breakfast altogether can lead to metabolism and blood pressure issues. It also tends to mean we slowly eat more towards the end of the day, however our stomach acid is strongest in the morning/midday and therefore our body is primed to eat a higher intake of food at that time.
Eating larger meals later in the evenings can cause issues with digestion and sleep. I encourage anyone who is into intermittent fasting to start earlier the night before, in order to allow for a good high protein breakfast the next morning.
Good breakfast protein options include: smoothies including yoghurt/chia/avocado/protein powder, eggs/beans/avo, chia puddings, nut butters/toast, nut granola, cheese, frittata/omelettes.
Plan and prepare.
Pre-plan what you are going to make for the week and what you need to buy. But don’t stop there. Prepare your healthy snacks, so that you don’t just grab the closest unhealthy stomach filler the second you get hungry and have nothing else around.
Prep your dinner for the next night, or your lunch to take to work. If you haven’t prepared then you won’t stick to it.
Healthy snack ideas include: raw flax/quinoa/rice crackers with avocado, hummus, carrot/cucumber/capsicum sticks, nut butter and apple/celery/pear, dark chocolate and strawberries, nut and seed mix, dried apricots/figs/sultanas, coconut yoghurt, bliss balls or seeded bars, cheese, berries and seasonal fruit, smoothies, chia puddings, eggs, salads.
Boost your antioxidant intake with frozen veg.
We should all be consuming 5-7 serves of vegetables each day. One serve is approximately half a cup, and not many people I know are doing this. An easy and quick way, is to purchased frozen organic vegetables and throw them into breakfast omelettes, smoothies, lunches and dinners.
Cook once and eat twice – make extra for dinner and save it for lunch the next day. Roast up a tray of vegetables in the oven and then use them in salads or with meat or fish. Cook extra chicken and add to your salad the next day for lunch. Make a quinoa salad and add leftover quinoa to your lunch the following day.
Whenever you can, make a little extra and then you are already prepared.
We end up just feeling overwhelmed if we have no time for ourselves. In this fast-paced world, we need to schedule times when we can enjoy things we like. Whether it be exercise, art, yoga, or time out in nature, we should all have some time scheduled each week where we can choose how we want to spend it.
Scheduling exercise is a good place to start, even if it’s just 3 x 30 minute walks weekly, it helps our body to clear toxins and our mind to unwind. Be careful to avoid over-exercising, as it just puts the body under further stress.
Boost your water intake.
The majority of people I see are not drinking enough water. Low water intake is one of the main causes of fatigue- not to mention toxic build up. So carry a drink bottle around with you if you need to so that you can ensure you are drinking approximately 30mL of water per kilo in bodyweight.
Get your nutritional levels checked.
If you are low in nutrients your body needs in order to function optimally, then something won’t feel right. Check to see if you have correct levels, and if not, then ensure you are on a quality therapeutic supplement and make the necessary changes to your diet to cater for the boost you need.
Focus on your gut.
You can eat all the healthy food in the world, but if your gut is not in a good state, then you won’t be absorbing or assimilating nutrients from your food.
If you have digestive problems, don’t just keep ignoring them and hope they will go away, but instead prioritise getting it fixed. Book an appointment with your naturopath who will help you find the cause of your symptoms. Once you’ve healed that problem, it will make other healthy choices so much easier for you.
Like the gut, sleep is the cornerstone of health. If you are not sleeping properly, it affects all other aspects of your health and life. Create yourself a night time routine so that you can fully unwind before bed.
Keep mostly regular sleep hours where you can, and ensure a minimum of 8 hours sleep per night. If you are having trouble sleeping, make sure you seek support from your naturopath who can assist you with natural options to restore your balance.
And as always, make a time with your naturopath if you’d like some support in getting your health back on track. Sometimes we all need a little help just to get started.
Yvette is a qualified Melbourne-based Naturopath and Nutritionist, MINDD Practitioner, member of the Naturopaths and Herbalists Association of Australia, and Complementary Medicine Association. Yvette specialises in the treatment of conditions commonly affecting women and children, with a key interest in children’s digestive and neurological conditions, as well as women’s hormonal concerns, digestive issues, fatigue, anxiety, and skin concerns. Yvette consults in South Yarra, Melbourne, as well as Australia-wide via skype/zoom/phone.
The Naturopathic Co. Melbourne Naturopath 2020