lucky bandit | RVA based lifestyle blog: 8 easy ways to be more health conscious

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

8 easy ways to be more health conscious

I am in no way a health expert or physician - always consult with your primary care doctor before making any lifestyle or diet changes.

Keeping your health in mind can be hard. Really hard, depending on your lifestyle. Here are eight tips for easy ways to be more health conscious.

8 easy ways to be more health conscious lucky bandit blog katelyn carter

1. Always ask for water. // Not only are sodas expensive, they're bad for you! If you're out at a restaurant, always ask for water. Jazz it up with a lemon or lime wedge. If you're traveling, bring a Nalgene bottle and refill it at the water fountain (always ask before filling a personal bottle through the soda fountain's water option). If you must, purchase a large bottle of water to keep you hydrated.

2. Avoid added sugars. // The average human body needs zero sugar intake in a day. Your body produces all the sugar it needs. However, almost any food you buy has added sugars. By simply looking for products that state "no added sugar" or "no sugar added", you can cut down on a lot. You'll still get natural sugars (such as in fruit, starches), but a lot of times with natural sugars, you get other benefits that outweigh the sugar.

3. Take snacks with you. // As a trucker's daughter, I grew up on the road. I can eat an entire meal of gas station food. I've learned, though, that not every gas station offers healthier options. The fix? Take your own snacks! You know what you're eating when you have a snack stash in the car. If you raided my car at any moment, you can find Nature's Bakery fig bars, pretzels, and healthy snacks. If you keep a box of something in your car (obviously depending on the weather), you'll always have something for when that 2pm candy bar craving hits!

4. Take the stairs. // I hate stairs. They are the bane of my existence. But I take them whenever possible, because though I feel like I'm going to die when I get to the top, I've given my heart a little mini workout. By walking just a few extra steps a day, your body is better for it. Now obviously I'm not going to take stairs to the fifteenth floor, but the three flights I walk at school helps. Park a couple parking spaces farther at the store, walk three blocks instead of taking a car, or walk down the strip mall instead of moving your vehicle.

5. If you can't pronounce it, don't put it on your skin. // What you put on your skin (including shampoo!), is absorbed into your skin (sometimes up to 60+%!) Be very careful with ingredients. Here's an article from the Huffingpost that has some great guidelines on products. If you're really interested in eliminating harmful chemicals, do lots of research!

6. If you're not a gymrat, try classes of something or download a video. // I have no motivation to workout, nor do I want my inexperience with working out to be broadcasted at a gym while I'm struggling on a machine or clomping on a treadmill. So I take classes. I practice yoga for both the health benefits and the spiritual benefits, and this can be done in the comfort of your own home with online guided classes, Youtube videos, or a DVD. If you have an appointment to keep (and potentially money) tied up in something, you're more likely to do it. Exercising is important, but time constraints and motivation sometimes get in the way, but doing little things is better than being a couch potato all the time. Even a class once a week will keep your mind on being healthy.

7. Talk health with a friend occasionally. // You know how reading a health article, making a New Year's resolution, or eating a really yummy salad put you in the "healthy" mood? Sometimes just talking about being healthy can do the same thing. My mom and I talk about nutrition a lot (she's a nurse and nutrition is a passion of mine), and every time we do it spurs me to buy more vegetables or more nonGMO items. Even if this only changes one or two meals or workouts a week, that's more than last week!

8. Partake in Meatless Monday. // My personal views aside, meat can cause health issues. But here's the thing, you don't have to give up all of your diet choices. Just participate in Meatless Monday! Not only are you helping your body, you're helping animals and the environment. Small steps!

You don't have to drop everything and revamp your lifestyle to be healthier. It's all about slowly making changes that you'll stick with. And don't get me wrong - I love junk food and being a couch potato as much as the next person, but being healthier can prevent costly problems down the road!

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