Top 5 things that made me healthier in 2015
As I’m reflecting on this past year I am blown away at how much life has changed for me in just 365 days. I got married, moved to downtown Raleigh, received a promotion at work, became more involved with yoga and weight lifting, started new relationships, strengthened old relationships, helped my sister with her wedding planning, reached over 10,000 followers on Instagram, started blogging … all said, it’s been an eventful year!
When looking closer, the theme for me in 2015 looks to be that I am moving toward a healthier me. As many of you know, I started eating a mostly Paleo diet and am a major yogaholic. My health journey has brought me to try some very strange things (pigs feet soup, fermented cod liver oil, raw liver shakes — just to name a few) but today I want to share with you guys the top five things that have really made a difference in my overall health this past year and aren’t as “hard-core” as some of the very odd things I do/have done that make some of my friends think I’m crazy!
1. HOT YOGA
I know I’m not surprising anyone with this one. Yoga is one of the best things that has ever happened to me. Sounds dramatic, I know, but it really has changed my life. It has helped improve my flexibility, my mental and physical strength, and to relieve stress. If you’ve tried regular yoga, but haven’t given hot yoga a try, you are totally missing out! I love the feeling of finishing a challenging workout and knowing it kicked my butt because I’m literally drenched in sweat.
I’m a member at Arrichion (locations in Raleigh, Durham and Charlotte). They offer a $20-for-20-days deal for new clients if you want to give them a try! The classes, instructors and yogis at Arrichion are seriously the best.
2. MEAL PREP
I have been eating a mostly Paleo diet for almost two years now. I started by binge listening to the Balanced Bites podcast and reading/following all things Diane Sanfilippo and Liz Wolfe. The first Paleo book I bought, Practical Paleo, is what has helped me make the transition from eating birthday cake in the mornings for breakfast (this is not a joke), to now cooking my own real, whole foods. If you are new to Paleo or considering giving it a try, you should definitely start with this book.
At first, the amount of time it took to cook all my meals was extremely overwhelming. To go from eating out most meals to then having to cook three times a day and clean up afterwards was not at all practical for me. This is when I decided to give bulk cooking a try, and I haven’t looked back since. It not only saves me time, but also money, and it really helps to keep me on track with my health goals.
On Sundays, my husband and I make a list of the meals we need for the week — breakfast, lunch and dinner. We then write up the recipes/ingredients and head to Costco and Trader Joe’s. We have to carve out about a 3–4 hour window depending on what meals we have chosen, but in that time we are able to knock out all cooking for the week. I can’t recommend this enough to those of you looking to save time during the work week!
Wait, you pay to have someone stick needles in you? Yep, I sure do. I go to an acupuncturist regularly and absolutely love it. Acupuncture is deeply healing because the focus is not on your current condition, but on investigating why your symptoms are happening, and the treatment is then aimed at the underlying root cause.
I see Ginna Browning at Remedy Clinic in Raleigh, and she has been helping me on my health journey. I have estrogen dominance and have been working to balance my hormones for almost two years now, but it wasn’t until seeing a naturopath that I have started to make noticeable improvements in my health. I still have some things I’m working on, but she has helped me to learn so much about my body, and how to listen to what it needs and doesn’t need.
This is a big one, and many thanks go to my cousin Jennifer for recommending this book to me. Practicing gratitude is something that I started this past year and I strongly recommend you give it a try. I started by reading The Gratitude Diaries by Janice Kaplan and it instantly changed the way I see the world.
“Filter what you see and hear through the lens of gratitude and you’ll come up with a completely different reaction.” — Janice Kaplan
In addition to reading The Gratitude Diaries, I also started keeping a gratitude journal. I bought a really cute memory book and at night before bed I log three things that I am grateful for that day. This exercise is extremely powerful, and I love that my memory book holds my memories for five years, so each year I can look back and see what I was grateful for on specific days.
5. PRENATAL VITAMINS
No, I’m not pregnant, but taking a prenatal multi is great for most women of child-bearing age. I chose this prenatal after doing some research on folate vs folic acid. According to registered midwife Meg Reburn, look for a brand that lists Folate (5- methyltetrahydrofolate) not “folic acid".
The biggest benefit I’ve noticed from taking a prenatal multi has been my hair health. I’ve had a ton of friends ask me lately what I’ve been doing for my hair — and those who know me know that I used to have fried, damaged hair that couldn’t grow much further past my shoulders. Since taking prenatals, my hair grows like a weed, and is fuller and super shiny. I have tried a few different brands of prenatals, but the winner for me is definitely Emerald Labs prenatal. They are more pricey than a generic brand from the grocery store, but the difference they have made for me is totally worth it.
So there you have it! These are the top five things that have helped make a happier, healthier me in 2015.
Cheers to a new year full of health and happiness!