Happy New Year! The new year marks another journey around the sun and a chance to make a fresh start. Often this involves the goal of becoming a bit healthier. There are many ways to achieve that goal that are not focused on weight loss. Being that our central focus at Verve is caring for healthy pregnancies, moms and children, we encourage you to focus your health goals on a more well-rounded approach.
One specific goal I would like to focus on in this post is reducing inflammation. What does that mean exactly? Inflammation is caused by substances that the body produces in response to stressors. These stressors can be from diet, lifestyle or environmental factors. The modern epidemic of chronic, low-grade inflammation destroys the balance in the body. When the body’s systems experience a constant inflammatory response, you become more susceptible to aging and disease.
How can you reduce inflammation with diet? An anti-inflammatory diet focuses on a highly plant based diet. The more colorful your diet, the more anti-oxidant power you are receiving. It is no secret that eating your vegetables is GOOD for you! You should have at least one vegetable at every meal: spinach, carrots, beets, kale, collards, celery, swiss chard, leeks, romaine, endive, and the list goes on. Fruits, particularly those fruits that are dark in color, are also packed with anti-oxidants. One of the easiest ways that I have found to get my vegetables in is with a green smoothie. Now, if you’ve been in the office, you’ve often seen me with my green shake and asked what in the world I was drinking. The basic ingredients for my smoothie (which is lovingly made by my husband every day) are as follows:
- Big bunch of greens
- Half cup of fruit (pineapple, blueberries, cherries, or banana or combination of any of these)
- Stalk of celery, carrot or cucumber, or combination of these
- Coconut water to consistency you like
- Squeeze of lemon or lime juice
We vary from this recipe at times, but this is the basic. Another easy DO for your diet is have plenty of water. You should have half your body weight in ounces each day.
Now, what NOT to eat. SUGAR: this is one of your biggest inflammation culprits. Foods that quickly turn to sugar are also white carbohydrates such as pastas, breads, potatoes, etc. A diet high in meat is also very inflammatory as it creates acidity in your body. Other high inflammatory foods are wheat, gluten, corn and soy. The bottom line is to avoid these things and pack your diet with vegetables and fruits. Additionally, be sure to buy organic products and non-GMO to ensure they are not packed with pesticides.
The next area to address is lifestyle to reduce inflammation. This includes exercising, reducing physical and emotional stress and feeding your spiritual practice. Exercising can seem like a daunting task, especially if you have been out of the groove for a while. Start simple; take a 15 minute walk, do 10 push-ups and squats (watch your form!). Work your way up from there. You could also consider finding an activity that you love to do that gets your blood moving.
How do you reduce physical and emotional stress? That is a huge question and I will keep it simple here. First and foremost: SIMPLIFY. What parts of your life could be trimmed? Is it your screen time, your extra commitments? Focus on those things you truly love in your life and put more time and energy into those. Practice being grateful. Have a daily practice of acknowledging what you are grateful for in your world and even small things in your day. For example: I am so grateful for my coffee delivery in bed each morning by my sweet husband (not to mention the green smoothie mentioned above to balance my pH). Have a daily meditative practice. Clear your mind to start and end your day. Start with 5 minutes and work your way up to more. Try a yoga practice! Get more restful sleep. Turn off screens an hour before bed and quiet your mind. Go outside more and soak up the Vitamin D. In fact, plan a vacation!
Finally, get bodywork! Seriously, one of the quickest ways to stress reduction is to get in a routine of chiropractic care, acupuncture, massage, etc.. You can immediately feel your stress reducing when you settle into the table with a knowledgable practitioner. These practices can help get your body into more complete balance.
The last stressor that creates inflammation can be our environment. Avoid toxins in your environment by eliminating perfumes and artificial fragrances. Be careful with body products: soap, shampoo, conditioner, lotions, make-up, deodorant, toothpaste, etc. If you’re looking for products that are safe, we love Beautycounter. Avoid any sort of smoke. Filter your water. Change your air filters monthly. Be sure there is no mold in your home or office.
In 2017, we hope you choose health as a priority for yourself and your family! We look forward to serving you this year and beyond.
Love and Light,
Dr. Scott and the Verve Team