The connection between our physical and mental health is now undeniable. I have experienced first-hand how both impact each other. In my case, I have experienced elevated energy, clarity of thought and elevated happiness from having greatly improved my physical health. Prior to this experience I was unaware of how startling the impact could be. Here are three daily tips that have helped me. While there are many variables related to our physical and mental health, the three areas below have been relatively easy for me to pull off, even when I choose for my life to get crazy busy!
11 MINUTES OF MAGIC
When do we have time to work out? That can be a big question which many of us have when we think about when to squeeze in a workout. Using this strategy, I am able to work out 6 - 7 days a week, all of those in my living room. 9 years ago, I never worked out. Sometimes I don’t have time for an extended workout, but I can fit in an 11 minute workout. I like to do that twice a day, once in the morning and once at night. I can even squeeze this kind of workout in while I’m making steel cut oatmeal! Here’s what you do:
- Choose some type of exercise you can do very quickly with a lot of energy. Maybe it’s jumping jacks, high knees, sprinting, running in place with high knees, Berpee’s, or Kenpo (punching and or kicking). Do whatever you choose for 30 seconds! Go all out!!
- Rest for 60 seconds
- Repeat that sequence of 30 seconds on and 60 seconds of rest for a total of 8 times. That equals 11 minutes.
Sometimes I go 20, 30 or 40 minutes, but 11 minutes is just enough time to engage your metabolic mechanism, which helps your body burn calories. It also energizes you!
WRITE IT DOWN
We all have ideas and many times, unfortunately, we discard our own ideas as unrealistic. I write down most of my ideas, and even though some don’t become a reality, some do. For sure, none will if you don’t begin to put some pen on paper (or fingers on a keyboard). It is such a simple thing to do. I often write down my ideas on:
- Note app on my phone
- In my calendar a week or two from the day I’m writing them to remind myself to revisit the idea
- A google doc I typically create that houses my ideas
I also share my ideas with 1, maybe 2 people, who are in my inner circle for feedback. In my case, my wife, also an Artist and Educator, is someone who I trust completely. She is also very objective and her feedback helps me with clarity.
There is more to it than simply writing down your idea, but without this first step, the rest never happens. Stay tuned for more info on this topic in future blogs.
SMALL EMPOWERING MEALS
I grew up eating 3 meals a day, like many of us. It was simply what you did, and the biggest meal of the day was usually dinner. In my family that happened around 7pm or 8pm. Over time I learned more about what was healthier for us and most importantly, I started to experiment with different habits of eating. I began to understand that:
- Eating when we’re hungry is important
- Starving ourselves tells our brain and body to hold on to fat
- Eating processed foods leads to inflammation, drains our energy, and leads to less mental clarity
It’s simple and profound… here’s what I’ve been doing:
- I eat when I’m hungry. This is usually every 2 - 3 hours.
- I eat smaller meals. Below is a list of some of the things I’ve been eating.
- I make sure to eat enough of the healthy fats so my brain doesn’t tell my body it’s in starvation mode. I’ve listed some of the healthy fats I’ve been eating.
- It is rare I eat anything processed. When I do, my body no longer likes that feeling and I’m much more aware. I still eat birthday cake and fried chicken, etc., but it’s rare.
- I have found some very cool healthy replacements for certain foods I like a lot. I’ve listed some of them below.
SMALLER MEAL EXAMPLES
- Raw Celery, Cucumbers with homemade pesto, raw almond butter, or hummus.
*Trader Joe’s makes a Carrot/Ginger hummus that is mild and easier on indigestion that regular hummus.
- 2 or 3 soft boiled eggs and a crimini mushrooms sauteed in coconut oil.
- 4 - 6 ounces of a clean protein (organic chicken or wild caught salmon) and a large salad (usually arugula and kale with a homemade dressing of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, celtic salt, pepper, and any other herbs I feel like having).
*1 serving of arugula has 10 times the amount of calcium than 1 serving of milk, which I do not drink anymore because of how it breaks down in our body after it is consumed.
- A smoothie made with with 1 banana, lots of kale, flaxseed meal, a small handful of pistachios, coconut milk or almond milk, and some added water for consistency.
A simple and crucial fact is that if we don’t eat enough healthy fats, our body thinks we are asking it to hold on to fat that we actually don’t need. Here are some healthy fats I have been eating on a weekly basis in moderation.
- Avocado (usually just play as part of a salad)
- Coconut Oil (I use this when I cook any protein or vegetable)
- Unsalted and Grassfed butter (I use this occasionally when I cook proteins and vegetables)
- Olives (for a snack)
I love potatoes and while there are much worse things we can be eating, they are starchy and do not help with staying fit.
Replacement for Potatoes? There are two I have been using.
- Parsnips - lower in calories and it’s actually a vegetable. I cut them in cubes or like french fries and cook them with coconut oil. They are SO deliscious!
- Butternut Squash - Trader Joe’s makes these already cut up like crinkle fries.. Fantastic! I sometimes just cut them up in cubes and cook them as part of a hash. I like adding onions and topping it off with some over easy eggs!
Replacement for pasta? There are two answers to this I have found.
First of all, I love pasta and I sometimes have it, but it’s rare.
- First replacement: Learn how to make pasta with coconut flour and other thickeners like tapioca flour, but this is time intensive. I don’t usually do this. The times I have, it has been fantastic. You’ll find lots of recipes online.
- Second replacement: Spaghetti Squash. It doesn’t really come out like a true pasta, but it does taste great. Cut one in half and roast it until it’s supple. Then scoop out the inside and it will come out like angel hair pasta, but it will be in clumps. To take this to the next level, put some coconut oil in a pan with fresh garlic and heat the pan up. Add the spaghetti squash to the pan and stir it a bit to break up the clumps a bit. If you want, you can add marinara sauce!
Have a great time taking your mental and physical health to new heights!
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