When it comes to maintaining our health, most of what we need to do is pretty straightforward and stuff we all know we should do but often, for one reason or another, just don't.
You would have to have had your head buried in the sand for the past 30 years not to know that eating more vegetables and fewer processed foods as well as engaging in regular movement is good for our health. It would also be uncommon for someone not to know that we need to keep our water intake up to maintain good hydration and that good quality sleep is essential for our body to repair and restore.
However, there is an inordinate amount of information out there on how we need to be taking care of ourselves and sometimes it can be conflicting and confusing. How do we know what's healthy for us? So with that in mind, here are some health mistakes that are commonly made and very easily rectified.
1. THINKING YOU CAN BURN OFF POOR FOOD CHOICES
You cannot eat like a piglet and expect everything to fall into place. That's just common sense. Yet I have met thousands of people who exercise frequently (and with intensity), especially after making poor food choices with the intention of "burning off" the calories they consumed the day before.
But the calorie equation we are taught to follow of "calories in versus calories burned" is outdated and doesn't adequately take into account all the aspects that can impact on how our body metabolises the fuel we put into it. There is nothing in the world that can replace a highly nutritious way of eating. No amount of exercise can burn off the effects of a poor-quality way of eating. Opt for low human intervention foods and increase your vegetable consumption for optimal health.
2. THINKING IF IT'S GLUTEN FREE IT MUST BE A NOURISHING FOOD CHOICE
Go you! You've decided to cut out gluten because you have listened to your gut, which has been giving you the message that it doesn't digest it well for some time now (think bloating, constipation and a whole gamut of other digestive and/or immune complaints). But then you went to the supermarket and found all kinds of gluten free packaged goods and you now have a pantry full of gluten free chips, biscuits, muesli bars and other snacks. Just because it's gluten free (or sugar free or dairy free for that matter) doesn't mean it offers much in the way of nutrition. We still need to keep our processed and packaged food intake to a minimum. Be wary of the word 'healthy' on a label and always check the ingredients list to look for sneaky health detracting additives.
3. NOT TREATING YOUR LIVER LIKE THE SUPERSTAR ORGAN IT IS
When it comes to all aspects of our health, the liver packs a mighty punch. Yet, we often make lifestyle choices that load our liver with all kinds of substances that it needs to change (detoxify) before we can eliminate them. Think relying on coffee and sugary food choices as energy choices to get us through the day and a glass of wine to calm us down of an evening... oh, and not eating enough vegetables!
If our liver becomes overloaded, it has a flow on effect on our energy, sleep quality, hormone balance and much more. We need to be honest with ourselves about our intake level of the substances I lovingly call 'liver loaders' and reduce our exposure to them as much as possible. These liver loaders include alcohol, caffeine, refined sugar, trans fats and other synthetic substances such as those found in many conventional skincare and household products.
4. IGNORING YOUR BODY'S MESSAGES
Too many people put up with symptoms that could so easily be eradicated because they think they are "normal". I like to say that things such as PMS, constipation, bloating, reflux and headaches are common but not normal.
If you think about the symptoms you experience that impact you on a regular basis as your body trying to communicate with you that something needs to change - such as how you eat, drink, move, think, breathe, believe or perceive - you begin to look at them in an entirely different light. Pay attention to your body's communication - it has the power to change how you experience health and vitality on a daily basis.
5. NEVER SWITCHING OFF
Our body needs to rest--and I don't just mean when we're sleeping. If you're someone who is on the go all day long, every day of the week, constantly attached to your phone or some other kind of device, it's going to catch up with you. Try scheduling in a couple of hours a week where you don't have to 'do' anything--amp that up to a whole day if you can manage it!