Resolve to be good to yourself this summer.
I love summertime and am so glad it’s arrived. It tends to be a really social time, which is fabulous. But it can also mean that we’re swept away by the festivities, and end up eating foods and doing things that don’t necessarily bring out our best selves. So before you get too far into the season, resolve to be good to yourself and be in a better place by the time school rolls around. But don’t be heavy handed about it. Be nice to yourself. I humbly submit 10 easy steps to enhance your health over the summer.
Stay hydrated for goodness sake! This is an easy one. Drinking enough water (your weight in pounds divided in half equals the number of ounces you should drink in a day) is excellent for your liver and your heart. Make sure to add 8 ounces for every ½ hour of exercise you enjoy. Squeeze in some lemon juice for an extra liver boost. Also make sure to drink water in between (and prior to drinking) alcoholic beverages.
If you’re on the road, pack a variety of healthy foods so you’re not caught hungry with only McDonald’s and gas station fare as options. Pack things like homemade trail mix (my latest fave is coconut chips, pumpkin seeds, almonds, sunflower seeds and dried pineapple pieces), hard boiled eggs, non-squishy fruit, Bison Bars, Lara Bars, homemade or store bought kale chips, cut up veggies.
If you’re vacationing, choose a home base that has a kitchen.
It doesn’t mean that you’ll spend your vacation cooking, but it can mean that you’re in more control of what you’re eating. Having to eat out three times a day is time consuming and expensive. Make it easy, but make some meals at home where you can be in control of the quality of your meal.
Bring healthy foods to parties.
No one sets out to eat crap, but if that’s all there is, that’s all there is. If you bring something healthy to a potluck or party, then there will be at least one healthy option for you. It also is a great way of taking care of your friends and raising the bar in your social circle. Believe me: most of the people you’re hanging with really do want to take care of themselves. Support them by feeding them whole food rather than processed.
Let go of worn out food traditions.
So, your kids are used to doughnuts on the way out of town and Fruit Loops and Frosted Flakes while on vacation? Just because you’ve always done it doesn’t mean you owe it to them to continue. Really to the contrary. Vacations can be a time to support our kids’ health. They will live without the doughnuts. As with any transition, talk it through, but be firm and unapologetic. Vacation is reward enough. They don’t need sugar to make their time away worthwhile.
Walk barefoot on the earth. Get out of the gym and play! Get into the warm sunshine. Let your skin warm (not burn) in the sun without sunscreen so you can produce some health protective vitamin D.
Summertime is perfect for cooling foods. Eating more raw veggies, green smoothies and salads is rejuvenating during the summer. Chop fresh herbs into everything you make. Experiment with new varieties of veggies and vegetables you have never tried. Let plants nourish your body.
Play with a meditative practice.
It’s so time to do this. Don’t worry about the every-day-bit. Just try starting out your day with a gratitude practice. The next day, make yourself some tea first thing, sit outside and watch the birds…try a few ideas on and see what you respond most to. Just BE for a bit this summer and let your body shift from a fight-or-flight mode into a parasympathetic healing mode. Find ways to be in your body rather than in the heavy traffic of your own mind.
Focus on snacks.
This is the place where our habits usually slip. We’re hungry, we want it to be fast…and so we open a bag or box. This summer, consider focusing on replacing boxed snacks with healthy whole food that you love. My family’s favorite is a sampler plate of whatever is in the fridge. It’s different every time. It might be a plate with a few slices avocado, a few slices fresh fruit, a piece of leftover meat, sliced cucumbers (or whatever other veggie), and maybe some small sweet. Rarely present are refined grains, even gluten free ones. Experiment!
Do something that gets you out of your comfort zone.
Stretch yourself somehow this summer. Try something no one would ever think you’d do. Surprise yourself. Even if it’s scary, do it in the spirit of “you only live once.” YOLO!