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Are You Living These 10 Essential Health Habits?

There are tons of different healthy eating tips out there that can help you improve your health. Here are some basic health tips that I can safely recommend to almost everyone. Learning healthy eating habits will help you transition your diet a lot easier and a lot faster. That means, of course, that you’re letting go of bad eating habits and replacing them with good, strong habits that you can depend on to get you through the hard times when you’re changing your diet. Whether adopting the vegan diet, becoming a vegetarian, or simply improving your current diet, good eating habits can serve as the bonding glue to keep you grounded through the rough patches on your path to eating healthy.

1. Drinking plenty of water upon waking in the morning

are_you_living_these_10_essential_health_habits_imageSome people wake up and eat their largest meal of the day, but that’s no way to break a fast. Waking up and drinking water is much more beneficial to the body than immediately eating. It’s better for your body that it be room temperature water, too. Water in the morning oxidizes your body and helps your digestive system flush itself in preparation for your first meal of the day. Water on an empty stomach purifies the colon, making it easier to absorb nutrients. This is also an effective strategy for long term weight loss and cleansing; it’s non-invasive and very simple.

2. Eat and drink separately

As a kid, I was prohibited from eating and drinking at the same time. People think we need to drink when we eat to “wash” down our food to keep us from choking, but that's foolishness. Your body has digestive enzymes that bond to the food when you chew. This is all a part of the whole digestive process that starts in your mouth. When you eat and drink at the same time, you don’t allow the digestive enzymes to do their jobs and begin to breakdown the food. If you must drink, give it 15-30 mins after you eat, but it’s best to wait one hour.

3. Eating a light breakfast

The first meal of the day is breakfast, literally meaning to break your fast (you fast while you sleep). No fast should be broken with heavy foods—ever. Every expert on fasting will tell you that you can potentially hurt yourself by breaking a fast with heavy foods. We’ve all been told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and as a society we’ve misconstrued what a healthy breakfast meal should be. The true importance, however, is not how much you eat, but what kind of foods you eat for your first meal. Fruits for breakfast can help kick-start your day better than almost anything else. My routine is fruit based smoothies. Just nothing heavy, like eggs and bacon!

vegan_stuffed_peppers_recipe_pic4. Eating strong lunches

Lunch is actually your most important meal of the day. It should be substantial and nutritionally balanced to serve as your primary fuel for the remainder of the day. Of course you’ll eat again, but a good lunch goes a long way; how you choose your lunch can greatly impact how you feel for the rest of your day. So if you’re crapped out before you even get home from work, you need to look no further than your lunch.

5. Eating with the sun

Eating with the sun simply means to get all your eating done while the sun is up. This means no late night eating. The sun and the body work together to create more energy for digestion throughout the day. The body begins slower operations when the sun goes down, and eating at night complicates that process and hinders your body’s ability to rest and repair during sleep.

6. Better snacks throughout your day

If your snacks come out of some kind of packaging or a vending machine, then it’s highly probable that it’s processed. Processed foods are the worse forms of foods you can eat. They are loaded with sodium, filled with harmful preservatives, and 70% of them contain some form of genetically modified organism. Fruits are a great replacement for those junk foods you’re used to. But if you’re used to junk food snacks, it may be a big adjustment to switch to fruits when you’re hungry. So there are also some great energy bars out there that are fruit and nut based, gluten free, and raw. If you must snack from a packaged food, these kinds of bars would be more ideal.

7. Not overcooking your veggies

All veggies are alive until you kill them with high heat. In order to maintain the nutritional value of your veggies, you must only slightly steam them. The rule of thumb is for them to still have a crunch when you eat them. There are steamers available that can help you with that. Your broccoli shouldn’t be wimpy.

pure_maple_syrup_healthier_alternative_pic8. Saying no to refined sugar

Read the ingredients. If it says sugar, then it’s refined white sugar (sweet crack). It’s hard to say no to it, but this is the stuff that contributes to diabetes and obesity, ADD and quick burnouts of energy. Your best bet is to avoid all refined sugar and opt for alternative sweeteners like coconut nectar, maple syrup, and stevia. You’re really better off with the alternative sugars. Sugar—brown, cane, or turbinado—is played out.

9. Drinking only fresh pressed juices, not fake juices

100% real juices are hard to find in conventional grocery stores, but they’re there. Juice from concentrate means the juice has been boiled and then water and sugar was added to it. Who wants boiled cranberries or peaches for juice? Most sodas contain no real juice whatsoever. This has been almost the entire beverage market up until recently. Look for fresh pressed, unpasteurized juices. Just be prepared to pay more for them. Or you can buy the fruits and juice them yourself.

10. Chewing your food

How much thought do you put into chewing? Many people chew for few seconds and then swallow chunks of whole food. Proper chewing involves chewing your food to a complete mush, allowing it to mix with the saliva there and kick-starting the digestive process via digestive enzymes in your mouth. Time yourself or count your chews, you’d be surprised at how little chewing you do. You should also chew your liquids! Get those fresh juices mixed in the saliva under your tongue and all over your mouth before you swallow.

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