New year. New You.

The new year holds much promise for many. It is a time of renewal and hope. So many make resolutions to lose weight, quit smoking, pay down debt, and the list goes on and on. There is nothing wrong with wanting to look, feel ,and be better. We should always strive to move forward.

I, too, strive to look, feel and be better in a natural way. Living a chemical free life is very challenging in this day in age. We are constantly bombarded with pollution in the air that we breathe, through the pesticides sprayed on our foods, and by way of the chemicals that are in the products we put on our bodies. It is a must that we choose our food and products wisely, as there are so many chemical burdens which we cannot control.

Our health is truly our greatest source of wealth, but unfortunately most people are taught to value things over health. I cannot tell you how many times I have been told that organic veggies and clean meat are too expensive. “I can’t see a naturopath or get acupuncture because my insurance doesn’t cover it.” I can’t do yoga because I’m not flexible.” “ I don’t have time to go to the gym.” There are so many excuses that people come up with in order to skirt the issue of taking their health into their own hands. The truth is that no one can heal you. Not even your doctor. It is your choice, and yours alone. Your health is affected by everything that you do, every morsel of food you put into your mouth, and by every product you put on your body. You don’t have to join a fancy gym or keep up with the latest diet craze. What you should do is everything that it takes to learn about what is best for you. Take notice of how food makes you feel after you eat it, and eliminate the foods that do not make you feel well. If you have heartburn after you eat something, don’t take an antacid. STOP eating it! Your body is telling you that it doesn’t like it! Here are some tips to becoming a healthier you:

  1. Start a food journal. Write down everything that you eat throughout the day. Take notice of everything. Write it down. Do feel good or bad? Nervous, anxious, calm? Any changes? Skin breaking out or clearing up? Gut feels good or bad? Do this for at least 4-6 weeks to track any trends that you may notice. This is a great way to identify foods that are not good for you.

  2. Become a label reader. You should be reading every label on everything that you have never tried before. If your food comes in a package (try and eat less of anything packaged) make sure it doesn’t have colors, dyes, high fructose corn syrup, artificial ingredients, and preservatives to name a few. When choosing products; take a snap shot of the label and research the ingredients. Avoid products that have ingredients like Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Parabens, Phthalates, synthetic fragrance, and synthetic colors.

  3. Move. Not everyone can run, do cross fit, or boot camp. You need to do what is right for your body, but you need to do something. A brisk walk, yoga, or swimming. Not every body can do all things. I was always very active and athletic all my life. Prior to my illness, I was doing circuit training and high impact exercise. When I fell ill, I did not have the strength or stamina to walk let alone do high impact anything. It took me a long while to be able to build up the strength in my muscles and cardiovascular tolerance. I started with walking a little on flat ground, increased the distance and length of time, and then tackled the hills. I went back to yoga and hot yoga (although the heat occasionally bothers me, I listen to my body). A year ago I discovered The Bar Method and I have found this to be a great way to strengthen my muscles without the high intensity or high impact. I love the feeling of strength! Find a way to move your body everyday!

The value of our health is priceless. It is worth it to live well and happy, every moment of our lives. I bid you a joyous and prosperous new year! Happy Chinese New Year too!