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10 healthy habits for 2015

1.  Make your own almond milk as a dairy alternative – its yummy, cheap, quick and easy! Simply soak your almonds for 24-48 hours, throw them in the blender and then strain the milk through some cloth! It also leaves you with some almond meal to bulk up your cooking.

2.  Get your Vitamin D naturally – 10 minutes of full sun exposure every day increases your natural vitamin D production. Be sure to get your tummy out in the sun as you have lots of Vitamin D receptors there too! Sitting in the sun behind glass (like in a car or window) does not give you the same effect.

3.  Avoid refined olive oils – Olive oil is only good for you in it most pure form. Cold pressed extra virgin olive oil means it comes from the FIRST press of the olives, heat has not been used (heat changes the chemistry of olive oil) and no chemical processes have been used to extract the oil. Please note that oils labeled as pure olive oil, olive oil, 100% olive oil or light olive oil are all REFINED oils which are no longer good for you, so read the labels carefully.

4.  Avoid cooking with olive oil – Once heated olive oil becomes rancid and is very bad for you. Stick to butter, ghee and coconut oil for cooking and use olive oil as a dressing instead!

5.  Avoid sitting for long periods – If you have a job where you sit a lot then make sure you stand up and take a big breath every 10-20 minutes and ideally walk around. Not only will it help your posture but also it will keep your brain more productive.

6.  Drink water – Your body is more than 70% water so if you are dehydrated many of the important functions like methylation and detoxification don’t work optimally. If you are stressed, sick, injured or sweat a lot than the rule of thumb is 43ml of water per kilogram of bodyweight per day, 35ml per kilogram of bodyweight as maintenance. Ideally drink filtered water but quantity over a quality to get started.

7.  Avoid industrial seed / vegetable oils – Industrial oils such as sunflower, safflower, cottonseed, corn, canola and soybean have not been part of our diet historically but they have been promoted as “healthy” to many unsuspecting consumers. NIH researcher Joseph Hibbeln has published a few research papers saying that the increased consumption of industrial oils is one huge human experiment to which he believes shows without a doubt the results of this consumption has directly contributed to the increase in violence, depression, cardiovascular mortality and inflammatory disease. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19022225.

8. Swap margarine for butter – Margarine is made from vegetable oils, which are oils extracted from seeds like rapeseed (canola oil), soybean, corn, sunflower, safflower etc. What many people don’t know is that these oils (unlike butter and coconut oil) can’t be extracted naturally or cold pressed, the oil must be removed using heating and many toxic chemicals.  To make margarine, these oils are extracted under high heat and pressure, hydrogenated (so margarine can harden), steam cleaned (extracting vitamins and anti-oxidant but don’t worry it leaves the pesticides there!), emulsified (smoothing the lumps), steamed and deoderised (removing the smell) and then bleached (removing the charming grey colour).

9.  Minimise your bread intake – If you must eat bread then go for a sprouted bread, which is mildly alkaline and easier to digest as the seeds have been sprouted before cooking. If these are hard to find go for wraps instead of sandwiches and look for yeast free/gluten free varieties. Sourdough is low GI so is a much better option too.

10. Keep moving – Decrease in skeletal muscle mass is one of the biggest contributors to mortality. Find something you like to do, as you are more likely to stick to it. If you have a sedentary job then get a step counter to help make you aware of your activity. Some easy tips include to walk to or from work (or park further away if you have to drive so you still get a walk), exercise with a friend as its more social and you can keep yourselves more accountable, take the stairs instead of the escalator and incorporate exercises like one leg standing and wall sits into your daily routine (e.g. while brushing your teeth or waiting for the printer).

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