10 Steps to Simpler Health

Taking steps to improve your health need not be complicated. A couple of swaps, a new habit, a new skill and simplify, simplify, simplify are all at the heart of these 9 steps to simpler health.

1.Drink a glass of water with fresh lemon daily

2.Eat Whole Foods

3.Switch your bath product

4.Switch your cleaning products

5.Get a better night’s sleep

6.Plant some herbs

7. Take a Walk

8.Hug a family member or friend

9.Exchange a massage

10.Drink more water

1.Drink a glass of water with fresh lemon daily

It is said that a glass of lemon water on an empty stomach before breakfast is great for your metabolism and flushing waste from the body. It also reduces acidity in the body, which can be a consequence of a busy lifestyle.

2.Eat Whole Foods

Get back to basics with what you eat. Ditched anything that comes in a packet.  As per Michael Pollan’s Food Manifesto:

Make your own muesli, bake your own bread. Make your sauces from scratch. Eat loads of fruit and vegetables. By doing this you reduce the load on your body to digest chemicals and products we should not overload our bodies with.

3.Switch your bath product

It is often said that if you don’t understand what is in a product, don’t use it. This has me running scared of bathing products!

My favourite solution for this is DIY Homemade Oat Milk. Oatmeal is fantastic for all skin types including dry, sensitive skin and those who suffer from eczema.

How: Fill a nylon stocking (a knee-high will do) with a handful of rolled oats (the same ones you put in your muesli or porridge), tie a knot in the top and leave it to soak in a running bath. Give the stocking a few squeezes to bring out the milky substance. For added luxury and relaxation, add a drop of lavendar oil.

Suitable for kids.

Can also be used as a shower puff!

Discard contents after use, rinse and hang the stocking to dry for next use.

4.Switch your cleaning products

Simplify your cleaning routine and save your health and money. Bicarbonate of soda, dishwash concentrate and vinegar can replace many a cleaning product. See SAHM’s blog post on using vinegar. For tough stains, sprinkle bicarb over the area and then add vinegar.

5.Get a better night’s sleep

It eludes all of us at some point. Hints and tips for a good night’s sleep:

  • Remove all electronics from the bedroom (they disrupt your circadian rhythm)
  • Have a warm shower or bath before bed
  • Drop some lavendar oil on your pillow
  • Ensure your room is as dark as possible
  • Do some easy-peasy mindful relaxation
  • Go to sleep at the same time each night, aiming for 7-9 hours’ sleep.

6.Plant some herbs

What could be healthier than adding fresh greens full of antioxidants to every meal?

Herbs are easy to grow year-round in relatively small pots and are very low maintenance. After a fortnight, they need only be watered once. They’ll bounce back from weather extremes and pests don’t like them that much.

  • Flat-leaf parsley and mint take a salad from ‘garden’ to ‘gourmet’
  • For authentic Italian, just add parsley or basil
  • For authentic Greek, just add mint and oregano
  • For Asian flavours, coriander is your go-to herb
  • Add mint to your drink and voila! Mojito time

Choose herb seedlings, as they are much easier than growing from seed and are very affordable.

  • Buy herb-grade potting mix, some Seasol and Powerfeed (organic fertilisers) and herb seedlings (I recommend mint, parsley, oregano amd chives for their versatility)
  • Make up Seasol & Powerfeed in the same 9L of water (standard bucket or watering can size), as per instructions on pack
  • Dig a hole the same depth as the pot they came in, and twice as wide.
  • Pour in a splash of your fertiliser mix
  • Ease seedlings out of the pot by squeezing the plastic base to loosen the roots and pull out gently. Further tease the roots if necessary to get rid of the ‘jammed into plastic’ look
  • Place in the hole and fill in any gaps with your high-quality potting mix.
  • Pat around the base of the plant to secure it
  • Water once again with your fertiliser mix
  • Water your seedlings every second day for 2 weeks
  • After this, water 2 times per week.
  • Your herbs will be ready to pick in 4-6 weeks.
  • Rather tan pulling the herb from the base, snap off along the stem. Your herbs will continue to grow as long as you water and pick regularly!

Once you have conquered herb growth, try your hand at growing gourmet lettuce and baby spinach!

7.Take a Walk

In amongst the noise of gym adverts and the latest workout craze we sometimes forget the benefits of a simple walk. Grab a pair of walking shoes and just walk. Breathe in the fresh air, walk at a pace and clear your mind. Health benefits abound, including raising your metabolism, getting the blood flowing, delivering more oxygen to your body and more energised self due to the awakening of endorphins.

8.Hug a family member or friend

Our bodies need the human touch. Find someone to hug and feel your tight muscles unwind and low feelings dissipate. Check out this Huffington Post article for at least 7 reasons why we should be giving more hugs.

9. Exchange a massage

Massage helps flush waste from the body and reduce physical and emotional stress. It produces endorphins and reduces stress hormones – no wonder I am addicted to my monthly massage! If you don’t have the time or money to visit a professional, exchange a shoulder or foot massage with a family member or friend.

10. Drink more water

It has been said that thirst is never an indication of the need to hydrate – it’s the indicator of ‘you’re in dehydration territory!’

Elle McPherson made famous the ‘drink 8 glasses of water a day’ (or whatever it was) in the 1990s. I don’t know about you but I either struggled to get the 8 glasses in or lost count.

The best advice I have ever heard from a dietician (whom I can’t remember in order to quote or thank!) was:

“Aim for clear urine twice a day”

A bit gross, but incredibly simple.

If your wee isn’t pale by morning coffee time, up your water intake. Ditto for afternoon tea.

This is the best piece of advice because it caters for the between-human differences when it comes to our fluid needs.

And of course, we don’t need to count. Or look like Elle McPherson.

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