Those of you following our blog will know that we are incredibly passionate about brain health and taking care of our bodies. The significant changes seen clinically by making diet modifications is often underrated. Often, a behavior difficulty in a child can be modified once their diet is adjusted.
While the science gets complicated at times, the simple truth is that your brain needs three food groups: protein, fat, and water. A dehydrated brain will not function right, and your brain is mostly made up of water. Additionally, your brain cells need healthy fats and proteins to optimize their functioning.
Simple changes and adjustments can be made, such as drinking a solid 8-10 ounces of lemon water first thing in the morning – before your coffee. We all wake up dehydrated, so making sure you start the morning with water is a great habit to get into.
Harvard Health has a great article linking foods to brainpower. They discuss how leafy green vegetables (such as kale, spinach, and collard greens) support the brain with nutrients like vitamin K, folate, and beta carotene. Adding greens to a smoothie, or even cooking them up to add to a side salad at dinner or lunch, can take just a few minutes at the beginning of the week, but have powerful brain boosting effects.
We have talked a lot about omegas and healthy fats in our past blogs because our brain craves them! If you’re not a fan of fish, try omega3 plant-based foods such as chia seeds, flax seeds, avocados, and walnuts.
It can be difficult to find recipes that cover all the food groups. A great plant-based recipe source is Oh She Glows. We personally love all of her smoothies, energy balls, and her awesome enchiladas!
But let’s be honest: eating “healthy” can be overwhelming, but overhauling your diet and lifestyle will make a significant and positive impact on your holistic wellbeing. It is difficult to implement all of these changes at once, and figure out ways to fit everything into an already jam-packed schedule. Give yourself time to test out recipes, re-arrange your schedule and listen to your family. We’ve said it before, but making changes in one area will help ease the changes in others. Before you know it, you and your family will be living a more positive and progressive lifestyle.
Our bodies are resilient. And if we take care of them, they will thank us. Your brain is the power house to the rest of your body, and we promise if you clean up your brain, the rest of your body follows suit.
Try one of these ideas and see what clicks with you. What is easy to implement and change? What is something realistic? What would help you and your family? Here are our 24 ways to overhaul your overall wellness:
Implement #MeatlessMondays to incorporate more vegetables and greens into your diet.
Start your morning with a good source of protein, such as a smoothie recipe or avocado toast, or almond butter and a banana.
Make it a priority to get to an exercise class once a week. This is YOUR time. If you can, add in a second or ideally a third class into your week for an optimal workout regimen that will make your brain and body feel extraordinary.
Take A Hike
Grab the family and go on a hike – or enjoy a group sport like playing tennis, going skiing or taking a bike ride.
Choose one day out of the week to prepare fish for the family, and try a salmon recipe that your family will all agree with.
Prep for Success
Dice up fruits and vegetables at the beginning of the week and serve this for a snack during the week. Pair fruits with honey, chia seeds or almond butter for added healthy brain fats!
Rise & Shine
Drink a tall glass of water (8-12 oz.) first thing in the morning. Add lemon for added detoxification benefits.
Experiment with a gratitude journal. Jot down at least one thing you’re grateful for each day to keep your mind focused on the positive aspects of your life.
Meditate once a week and see if you feel pulled to do more. There are endless ways to calm the mind. Take to YouTube for some suggestions and test drive different methods. We promise, one will resonate with you.
Get Down (Dog)
Research a local yoga class. There are many varieties: traditional, heated, Hot 26, Yin and more. Opening up your meridians, and massaging your muscles, is a great way to reap holistic health benefits.
Schedule a date to actually hang out with your friends. It sounds superfluous in the short term, but just being with your friends, and having some quality face time, will dramatically improve your psyche and mood.
Make time to connect with your significant other. We often abandon the “loving” portion of our relationships when we have children, but it’s just as important to show each other your love today as when you were dating.
Find a day (once a month at least) to block out and make it just for the family. Enjoy it even more when you include extended family. Especially while your children are young, it’s amazing to take advantage of your immediate family. This will provide excellent memories for them and help impart the importance of family.
It can feel impossible to carve out time for your own self-care, but try to do this once a week as a personal goal. Whether you get a pedicure, enjoy a relaxing soak or even order a meal in, arrange something in your schedule for YOU to enjoy.
Establish (or re-establish) a morning routine. For many, this includes a little me-time (before the house awakes), followed by preparing for the day. Do what works for you so that you can begin every day with your best foot forward.
Have you ever joined in on a new exercise class? It’s fun and illuminating to try out new things and see if there is a particular exercise that meets your current needs. Try things like kickboxing, pilates, spin or Zumba, for instance.
To wind down, or fill in the gaps, start a new book. This is a great addition to a morning routine, or nice for parents who find themselves with blank space throughout the week (like, at a soccer game, during a commute, or even waiting in the pickup line).
You’re feeling stressed, wound up and about to burst. This is the time to take 5 deep, mindful breaths to dramatically extinguish the negative energy.
We love coffee. BUT, having a tall glass of lemon water to start your day (or after lunch) is the BEST way to detox the brain and replenish your reserves. Add in honey, turmeric, cayenne and/or apple cider vinegar for gut boosting health benefits as well.
Turn off your phones 2 hours before bed. The blue light energy emitted from our phones throws off our melatonin production, interrupting the natural sleep cycle.
Do the entire family a favor and install a screen time tracker. We love Circle by Disney, but there are many out there that do the trick.
Diffuse some lavender (or another favorite essential oil) at night. The whole family will enjoy the aromatherapy and calming benefits.
Find, or create, a great morning playlist. It will energize an otherwise sleepy morning and get everyone motivated to start the day.
It can seem overwhelming, but trying new recipes is a great way to teach your kids about food preparation and experiment with new flavors.
For more, refer to one of our many blogs.
And remember to love your brain. If you do, it will love you back!