1. Sleep more, sleep better and start sleeping EARLIER.
Make the commitment to yourself to get in bed an hour earlier than you normally do. It'll be dark outside, no doubt. If it's not dark in your room, MAKE IT DARK. Use blackout curtains or, if you must, cover the windows with cardboard or foil. Notice what happens when you turn down the lights and allow your body to lay in a dark room at the end of a long, busy day. Chances are that you'll fall asleep a LOT earlier than you would have if you were tapping away in front of a bright computer or sitting up watching a heart-pounding action movie. You'll also probably find that you feel BETTER all day the next day, have a more normal appetite and don't crave sugar and carbohydrates.
DO THESE THINGS:
- Download Flux. Flux “makes the color of your computer's display adapt to the time of day, warm at night and like sunlight during the day.” I use it and find that it does help, especially in the evening.
- Check out these useful Sound Sleep Tips (PDF).
- Read this post: “Turn Down the Lights, Turn Up Your Metabolism.”
2. Make (and eat!) your own RAW sauerkraut – or at least just get some at the store.
I've been yapping to y'all about eating raw kraut for a while now. And I've gotten TONS of feedback from readers and Facebook fans alike that their poop has been better for it. You're welcome. Well, this stuff doesn't just taste awesome (tart, sour, crunchy, savory, all that!), it's helping to get some healthy flora into your gut. You know, the stuff you KILL OFF like mad when you get sick and take antibiotics?! Yeah, well, you need that whole system to be in BALANCE. Just about 1/4c of this crunchy, raw, fermented cruciferous treat will help to get that flora in-check and keep your eliminations moving along smoothly. Yes, pun intended. I've started making my own and I'll be sharing some DELICIOUS recipes in my upcoming book – details on that forthcoming, I promise. Yum.
DO THESE THINGS:
- Check out this site for a simple raw kraut recipe
- Get your hands on some large mason jars (and do your best to keep the kraut under the waterline the whole time using make-shift tools) or invest in a kraut crock that comes with stone weights to start the science experiment in your own kitchen.
- Read this post: “Bites I Love: Fresh, Raw Sauerkraut – A Probiotic Food.“
- Check your local Whole Foods, organic grocer or co-op for raw sauerkraut. All of those places should carry at least one brand. Once you see the price tag, you'll want to start making your own at home.
3. Eat liver.
You want to eat a REAL SUPERFOOD??? Knock it off with the chia seeds, goji berries and maca powder. Find a good source of liver from pasture-raised animals and start eating it. I don't care if it's from chickens, ducks, goats, cows, lambs or whatever you find. But do it. Go. Start now. I know it's not appealing to some of you, but I promise that my paté recipe is really good.
DO THESE THINGS:
- Check out eatwild.com to find a source of pasture-raised animal foods near you
- Don't take my word for it, see what Chris Kresser has to say about liver here.
- Read this post for the recipe AND the liver-lesson: “Easy Recipe: Chicken Liver Paté.”
4. Stop buying chicken/beef-flavored liquid (read: boxed or canned stock): MAKE BONE BROTH.
It can NOT be any easier to make your own broth. It's two ingredients, four if you want to be fancy. Five if you want to be REALLY fancy.
here's where it gets fancy, brace yourselves
3. apple cider vinegar
4. sea salt
and the really fancy ingredient…
Seriously. That is IT. I am losing my patience for those who are still buying boxed stock. I used to do it, I get it, it's easy. But it's NOT nutritious food. You can make a HUGE vat of real, nutrient-dense, amazingly healing bone broth with almost zero effort. Put stuff in a pot, turn pot on. Done. I think there's a catch-phrase for that from Ron Popeil, but I digress. Get a crockpot if you want it to be AS EASY AS POSSIBLE. Or you can pop a stock pot or dutch oven/enameled cast iron pot on your stovetop to make it.
DO THESE THINGS:
- Check out my awesomely Easy Recipe: Mineral-Rich Bone Broth Recipe.
- Get a crockpot on Amazon or anywhere near you (Target, your local hardware store, a Pilot truck stop – no, seriously, they sell these there).
- Get bones from your butcher or as part of an animal share or just save bones from the food you're eating in plastic freezer bags until you have around 1-2lbs of them to use in the stock recipe.
5. Make your own bacon.
I don't do this. I don't know if I really care about doing it myself since I have found several local farms where I can source quality bacon and I also buy from US Wellness Meats online when I can't buy locally. But I KNOW many of you question the healthfulness of bacon. Fine. Question it. I think you should question pretty much everything you're going to eat on some level. Read up on the topic, then do your best to source the best possible cured pork belly that you can. And if you can't get something of good quality, then make it yourself and stop your pork-belly-aching. Quit freaking out about bacon. It's cured meat. Curing meats is a traditional method for saving them for a time when the animals were not out to pasture. Get over it already. I don't care if Paleo man didn't eat bacon. I am not Paleo man. Are you?
DO THESE THINGS:
- Read my post on bacon. “Bacon: Health Food or Devil in Delicious Disguise?”
- Search eatwild.com for local sources of well-raised, well-fed pork. Avoid pork fed an all grain or soy-based diet. Some grains in the mix are probably fine, but they should eat more than that.
- Find a recipe for home-curing. There's one here if you don't want to take the time to goolge it yourself.
6. Listen to the Balanced Bites Podcast.
I know a lot of you have questions about what and how to eat. I know a lot of you have the SAME questions that other people have. It doesn't make you less special, it makes you human and normal to share similar issues to other people. Guess what? You can find out LOTS of information about pretty specific things by tuning in each week, FOR FREE, to hear myself and Liz Wolfe (of Cave Girl Eats) as well as special guests Chris Kresser and Robb Wolf so far (with more lined up) talk about a variety of interesting and commonly confusing topics. We've already covered LOTS of topics like stubborn fat loss, what IS LEAKY GUT?, how to make healthy living manageable at college, dealing with cravings, supplements, milk/dairy, fat intake, choosing quality meats, etc. We've even started to circle back around and recorded a PALEO 101- part 1 podcast last week, with more follow-ups on that in the coming weeks.
DO THESE THINGS:
- Check out the Balanced Bites Podcast either on iTunes, Stitcher or on BlogTalkRadio.
- Submit your own questions to the podcast here.
- Drop is a review in iTunes once you've tuned in to help us spread the word about the show as well as to spread valuable education about nutrition to as many people as possible, for FREE!
7. Attend a Balanced Bites Practical Paleo Seminar.
You'll learn the background information and basic science of how food works in your body. You've probably heard enough eat-this-not-that lists on every tv show, in every magazine, and from a million other nutrition-based websites out there (including this one!), so it's high time you sit yourself down and LEARN ABOUT HOW FOOD AFFECTS YOUR HEALTH. You need to know about keeping blood sugar regulated, why it's important and how to do it. You need to know the truth about eating fat and cholesterol. You need to know what the signs of poor digestion are because gas, bloating, constipation and diarrhea aren't all of them. You need to know what about your diet and lifestyle are contributing to poor digestion (leaky gut even), what to do about it and how to heal your gut. You need to know what you're doing wrong when you're doing everything right and the scale or your performance paramaters won't budge! And, last, but not lease, you need to be surrounded by like-minded, information-hungry, smart, dedicated, enthusiastic, and energetic people in a room with me for a day to ask questions and walk away with SO MUCH EMPOWERMENT TO CHANGE YOUR HEALTH.
DO THESE THINGS:
- Check the event listings on the sidebar of this site and/or the events page for upcoming seminars to attend.
- Read what others have said about their experience at the seminar.
- Join the emailing list to be reminded of upcoming events or to see when new ones are announced.
- Follow me on Facebook and/or Twitter to be reminded about events.
- Sign up and bring a friend or family member along with you. Learning together makes the whole thing WAY more fun and also more rewarding.
8. Take control of your sugar & carb cravings.
Enough with the holiday treats extravaganza already, right?! Unless you've been living under an Internet rock, you probably have at least HEARD about The 21-Day Sugar Detox. It's a program I created almost two years ago now to help people finally put the sugar and carb cravings and binges to rest. Well, the program has gone viral. I'm not just talking about a couple hundred people participating anymore. This thing is spreading like wildfire. Thousands have already completed the program in the past and have experienced amazing results including but not limited to: clearer skin, reduced/eliminated joint pain, increased energy, increased performance at the gym, better/more restful sleep, enhanced mental clarity and, last but certainly not least, desired weight loss. And thousands more are signed up and ready to get started on Monday, January 2, 2012. I've completed the program several times myself and it's a CHALLENGE every time, despite the fact that my regular lifestyle includes a grain/legume and dairy-free Paleo diet. That said, this program is NOT ONLY FOR THE GRAIN/LEGUME & DAIRY-FREE CROWD. There are three levels to The 21-Day Sugar Detox, so if you, your friend, family member or co-worker are still eating cereal, bread, pasta and cookies on a regular basis, Level 1 is a comfortable entry-point. You can start any time you want, if you miss the January 2nd start-date, just jump right in or hang on to the guides and get prepped for the February 1st-start group.
9. Express gratitude.
I've written about this before. I talk about it all the time. I feel like I live it on a regular basis, yet it never gets old. You can never thank a person too many times for the impact they have on your life. A heart-felt “thank you” will never fall on deaf ears. A hug, a smile, a token of appreciation, aaying a favor forward or returning a favor, simply sitting and making a list of all the things in your life for which you are grateful, rather than dwelling on the things about which you're not jumping for joy… these are all ways to show gratitude. Show it outwardly or show it to yourself and for your own life within your thoughts or on paper or in a blog post you share.
However you choose do to it, show some gratitude, will you?! YOU ARE HERE. YOU ARE BREATHING. AND YOU ARE READING ABOUT OPTIMIZING YOUR HEALTH. BE GRATEFUL.
- Thank everyone today who helps you in any way.
- Make a gratitude list (PDF).
- Write a letter to someone who has impacted your life in a profound way, but for whatever reason, you have never told them about it.
- Focus on appreciating that which you have, not longing for that which you desire to have.
10. Have compassion.
You did not always know the things you know right now about proper nutrition, health and how to live. People around you don't know what you know. They may or may not even care to know. They may not be healthy, and may even be dealing with a chronic disease. Not everyone is like you. Not everyone has the same burning desire to SELF-HEAL. I understand more than anyone what it's like to be surrounded by others who do not share the same pit-of-your-stomach NEED to live healthfully and help others to do so as much and as often as possible. It's okay. Just breathe. Remember what it was like before you knew. Remember what it was like to be overweight, in pain, suffering or simply before you knew better.
Now… if you insist on trying to help others who have not YET asked for your help, move forward from a place of compassion. Do not threaten them. Do not badger them. As best you can, do not cause them to feel guilty or shameful about the mistakes that have made and may still be making. None of those methods are effective in the long-term. In fact, they can be downright offensive, out-of-place, and damaging. Come from a place of caring, understanding, and genuine desire to help that person to see things differently. But do not assume they will change just because you said that they should. Allow that person to hear you and to either accept or reject your ideas in their own time and of their own accord.
DO THESE THINGS:
- Have compassion for those around you and your message will spread positively.
- Practice what you (quietly) preach . Live it daily, let the outgrowth of your healthy lifestyle be visible and vibrant for others to see.
- Be educated and ready to share that information with others in an appropriate way. Do not start telling a 5-year-old about anti-nutrients. They don't care about anti-nutrients.
- Download my FREE PDF Useful Guides. Share them with as many people as you'd like.
- Share this post.
Hungry for more?
Check out last year's post for New Year's 2011: New Year, New Choices, New Challenges.