When it comes to improving your health, there really aren’t any shortcuts. You can get surgery to look a certain way, but that doesn’t mean that your body is any healthier than it was before. And really it doesn’t take too much to be healthy; the right diet, a decent amount of sleep, and some regular exercise is all we really need. Unfortunately it’s because of the ease of getting the food we want that tastes great, but not necessarily the best for us, the fact that we can use machines to get anywhere at all, and that there are so many bad habits that are ingrained in us that being healthy has turned into a massive chore to achieve.
The task of becoming healthier starts with will power – you have to have the resolve to not just ‘go on a diet’ or to ‘take up running’, but to make a positive lifestyle change. The changes you make might be big at first and it can be tricky, but once you’re in the swing of things, the benefits completely make up for it. Plus, just because you cut out chocolate at first, doesn’t mean that you can’t have it ever again. There are some things, like junk food, that is find to have now and again in moderation as a treat, where there are other bad habits that need to stay gone – like smoking.
So, while we’re on the subject, smoking is the first major change you need to make. Not only does it cause cancer in various parts of the body, it also rots your teeth and gums, yellows and ages skin, makes hair and nails brittle and break and so many other horrible side effects that both destroy your health and your self-esteem. The tricky thing is that it’s addictive – so even if you know all of these things, it can still be incredibly hard to quit. Luckily there are so many things out there that can help to replace those nicotine cravings – there are tablets which you can reorder it here as well as nicotine patches and gum. You can also consider switching to an e cigarette where you can lessen the nicotine gradually while still satisfying the habitual act of smoking. Because that is sometimes the hardest part of stopping smoking – the need to complete the physical habit of smoking- hence why so many people replace a cigarette with lollies. The bonus is that with the exception of cancer, all the side effects of smoking can be reversed with time, skin care, and maybe dental work in extreme cases.
Alcohol in moderation is fine, a glass of something here and there is perfectly fine. It’s only when you take that consumption to the extreme that problems arise. Ever wonder why you’re sick on a heavy night out, or what a hangover actually is? Your body is not made to deal with that level of intoxication, so much So that it tries to purge itself of the poisonous substance you’re flooding it with. Alcohol irritates the stomach and bowels, and causes extreme dehydration which is one of the main reasons behind a hangover. There is also the fact that many alcoholic drinks are very high in calories – beer and ale are among the most fattening drinks, but a glass of red is no better. Those sweet, fruity drinks you love so much? They’re full of sugar. As we said, a little bit is fine – limit yourself to a couple of glasses a week maximum, with the odd occasion of a few more and you will be fine.
Sugar makes things taste great, we all love a little bit of sweetness now and again, but that same thing that makes you happy, also causes some bad things in the body. It transforms into fat straight away, erodes the enamel on your teeth – even the sugar in fruit – and can be the cause of type two diabetes. Sugar, again in moderation, is not the enemy – it’s how much you consume that is the problem. You can easily swap out white sugar for brown in your coffee to great effect, as the unbleached version is automatically the better choice. Baking your own snacks let’s you keep on track of your sugar intake, and can often have less sugar content than the store bought kind due to not having any added preservatives. Swap fizzy drinks for fresh juice or still water, and start drinking fruit juice through a straw to bypass the teeth.
The carbon in fizzy drinks are one of the leading causes of cavities. It attacks the enamel on your teeth, exposing the softer, yellower dentin layer and keeps eroding from there. The answer is simple – cut them out. And for some people that sacrifice is an easy on to make, but due to the high sugar and caffeine level in many fizzy drinks, plus the sensation of drinking the carbonated liquid, people can become addicted to drinking fizzy drinks. The idea is to tackle one factor at a time; switch from cans to large bottles, this should help to moderate your intake. Then go sugar free, followed by caffeine free. After that is shouldn’t be an easy leap to lightly carbonated drinks like Bottlegreen sparkling water which you can buy here.
Processed food and ready meals
These two are a matter of convenience and an unfortunate product of the 21st century. Processed food is the norm in many households, and are there because they are cheaper and often easier; pre-sliced American cheese is easier to use than having to slice a block of cheddar. The same goes for American style hotdogs over normal sausages which take longer to cook. And exactly the same thing can be said about ready meals – they are designed to be quick and easy. But, because of that, that are more often than not pumped full of preservatives, cheap ingredients, sugar, salt and saturated fats. To get out of the loop of processed foods you just have to choose the non-processed version. For ready meals, learn how to cook some quick, 15 minute meals that you can cook in batch and freeze – then you will have your own ready meals and you will know exactly what is in them.
** Note: This is a collaborative post