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Opinion: Good health practices #1

Happy minds, happy bodies and happy relationships are attainable if we do what is required to get there. 
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Yoga is a good activity for healthy living.

These are some basics which may seem obvious, but worth noting if you are lacking in these areas. If you have health practices that you would like to share in my #2 article, please email me.

  1. ‘Slow down and breathe’.  With the rapid pace of life and just trying to keep up, we get wound up and often succumb to stress. But stress has some terrible health implications and affects all areas of our life (weight gain, sleep, heart, immunity, relationships…) and if we take a few minutes every waking hour to just focus on our breathing and bring presence to our state of mind, the physical, emotional and mental health benefits are amazing. There is nothing more present than the breath we are taking right now. Focusing on gratitude when we do this compounds the effects and brings a sense of peace and balance.  This is a practice so repetition is where we find the reward.
  2. Yoga or other stretching exercises daily.  Most of the people I know who practice this ancient art of movement, stretching and mindfulness do so in a state of prayer, making it part of their worship to God. Our bodies are our temples and yoga is a beautiful way to quietly and introspectively connect to our bodies. Most people who practice a meditative state when doing yoga find peace and deep connection through a surrender to love.
  3. A morning smoothie is the best way to break-the-fast after several hours of sleeping. The blending has already done the mechanical part of the digestive process, making it easier on our digestion. You can hide all sorts of healthy food in them - food that you wouldn’t normally know how to consume, like hemp hearts and chia seeds.  I make my own kefir (fermented drink) and add it to my smoothie. I also add my cherry or blueberry turmeric-ginger elixir.  I cannot express enough how delicious and nutritious these smoothies are, and will share my recipe with anyone who emails me.
  4. Raw veggies and certain fruits incorporated into your diet have vitamins, nutrients, fibre, roughage and antioxidants to build your immune system and aid your digestive system.
  5. Fermented foods are amazing and also gut friendly. If you have ever been on antibiotics, consumed soft drinks and have an addiction to sugar – you can expect digestive problems sometime in your life.  Fermented foods include kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut and kimchi but there are others.
  6. A good multi-vitamin with minerals is often very helpful when we do not get all the nutrients we need from our diet.  Unfortunately, with the depletion of minerals in the soil we need to supplement. Ask your local health food store for recommendations.

Our bodies are designed to be optimally healthy when we put in ‘good’ fuel (proper nutrition) and move them (exercise and stretching), and give them rest to regenerate (sleep), and control our stress levels (drive our own train of thought), and choose a positive outlook on life.  Happy minds, happy bodies and happy relationships are attainable if we do what is required to get there. 

To your balanced health in body, mind and spirit.   

Claire Nielsen is a health coach, author, public speaker and founder of www.elixirforlife.ca