1. Go organic when you can. Eliminating added pesticides from fruits and vegetables adds to the acidity, inflammation and toxins in our systems. GMO (genetically modified foods) also fit into this category. Avoid these whenever possible.
Dirtiest Dozen – buy organic
Cleanest Dozen – ok to buy conventional
For any meat or animal protein, always purchase high quality. For chicken, organic; for red meat, grass fed and finished; for fish, wild caught.
2. Drink purified or filtered water. Tap water travels great distant in pipes which may or may not be deteriorating. The earth picks up thousands of impurities like pesticides, industrial chemicals, heavy metals, and other toxins. Most tap water has added chemicals like fluoride and chlorine. It is best to drink the purest water possible. Alkaline balance improves with ionized water. Other options are distillers, sediment filters, carbon filters, and reverse osmosis. Even bottled water often contains chemicals because of the packaging. Often the plastic includes phthalates, compounds used in adhesives and paints.
3. Read all labels carefully. Labels are tricky because you have to read the entire ingredient list. Look for trick names for sugar or any type of sweeteners which there are over 50. Also look for msg, gluten, soy or corn. The other item manufacturers like to squeeze in to cover just about anything in small quantities is “natural flavors”. This can include all sorts of bad things, nothing of which is natural. If the front of the box states “all natural”, it’s usually a good indication that the ingredient list is not. Fancy marketing.
4. Eat whole Grains. Buy only the grain in its natural state and raw. Cook it yourself leaving out all of the additives.
5. Eat a good portion of diet raw. All smoothies or juices are typically raw and don’t be shy about trying a variety of vegetables raw with hummus. Asparagus is a good one that I rarely see people eating raw, and it’s quite good.
6. Exercise at least 30 minutes per day. Get up and move. This can be as simple as walking, but you need to get your body moving. If you have access to any type of trampoline or rebounder, I highly suggest a good 10-15 minutes jumping around like a monkey on it. This type of jumping assists the lymphatic system in eliminating toxins. The lymphatic system is responsible for pulling those toxins out of your system as it is and you want them to keep on moving out. Jumping shakes it all and assists with elimination. Looking for ideas, there are thousands on YouTube.
7. Sleep at least 7-8 hours per night. This may be a challenge for some. Try to set a bed time and stick to it with the bedroom as dark as possible and cool. Then do your best to go to sleep and stay asleep. If falling asleep is your issue, see #9. If staying asleep is your issue, try to give up all caffeine along with any over the counter pain relievers which contain a good amount of caffeine. You can also try some meditation during the night.
8. Take high quality supplements. Do your research. My favorite brand is Usana.
9. Meditate for 5-10 minutes per day. Clean your body and your mind. Find 5-10 minutes per day to focus on you, your breathing, and clearing your mind. This is best at your times of need – when you feel most stressed or a time in the day where you need a little me time. Some find it most helpful first thing in the morning before the day starts or right before bed to close out the day and mind before bed. Others prefer it during a hectic day to regain composure putting their body and mind first. You pick the best times and be sure to do it. Need assistance? Deepak Chopra is the king.
10. Buy my book, Chop Chop! It includes 100 vegan recipes that are family friendly, quick and easy. Start cooking at home more using fresh whole foods with vegetables as your main course.
Don't beat yourself up if you can't do it all. Try something new each week or month for that healthy lifestyle. Just put your mind to it and make small changes that feel right to you and your body.