People do the craziest things to get healthy. I love cooking with cayenne pepper or maple syrup (real maple syrup, the darker the healthier), but mixing the two with lemonade and drinking it because it worked for Beyoncé? That's a little nuts.
Sure, those of you who read my posts often might think some of my ideas are a little out there, but these four health tips, hacks and tricks are easier than starving yourself or "detoxing."
1. Green Tea
A cup of coffee can give your metabolism a little boost; green tea has the same effect as coffee and a slew of other health benefits. Matcha tea is really popular these days because it has more caffeine than green tea, but don't forget that too much caffeine is not necessarily a good thing. True story: I drank matcha tea before a meeting and my boss asked me why I was more hyper than normal.
I recommend that you enjoy a caffeinated beverage in the morning as long as it does not affect sleep. You should discuss this one with your doctor as caffeine should be avoided depending on medical conditions.
2. Standing Desks
You've probably heard sitting is the new smoking. Well, sitting all day has not been linked to cancer, but it has been linked to back pain, neck pain and a host of other ailments. Getting up once an hour is the bare minimum. I recommend setting a watch, phone, or computer timer to go off every 20 minutes. Stand up, walk around if you can and then sit back down.
If you have the money, get a sit-stand desk, but if you don't have the budget, you can rig your computer with boxes, reams of paper, or books to elevate your monitor, keyboard and mouse. Amazon has a ton of gadgets that allow you to stand while you work. Check out this popular model, it's $39.99 and adjustable.
3. Cook and Pack Meals and Snacks
I love a good restaurant, but I also know what makes the restaurant "good" is how much butter, salt and sugar it uses. Sometimes, even a "healthy" salad at a restaurant is loaded with calories. Asking for no bacon, blue cheese, and less dressing helps, but why not make it yourself? Save calories and cash with a little food prep. Get a reusable bag like this one to transport your lunch in style and always carry a water bottle with you. You are more likely to drink water and stay hydrated with a fun bottle. Here's a list of my work snacks:
- Greek yogurt, frozen berries and granola
- Carrots, celery, cucumbers and hummus (still works minus the hummus)
- Banana and almond butter
- Avocado (I often just mash it up and use it with leftover chicken or beef)
- Grapes and cashews
- Enlightened Roasted Broad Beans (They taste great, are super healthy and they sell them at most grocery stores)
When you do cook, play with spices. Whether you are cooking veggies or meat, seasonings can add flavor without the caloric load of oils and butter. My favorites are paprika, pepper, lemon pepper, garlic, onion powder, turmeric, ginger, rosemary, cinnamon, basil, oregano and curry.
If you eat chicken, one of my favorite tricks to save time is to cut a breast in half so it will cook faster (it's easier than pounding it with a mallet). I also like to cook green beans, broccoli, and rice in low-sodium chicken broth. It adds flavor without a lot of calories.
4. Put Away the Screen and Relax
Stress is everywhere and we are not good at relaxing. We are glued to our phones, even while watching TV or sitting down to dinner.
So put it down! The mind has trouble relaxing when we do too many things at once. Plus, the light from our phones, televisions and computers can cause sleeping issues. Start using the night mode on your phone; it reduces blue light.
If you're into or curious about herbal remedies, a few drops of lavender oil on your pillow can also help calm you down.
A few months ago I noticed I had a lot of rage. I think it was caused by my toddler waking up a few times a night. I decided to start meditating. I use the Headspace app and really like it. Fun fact: Jerry Seinfeld and Howard Stern have been doing transcendental meditation for decades. Stern does it twice a day for 20 minutes at a time.
What are your top health tricks? Post them to the comments or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to hear from you!