What I am going to say might make a few people shake their heads in disbelief, but I am going to say it anyway. Life is Simple. Life is effortless, it is not complicated at all.
I used to consider life to be difficult and complicated. The reason I was thinking like that was that I was ignorant in many areas of the human experience and mainly I was unaware of the effect nutrition has on our precious health.
Our body this beautiful and marvelous machine that guests our soul is a fantastic organization able to keep us alive even when we systematically destroy it with addictions, and overindulging.
Learning about nutrition was a gradual phenomenon for me and still is. I try to listen to what my body is telling me and act accordingly.
Since 2010 I am thirsty for health, and I don’t think I will ever stop.
I started running back in 2010 to lose weight. The gain weight I got was dually caused.
The first 10 to 12 kilos were accumulated because I was eating a lot and I was not exercising at all. I gained them in a year and did not realize it.
Let’s do some math.
If you think about it, 1kg is 7700 calories. Ten kilograms are 77000 calories. If you divide 77000 calories with 12 because of the months in a year, we get 6416 calories. Divide that by 30 which is the days in a month, and we get 213 calories.
Now, why did I mentioned all these? Simple, if you eat about 200 calories every day more than your body burns in one year you will gain about 9 to 10 kg!
Let’s put it in perspective.
Let’s say you are counting calories and you are on a diet.
One tablespoon of olive oil spread on your salad is according to chronometer.com is 119 calories.
Now I want you to put your hand on your heart and honestly answer this question, who only put one tablespoon of olive oil on their salad? The answer is no one, most of us just drown that salad with olive oil!
Another example, you have your coffee in the morning, and you add either sugar or milk. Have you ever sat down and calculated those calories that are in the milk or sugar?
I am just saying that it’ very easy to control your weight if you are conscious of the calories you consume every day.
Some people say I can’t count calories. Well, the result is not to be able to control your weight is that simple.
Anyway, that was a parenthesis I hope you found useful.
Back to my story.
The next 10 to 12 kilos was a result of my replacing the mechanical action of smoking with food.
In 2009 I quit smoking, and I was thrilled with myself if you want to check more on how I did that you can read my quit smoking articles on my blog and also my books about quit smoking.
Unfortunately, I replaced smoking with eating, I didn’t know what to do, nutrition for me was meat has protein and milk has calcium that was the knowledge I had about food! I know its sad but so true.
To make a long story short, I was between 90 to 94 Kilos in 2010, and I am 1.74 cm tall. I was already overweight, and I was knocking obesity’s door!
Running saved my life
Running saved my life, I will keep saying this until I die, hopefully in many years from now.
It saved my life because it rewired my brain chemistry, it made me smarter in the sense that it allowed me to see different aspects of issues like weight loss, nutrition, meat-eating, plant-based diet, and lifestyle.
The most dramatical about running it was that it raised my self-esteem, self-confidence and drilled to perfection my self-discipline.
You think it’s easy to train for a marathon? And also finish one? Well it’s not, if it were then running marathons would be like eating pizza!
My ambition to become faster in the running and also run further led me to start reading about nutrition and gradually through a lot of reading of scientific papers, books written by nutrition experts, doctors, etc. I decided that a plant-based diet and lifestyle is the perfect diet for human beings. A plant-based diet its out natural fuel. Meat consumption today is like smoking 60 years ago. The same ignorance that was back then about smoking tobacco cigarettes is present today for meat consumption.
Slow but meaningful progress.
Thankfully the WHO (World Health Organization) starts to gradually see the extensive scientific data and research that points to the elephant in the room and began to issuing warning and announcements.
My advice is to learn as much as you can about nutrition, that’s the first item that will enable you to see that the most important thing is our health and 99% depends on the food we eat.
There are a lot of research out there and also a lot of books. All you need to do is change your mindset and start looking with a more severe attitude the food you eat.
Now I would like to share with you eight comfortable and practical tips that will boost your health in a matter of seconds! Ys seconds and I am not kidding you.
The coolest thing about these tips are free, yes you heart me free, you will pay nothing, and you can do them anywhere and anytime you wish. Sounds too good to be true? Well, it is. I told you, life is simple, elementary if you just take the time and invest the energy to stop being ignorant about nutrition and also how the human body works and reacts.
Tip Number 1 – Breathe Properly
Breathe, yep you heart right. We think we breathe, but in reality, we are gasping for air in the “crazy” stressful societies we live and work in.
You can go without food for a lot of days, average about 40 days, depending on your health, body weight and adequate hydration.
You can even last three to four days without water before you die, again depending on your overall health, and also the environment you are in.
If you stop breathing for more than 3 minutes for any reason you only die! Of course, again the conditions of the environment, health status, and other traits play a role, but if you stay without air for more than three minutes, you are in trouble.
I mentioned all these so you can get an idea of the importance of breathing! And also how most of us do not really think the importance of breathing correctly because it’s an automatic function, we do not consciously do something to breathe, the brain does it for us.
The first tip is to learn how to breathe appropriately, what does that mean exactly? Well, when you inhale you should see your belly inflate like a balloon and when you exhale you should look at your stomach going in.
Most people breath with shallow breathing and they are barely filling their chest with air.
There is a simple breathing exercise you can do every day, whenever you want during the day, and it will only take tops ten minutes.
Put your left or right hand on your belly, Start breathing through your nose, counting until four in your head.
If you can’t inhale through your nose use your mouth it doesn’t matter as long you put that air inside you.
When you reach four stop inhaling, start counting again in your head until four and when you reach four exhale through your mouth still counting in your head until four.
- Put a hand on your belly
- Start counting in your head and start inhaling through your nose making sure you direct the air towards your stomach. You will feel your hand going up while your belly is filling with air.
- When you reach number four stop inhaling
- Keep the air inside you until the count of four again.
- When you reach number four exhale the air through your mouth.
- Stop exhaling until you count to four again.
It is a natural exercise, you can do it anywhere, while you are on the bus, train, metro, while you are sitting on your desk, while you walk down the street. There is no excuse not to do it is that easy.
I do caution you thought the first time you do this to be sited because years of not oxygenizing your brain might make you feel a bit light headed.
Do it as many times as you want until you reach a state of oneness, a state of supreme serenity, when you get there you will know what I mean, a sense of completion will descend upon you making all your troubles go away.
If you want a professional helps then I recommend Heather Reiner a professional Yoga Instructor & Reiki Healer.
Also if you quit smoking and you feel like having a cigarette, the above technique is an excellent urge killer, and the beauty is that you can do it anywhere and anywhere.
Tip Number 2 – Drink Water
As I mentioned before you can last for an average of 3 to 4 days without water after that is sayonara baby!
The stressful conditions we live in and also the availability of a plethora of sugary beverages and caffeinated drinks we end up not really drinking water!
A big chunk of the population on this plant is suffering from chronic dehydration.
Quick story, when I was younger from the age of 18 until 35 to be exact before I even knew what nutrition was and the considerable impact it has on our health and lives, I used to think that if my urine was orange or yellow that it was a sign of health!!! I thought that that’s how urine should be.
Well, I was an ignorant, full back then. Our urine should be light yellow or crystal clear, any other coloration indicates various levels and degrees of dehydration!!
Sugary drinks, coffee, and other processed beverages do not hydrate your body.
Our body is 60 to 80% average water weightwise and 90% water at a cellular level.
In a nutshell, we are swimming in the water, we need to be able not just to survive but also to thrive.
We need to drink clear crystal water to be able to function correctly.
When we wake up the first thing we should do is drink water. Our body during the sleep period is using water to remove toxins and basically clean our collection of any waste.
When we wake up, we are slightly dehydrated. Guess what most people do when they wake up. Instead of drinking water they drink… yes, you guessed it, they drink coffee!!! Which is a diuretic which means it makes you pee, even more, removing even more precious water from your body making you even more dehydrated?
In my opinion, 90% of the migraines, headaches and other aches during the day is only because you are not drinking enough water.
How much water is enough someone will ask? That’s a great question. Another will ask, but I don’t like drinking water!!! Well, the answer to that statement finds a way to make drinking water pleasurable because your quality of life is suffering because of this.
The answer to the question how much water you need every day is it depends on your physical status if you are exercising or not, if you live in a hot environment or not etc.
You should drink when you are thirsty. The next time you are thirsty, don’t drink a sugary drink, drink water you will thank me later.
What I do I always have a glass of water on my desk, and I sip it throughout the day. This way I go through big glasses while I am at work.
Other people like sipping from a bottle, you need to find the way you will discover drinking water pleasurable.
Also, two major indicators that you need water, I mentioned it already is the color of your urine, if its dark orange or orange you need to drink water. Furthermore, the second way to see that you need water is the inability to produce saliva. If you can’t create spit, then you are dehydrated, and you need to drink water.
Unless you are running a long distance race, drinking water will not have any deleterious effects, the extra water you just pee down the toilet!
A few mini tips about water that I apply every day since 2010 and really helped me boost my health.
- When you wake up in the morning drink a glass of water with some lemon inside on an empty stomach. The lemon juice is a panacea.
- Always drink water twenty to thirty minutes before your meals. This way you prepare your stomach for food, and also you won’t eat as much.
- Never drink water while you are eating. It weakens the stomach acid and delays the digestion.
- If you have legumes (beans), starchy foods(rice, potatoes) and meat always drink water at least two to three hours after you eat them
- Drink when you are thirsty.
- Reduce Caffeinated and sugary drinks
Tip number 3 – Increase Fruit and Vegetables Consumption
A lot of people put their health aside in pursuit of making more money or improving their odds of having a successful career which is entirely understandable.
The sad thing about this is that most of us spend a one-third of life to achieve the things we think that matters (status, money, etc.) and when we realize that we end up paying that money on doctors and drugs because we destroyed your health in the process.
I am a firm advocate of a plant-based diet until 2013 I ate everything, a lot of junk food too, a lot of fast food also. It’s funny that we as a collective conscious of people name a specific kind of food junk! And we keep eating it. There is a reason is called junk food because it’s junk!!!
It doesn’t nourish us at all. They are full of too much white salt, too much white sugar and too much saturated and processed fat!!!
I am not going to ask you to stop eating meat, I am not going to ask you to stop eating your favorite Ice cream made out from the cow’s milk, I am not going to ask you to stop eating seafood or fish.
I am not because nobody can change you but you. Change comes within. That’s how it happens with me.
Back in 2010, I ate everything now I am a plant=based eater. It took me three years or trial and error, lots of reading to come to the conclusion that what I eat now is much healthier and better than what I ate back then.
So saying that what I am going to ask you is very simple. Keep eating and drinking what you eat right now except trying to add to your daily diet a few fruits and veggies.
How are you going to incorporate them it’s your choice, and any amount of menus or suggestions from me will not really help you.
We learn from our own mistakes and experiences, yes we can get ideas and from other people’s stories but we learn from our own.
You can start gradually. Eat an apple or other favorite fruit every day, and gradually increase the quantity.
Add three times a week a small salad with your meals.
Eating fruits and veggies will help you a lot if you have constipation and hemorrhoids problems. Combining an adequate source of fiber with water will make sure you will have a happy digestive system.
I used to have constipation and hemorrhoids. Even before I go entirely plant-based eater, I incorporate fruits and veggies into my diet, and I did see a considerable relief.
It was when I went 100% plant-based that I saw my constipation disappear, and my hemorrhoids shrink back in. No surgeries no nothing!
Few tips about Fruits and Veggies
- Eat your fruits before big meals, never eat fruits as a desert. The digestion rate of fruits is faster than meat or potatoes or beans or fish.
- Try to eat a big salad with your meat. It will provide the fiber that it lacks in meat.
Tip Number 4 – Get at least 8 hours of sleep
I know I know, lot’s of you will say that’s impossible especially if you have kids and dogs and working two jobs, etc.
You should try and get at least 8 hours of sleep every day. Our brain doesn’t rest unless we get some quality sleep and also our body does not get repaired efficiently.
This has, as a result, a low immune system which leads of us being sick more often and longer time.
When we are sick often and longer then we miss out on our family, we don’t work the hours we need to and less income in the household.
Trust me if you manage your time better, invest the time to find more solutions and get that precious sleep you be more productive, and your health status will increase dramatically.
We evolved to sleep when the sun goes down and wake up when the sun comes up. Before the invention of electricity that’s how we behaved. Now with artificial lights on 24/7 our body got so confused, it cannot differentiate day from night and vice versa.
Try and make a habit of going to bed around 9 p.m. That’s an ideal time to sleep and wake up 4 or 5 a.m. That’s what I do, and I noticed that when I wake up, I feel refreshed, full of energy.
Thirty minutes before you go to bed try and stay away from artificial lights like lights coming from the television, computer screens or mobile and tablet screens. Dim the lights, light some candles so you will bring down the intensity of the illumination. This way your body will understand that you are preparing for sleep and will release the appropriate hormones to aid you sleep better.
Furthermore, very successful people have this pattern as their primary tool for achieving their goals. They sleep early, and they wake up early, this gives them the time to organize their day and attack their daily goals more efficiently.
Tip number 5 -Cold showers
This is something I started doing for the last 3 months now, and I do feel fantastic.
A lot of research indicates that taking cold showers boosts your immune system and making it agiler in finding and attacking viruses and bacteria.
I was skeptical at first, I mean who on his/her right mind would deliberately get under cold freezing water?
Well, it turns out everything is practice.
I started slowly. I will take a hot shower, and then I would rinse my body with cold water at the end just for a few seconds.
I kept doing that slowly increasing the time I spend under cold water.
At some point, I completely stop using hot water and now it doesn’t bother me at all. I actually crave taking cold showers now.
I don’t spend hours under the water, but I do spend about 5 minutes now.
I think except boosting my immune system, I became smarter somehow because I present to my brain with a situation that never encounters before. For my mind to deal with this new position, new neuron pathways were created to accommodate the information that receives to deal with them better.
Furthermore, you can save money by using only cold water (smile). Furthermore if you want to check this more make sure to read the following three books which I personally found very helpful.
Tip number 6 – Exercises
As we get older, our metabolism naturally declines but with regular exercise we can slow down that procedure.
You don’t need gym memberships or fancy equipment to get some decent exercise. All you need is your body weight.
You can do pushups, abs, dips, and squats in the comfort of your home. Check out more about calisthenics and how to use your own body weight to become stronger. Also whenever you have a chance do not use the elevator instead take the stairs, it will improve your aerobic capacity for the better.
If you can walk and not use the car do the walking, you get an excellent workout and save some gas money!
If you can exercise with your kids that would be even better, get in shape and spend quality time with your kids.
Park your car a bit further from the supermarket and walk that distance. You get the philosophy, do it gradually, stick with it for three weeks, make it a healthy habit.
If you like running as I do but you are always short of time then I heartily recommend the book: Run Less Run Faster by Bill Pierce , Scott Murr, Ray Moss
Tip Number 7 – Sungazing
This is something I try to do whenever I have the time. There is a reason there are so many photos of people watching a sunrise or a sunset. It is relaxing and the reason it is relaxing its because you have direct contact with the phenomenon that is responsible for all life on this beautiful planet.
One hour after sunrise and one hour before sunset you can watch the sun directly because the radiation is down to zero.
We are children of the sun, the food we eat is processed and alternated sun energy. The plants through the function of photosynthesis transform the light of the sun into energy that we then can consume.
I know it’s a bit wacky, but since I started sun gazing, I feel much better.
There is a procedure on how to do it, you can find many videos on youtube explaining the whole process and also numerous article online.
Extra final tip. – Stop and smell the Flowers
The phrase Stop and Smell the flowers has a dual meaning a literal one and a parabolical one.
Next time you are rushing to work, and you have the chance to stop and smell a flower just do it. Just stop and enjoy the beautiful aroma that the flower gives freely to you.
The metaphorical meaning is, to try and enjoy the present as much as you can, cherish the present moment as it comes. Having and keeping regrets of the past and stressing and having anxiety attacks about what might happen in the future is not the way to live your life.
By own means organize your future acts and learn from your mistakes but enjoy the beautiful present.
Doing something pleasant for example like watching a comedy and instead of enjoying the comedy thinking the things you need to do in two hours and stressing about it will not let you enjoy the movie.
Try and immerse yourself on the task that you are doing now.
Being on the beach with your better half and instead of enjoying the sea and the beautiful sun you are on the phone talking with other people or typing work email on your laptop is a classic example of not enjoying the present moment and enjoy life.
This article shared by Andreas Michaelides.
Linked In: https://www.linkedin.com/in/andreas-michaelides-695351111/
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