Daily Secrets to Living Well

It doesn’t matter how well or sick or tired or young or old you are. At any point in time you can take baby steps to create a healthier environment, diet, habits, mindset, etc. This checklist is to act as a guideline of suggestions you may be able to incorporate into your life, but it has also been influenced by the things those living in optimal health tend to do on a regular or even daily basis.

See what you can adopt, adapt, and bring into your daily routine.

  1. Plant slant
    The people who live the longest, named centenarians, never had a chance to develop the habit of eating processed foods. For much of their lives, they ate small portions of unprocessed foods. They also avoided or limited meat. Some people worry that a plant-based diet may not provide enough protein and iron and that’s very true if you are a “junk-food vegetarian” getting most of your calories from packaged foods.

    However, we need about 50-80 grams of protein daily. Any protein our bodies don’t use gets converted to calories. Beans, whole grains, and garden vegetables are the cornerstone of all longevity diets with meat eaten only a few times a month or on special occasions. It’s not to say that you should avoid meat altogether – that is a very bioindividual decision, but you SHOULD be eating more plants and balancing a healthy variety of carbohydrates, protein, and fats.

    For a deeper dive into how eating more plants can benefit you, head over to our article, Plant Based Protein Options.

  2. Take a moment to breathe

    What are you doing to slow down today?

    Many cultures throughout the world take time each day to relax and socialize – and if asked, these people will tell you that this act promotes a sense of well-being. Specifically, allowing a moment of serenity each day allows the body to reduce stress, which helps to lower levels of inflammation. We know that chronic inflammation over time feeds chronic illness, which reduces longevity.

    This can be a challenge in a culture where work, accomplishment, status, and material wealth are king, but finding space and reducing stress will help us slow down and THAT may help us live better, longer.

    Try one of these this week:

    • Set aside 5-10 minutes in the morning to pray, think, journal,
      meditate, or listen to music so that you can build capacity for calm, rest and repair. This needs to be intentional and for many of us doesn’t come naturally. When I first started my mornings with reading devotionals, I had to check it off a list so I could give myself that sense of accomplishment. After about a month, the habit was instilled and now I no longer have to think about adding calm to my morning routine.
    • Start a yoga practice. You can find so many beginner programs on
      YouTube that start with very elaborate trainings on proper technique to 5-7 minute sessions for busy schedules. My all-time favorite online teacher is Yoga with Adriene. Remember, start small and stay consistent.
    • Prepare for the next day. Be proactive instead of reactive. More than
      anything, this simple act of being prepared will give you a sense of calm and confidence for the day ahead.
  3. Put family first
    Studies have shown that elders who live with their children are less
    susceptible to disease, eat healthier diets, have lower levels of stress and have a much lower incidence of serious accidents. Whether or not you live with your parents or elders, you can still implement some daily intentions around making your family your core.

    Give one of these a try!

    • Establish one room in your home where family members gather
      daily (this seems to always be the kitchen in many homes)
    • Establish rituals for children
    • Make one family meal a day sacred (if this is difficult, start with one
      family meal a week)
    • Introduce family traditions
    • Display pictures of relatives
    • Play! (I enjoy Table Talks with my kids along with Saturday Game
  4. Surround Yourself with the Right People
    Find your people. Your tribe. Over and over and over again the research
    points to one significant contribution to longevity and living well: feeling like you are a part of something. Whether you belong to an amazing family, circle of friends, spiritual community or online community, this key element alone will add years to your life.

    If you are just starting out, take these pointers into consideration:

    • Identify your inner circle – find the few people who will help instill the right habits, mindset and actions
    • Be grateful – if you have a positive attitude, you’re more likely to have a social network, visitors and people who care about you!
    • Create time together – spend at least 30 minutes a day with people
      who matter!

In reality, these may not be secrets, but we don’t do them nearly enough Creating a wholesome life that focuses on the whole body (physical, mental, and emotional) is the ultimate self care and best way to set yourself for living well.

Stephanie Wharton is a Board Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and part of the Lending Hearts Up Street team. You can learn more about her at www.thewellsideoflife.com