Guest Post: Tips for Achieving Optimal Health

To anyone that knows me, it’s no surprise that I am in to healthy living.  I try my best to eat healthy, attend CrossFit regularly, and I truly believe in that whole concept that our body is our temple.  That’s why when Healthline contacted me about hosting a guest post for them, I jumped at the opportunity!  Please welcome Leslie Vandever, from Healthline, as she gives us her tips for achieving optimal health!

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Optimal health. What a concept! What would it take to be totally healthy in every way?

Well, we’d never be able to splurge on a super-sweet snack or stay up too late and deprive ourselves of a full eight healthy hours of sound sleep. We’d enjoy push-ups and jogging and never get depressed. Our posture would be perfect and we’d never carry a pound more or less than the optimum weight for our age, gender, height and build. We’d never, ever be plagued by a cold or the flu.

Actually, maybe “optimal health” wouldn’t be very much fun. Not very realistic, either. But there’s nothing to say that we can’t try. And so in the spirit of the late, great John Harvey Kellogg, who once said “Keep your feet on the earth and your head up, but not too high in the sky. Be humble,” let’s find out what we can do to be healthier.

Eat mindful

Developing healthy eating habits doesn’t take a diet book, just some common sense. Choose what you eat for each meal from the different food groups—vegetables and fruits, whole grains, protein from fish, lean meats, beans, or eggs, and finally, low-fat dairy products. Sugary foods should be reserved as a once-in-while treat, no more.

Drink six to eight coffee-cups full of water per day. Choose water instead of soda-pop when you’re out. Your body will function better if it’s well-hydrated.

Say no to highly processed and fast foods. They’re loaded with calories, salt, sugar in the form of high-fructose corn syrup, and saturated fat. Instead, cook your meals fresh. Read the nutritional labels and know what you’re eating.

Get a yearly health exam

Your doctor will run tests and examine you to check several common health indicators, such as blood pressure, blood glucose levels and cholesterol levels. The idea is to catch problems before they start or catch them early, when they can be treated with the greatest success. By paying attention to your physical health, you’ll know what needs to be done to get closer to your “optimum health” goal.

Get some sleep

Sleep is vital. The average adult needs about seven hours of sleep every night for optimum health. How can you make sure you catch your Z’s?

  • Go to bed each night and get up each morning at the same time every day, even on weekends.
  • Sleep in a cool, dark, quiet room with no distractions. That means no computer or TV.
  • If you’re having trouble “shutting your brain down,” try counting your breaths. When your mind tries to chase off on another tangent, gently bring it back to your breath and resume counting. Often, that’s all you’ll need to drift off.
  • If you still have trouble after trying the tips above, talk to your doctor. He or she may be able to help.

Move that body

Humans were made to move. But today’s culture keeps many of us stuck behind a desk and, when we get home, too whipped to do more than watch TV or surf the Internet. What to do?

  • For five minutes, three times a day, stand up, stretch and do some gentle weight-bearing exercises with small hand-weights or resistance bands. Run in place or walk around the block, fast.
  • Next, add a brisk, 15-minute walk each day during your lunch hour.

If you do these exercises, you’ll be meeting the Mayo Clinic’s exercise guidelines for adults. It adds up to two-and-a-half hours a week of moderate exercise. Yay you! You’re well on your way to optimum health.

For more health information, click here.

Leslie Vandever is a professional journalist and freelance writer. She also writes a blog about living well with rheumatoid arthritis called RheumaBlog, under the pen-name “Wren.” In her spare time, Vandever enjoys cooking, reading and working on the Great American Novel.

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My Favorite Things: 2014 Edition

When I looked back over my blog posts in 2013, there was one thing that I noticed was missing: a post on my favorite things!  For the two years prior, I participated in a link up on The Nesting Place and wrote about the current favorite things in my household.  If you even want to read the post about how I couldn’t pick any one thing one year, you can do that too!

Luckily, Mama Kat swooped in to save the day in 2014, and included a writing prompt this week on “5 of your current favorite things” (Prompt #3).

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In no particular order, here are my five favorite things right now:

1. Microsoft Surface RT (1st edition) – I picked up this bad boy at Best Buy’s Black Friday sale this year (I know, I’m one of those people…), and I absolutely love it!  In fact, I’m writing this blog post on it right now. It is the true definition of a tablet and laptop in-one-device.  I can tap different apps with my pointer finger and use Microsoft Word with a keyboard.  If you are in the market for a tablet, definitely check it out… especially this cheaper listing I found on Amazon (affiliate link)!

2. Gummy Vitamins – You can thank my mom for this one, haha.  She put gummy vitamins in my Christmas stocking this year!  I was surprised by how much I love these things.  First of all, the taste is addicting; they are like gummy candies!  I know that vitamins have been under some scrutiny lately.  Personally, I believe that many people go out and buy multi-purpose vitamins without understanding how the vitamins intend to help their body.  For instance, did you know that people living in the Western hemisphere actually don’t need to consume extra Vitamin C because we already eat a lot of it in our normal diets?  Or – that your body won’t actually process Calcium unless it is eaten with Magnesium?  I didn’t either – until I conducted some research last year!  Now, I know that the folic acid and the Vitamin E found in these gummies help fight off my body’s constant inflammation!

3. Old Navy Infinity Scarf – People, do you know what got me through the Polar Vortex?  This sole clothing item.  This scarf is so warm and cozy; I can’t imagine surviving a winter without it.  I like it so much, I bought my sister one in the gray color!  (They are sold out online, but if you visit this page, they are the pink and black scarves at the lower left corner.  Try to find one in stock at a nearby store!)

4. L’Occitane Lip Balm – Hi, my name is Caitlin and I am a Chapstick addict.  Oh, wait, did you already know that after I wrote a love letter to Chapstick??!  Anyways… at the top of my lip balm food chain is this L’Occitane item.  It’s smooth, yet also exfoliates and leaves my lips with the perfect amount of shine.

5. Glade Candles – I actually stumbled upon this item in the clearance aisle of Target.  The vanilla and cinnamon spice versions were on sale for $2 and I swapped those babies up!  They smell good, people – so good the smell seems to linger in the air even when the candle is not lit.  Additionally, there are no labels glued to the glass, which means once you remove its paper lining, you get a pretty glass candle on your countertop! :)

 

 

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