After all we have been through in the past 16 months – we certainly do need a re-set – both emotionally and physically! So many people have an increase in stress and anxiety levels during this time and have experienced poor sleep which can lead to fatigue, inflammation and brain fog. It’s time to reset the brain and body and begin a new season of health.
Steps to lower inflammation
Take a “Food First” approach. So many people have been emotionally eating or drinking during COVID. In order to re-set – we have to eliminate foods such as refined flours and sugars and other processed foods. Most of these foods are depleted of nutrients and contribute to poor health, weight gain, blood sugar fluctuations and cravings.
I strongly recommend doing a cupboard and fridge audit and getting rid of any foods that do not contribute to your health. I would also recommend being a label reader. Even foods found in various health food stores or labelled gluten-free can be very high in refined sugar or flour. Keep in mind 1 tsp of sugar = 4 grams. To put it another way, 16 grams of sugar in a product is 4 teaspoons of granulated sugar. So, you do not want to go double-digit when it comes to added sugar.
As a general rule – if it is made in a factory vs. a farm – it is not as good for you. So as much as we can, we should be filling our diets (for our weight, our immune system) with colourful fruits and vegetables, lean proteins (such as fish, chicken, eggs, tofu, yogurt), essential fats such as nuts, seeds, oils and avocados and a modest amount of whole grain. Check out my meal plans and recipes on the Cityline website to see how delicious healthy eating can be.
Supporting the nervous system
Stress management and taking care of our nervous system are a huge part of our health. When we are in fear mode (which most of us have been off and on for all these months) our body releases a variety of chemicals that can actually weaken the immune system response. It is called a sympathetic nervous system response (i.e. the bear is chasing me). The body can tolerate short bouts of stress, but it is when the stress becomes chronic – that is when it starts to deteriorate health.
In order to switch into a parasympathetic nervous system response (calm) – movement is key. Changing your state always helps – whether it is cycling, walking, running, stretching, yoga – it all helps. Now you do not have to commit to 1 hour each and every day. Research shows that the frequency (i.e. 20 minutes daily) is more important than the duration. The more you can do, the better.
Breathwork is also key to help support your nervous system. There are now fantastic apps that can take you through 5 or 10 minutes of breathwork in the morning to set the tone for your day. Of course – talk to your health care provider– but certain adrenal support supplements, B vitamins or herbs such as Ashwagandha and Rhodiola, can all be beneficial as well. Omega 3 supplements are also vital to brain health support.
Other ways to re-set to feel best
The truth is– little steps to health can go a long way.
- Stay hydrated – make sure to drink 2 litres of water per day. I make my water interesting by putting in a little kombucha or lemon/line, chlorophyll or vitamin C powder.
- If you are feeling more anxious than usual – avoid all caffeinated beverages and switch to herbal blends. Dandylion tea is a good substitute for coffee.
- While it is good to be informed – careful of all the “noise” you are letting in from the news and internet. Try to minimize your screen time and focus on what brings you joy such as reading, music, fresh-cut flowers in your house etc.
- Stay in the moment as much as you can. When you are cleaning the plate in the sink – focus on cleaning the plate in the sink. The “what ifs” scenarios tend to create unnecessary stress and anxiety.
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