Recipe For A Healthy Life
1. Organic vegetables and fruit
It’s no secret that we should include more vegetables and fruit in our daily meals. Vegetables and fruit provide us with essential minerals, vitamins, water and fibre. Take for example, a 1 cup serving of broccoli. It has all your Vitamin K and C requirements for the day, 50% of your chromium needs and a great B Vitamin profile!
You can find the nutrient profile of all vegetables and fruits at whfoods.com
When we choose organic vegetables and fruit we elevate our meals even further. Organic foods are tied to a reduced risk of cancer, as outlined in this study. In organic agriculture, the use of toxic pesticides, genetically modified organisms and antibiotics (in animals) are prohibited which means our foods carry less toxins and are less taxing on our systems.
2. Fresh and real food
This recommendation does require cooking more from scratch but boy, is it worth it! Our bodies are designed to digest our meals and break them down into the macro and micronutrients that we need to function. Fresh and real foods are full of good nutrition and void of additives and ingredients our bodies don’t recognize. Processed and packaged foods often contain preservatives, fillers and chemicals to make them shelf stable.
Whole grain rice, often avoided because of its cooking time, contains good fats, fibre and many essential nutrients. Quick cook rice is stripped of all the goodness to make it shelf stable and we are left with a simple carbohydrates void of nutrition. When possible, eat meals made of real, whole foods. The good news is we can now find grab and go meals made with fresh and real ingredients at the grocery store including The Carrot Kitchen at both the Danforth and Beach locations.
3. Vitamins and herbs
The right supplement for the right person can positively impact a person’s health. There are so many products on the market now, it can be overwhelming so narrowing it down to the right one is essential. Guidance from a health practitioner is important. A naturopathic doctor, for example, can do tests to assess any deficiencies that might be making you feel unwell and prescribe a dose to help you increase your levels. Ask anyone who has had low iron levels how much better they felt with supplementation! Nutrient deficiencies have a cascade effect long-term so it’s important not to ignore our health when we feel unbalanced.
Our Wholistic Dispensaries are staffed with professionals who can give general advice and help you navigate all the incredible products on our store shelves.
4. A good night’s sleep
This simple habit is so important but often the hardest for people to stick to! When we sleep our bodies repair and restore and set us up to tackle the next day. Stress, busy lives and addiction to our devices can make sleeping through the night a challenge. Adhering to a regular bedtime will help set-up your sleep hygiene. Some people set an alarm 30 minutes before their bedtime to remind them to stop what they are doing and start their bedtime routine. Depending on why you can’t sleep there are natural products to help you get to sleep. It’s worth committing to a sleep schedule and getting advice from your health care practitioner if you have trouble falling or staying asleep. If there is a proverbial “magic pill” it might be sleep!
5. Natural body care
How many body care products do you use in a day? Once you brush your teeth, wash your hair and body, deodorize and add a scent, the products we use to clean and maintain our bodies can add up quickly. If you read the back of any of your body care products they can have dozens of ingredients and some of them can be harmful to our health, unfortunately. At The Big Carrot we believe “less is more” when it comes to body care and we have prohibited many ingredients from our store including parabens, SLS, formaldehyde (yep, you read that right), tricolson, phthalates, petroleum and many more. Check out SKIN DEEP to look up a few of the ingredients in your bathroom. Much like avoiding processed foods with unnecessary ingredients, simple body care formulas means we reduce the toxic load on our body!
6. Stress management
Does it stress you out to hear that you need to manage your stress? Similar to going to bed on time, stress management is easier said than done but worth the hard work. Chronic stress has physical and mental health implications that eventually lead to burnout. We have to ask ourselves if the stressful area(s) of our lives are really worth it? All the items in this list can help with stress management (especially #4) and it’s okay to ask for help to reduce the stress in your life whether from a family member, your health care practitioner or a coach!
7. Health workshops
There are numerous benefits to lifelong learning including cognitive health, building community (see #8) and creating opportunities. You don’t have to pursue your PhD to reap the benefits, it can be as simple as attending a workshop or listening to a speaker on their area of expertise. At The Big Carrot we host FREE lectures every Thursday evening as part of our Speaker Series! Local experts bring their knowledge on a variety of health topics to help us understand our health challenges and manage our own health goals.
8. Sense of community
I recently learned about a Toronto neighbourhood that created a newsletter (in 1984!) to connect everyone through good news and updates! When a house is sold they host a goodbye and welcome party for the seller and purchaser. Now that’s community! We know that loneliness is becoming an issue in our modern world and it has health implications similar to stress and lack of sleep. This is why it’s important to know our neighbours, attend local workshops, volunteer or join a group with a similar interest to your own – why not join our Running Club at The Beach Community Market?
Sarah Dobec – Marketing Manager and Holistic Nutritionist at The Big Carrot Community Market