The holiday season has many of us reflecting on where we are and where we want to go. We might yearn for big life changes, but don't want to face another year of broken resolutions. Making the kind of changes that affect our lives on a day-to-day basis can be a challenge. Usually, big changes like this can be won in the small steps we take to achieve them.
Here are some small steps that can help you make those big changes this year:
1. Make Changes You Want. It may seem intuitive to say make only the changes you really want, but we all struggle with making changes because we think we should or because someone else wants us to. By making only the changes you truly desire, your motivation will last longer and your will to succeed will be stronger.
2. Set Reasonable Expectations. Don't set yourself up to fail by making goals that are too difficult to achieve. Set small, achievable goals that you will feel good about accomplishing. †These small goals can gradually add up to a big change over time. It is also important to set a reasonable time to meet your goals. Keep in mind it takes time to create new habits and break out of old routines.
3. Pile on the Passion. To make lasting changes, we need the motivation to keep going long after the first burst of adrenaline. Make a list of all the reasons you are passionate about making changes ñ will you have more energy to do the things you love, more time you can spend with family, peace of mind that you are taking care of your health? Read over the list often to remember the purpose of all your hard work.
4. Think Outside of the Box. There are many ways to accomplish the same thing. Try to match your goals with things you love rather than doing what everyone else is doing. If you love music and dancing, you might try dance lessons rather than joining an expensive gym in order to exercise more. Maybe you love to cook. You might try taking some raw food classes if you are interested in eating healthy and losing weight.
5. Focus on the Journey. Making major change is not about instant transformation. We get so focused on the end result or the final destination, that we forget to enjoy and be engaged in the journey. Mindfulness, which is the practice of being in the moment, can help you enjoy the process.
6. Line Up Support. Every major change requires support. Get together a support team of friends, family, and healthcare professionals who can help you achieve your goals. These people need to be positive, affirming, and encouraging of your goals. Don't include anyone on your team that makes you feel bad about yourself.
7. Be Gentle with the Results. Life throws many unexpected things our way, making it hard to stick to new routines. We might experiences elevated stress, unpredictable turn of events, loss, or even lack of resources. No matter what happens, be gentle with yourself. Simply commit to doing the best you can in each moment and know that is enough.
No matter what changes you are facing, it is especially important to tell your Naturopathic Doctor so they can help support you mentally, emotionally, and physically. Supplements, Mind Body techniques, nutrition and other holistic therapies can help you succeed by supporting your vital energy.
Modern agricultural practices have depleted the minerals in soil, even for most organically grown produce. Because the body needs minerals for optimal health and cannot make minerals on its own, they must be consumed. Seaweed is an excellent addition to most diets to help the body gain much needed minerals. Most seaweeds are low in Saturated Fat and Cholesterol and high in Riboflavin, Folate, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Copper, Manganese, and other trace minerals. They are also a good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Niacin, Pantothenic Acid, and Phosphorus. You can add seaweed flakes such as Kelp, Wakame, or Dulse to salads, soups, or entrees. Sushi is often wrapped in Nori, a type of seaweed. One thing to keep in mind is that seaweed is often a very high source of sodium. It is critical to talk with your Naturopathic Doctor before increasing seaweed in your diet to make sure it is appropriate for your individual picture of health.
Seaweed. NutritionData.com http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2766/2 (accessed Dec 17, 2012).
Cofrades S, Lupez-Lupez I, Bravo L, Ruiz-Capillas C, Bastida S, Larrea MT, Jimenez-Colmenero F. Nutritional and antioxidant properties of different brown and red Spanish edible seaweeds. Food Sci Technol Int. 2010 Oct;16(5):361-70. doi: 10.1177/1082013210367049. Epub 2010 Sep 10. PubMed PMID: 21339154.
RECIPE: SEAWEED SALAD
This light, refreshing salad is an easy way to add seaweed to your diet. Try to find certified organic seaweed when you can to avoid exposing your family to pollutants.
Soak seaweed in warm water to cover, 5 minutes. Drain, then squeeze out excess water. If wakame is uncut, cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips. Stir together vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, ginger, and garlic in a bowl until sugar is dissolved. Cut apple into 1/4-inch dice and add to dressing with seaweed, scallions, and cilantro, tossing to combine well. Sprinkle salad with sesame seeds.
Trace minerals are elements found naturally in our environment in places like the soil and bedrock. When plants grow, these minerals are absorbed into their structure. The minerals then enter our food supply when we eat the plants. Trace minerals are an important part of optimal health because we need these minerals for various biochemical reactions that happen in our body. Unlike other substances that are essential to our health, our body cannot produce minerals. We must consume them from our food in order to have them for health and healing. There used to be an abundance of minerals in produce. However, modern agricultural practices have depleted the soil of certain minerals. The produce we eat today, even organic produce, does not contain the mineral content of even a few generations ago. Many researchers believe that most, if not all, of today's chronic illness is due to mineral deficiency. Two-time Nobel prize winner, Linus Pauling, said, "You can trace every sickness, every disease, every ailment to mineral deficiency." Supplementing trace minerals in your diet is something to talk over with your Naturopathic Doctor. Some trace minerals are toxic in large doses, but are still necessary for the body in the correct amounts. Not only can your ND help you decide how much to supplement, they can recommend brands and products they trust.
Nielsen FH. Ultratrace minerals. In: Shils M, Olson JA, Shike M, Ross AC, eds. Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease. 9th ed. Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins; 1999:283-303.
Nielsen FH. Ultratrace elements in nutrition. Annu Rev Nutr. 1984;4:21-41. Review. PubMed PMID: 6087860.
Gaby, Alan. 2011. Nutritional medicine. Concord, N.H: Fritz Perlberg Publishing.
Pizzorno, Joseph E., and Michael T. Murray. 1999. Textbook of natural medicine. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone.
Wheatgrass is the chlorophyll rich blade of grass from a wheat plant before it has grown the glutenous stalks we often see in wheat fields. Wheatgrass is a gluten-free, dark leafy green vegetable that is high in protein, dietary fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Thiamine, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, and trace minerals Potassium, Iron, Zinc, Copper, Manganese, and Selenium. Because of it's nutritional content, it can be an easy gentle way to add nutrition and trace minerals to your diet. Wheatgrass can be used in smoothies, can be juiced, or can be eaten raw in salads. While some people preferred it juiced, the fiber content of wheatgrass helps with digestive health. With this in mind, some supplements offer wheatgrass in the form of powders, pills, and capsules to help preserve the fiber content. Wheatgrass is generally seen as a safe addition to most diets, though it is always a good idea to check with your ND before making any significant diet changes.
Wheatgrass NutritionData.com. http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/custom/900675/2#ixzz2FRAFlJrk (accessed Dec 18, 2012).
Mineral baths have been used throughout time for their therapeutic healing benefits. Whole cities have developed around natural springs that bubble up from the ground at warm temperatures from the heat of the earth's core. There are many components to the healing benefits of a natural hot spring including the warm temperature, the mineral rich water and muds, and the relaxing settings of many of these springs. If you can't visit a natural spring for a soak in a mineral bath, try creating one at home. Set time aside for an undisturbed soak. Use warm water to soothe aches and pains in your body, to help with detoxification, or for just general overall well-being. Add in mineral rich bath salts such as Himalayan salt, Epsom salt, or sea salt. If using a pre-packaged bath soak, make sure it is free of additives such as fragrance and dyes. This will prevent unnecessary chemicals from entering your bloodstream during your soak. You can also add calming herbs such as chamomile and lavender in a tea infuser, cheese cloth, or tea bag. To set the relaxing atmosphere, light some candles and play some relaxing music in the background. Also, have a cup of water nearby to keep yourself hydrated from any sweating that may occur.
Routh HB, Bhowmik KR, Parish LC, Witkowski JA. Balneology, mineral water, and spas in historical perspective. Clin Dermatol. 1996 Nov-Dec;14(6):551-4. Review. PubMed PMID: 8960791.
Van Tubergen A, Landewe R, van der Heijde D, Hidding A, Wolter N, Asscher M, Falkenbach A, Genth E, ThË HG, van der Linden S. Combined spa-exercise therapy is effective in patients with ankylosing spondylitis: a randomized controlled trial. Arthritis Rheum. 2001 Oct;45(5):430-8. PubMed PMID: 11642642.
M Nguyen, M Revel, and M Dougados. Prolonged effects of 3 week therapy in a spa resort on lumbar spine, knee and hip osteoarthritis: follow-up after 6 months. A randomized controlled trial. Rheumatology (1997) 36(1): 77-81 doi:10.1093/rheumatology/36.1.77