If you missed the Healthier, Happier You Challenge then here is a recap from the I Can Train My Brain Facebook Challenge created by Virginia James, LPC and Life Coach. My father was a naturopath so that makes me a pseudo expert by proxy, right? I don’t have a degree in this just a passion for health and fitness. Plus my friends asked for the challenge to start 2019 out right!! Here we go!!
So here it is! Here is the recap:
Day 1: Start Learning!
Moving blood through your body is one way to stay young. It seems like a natural and easy process but the more you reach for processed foods, fried foods and candy, the more you’re inviting cancer and cardiac problems into your life. Certain foods will create some serious roadblocks to your arterial highways.
Take an inventory of your pantry and refrigerator. How many products include more than 8grams of sugar or more than 20 grams of carbohydrates? Read the labels. How many options do you have for white rice, enriched pasta, white or wheat bread, fortified cereals? Do you have quick oats or steel cut slow cooking oats? How many options for candy or ice cream do you have?
Count the number of options you have for fruits and vegetables? Read the labels and see what includes sunflower oil, safflower oil, corn syrup, or dyes? Okay, now throw all that high sugar, high carbohydrate, quick cooking, frozen dinner, ice cream, candy, enriched rice, bread and pasta out. Throw it all out and go to the store tonight. If you can’t throw it out and still need to eat from it start counting the number of carbohydrate grams and sugar grams you’re eating each day. Keep a food journal log.
Day 2: Drink 8-12 glasses of water and avoid fried foods today. Say “No” to fries, burgers, fried chicken and say yes to a side of vegetables or a salad instead. Fruits and vegetable options are anti-inflammatory foods. That’s important for many reasons but one to learn about today is inflammatory foods increase your lousy LDL (low density lipoprotein) cholesterol. This stimulates your genes to create more inflammatory proteins increasing tissue irritation. To clear arteries we need to eat foods that work with our HDL (high density lipoprotein).
Day 3: Candy, ice cream or just good ‘ole processed or enriched foods break down and make sugar. Sugar, cigarettes and high blood pressure (from stress or genetic predisposition) pummel the smooth of layers of your arteries. This action works against your LDL (low density lipoproteins) and they increase or rise.
You don’t want your LDL count high. Think of your LDL as a room full of smack-talking people spreading rumors and negativity about you and the HDL as your best friend coming in and telling all those nasty people to leave.
If you haven’t cleaned out your pantry, refrigerator and freezer yet, NOW IS THE TIME. Toss the high sugar, processed and enriched foods, snack foods and the candy. There is no time like the present moment. Read this blog about the importance of mindfulness and being in the moment: Click Here
Day 4: Buy the following and Take Action
- Fruits and vegetables (an assortment) tomatoes, onions, red grapes, berries- these are full of flavonoids and carotenoids. They decrease inflammation and let it come out in your urine.
- Garlic -decreases blood pressure
- “Extra virgin” olive oil- contains phytonutrients and can help your HDL count.
- Omega 3 fish- full of the nutrient that decreases our triglycerides in the blood (major reason for arterial wall build up) and reduces blood pressure. Aim for three time per week and wild-caught.
- Drop the alcohol. If you’re gonna drink, drink red wine 1-2 glasses. It contains antioxidants and can help your HDL.
- Eat foods high in magnesium. Not only because it helps you get better sleep but because it lowers blood pressure and dilates the arteries.
- Eat whole grains. This is going to replace your processed foods. If you used to eat white rice, make it brown now. If you used to eat pasta, try barley as a substitute. I encourage you to learn about using brown rice, millet, barley, and steel cut long-cooking oats. Eat foods like beets, soybeans, avocado, raisins.
- Start cooking with turmeric. This is a great spice to help decrease inflammation and keep your memory alert.
- Drink your coffee black. Take away the dairy and sugar additives. Or go for green teas instead. They have caffeine in them and are healthier with healing properties.
Day 5: Check out this recipe!
Day 6: Get your sweat on!
Sweating during 20 plus minutes of cardiovascular exercise each day lowers both the top systolic and bottom diastolic numbers concerning your blood pressure readings. It forces your blood vessels to dilate. Aim for doing at least 20 plus minutes of sweating type of cardio exercise, three times per week (after your doctor’s clearance). If you can’t work out at least start walking thirty minutes each day.
Day 7: If your LDLs or low density lipoproteins are high, that means there’s inflammation in your body and in your cells. They are clogging your arterial walls and that’s how arterial plaque forms-over time. Here are some supplements to take rather than going right for that prescribed medicine from your doctor.
I’m not a licensed or certified naturopath but knowledgeable enough to tell you that making the changes as seen in this challenge coupled with going to see a naturopath can help you.
Nettle leaf extract 900mgsBromelain 2000mgsGinger 900mgsCurcumin 1200mgs
Day 8: Living’ large with LENTILS!Lentils are rich in complex carbohydrates, a nutrient that boosts metabolism and helps your body burn fat. They are an excellent source of fiber, which helps reduce cholesterol levels. Lentils are also an outstanding source of folate (boost brain power!) and magnesium.
Day 9: Meditate or practice mindful breathing to reduce stress.
Make it a habit to practice deep breathing throughout your day. Purse your lips, drop your shoulders and exhale. Meditation apps can help guide you. My favorite has some free options and it’s called Guided Mind. But you can do a search and find one that suits you. This decreases stress, cortisol (the stress hormone) and in turn decreases blood pressure and LDLs. Imagine instant happiness for stress control.
Day 10: I’m not a big fan of folic acid but people take it. I’m a fan of folate. Folate is found in green vegetables and when you eat these, you also get other nutrients and vitamins such as B6 and B12. Folic acids are typically in processed foods or enriched foods. Folate rich foods, fish and whole grains help the process of methylation to reduce your homocysteine levels. If your homocysteine levels are too high, you’re at risk for developing Alzheimer’s. It’s associated with stroke, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and diabetes. These foods help detox your body, repair DNA and create new cells. Eat fish, whole grains and greens.
Day 11: Check out these recipes!
Day 12: Video- Checking in with you!
Day 13: Shop organic!
If you haven’t done so already, try shopping at a Whole Foods, Natural Grocer or Clovers. It’s amazing how different the food options are! You can even find snack bars with whole grains that are low in sugar.
Day 14: LAST DAY!! I Challenge you to learn about Niacin (vitamin B1), Co enzyme Q10, and Pantothenic Acid (vitamin B5).And GO! Also, make sure you’re getting enough vitamin D. It is winter in some parts and you might not be out soaking up that sun. Vitamin D3 helps your bones, boost immunity and improve heart health. Try 800IUs, if you’re under age 60 and 1000IUs if you’re over age 60.
I hope you enjoyed this healthier, happier you challenge and if you want to join the I Can Train My Brain Facebook Group here is a link!