New Year, Healthier New You!

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2014 brings many New Years resolutions. As people with a chronic illness we should strive to live our healthiest life. If you want to spend less time in the hospital and be healthier only you can accomplish that. How? By building your foundation, taking better care of yourself, building your immune system, dealing with stress, and exercising. 

First to build your immune system by eating more fruits and vegetables.

Your meal should be full of more healthy fruits and vegetables. Steamed or lightly cook veggies to preserve the nutrients. Avoid fried foods or fast food. If you really want to kick-start your new year off right, try juicing or making smoothies. You get more fruits, veggies and micro-nutrients in a great tasting drink.  You could drink a smoothie every morning. I actually juice in the winter and drink smoothies in the summer.  This increases the vegetables and fruits I get in my diet. As a vegetarian for 27 years it’s important to me to eat well. Think about it; you can juice 5 large carrots, two beets, and an apple or two depending on how sweet you like it, but could you eat all that? Juice instead.  You will still get the nutrients in a good tasting drink.  Drink green and white tea. It has epigallocatechin 3 (EGCG)  and polyphenols which destroy free radicals. Have a few cups every morning. It will build your immune system.

Dealing with stress is important. Stress slows down immunity. I have this rule, no one is allowed to stress me out no matter who they are, because ultimately it makes me sicker. I meditate, do yoga, and breathing exercises. But the most important thing I have done is not to allow drama or people who love drama to stress me out. I don’t have time for it, and I believe there is a direct correlation between stressful people and my illness.

My immune system weakens if my emotions are in turmoil. I am sure this is happened to you. I noticed it during a very stressful time in my life, many years ago and realized that it had contributed to my latest hospitalzaton.  I vowed to not let other peoples problems stress me out. I have not since.  Start a meditation practice for the new year, learn yogic breathing, do yoga.

Take a walk and exercise. Movement helps build your immune system. Twice a day, I walk my dogs. I get to know my neighbors because I am out with the dogs. I get fresh air and exercise. I don’t count this towards my daily exercise goals. It’s an extra bonus. However this can be your start– take a walk, push the baby in the stroller, walk the dogs. I walk to Starbucks a lot. It’s 5 minutes from my home. I buy a cup of tea, read my email, or just people watch. I think it’s important to have 20-30 minutes to yourself to just be.

Start your new year with small goals and build upon them to better health. Have green or white tea everyday, make a smoothie for breakfast, take a walk, and practice stress reduction. Slowly implement these practices for a healthier new you in 2014.

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