In the past few years, I’ve become increasingly interested in natural remedies and naturopathic medicine; first, as a way to help me get pregnant, and then as a way to keep myself healthy. Between appointments with naturopathic doctors, discussions with friends, and my own research, I’ve come across the following recommendations. They’re suited to just about everyone, and have made me feel infinitely better. (I’m not a doctor – use with caution, or see a naturopath of your own!)
Sleep: try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Aim for 8 hours of sleep or more; every hour of sleep you get before midnight is worth 2 hours of sleep after midnight. Seems like a no-brainer…but again, it takes conscious effort to go to sleep instead of lying in bed staring at your phone for another hour.
Movement: accumulate at least 1.5 hours of sweating per week; get moving for 20 minutes daily, get your heart rate elevated, and work on weight-bearing exercises to maintain lean body mass and increase bone density. Just get up and move, even if that means vacuuming with baby on your hip, or walking to the mailbox.
Water: What do you weigh? Take that number, divide it in half, and drink that many ounces of water per day. (Ex. If you weigh 200 lbs, you need 100 oz of water daily). Herbal tea counts, but not if you add sugar/honey/milk. Honestly, this is the simplest but most difficult thing for me to implement in my life; I just forget to drink water. But I feel so much better when I do.
Power Seeds: an equal mix of flax, chia and hemp seeds (2 tbsp daily) to help with energy, hormonal regulation and a healthy digestive tract. Mix into oatmeal, smoothies or yogurt, or sprinkle on a salad or into baked goods.
Complex carbs & protein: try to get a mix of lean protein and complex carbs at each meal, including snacks. This might mean hummus and whole grain crackers, or chicken, vegetables and quinoa. Its tougher than you might think; so often we just grab a muffin or a granola bar as a quick snack, and things like these cause a blood sugar crash. The benefit of protein and complex carbs comes in how they’re digested; the energy is released slowly, keeping you full longer and avoiding that crash.
Avoid ‘White’ Foods: avoid processed sugar, white flour, white potatoes, white rice. If its been bleached, its been over-processed, and chances are its just not good for you. One way around this is to use Paleo recipes; ingredients like coconut flour, almond flour, agave nectar and maple syrup are beneficial (if you’re going to be baking anyways). Buy brown rice, whole wheat or brown rice pasta, whole grain bread (or avoid these carbs altogether). And don’t beat yourself up if you cheat occasionally. Sometimes, that chocolate cake just NEEDS to be eaten.