Hooray for Spring! This is a great time of year to step back and take a look at our daily habits to review how they may or may not be supporting our feeling and looking great.
First up, nutrition. It’s so easy to let our nutrition slip during the winter holidays and then fail to get back on track. It’s never too late to start again!
Spring Cleaning is a good time to begin anew. A 21-day cleanse program can be really beneficial to reset and restart healthy habits. I personally find this so helpful, and typically eat in a very simple “elimination” style diet sometime during March or April each year.
In coordination with tidying up nutrition, we need to be sure we have a healthy gut environment so that all the wonderful nutrients we’re consuming are getting absorbed appropriately. One major component of healthy gut function is a diverse and well-functioning microbiome, which are the probiotic organisms that live within our digestive tract. They help us in numerous ways, with more benefits being revealed by scientific studies regularly.
Ingesting probiotics through supplements or fermented foods is only one piece of the puzzle here – we also need to feed them appropriately and establish an environment where they can thrive. This is especially important if you had to take an antibiotic to fight off one of the infections that went around during Winter, because those are devastating to your microbiome and you’ll need to rebuild a strong population.
There are so many other supportive health habits to review. Below is a checklist I like to share with my patients. I encourage you to use this tool to evaluate your own habits to see where you may want to focus your attention during your Spring Cleaning:
|How often is this true?
|I sleep at least 8 hours and wake refreshed
|I walk or exercise for at least 30 minutes
|I have 1-3 bowel movements daily
|I practice mindfulness or deep belly breathing
|I have contact with nature / play outdoors
|I maintain a spiritual practice
|I am in service to others
|I have healthy relationships
|I feel loved and supported by others
|I feel love and compassion for myself
|Mealtimes are calm and I eat slowly
|I eat 5 servings of vegetables
|I eat 1-2 servings of fruit
|I get at least 30g dietary fiber
|I eat fermented foods or a probiotic supplement
Naturopathic medicine is a powerful tool for preventing disease and decline. As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. One way your naturopathic doctor can help you achieve and maintain resilient health is through regularly scheduled wellness visits. This allows for timely adjustments to your hormones or supplements as well as a review of your healthy living habits and nutrition as your needs fluctuate.
Once a year is just not enough. I prefer to have quarterly reviews with my patients but semi-annual may be enough, depending on the level of encouragement or trouble-shooting they need or desire.
Please come see us at LWMC this month for a health review and to develop your Spring Cleaning action plan.
By Dr. Lauri Brouwer, ND