5 Steps to a Healthier 2017

We love the idea of starting the year off on a healthy, positive note. Resolutions to eat better, work out more, call mom every week…they often fall by the wayside despite our best intentions (roughly 75% of people stick to their goals for at least a week, while less than half are still on target six months later). The problem is often that the resolutions we make are too broad to commit to. Studies show the more specific your goals the better (not: I’m going to work out more, but: I’m going to start running for 20 minutes, 3x/week). Another way to improve your resolution stick-to-it-ive-ness? Ask a friend for support. Better yet? Support each other.

Here are a few easy habits to change in 2017 to improve overall health and vitality. Keep it manageable; start with just one, then add in more once you’ve got the first one nailed.

Eat fermented foods. The process that turns fermented foods into probiotic powerhouses also boost levels of good bacteria in your digestive tract, improving the health and balance of your body’s collective microbiome, or bacterial community. A healthier microbiome, in turn, has been shown to aid in digestion, increase immunity, prevent disease, and—according to some preliminary studies—reduce blood pressure and keep you slim.

As we are completely taken with cultured foods of all kinds, naturally we are stock our shelves with them, as well. Check out our dairy case for all kinds of probiotic-rich goodies: krauts, kefir, yogurt, gut shots, kim chee. We’ve also got kombucha on tap, and a whole range of probiotic supplements that will provide similar health benefits.

Resolution: Eat 1 tablespoon of raw sauerkraut with each meal.

Hydrate.  It’s been said that Water is life. That’s because our bodies are composed of roughly 60% water, so when we’re dehydrated – and most of us spend our days dehydrated to some degree – we affect the performance of the majority of our body. Nearly all of our systems do not function as well without the proper water intake. So start 2017 with a goal to hydrate better. Water is the ideal; carry a bottle with you to remind you to drink throughout the day (our favorites are from Hydro Flask and Life Factory; we’ve got both here in the store). Tired of regular water? Try infusing with organic fruits and herbs. Want to alkalize your tap water? We’ve got New Wave Alkaline Filter Pitchers that raise the water’s pH by adding the perfect balance of naturally ionized magnesium, potassium, calcium and sodium.

Take a break from water with the mild, sweet, refreshing taste of coconut water, known as a high-electrolyte beverage, and thus a super hydrater. Harmless Harvest  is our favorite, made from 100% certified organic Thai coconuts.

Resolution: Instead of worrying about how many ounces you need in relation to your body weight, etc., try something new: Drink when you’re thirsty.

Get outside. Yup. Even in the winter. Even in the SNOW. There is a laundry list of reasons why spending time outdoors can improve your life: it increases concentration, it can reinvigorate a stale exercise routine, get you some much needed Vitamin D—but we think the most important reason is that being outdoors makes you FEEL BETTER. It improves your MOOD, which will set you up for all other good things to come your way. Dress properly, stay hydrated (yes, you can dehydrate, even in the cold weather) and enjoy the beauty of Mother Nature’s sleep cycle.

Resolution: Vow to get out for 30 minutes, 3x/week. Walk the dog, snowshoe, take a forest walk, go for a run.

Meditate. Download one of the popular meditation apps, or just sit quietly for a few minutes each day and focus on your breath. It’s that simple, and offers a host of whole body benefits (reduces stress, minimizes symptoms of anxiety and depression, improves sleep, increases focus, to name a few). Don’t miss out on a more relaxing 2017.

Resolution: Meditate for 5 minutes, 2x/day.

Eat more superfoods.  This word gets thrown around a lot so it doesn’t mean much…except to single out foods that are nutrient dense (have a dense concentration of vitamins, minerals, good fats, healthy enzymes—generally with fewer calories) and help to treat, lower the risk of, or prevent specific health conditions. Our favorite easy way to get more superfoods? Throw them in the blender. Yup, your morning smoothie is a convenient receptacle for all those antioxidant packed foods we know we should be eating, but never get around to. Sunfood makes an incredible line of raw (read: pure and unadulterated), delicious superfood powders that turn an ordinary smoothie into a true powerhouse breakfast. Choose from Acai, Moringa, Camu Camu, Goji Berry, Maca, and Mixed Berry Smoothie Mix (contains many of the above superfoods, plus banana, cacao, and brown rice protein). If you’d rather DIY, our Bulk Section contains a bunch of superfoods—chia, hemp, goji berries, cacao nibs—that are great both in smoothies and in baking, hot cereals, salads and more.

Resolution: Eat two “superfoods” each day (not sure which foods actually qualify as such? Chances are if you think they’re super, they are). Here’s a pretty thorough list to use as a cheatsheet. 

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