GF Nutrition: 5 Habits to Get Healthier Today!

Sarah Waybright is a registered dietitian and founder of WhyFoodWorksSarah offers in-home cooking classes and dinner parties, both of which happen to work really well for people and families with food allergies/sensitivities—you get a chance to try lots of delicious new recipes with the added bonus of minimal contamination risk! Talk about a win-win!!! 

I asked Sarah to partner with us because she genuinely loves food and she is an expert at using real food to make our bodies work better. So much of gluten-free living revolves around how food makes us sick or the need to deprive ourselves of enjoyable food to stay healthy—let’s turn the conversation around and talk about all the ways to use nutrient-dense real food to help us feel strong, healthy, and excited about eating again!

Take it away, Sarah!

Top 5 Little Habits That Make A Big Difference

 1. Develop a nighttime ritual

Problems with falling asleep are a side effect of our busy, constantly engaged lives – and sleep is directly linked to all kinds of health outcomes including weight regulation, memory, and focus.  I used to take up to 20 minutes to finally drift off, after lots of turning from one side to the other.  Creating a sleep ritual not only made falling asleep happen faster, but saved me from a racing mind and allowed me to gain ~10 minutes of sleep nightly.  That really adds up!  For the half hour before you want to close your eyes, drink a cup of herbal tea, light a relaxing scented candle (lavender works well), and listen to mellow music or read a book – a real book!  Avoid looking at screens, which emit light that sends signals to your brain that it’s still daytime (this article outlines in more detail).  Just like Pavlov’s dogs, doing these things consistently will trigger your body’s preparation for sleep, even when you’re away from home.

2. Replenish with water first thing in the morning

Overnight, we can lose up to the equivalent of 2 cups of water – this is especially true in drier climates or during winter months!  Keep a glass by your sink so you can replace a cup first thing after you splash some water on your face.  Hydration is key not only for your internal organs to function, but also to keep skin soft and smooth!

3. Meditate…for at least a minute

One inspiring person I met last year was Martin Boroson.  He’s a meditation expert, and proponent of the idea that you don’t have to meditate for long lengths of time to get its benefits, which include lowered stress, improved patience, better ability to focus, and enhanced connection with your body.  You can learn to meditate from him in 5 minutes, and practice taking a minute or two at crucial points in your day to incorporate this practice.

4. Spend some time upside down

Since starting to practice yoga regularly about 2 years ago, I’ve spent a lot more time upside down, which by itself is linked to positive health attributes from helping back problems to improved lymph flow.  The good news is that an inversion is considered any position in which your heart is higher that your head, so you don’t have to do a handstand to start get the benefits!  You can start with a down dog (below right), or just lay down with a few pillows under your legs and hips.

headstand downdog

 5. Keep healthy snacks in your car or office

Convenience drives food choice in a big way!  If you can make a healthy option the most convenient one, you’ll make that choice 9 times out of 10.  Nuts and dried fruit are my go-to’s for stocking, since they aren’t temperature dependent and you can portion them out easily (one palmful of each!).   Don’t stock crackers, chips, or other nutrient-poor snack foods – make sure your stash is nutrient-dense and something you’ll enjoy!

 Still feeling overwhelmed about getting healthier in 2016?
Sarah is hosting a workshop-style event for all DC-metro locals designed to help you redesign your defaults, transforming bad habits into supportive ones.
Gluten-free friendly and nutrient-rich, of course!

(click the picture for more details!)

To ask Sarah a question or request a topic for a future blog post,
please leave a comment on any GF Nutrition post
or email me with the subject “Gluten-Free Nutrition.”

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