We are not only starting a new year in 2020. We are ending a decade and entering a new one. Every January, the internet is flooded with articles suggesting healthy new year resolutions to commit to, most of which are abandoned by February.
Here are some attainable new year resolution suggestions for 2020 that will not only turn your health around, but may establish the foundation needed to improve overall health and wellness, especially for those struggling with chronic conditions like chronic pain, depression and chronic fatigue.
1. Eat REAL food for the entire year of 2020.
While this resolution may appear difficult to implement at first, a true commitment to eating real food starts by limiting ordering out and heading to the supermarket. It doesn't matter if you are a vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, meat-eater, or some other type of food eater. If you focus on knowing what you put into your body, you will start to make the right decisions. Knowledge is power.
What is real food? Real food is whole, single-ingredient food. It is mostly unprocessed, free of chemical additives, and rich in nutrients. In essence, it's the type of food human beings ate exclusively for thousands of years. However, since processed foods became popular in the 20th century, the Western diet has shifted toward ready-to-eat meals that are full of artificial chemicals and toxic preservatives.
While processed foods are convenient, studies have shown that regular consumption of processed foods can be harmful to your health. This includes your overall self-esteem and wellness given that processed foods are well known to adversely affect the skin, hair, body weight, and more. In fact, following a diet based on real food may be one of the most important things you can do to maintain good health and a higher quality of life.
Next time you decide to eat anything, make sure you know the ingredients. The best meals are prepared using real food. If you aren't putting your meal together, ask for a list of the ingredients. Most restaurants will happily comply to this request in order to retain customers. If there is any item on the ingredients list that you cannot identify as a real food item, turn it away. Some examples of real food items are water, salt, tomatoes, lemons, pepper, cane sugar, etc.
Don't get tricked by "natural food" and wellness targeted marketing! The manufacturers of today's processed foods know more and more Americans are trying to make healthier food choices. Unfortunately, this has caused several of them to re-brand and embrace convenient loop holes to trick you into eating potentially toxic chemicals, while thinking you are making a healthy food choice.
How do you avoid the health food marketing tricks found in almost every supermarket and even some restaurants? Always read the list of ingredients. If you decide to eat out, order clean items. The less ingredients the better. If a meal comes with a sauce, ask to read the list of ingredients for the sauces, condiments (yes, that means you want to read the ingredients of ketchup, mustard and mayo). You essentially want to read the ingredients of anything that doesn't obviously come directly from nature.
At the super market, if you decide to purchase any item in a box, can, bottle, jar, and/or bag, make sure you don't forget to READ the list of ingredients on the packaging. This includes powdered spices! For example, several powdered spices (and other powdered products like supplements, flour, etc.) have silicon dioxide (also known as silica) to prevent caking. Silicon dioxide is a known carcinogen and chronic inhalation of silicon dioxide can lead to lung disease. So we wouldn't suggest you stiff any powdered spice containing silicon dioxide if you still decide to move forward with using them in your food preparation. Look for spices that don't contain any other added ingredient(s) other than the spice(s) itself. If the spice cakes (another way of saying, it gets clumpy and sticks to itself), take a fork or spoon and loosen it back up. It's that simple. If you commit to purchasing and consuming real food this new year, your body will thank you.
2. Read the list of ingredients and avoid consuming natural flavors, artificial flavors, and artificial colors.
Even the most health conscious food shoppers, accidentally purchase food products with harmful chemicals, disguised as healthy food alternatives. Everyone already knows they need to avoid artificial flavors and artificial colors. But what about natural flavors? What are they? The term "natural flavor" can be pretty confusing and even misleading. Unfortunately, these flavorings are extremely common in foods and beverages. In fact, it has been reported that the only items listed more frequently on ingredient lists of processed foods, other than natural flavors, are salt, water and sugar.
Research has shown that when "natural" appears on food packaging, people tend to form positive opinions about the product, including how healthy it is. Natural flavors are complex mixtures created by specially trained food chemists known as flavorists.
In addition to their original flavor source, these mixtures can contain more than 100 different chemicals, including preservatives, solvents and other substances. These are defined as "incidental additives." However, food manufacturers aren't required to disclose whether these additives come from natural or synthetic sources. As long as the original flavoring source comes from plant or animal material, it is classified as a natural flavor.
What's more, because the term "natural" has no official definition, flavors sourced from genetically modified crops can also be labeled as natural.
Avoiding natural flavors has got to be one of the hardest things a health conscious consumer can do. You will find natural flavoring in unsalted butter, almost every beverage found on the super market shelves, even in pork sausages and veggie patties!
However, those who have successfully avoided consuming natural flavors have reported a significant increase in overall health and quality of life. More specifically they have reported a significant reduction in acne, regrowth of thinning hair and the filling in of bald spots, increased overall energy, and stronger nails.
3. Substitute sugary, colored, flavored drinks with water.
What is a sugary drink? Sugary drinks are beverages that contain added sugars or sweeteners. Sugary drinks include soda and other carbonated soft drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks, fruit-flavored or powdered drinks, vitamin-enhanced drinks, and sweetened tea and coffee drinks. Sugary drinks may taste sweet and satisfying, but the health effects of consumption are not. Regular consumption of sugary beverages can lead to serious health problems.
Did you know?
Drinking large amounts of sugary beverages can increase the risk of gaining weight and developing Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and gout.
Sugary beverage intake is significantly associated with weight gain and obesity. Women who drink one or more sugary beverages daily have almost twice the risk of developing diabetes as those who drink less than one sugary beverage daily.
A child’s risk of becoming obese increases by 60% with each additional sugary beverage consumed daily.
Children who drink carbonated sugary beverages have almost double the risk of dental cavities.
Drinking just one 20-ounce bottle of a sugary beverage per day can result in gaining 25 extra pounds per year.
The health costs of obesity in the United States are about $147 billion annually. With that money, we could buy everyone in the U.S. an iPad.
In addition to all of the obvious reasons to permanently cut sugary beverages from your diet, sugar is an inflammatory agent. This means, that patch of oily skin, that painfully annoying acne, dreaded eczema, etc. is your skin's reaction to too much sugar consumption, not to mention, all of the natural flavors, artificial flavors, and artificial colors that come along with those sugary beverages.
As more and more people commit to cutting these beverages out of their diet, food manufacturers will be forced to listen (or go out of business) and make beverages that are genuinely healthy and nutritious for our bodies.
4. Discuss consuming Responsibly Distributed CBD with your doctor.
Cannabidiol (CBD) has penetrated the marketplace and is increasing revenue in not only the newly developed Cannabis industry, but also the health and wellness industry, the beauty industry, the convenient store industry, the restaurant industry, the tattoo industry, you name an industry, you'll find a CBD product that is being marketed to confused, un-expecting consumers.
While CBD has a remarkably high therapeutic potential to alleviate several debilitating conditions, there are major factors that need to be taken into account in order to lower your chances of experiencing unwanted side effects. First of all, before introducing CBD into your medical regimen, you want to consult with your doctor. Every member of your medical team should know that you have incorporated or are considering incorporating CBD into your daily regimen. Why? Because CBD has potential drug interactions with commonly prescribed medications. It is important that your doctors are aware that CBD is a part of your daily consumption because it may influence their medical recommendations. For healthcare professionals seeking Cannabis medicine education, Blaze Therapeutics has you covered with the Cannabis Medicine for Healthcare Professionals program.
Unfortunately, it isn't enough to keep your healthcare team informed regarding your CBD consumption. The CBD industry is unregulated and several products are either labeled inaccurately and/or contain toxic chemicals, some of which are unintentional, while others are deliberately added to the CBD product's formulation. Responsible Distribution (RD) is a distribution model designed specifically for the healthcare industry, with precautions taken to protect chronically ill patients and health conscious consumers. The RD model requires each CBD product to undergo a thorough evaluation for therapeutic potential. Additionally, each batch/lot of product must undergo unbiased third party testing for label claims BEFORE being distributed for public consumption. Responsibly Distributed products can be identified by the following Responsibly Distributed seal.
With over 80% of CBD products not qualifying for Responsible Distribution, concerned consumers, especially those living with chronic conditions, cannot afford to consume CBD products that are not Responsibly Distributed. For those who are having difficulty finding Responsibly Distributed CBD at their local shops, they can find and purchase Responsibly Distributed CBD directly from the Shop at Blaze Therapeutics.
5. Educate yourself about the Endocannabinoid System (ECS).
Whether you are for or against the use of Cannabis, recreationally, medicinally, both or neither, there is one fact that no one can deny: our bodies have an endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS plays a vital role in our body's growth, development and daily function.
Even if you never acquire the curiosity to consume Cannabis, in any form, learning about the ECS, its influence on our biological systems and what happens if the event of ECS dysfunction and its potential impact on our overall health and wellness. Understanding how the deficiencies affect the key players of the ECS can help guide us to better understand and treat chronic conditions like Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Cancer and more.
If you or a loved one is struggling with health complications, learning about the ECS could be a fruitful and empowering endeavor for you. If you'd like to know where to start, we recommend checking out the Cannabis Science Certification program.
6. Do not overeat, even if the food is REAL.
For those who are going to take on the challenge of eating real food for the 2020 year, it is important to also take on the challenge of not tricking yourself into overeating. Just because the food is real and free of artificial flavors, colors, natural flavor, preservatives, etc., does not make overeating any less detrimental to your body's health.
The one difficulty reported when people begin to eat real food on a daily basis, is the sudden realization of how much more satisfying and rich in taste and flavor real food is over processed foods with artificial chemicals. People also report no longer experiencing the heavy, sluggish, tired feeling after consuming a complete meal of real food, that typically accompanies consuming a complete meal of processed foods. This amazing phenomenon can lead some to overeat with the belief that eating too much real food can't possibly hurt since the food is genuinely healthy and nutritious. However, this cannot be further from the truth. Overeating occurs when you continue to eat beyond the point of fullness. Eating too much food leads to unhealthy weight gain, even if the food is real and nutritious. Consistent overeating does not just lead to gaining unhealthy weight. Unfortunately, carrying excess weight, even if the weight is gained after consuming real food, can increase your risk for cancer and other chronic health problems.
In order to make appropriate decisions such as portion sizes so that you don't overeat real healthy food, understanding the science of energy balance is critical. What you eat and drink (ENERGY IN) and what you burn through physical activity (ENERGY OUT) doesn't have to balance every day. It's having a balance over time that will help you stay at a healthy weight for the long term.
Here is our New Year resolution suggestions checklist for 2020! May you be healthy, knowledgeable, and have happiness in everything you do. Happy new year and may 2020 be an extraordinary start to the next decade.
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