Another year down, where did it go right? I hope your festive season was Merry and Bright...here's a little snap of me, hubby and fur baby which I wanted to share with you.
What do you think of my baby's red festive collar - I loved it but he seemed a little less than impressed - he would rather be au naturale! Regardless, it was one of the best Xmas Days ever surrounded with family and lots of delicious food!
S0 after the the Xmas high I have been thinking about the new year ahead. In previous years I have fallen into the trap of starting the new year with the best of intentions and within a week or two all that new year glimmering hope and shiny optimism has taken a flying leap as I settle back into "regular life". Does this sound familiar to you at all?
Let's be real, it is quite unreasonable to think you are going to be a whole new person just because a new calendar year rings in but there are EASY and ACHIEVABLE ways to create a profound and positive impact in your life and I promise you, there is no big ask on your part, just small, simple adjustments.
Does that sound good to you? Then let's go!
SWITCH TO CERTIFIED ORGANIC TEA AND COFFEE
Many of us start our day with cup of our favourite brew but did you know that coffee is THE MOST CHEMICALLY SPRAYED crop in the world?
While the occasional cup would probably do little harm, many of us are daily drinkers, this can slowly build up to toxic levels of pesticides (like dangerous glycophosphates) in our body contributing to many health issues from nausea, digestive distress, dizziness, anxiety and confusion, to much more serious effects including microbiome imbalances (the delicate ecosystem of bacteria in your gut responsible for a maintaining good health) leading to chronic digestive and health issues as well as possibly contributing to autism and cancer!
Considering millions of us around the world (myself included) start the day with this magical brew, making the switch to a certified organic brand makes a lot of sense - and if you are into pod coffee then you also have to take into account that many pods are made from aluminium which some studies suggest can also be toxic.
And if you thought you were any safer with tea, think again. Whether you sip on black, green or white tea, pesticide levels in many of the world's most famous brands have higher levels than safely recommended so again, it makes sense to switch to certified organic teas, which have endless health benefits - better gut bacteria, anti-cancer properties, possibly assist in weight loss/management and so much more.
And while the jury always sways back and forth on coffee, there is a lot of research that does support many health benefits when you drink good quality organic coffee responsibly including benefits to brain health, faster metabolism, an antioxidant boost to the entire body and the list goes on. If your body tolerates it without jittery side effects or affecting your gut health - enjoy!
ACTION PLAN: 1-2 cups of good quality organic coffee a day is fine for most butg remember to avoid aluminium coffee pods. I forward to starting my day with Republica Nespresso Compatible Coffee Pods which are aluminium-free and are 100% biodegradable which means less landfill and throughout the day I sip on Nerada's Organic Green Tea with Lemon Myrtle - it's so good! Both brands are ACO Certified Organic which means no pesticides, fungicides or chemical fertilizers have been used so you can enjoy your favourite beverage completely guilt-free!
START READING INGREDIENT LABELS
This one is so important! Once you start to realise how much garbage is in certain "foods" you probably eat everyday you will think twice about putting them into your shopping cart or into your body. Packaging is designed to draw you without you thinking too much so reading the labels is key. What seems wholesome and healthy is often just empty, disease promoting and energy draining calories with the biggest offenders, not surprisingly being prepackaged/highly processed foods.
I was recently looking at what seemed like a nice quick "cheat meal" on a day when I didn't really want to be stuck in the kitchen - some chicken patties from my local grocery store - it seemed innocent enough - chicken, herbs and bread crumbs right? But as soon as I read the ingredients and nutritional profile I was shocked that the actual product was less than 37% chicken and the rest was just empty filler ingredients!
Many food companies pump sugar, cheap nasty oils and useless filler ingredients as well as weird additives and preservatives into the food supply hoping you only focus on taste and price and not the nutritional value to make their giant profits while you get sick.
The medical and pharmaceutical industries just love it when you don't care about what you eat and drink and are only too happy to pump you with toxic, expensive medications masking symptoms and creating a vicious cycle where only the food companies, medical industry and pharmaceutical industry are the big winners - so please for the health of your and your loved ones be aware of what you are putting into your body.
ACTION PLAN: Look for wholesome ingredients you know and understand and not lists with weird chemical names and numbers. Avoid foods that are based in white/wheat flour, trans-fats and sugar.
If you can get your hands on this life changing book by Dr William Li - Eat To Beat Disease which is available online, it will be one of the best decisions you will ever make and shows easy, yummy and practical ways to maintain good health, reverse disease while explaining the how, what and why of health in a very easy to understand way - this is the kind of stuff they should be teaching in schools - it's that good!
IT'S OKAY TO SAY "NO" - IT DOESN'T MAKE YOU A BAD PERSON
Okay, now this sounds easy but I can speak from personal experience that this one can be HARD. It's hard because we don't want to let down our family, friends, boss or co-workers. As humans, we are designed to find happiness by making others happy or we are scared of how people will perceive/treat us if we say no however it's important to find a balance between what we can and can't commit to.
As an idea, helping others is a beautiful thing but when it comes at the expense of your own well-being and you are finding yourself more stressed than fulfilled, then clearly something is off.
ACTION PLAN: If you are not up to committing to a task politely say no. You don't need to explain why but if you are pushed you just have to explain your plate is full, no one can argue with that.
CUT REFINED SUGARS RIGHT DOWN IN YOUR DIET
Yeah, yeah, yeah, eat less sugar I know, it's bad, blah, blah, shut up Feritta. Lol, I am sorry but you need to hear this. Forget about your weight for a second and focus on what I am about to tell you.
Food companies LOVE to put sugar in everything but have you ever asked yourself why? Yes it tastes good but the scary truth is, it is ADDICTIVE - in fact 8 times more addictive than cocaine! Sugar makes you crave certain foods making it one the MOST INSIDIOUS INGREDIENTS EVER AND IS ALSO ONE OF THE MAIN CAUSES OF ALL DISEASE. After cutting down on unnecessary sugars/carbs in my diet I can attest to a significant improvement in my own auto-immune condition and general health.
And if you thought sugar was just in all the obvious culprits like soft drinks, cookies, cakes, ice-cream and chocolates - think again, it is added to many of the savory foods you eat as well so this is why it is so important to read your labels. And take note, even seemingly ok foods like white bread and anything made from white flour converts straight to sugar in your body. As a general rule 10g of sugar per 100g serving is considered okay but the less refined sugar in your diet the better!
And if you thought diet soft drinks were any better you'd be in for rude surprise, research shows that diet soft drinks contribute to weight-gain, microbiome disturbances, metabolic disturbances, gut issues, strokes and more.
ACTION PLAN: While there's nothing wrong with the occasional treat, try to cut out white flour and refined sugars as much as possible and keep sweet treats to just that - treats for special occasions.
Try to satisfy your sweet tooth with 70% dark chocolate, beautiful fresh fruits and natural sweeteners like Stevia and Monk Fruit which do not cause sharp sugar spikes in your bloodstream. There are so many keto-friendly dessert cook books now in the market you can get your hands on so you can literally have your cake and eat it too! Fruit water combos with mint, cucumber and lots of ice are also a great way to hydrate and avoid disease promoting sugars.
REDEFINE YOUR NOTION OF SELF-CARE
In this day and age of self-care, a lot of people have jumped on the self-care bandwagon touting that you need to look after yourself first, don't take crap from anybody and all the rest of it but what concerns me is when people use it to justify being mean, selfish or hurtful or spend ridiculous amounts of money of indulgent goods and think they are entitled to do whatever they want to - because that is not self-care, that is just being an a-hole.
Self-care is also not all about running away from your responsibilities and ignoring the world hoping it will just go away, self-care is about checking in with yourself and asking - Am I OK? Our current lifestyles demand a lot from us with pressure to always be on our A-game but sometimes you just need to take a step back from everything and understand the world will still turn if you have an hour to yourself or the laundry didn't get done.
Self-care is about realising your inner needs and bringing them to the forefront and making time for them in order to lead a more fulfilling, happy life and offer the best of yourself to the world. Many of us put ourselves last in a list of tasks, jobs and obligations at the expense of our mental, physical and spiritual well-being which in the end benefits no one.
ACTION PLAN: You don't need to reinvent the wheel - go out for a walk in the fresh air, connect with a network/friend who is going through the same stuff as you, relax with a cup of (organic) coffee or tea, light a scented candle and take a long bath or unwind with a good book, talk to your children, spend time with your pets, pick up the phone and chat to a friend, do a 10 minute guided meditation (YouTube has plenty of free options), have a designated date night with your partner - it's simple things like this that will help you stay in a good state of mind.
FLUORIDE FREE TOOTHPASTE
Did you know your mouth has its own microbiome/bacteria family? Well some studies reveal that fluoride in our toothpaste and strong mouth washes can unbalance the microbiome of our mouth and there is evidence to suggest that the addition of fluoride in our water and the use of flouride toothpastes may be damaging to our gut microbiome too as well as increasing the risk of bone fractures, dental fluorosis, as well as thyroid and neurological problems.
ACTION PLAN: While fluoride is naturally found is some foods and water supplies, overuse may be harmful to your health. Reducing fluoride exposure by switching to a fluoride-free toothpaste is an easy way to do this. I love Grants of Australia All Natural Toothpaste which is fluoride-free and all natural ingredients. The flavor is great and the price is reasonable too! I get mine from Coles Supermarkets and you can see the full Grants range of natural mouth care here.
REDUCE YOUR USE OF SCREEN TIME
Look we all do it, that impulse we have to immediately look at our phones as soon as we hear the slightest beep of an incoming message or browse social media THE SECOND we aren't doing something or pop on YouTube or games for children to keep them quiet when out and about.
While some screen time has its place in the modern world, we are becoming a society increasing reliant on using screens as babysitters, losing the art of conversation and wasting valuable time that could be much better spent in other ways. Getting lost in someone else "carefully curated social media fake-reality" often makes us feel lousy about ourselves as well as contributes to us losing our ability to connect and communicate with real people around us - this is a very scary situation for us as a human race.
I get it though, as a person who manages several websites/blogs and social media pages of my own it can be hard to pull yourself away from your phone or computer however if you find yourself scrolling Facebook in the wee hours of the morning, or playing games constantly justifying it as "down time" when your partner, friends and family are around you - something isn't right and studies are now confirming this trend is harming relationships and family units as well as stifling creativity and dulling the minds of children and adults alike.
ACTION PLAN: Ensure you activate your blue light filter on your phone, as blue light affects our natural sleep cycles/circadian rhythms and keeps your brain wide awake when you should be fast asleep as well as preventing your brain going into a deep sleep state resulting in low quality, non-restorative sleep. Another tip is to keep your phone switched off or in airplane mode at night to ensure you aren't disturbed by messages.
Although easier said than done, it's a good idea limit your children's screen time to your designated set time per day/week and make a deal that they will not be allowed to use devices otherwise. Encourage your kids to enjoy more creative, artistic and outdoor activities.
I personally have started a "social media free" day - I usually do it on a weekend and it is rather liberating once you realise the world will still spin if you don't post or check your social media/emails for one day. Unfollowing people who don't make you feel good about yourself also makes a lot of sense.
SWITCH TO ORGANIC BODY WASH/SHAMPOO & CONDITIONER & MOISTURISER
It's easy to think that as long as we clean ourselves regularly we are all good but our skin plays an important role in detoxification and anything we apply to our skin is quickly absorbed into our body. Often unknowingly, many everyday products we use on our skin contains harmful chemicals, which with regular use can lead to a slow build-up of toxins within the body contributing to various health and skin problems.
While there are many, the main culprit is Sodium Laureth Sulphate (SLS) which is known to be a skin irritant. It can strip the skin of its natural oils which are a natural protective barrier and cause dry skin and irritation and reactions, irritate eyes as well as trigger and aggravate inflammatory skin reactions including itchy skin and scalp, eczema and dermatitis. For some people, SLS can penetrate the skin making it more vulnerable to the absorption of foreign irritants. Using these foaming products on your face can also cause the skin to become oilier as it overcompensates for the loss of natural skin oils that have been stripped away.
ACTION PLAN: Switch to an natural ingredients (preferably organic) in your skin and hair care. This means checking that the product is free from SLS, parabens, silicones, dyes, mineral oils, phthalates, glycols...and this is just the some of many! You want products loaded with organic and pure skin nourishing ingredients. These days even grocery stores offer natural and organic body washes, skin and hair care options. Some of my favorite brands are Supple Skin Co, Pump Hair Care, Black Chicken Axilla Deodorant Paste, Avocado Zinc Natural Sunscreen, Mudface 100% Fuller Earth Mud Mask and Eco Tan to name a few!
MAKE THE SWITCH TO SPELT FLOUR & SOURDOUGH BREAD
As I touched on before, white flour on a daily basis is a huge no-no as it converts to sugar, disrupts the gut microbiome and creates an inflammatory response within the body. Cutting out simple sugars is one of the easiest ways to improve your overall health.
If you love to bake then I have great news - spelt flour makes an amazing substitute and is becoming more and more mainstream. Spelt flour is an ancient grain which many people tolerate much better thanks to its closer to original wheat structure than it's modern white flour counterpart which is highly processed. It substitutes nicely in most cakes and biscuit recipes etc. which use plain/all-purpose flour without much difference to taste or texture but is a whole lot better for you! FYI, I woudn't use spelt flour as a substitute in bread recipes. If you are looking for some yummy spelt flour recipes check out my food blog www.eatinstylebyferitta.com.
ACTION PLAN: Eat your carbs guilt-free by making the switch to sourdough bread. While it is still made from white flour its unique fermentation process makes it easier to digest and contains gut friendly bacteria so you don't get dreaded wheat belly. You can find Spelt flour at most good grocery stores as well as online and physical health food stores. I get mine from Woolworths Grocery Stores.
WRITE YOUR GOALS WITH TIMELINES
Goal setting is nothing new but how often do you buy that shiny new diary or write-up a list of goals and then months later you find some scrappy paper under a pile of work and bills and feel deflated when you realise you haven't met any of your desires?
ACTION PLAN: Write your goals with a course of action steps - what are you going to do each day/week/month to make it happen and what is your date of completion? Keep this in an easy to see place and reflect/read this daily to ensure you are keeping on top of your goals and feel free to be flexible and modify things - the idea is that you are moving forward each day.
Movies, advertising, social media and TV can provide us with a very distorted view of what happiness and success is and there is this push to make us all think, look and behave a certain way which is so sad - we need to reclaim our individuality. The point is, we are always looking outside ourselves instead of within. This crucial observation has taken me most of my life to understand but I am glad that I finally getting the point!
ACTION PLAN: Feeling gratitude for your present moment, no matter what you may be going through is really an art and does take dedicated mindful attention because it is so easy to spiral into anger, frustration etc. in course of the day and end up feeling lousy.
Write down a list of things you are grateful each day - it could be something as simple as having a great meal, getting a task finished, having a low-stress day - anything at all. Another cool way to practice gratitude it make a gratitude jar and write little notes of nice things that happened to you and collect them in the jar and then read them when you need a reminder of how awesome you and your life are! You will quickly realise how much you have to be grateful for.
DECLUTTER AND DONATE TO CHARITY
I love this one! There is no better feeling in the world than clearing away unnecessary clothing, household items, shoes etc. and donating them to charity - giving feels so good!
Decluttering really does change the flow of energy of not only your environment but also your mind too. And don't forget your computer - sometimes just opening our email to a barrage of advertising and unwanted messages can be overwhelming so detoxing your inbox is worth it too!
ACTION PLAN: Clear out your email inbox of needless subscriptions. Take one room, area, drawer or cupboard in your home and focus on clearing away whatever you no longer need and donate it charity or dispose of it responsibly. Mari Kwando has some excellent space clearing tips if you are looking for some good space clearing ideas!
I know, I know, stop lecturing me Feritta, haha, I am nearly done I promise. But the fact remains almost all successful people swear to being avid readers and really if you watch TV daily as most of us do, you can make some time to do some reading. While I love a good comedy series and consider it down time at the end of a long day, this year I am making a commitment to read daily even if it is just one or two pages a day - because that feels doable to me and it's a step in the right direction.
ACTION PLAN: Find a book on a topic or author you are passionate about and commit to one or two pages a day as a starting point. For me health, spirituality, working on the inner self and the metaphysical are all topics I naturally gravitate towards so pick your favourite topics and find your joy! Gradually as reading becomes a habit you will probably naturally find yourself becoming immersed in reading for longer periods of time and if not, that is okay, at least you are developing your mind and knowledge at a pace you are comfortable with.
MAKE NEW FRIENDS
It's very easy to get comfortable with who you know and there is nothing wrong having loyal friends or bestie however sometimes we need to be pushed out of our comfort zone in order to grow. Very often we sink into complacency and don't put ourselves out there in fear of doing or saying the wrong thing. We are social creatures who need connection with other humans so making new friends makes a lot of sense on so many levels.
ACTION PLAN: If there is someone who you'd like to know better just ask them if they'd be up for a coffee sometime and keep the tone casual - you never know what great friendship will unfold!
and last but not least...
Look I know, it isn't the easiest things in the world but it is one of the most liberating.
We all hurt other people and people hurt us, sometimes it is unintentional other times it is not but the mental and physical impact of feeling upset or holding onto grudges can have devastating effects on our well-being and state of mind.
ACTION PLAN: Sometimes the person we most need to forgive is ourselves. We make mistakes - we are human after all but when you do stumble or make a mistake you should learn the lesson and move forward knowing you are a better person for it.
People will think of you what they want - you can't change that. Sometimes you have to accept that how other people perceive you is sometimes totally out of your control and nothing you do or say will change it. You will have good days, you will have bad days, the right people will get you and some people won't. Time has a way of healing most things, so don't be so hard on yourself and move forward with integrity.
Sending you much love for NYE and 2020 and I'll be there doing all the above right beside you! Please join my community and let me know your New Years plans in the comment section below, xo
All views in this article are my own. I have not be sponsored, paid or compensated for any of the products I have mentioned in this article. These are all products I have purchased and personally used towards enhancing my overall health and well being.
Please seek advice from your regular health care practitioner if you require further information on anything in this article. Please do your research to see if the advice in this article is right for you as everybody is different and the information provided here offers general advice based on my personal experiences yours may differ.