If you don’t know, I suffer from depression and anxiety and the winter months are hardest on my emotional health. That, in turn, brings my immune system down. My goal when it starts getting colder is to keep my stress levels as low as possible. That either means taking some time for myself, usually in the form of reading on my iPad, playing Candy Crush, or watching mindless tv. Depending on the day, it could be all three! I know that I need to give myself that time to zone out and not think about what happened during the day or to get my mind off of what’s stressing me out. In addition, I’ve included some of the ways I try to stay as healthy as possible when all I want to do is stay under the covers and wait for summer!
I hate exercising!! I know you’re not supposed to admit that, but I really do. If it’s called exercise, I won’t do it. Call it dancing, walking, moving…anything but exercising. But I gotta do it!! I’m far from where I want to be physically, but I’m making small changes every day to help me on my path. It started with going up and down the stairs once a day, and for me that was enough. I knew to make sustainable changes that I had to take baby steps. Now, I take the stairs as much as possible, park further away, do squats in the kitchen while I’m doing dishes or cooking, just to name a few. Doing some kind of physical activity each day gets my blood flowing, which gets oxygen to my cells, my brain, and my organs. It also keeps stress levels down. All you need is 20 to 30 min a day!
Since I started on this healthy eating road, I’ve gained a new understanding of hydration. When I was eating unhealthily, which I still do on occasion, I still drank a lot of water. But when you’re eating high calorie, high fat foods those few glasses of water are only a minimal help. I’m more conscious now of drinking water and eating juicier fruits which help my hydration levels. I know I mentioned Cronometer in one of my other posts but I highly recommend it, especially if you’re nerdy like me. You can monitor your hydration levels and monitor the amount of vitamins and minerals you’re getting each day.
Eat, eat, eat
This is true for all seasons, obviously. Your body needs fuel to function. But this is especially true during the winter months. You’re more likely to be inside a lot more, which means you’re around a lot more germs. Either from working in an office, working around kids, etc. To help fight this, you want to eat the rainbow. Get as many fruit and veggies into your system as you can until you’re satisfied. Of course, if you have dietary restrictions, you’ll need to take that into account, but any increase in vegetable/fruit consumption goes a long way towards boosting your immune system and keeping you healthy.
Below is my immune boosting smoothie recipe. It’s filled with germ fighting foods like blueberries (anti-oxidants), oranges (vitamin C), spinach (iron and calcium), just to name a few. I also suggest going on Aloha’s recipe page to check out their recipes. You can find smoothie and salad recipes as well as soups and chilis, even dessert. Their focus is on healthy ingredients with no chemicals, artificial sweeteners, or animal products. When I started eating healthy, having resources online really helped me stay on track. I needed to know that I had options, which can be difficult when completely overhauling how you eat. It’s always what you can’t have. With Aloha, Pinterest, and YouTube, it’s easier to find recipes that you love and can keep in your arsenal.
1 frozen banana (medium to large)
1 cup blueberries
1 tangelo or half of a regular orange (this would be amazing with Cara Cara Oranges!)
½ cup chopped frozen watermelon
1 cup spinach
2-3 pitted dates (I used Medjool)
1 cup almond milk
½ cup coconut water
Directions: Put all ingredients into a high powered blender (Ninja or Vitamix) and blend until smooth.
- If you don’t have a Ninja or Vitamix, you may need to soak the dates overnight to soften.
- Also, if you don’t have frozen watermelon, you may need to add ice so the consistency of the smoothie isn’t too thin (unless you like a thinner smoothie). I prefer a thicker consistency because I have to travel with mine and it stays colder longer, but of course, this is all preference.