- DIET (Plant Based so think vegan baby babyyyy)
- EXERCISE (30 mins of walking a day)
- STRESS LESS (Say that 5 times fast lol, implementing meditation into your life)
- LOVE MORE (your self and others aka socialize intentionally)
Now here is my take on these changes!
FIRST CHANGE - DIET
Well diet has always been such a strong word for me like sheesh, I immediately hear the shackles lock on my fridge, freezer and candy bowl stashes (oops that shouldn't be plural... oops, that probably shouldn't be mentioned at all either huh, smh, whatever). So instead I opt for calling it a 'healthier food selection', mouthful I know but that's the point right? Get all that healthiness into my mouth lol! Also it sounds a hell of a lot sexier and more fun #exciting, lol, to me at least.
Dr Ornish suggested plant based but as a Caregiver for someone with a serious neurological condition (hello Alzheimer's) I have to give that a slight upgrade and add fish since consuming it has been known to improve the memory.
Some examples of plant based foods and protein are:
- Vegetables: kale, spinach, tomatoes, cauliflower, potatoes, squash, etc.
- Whole grains: brown rice, oats, quinoa, barley, etc.
- Legumes: peas, chickpeas, lentils, peanuts, beans, etc.
- Plant-based protein like tofu or tempeh.
- Nuts and nut butters.
When it comes to mama, who is deeply opposed to eating vegetables, I make the most out of that situation by offering it to her as a smoothie. I actually don't keep juice in my home so the smoothie serves as a great alternative for juice (woohoo for cleverness on keeping things on the healthy front).
CAREGIVER TIP: Take your time with your loved one if you notice they do not desire to eat vegetables or fruits. Perhaps try turning this moment into an explorative one and attempt different methods on eating plant based foods like substituting eggs with tofu or snacking on nuts instead of chips. If you find your lifestyle is much too busy to explore then maybe look into vegan meal plans like the Purple Carrot which offers super tasty and inspiring meals.
SECOND CHANGE - EXERCISE
Alright don't wave that white flag up at me in surrender just yet! I swear this won't be as big an obstacle as it may sound to be because this part can be as simple as modifying your daily routine like:
- parking your car a few blocks further from your destination and walking (can I hear a Done and DONE!)
- taking the stairs instead of the elevator / escalator (deep breaths please)
- walking your dog (10-15mins twice a day, alright not so bad)
- grocery shopping outside at a Farmer's Market (trust me once you are out there catching all that Vitamin D in and getting those grocery bags filled, it will feel like a workout when you walk away lol. Speaking of grocery bags, here is a link to a cool 'go-green' reusable shopping bag that you can keep in your car OR tuck into your purse for when its time to bag those groceries.)
THIRD CHANGE - STRESS LESS
Meditate, quiet your mind, and lock in the peace with each intentional breath. I really believe that we are not built for stress. I don't think our minds or bodies can sustain it so when I am feeling anxious or stressed I really work on finding a moment to be still, to inhale that stillness and exhale the stress. Here is a great YouTube video on meditation that I use to help me focus on letting go of my anxiety, fear and worries. There are also apps like Calm or Headspace that offer guided meditation and even books on Audible! My favorite meditainment right now is Rest & Sleep: Soothing Meditations to Help You Sleep by Richard Latham.
FOURTH CHANGE - LOVE MORE
This change is all about connection and community. Personally my favorite, this change speaks to loving your self and others more intentionally, more deeply and more fully. This along with being my favorite change is also the most difficult for me but I am learning to be gentle with myself and to take my time to be open and accepting.
I loved when Dr Ornish said to "Listen empathically to what others are feeling. Our group support sessions allow you to witness how to use your wounds as catalysts for transforming your pain—allowing your suffering to subside, your wounds to begin healing, and your heart to begin feeling safe enough to open a little wider.”
I want to believe I am doing just that on my platforms sharing the story of me and mama and Alzheimer's and also by attending and hosting support groups. This is in no way easy and often times it is uncomfortable but I want to help others and am so passionate to see us all prevail and implement self-care daily.
And that's it! Implementing these 4 changes will have the most positive benefits to your lifestyle and health. With that said, I'd like to propose a 7 day challenge to you and ask to join me on making these changes everyday for the next 7 days... I don't know about you but I'm down for a healthy shift, are you with me? Awesome cause at the end of these next 7 days I will be super hype to hear all about how transformative it was for you!