When we think about the things we do on a daily basis that have an impact on our health, we tend to only evaluate things like alcohol consumption or the number of times you go through a drive-thru for a fast lunch. You know, the ones that everyone realizes aren’t in their best interest. But there are just as many, if not more, ordinary daily habits that could be affecting your health a great deal. Let’s look at a few.
Ignoring your stress levels: My friend, if you don’t have a productive way of dealing with the stressors of daily life, you are not doing your health any favors. Sure, a certain amount of stress is a good thing; it can help us get things done and move forward with issues demanding our attention. However, it can take a turn for the worse when we allow it to build up with no release.
Meditation is a popular form of stress relief and has been proven to actually change the way your brain functions and adapts to future stressful situations. It’s not the only method, though. Looking forward to a regular exercise routine, seeking out something that will make you laugh, or singing your favorite song at the top of your lungs on the way home from work can shift your perspective in a positive direction.
Drinking your calories: I’m not just talking about sugary sodas and energy drinks here. Even your green smoothie habit can cause problems if you aren’t conscientious about it. Studies show that people greatly underestimate the number of calories in the liquids they consume. This can cause weight gain pretty quickly if you don’t adjust your caloric intake accordingly.
So, limit the beverages you have throughout the day, and you may be surprised at how quickly you’re able to drop a few pounds. The exception is water, which is calorie-free anyway, and you should be making a point of drinking a good amount of it throughout the day.
Using store-bought salad dressings, mayonnaise, and sauces: Unfortunately, scanning the ingredient list on most of these products at your local market will reveal the use of hydrogenated and refined oils. As Stephanie Anderson points out in Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is!, the refined plant oils often listed have been heavily processed using chemical solvents, leaving a residue behind and robbing them of the nutritional profile their natural form provides.
A DIY salad dressing can be as simple as drizzling extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) over the top, followed by some salt and black pepper. A vinaigrette is nothing more than EVOO combined with wine, apple cider, or balsamic vinegar, and the seasonings of your choice, poured into a jar and shaken. While making your own mayo or sauces can be a bit more complicated, they certainly don’t require any culinary training. A basic Internet search will divulge all sorts of possible recipes.
Certain ordinary daily habits may seem inconsequential, but we are what we do on a daily basis. Therefore, if we choose healthy daily habits, it would stand to reason, we have a better chance of being healthy every day. Time to check in with your daily habits.