5 Simple Changes for a Healthier 2017

Photo is originally from this post

Healthy living year-round is so very important, but there's nothing like a brand new year for some fresh motivation! I've been thinking up this list for several weeks now, and every item has come from my personal experience and goals. I've shared my experiences and tips throughout, and I hope you enjoy this post! I'm really wanting to do more healthy living posts this year, because it's a topic I've become really interested in and because I've gotten quite a few requests :)

1. Eat more vegetables. This one is kind of a no-brainer, but it's an eating principal & philosophy I'm really going to focus on this year! If you eat more vegetables, then that leaves less room for other stuff. So far, I've been planning my meals around what veggies I'm going to make or want to eat that day, and it definitely helps! Some of my favorite ways to eat veggies are:
-cucumber and sweet pepper slices with hummus (I cut up a bunch & store in tubs every week for easy snacking)
-a big sheet pan of assorted roasted veggies
-sneaking a huge handful of greens into smoothies (spinach is my favorite)
-sauteed green beans & mushrooms in coconut oil with salt, pepper and garlic salt
-a big salad with a homemade, clean dressing as a side for a few meals (love this one & it lasts well in the fridge for a few days)
-baked sweet potato fries

2. Switch to organic/non-GMO feminine hygiene products. **Girl talk alert** For some reason, I'd been buying as many organic foods as possible over the past year, but had never thought about how the pesticides, dyes, and other chemicals in my traditional tampons could be entering my body. Regular tampons are of course still considered to be medically safe, but I've decided to eliminate any risks by using only organic and/or non-GMO tampons (I use the brand Veeda and absolutely love them!). There is some good information about the topic in this article

3. When you hangout with friends, do something active. I love a good reality TV binge + wine with my girl friends just as much as anyone, but I've found that a good way to burn some calories and get some fresh air is to do something active when I see my friends. I have a tradition with a couple of my best friends where we will pretty much always go on a hike/trail walk together. It lets us chat away to our hearts' desires while also being healthy together! You can also invite a friend to a workout class (because then you have to end up going too!). And don't forget about your significant other...some of my favorite evenings are when Trey and I take the dogs on a long walk and get to talk and disconnect from technology.

4. Drink more water (and quit soda!!). You've probably read and heard this advice hundreds of times, but it's probably my most common advice to friends and family because I believe in this so strongly. Water is the absolute foundation to your health. It keeps your organs running, detoxes your body, improves your skin, aids your metabolism, gives you more energy, and the list goes on and on. I used to be hooked on diet soda, so cutting that out of my life was rough at first and I was so bored by water. But as the weeks went on I didn't crave soda anymore and grew to absolutely love drinking water. My migraines also went away completely :) Now if I don't drink enough water, I notice that I get dizzy and headache-y and I remember how I used to feel like that all the time. This was one of the best life decisions I've ever made! My tips for drinking more water: 
-use a straw (these oversized, reusable straws make allllll the difference for me)
-use a tumbler that keeps it cold
-experiment with infused waters to mix things up if you're bored (cucumber, mint & lemon is yummy)
-green tea and herbal teas (without added sugars) absolutely count (iced or hot)!

5. Try a new clean-eating recipe every week. A lot of people dread healthy eating, and I'll admit that I definitely splurge a few times a week (I can't quit our Sunday night Mexican takeout tradition to save my life), however, healthy, clean foods are far from boring. I promise you. I could never do baked chicken and steamed veggies every single night. If you can, kudos to you, but I'm always looking for new recipes so that I can mix things up and add to my arsenal. Skinnytaste (her cookbooks are on my wish list) and Cait's Plate (follow her on Instagram) are two of my favorite meal idea/recipe resources.

I hope you enjoyed this post and got some ideas! What simple lifestyle changes do you recommend for a healthier life? I had trouble keeping my list to just 5!

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xo, Jacy