Thursday, August 30, 2012

5 Little Changes with Big Rewards

I've always read that making small changes equals big rewards over time.  I honestly thought this was kind of silly. I'm more of a big changes lead to big rewards kind of gal.  What I'm learning is that this whole bit about small changes is totally true.  That's pretty much the whole point of this blog anyway, taking things one manageable step at a time. You might be curious to know what other "small" changes I've incorporated into my life that are providing a big payback.

1) Water, Water, Water!
We all know what we should be drinking more of it, and I'm doing my best to do just that.  When I get up in the morning one of the first things I do is drink either cup of warm water with lemon or a glass of chilled lemon, cucumber, mint water.  Both the hot water with lemon and chilled water are supposed to aid with detoxing and digestion, they both also taste great!

I'm careful to make sure I have a couple of glasses of water first thing in the morning before I even start on the coffee since my body just went 8 hours without water and is feeling a little dehydrated.  I also keep a large water bottle on my desk at work at all times and make sure to get through at least one bottle before and after lunch.  Now that I'm no longer drinking soda this is a lot easier.

2) Creative Cooking
It's no secret that cooking at home can be a healthier option then eating out.  Assuming of course you're eating the right foods. I've made an effort over the last few years to learn how to cook, I've also made an effort over the last couple of months to learn how to cook healthy meals at home.  A big part of this has been working with foods that I normally wouldn't.  This was a little overwhelming at long do I have to cook steel cuts oats?!! How on Earth do I pronounce Quinoa?!?!?! I should actually eat the seeds that go along with my chia pet?!

Taking the time to learn where to buy and how to cook these new (to me) foods has really paid off.  For example,  as it turns out Quinoa is incredibly versatile.  I've used it in salads, as a breakfast topping, and in casseroles.  And those lovely steel cut oats are really lovely, they can be cooked in the crock pot overnight for an easy breakfast throughout the week.  Steel cut oats are also high in fiber, low in calories, and a great source of complex carbs.  Oh!  I've also been happy to learn that dried beans are useful for something other than teaching 2nd graders how to count, you can actually eat them and they taste great and are lower in sodium than their canned friends!

I get the majority of my meal ideas from blogs, so I've included links to a few of my favorites!
Oh She Glows
Eat Yourself Skinny
100 Days of Real Food
Skinny Taste

3) Epsom Salt
So this one is a strange one but a good one.  Who knew that epsom salt could be so versatile! A couple months ago when I was doing a lot of long runs I bought some as suggested by a friend.  She told me that  soaking my feet in a mixture of epsom salt and warm water would help sooth my feet, and she was right.  I still like to soak my feet after a long run, or just a long week, but now I also like to add epsom salt to my baths.  It's said that when added to a bath, epsom salt, helps flush toxins from the body.  If nothing else it makes my skin super soft.  If you needed another reason to go out and and buy some epsom salt it helps relieve constipation, so yes, there's that too.

4) Grocery Shopping
We use to live by a Sunflower Market and a Whole Foods, but for whatever reason we never actually shopped there.  We'd walk and/or drive by all the time admiring the produce stands and chipper looking shoppers on our way to Walmart where I would bitch and moan about the lack of quality produce the second we walked in the door.  Today we don't live so close to these little gems, but we make the drive at least once a week to ensure we're getting the fresh delicious produce we want.  For us, it's worth the trip to Sunflower Market (we do this over Whole Food since it's a tad cheaper) to get the goods.  Because I've branched out in my cooking many of the items on my list can be harder to find in a traditional grocery store and would require the drive anyway.  I also like that Sunflower Market isn't as littered with tempting treats and has more produce options as well.

5) Wake Up!!!!
A couple of weeks ago a coworker was talking about she likes to get up just a little earlier than she needs to in order to relax and have a cup of coffee with a side of quiet.  I gave this a try and she was really on to something!  For me, getting up just 30 minutes earlier has allowed me to take a nice longer shower, prepare my juice and clean my juicer, pack my lunch, and guzzle some water without breaking a sweat.  In the past I'd hit the snooze button (on both my alarms...yeah I know, I know...) about three times, take the fastest most efficient shower possible, attempt to brush my teeth while packing my lunch and run out the door with my hair still wet in a ball of chaos.  Now, with this new routine I'm calm and collected when I walk into my office my mind isn't still trying to process how I got from bed to work, and my hair is nice and dry.  I promise, just a little bit of time in the morning makes a world of difference.  

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