5 Small Steps to Live Healthier and Happier
- Research vitamins before buying because not all are created equal
Unfortunately vitamins are a wild, wild west, so research your vitamin need before buying just any off the shelf. Something that I just learned this year is the FDA doesn’t approve vitamins for sale. That means that anyone selling vitamins doesn’t need the FDA to “…approve dietary supplements for safety before they reach the consumer.” Lovely! Also, it’s important to remember that there’s various forms of vitamins that are good for different things. For example, I didn’t realize magnesium had many different types, so I took this magnesium for months before realizing the main ingredient is magnesium oxide- yikes. According to Healthline,
“This type isn’t typically used to prevent or treat magnesium deficiencies, as some studies report that it’s poorly absorbed by your digestive tract. Instead, it’s more frequently used for short-term relief of uncomfortable digestive symptoms, such as heartburn, indigestion, and constipation. It may also be used to treat and prevent migraines.”
I didn’t need relief from any of those things so I switched to a different form of magnesium that’s much more effective for the main reason I was taking it (cramping!)
2) Limit traditional plastic use to protect your hormones
Many plastics contain chemicals that are harmful to our bodies. They can severely disrupt our endocrine system, a.k.a. our hormone system by mimicking and interfering with our hormones, according to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. A common chemical you may have heard of is BPA, thanks to many water bottles now boasting “BPA free” on their labels. But BPA is just one of the many chemicals in plastic that can harm our health. A study done by the Endocrine Society in 2020 found that
“One hundred and forty four chemicals or chemical groups known to be hazardous to human health are actively used in plastics for functions varying from antimicrobial activity to colorants, flame retardants, solvents, UV-stabilizers, and plasticizers.”
144! That’s not a small number. Some ways I’ve cut down my plastic use is switching to glass Tupperware, using stainless steel water bottles, buying reusable stainless steel straws, and using Stasher Bags instead of Ziploc plastic bags, because Stasher Bags are free of BPA and BPS.
3) Learn where you food comes from
I’m not sure why, but I wasn’t taught nearly enough about where food comes from in school. I think a majority of Americans are in the same boat, sadly. Knowing the basics about the ingredients that nourish your body can help you build a better relationship with food. Learning even a little bit about gardening, when things are in season, the difference between canned and frozen vs. fresh, and organic vs. inorganic can help you make more informed and better choices the next time you go to the grocery store.
This zucchini was the first thing I successfully planted in my garden. Nothing beats growing your own food because it makes you appreciate it so much more!
4) Read the labels!
Speaking of grocery stores…you’re never going to know what you’re really eating if you’re not reading the labels. Flip that product around and read the ingredients. What you’re consuming just might shock you, because brands are hoping to get away with using junk ingredients as long as people don’t don’t put in the effort of finding out what’s in their food.
5) Add Ceylon cinnamon to your diet
Ceylon cinnamon (which is probably not the cinnamon you have in your cupboard, that’s the most common type called cassia cinnamon) has SO many health benefits. It’s very anti-inflammatory and full of antioxidants. It’s also been shown to lower blood sugar levels (according to PubMed) and help reduce the risk of heart disease (according to PubMed).
I use it in oatmeal and on fruit, and sometimes I even sprinkle it in my coffee. It has a slightly different taste than cassia cinnamon so try it first, but I use it anywhere a recipe calls for cinnamon.
Thanks for reading along, I hope you found something useful here! I’m going to make this a weekly series so check back next week for five more tips. I plan on making these until I run out of tips to share, but worry not because there’s LOTS more where these came from (;