This phrase pops up a lot in 2019 as skincare, destination vacations, bath bombs, and luxurious recipes began to overtake Instagram feeds. Overall, the self-care movement was well-needed, but it didn’t quite hit the mark in terms of taking care of our body overall.
Many of these self-care routines failed to view self-care as holistic—and not holistic as in essential oils, meditation, and aligning your chakras. Holistic in the sense of connecting mental, physical, and spiritual well-being. The body appreciates soaking in the bath after a long, hard day of work, and your skin needs to be taken care of to prevent skin cancer, painful acne, and poor hygiene. And when your body is telling you to take a rest day, you should probably heed its warnings.
But self-care isn’t a one-off chocolate treat, a bath bomb, or a fancy face mask. Critics of modern self-care movements point out that sustainable self-care is not only about the body as an ecosystem with many interconnected parts, it’s also about ways to best treat the body over the long term. Sometimes, this means making compromises that aren’t in line with all the people posting Instagram selfies with the #treatyourself tag.
Students, for instance, are often torn between whether they can afford to take a mental health day. No one denies that these are hard choices to make. There’s no way to tell that pushing through mental and physical discomfort will pay off. Not taking a mental health day when you need it could result in weakening your immune system and causing you to be sicker for longer, as well as causing poor performance on the task at hand. However, not pushing through sickness could also result in issues like future burnout, missed deadlines, or poor grades. It’s issues like these that prove the necessity of view approaching self-care holistically.
Part of self-care, and more importantly, part of holistic care that is often overlooked, is nutrition. Since March is National Nutrition Month, Herbalife Nutrition wants to promote taking control of your holistic self-care in 2020 by paying better attention to what you put in your body. When thinking of your body as a temple, sometimes, you honor the gods with a glass of wine and lavish treats, and sometimes, you honor them with days of rest. However, most of the time, the gods require you to work for them and provide them (and you) with ways to thrive. This is true of your body, as well.
Here are some ways you can treat your body like the temple it is and better nourish yourself in 2020.
Personalize Nutrition Solutions for Your Own Body
When it comes to the human body, no one person can be expected to have the same nutritional fulfillment. Different bodies have different nutritional needs and cravings. Therefore, it is essential to consider the nutritional needs that you, personally, need.
For men, there should be a focus on an early heart-healthy diet regardless of weight. Men have a higher chance of having a heart attack at a younger age—the average age is about 65, compared to 72 for women. This is not to say that women should not eat a heart-healthy diet. However, because it is harder for them to keep weight off than men, an emphasis on heart-healthy protein and fiber is a great way to stave off hunger, keep their daily caloric intake at a healthy level, and get the nutrients they need to stay healthy. There is no way to say that one diet is suitable for an entire group of people. Additionally, adopting a healthy diet might mean that you gain weight or that your body shape changes. After all, no two bodies are the same!
Herbalife Nutrition provides many resources that can help you figure out what type of diet might be best for you based on your body size, build, and hormonal factors. However, if you have special needs, it’s always best to talk to a nutritional expert before making any changes to your diet. This will ensure you never feel uncomfortable with your new food requirements and that you make changes that will be accessible over the long-term.
Get Creative with Your Recipes
You’ve likely seen cauliflower pizza crust. This isn’t just a diet fad; it’s one of many fundamental ways food companies have begun to help their customers get more vegetables in their diet, especially since—as previously mentioned—most people do not meet the daily intake requirement for vegetables and fruit.
For a long time, misinformation blamed this nutritional shortcoming on junk food, which is dismissive and mostly untrue. Factors like income, access to fresh fruits and vegetables, and genetics all play roles in what people do and don’t eat.
However, there’s a much simpler reason people are failing to meet their daily fruit and vegetable requirements: Mainstream recipes haven’t changed much over the past 100 years, and that is a problem. In the past, we didn’t have access to the wide variety of fruits and vegetables that we have today. Additionally, the average person did not have access to the advanced tools found in many households. Appliances like slow cookers, pressure cookers, instant pots, and advanced ovens allow us to bake practically anything under the sun with any ingredient we’d like.
With better access to fruits, vegetables, and different tools, we have the luxury to get creative with our recipes and include fruits and vegetables in ways we’ve never been able to before. Sure, we won’t always have a craving for a zucchini noodle, but sometimes we will! And when we do, we should act on that impulse. We can also include zucchini and fruits in loaves of bread. We can use cauliflower as a crust base. We can put liquid smoke on slices of eggplant, fry them up like bacon, and serve them alongside some eggs and fruit for breakfast. You can shake up your standard recipes in thousands of ways to include more fruits and vegetables. Meeting this requirement is one of the easiest ways to hit nutritional needs on a day to day basis.
Spend an hour recipe surfing online, and you’ll see how easy including fruit and veg in your life can be. Check out Herbalife Nutrition’s nutrition blog to get started with some meal planning ideas.
Spice Up Your Life!
Another reason so many people feel uninspired about including nutrient-rich foods in their diets—like vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats—is because they lack flavors our bodies crave. Ever wonder why you’re so drawn to your junk food of choice? Be it chips, French fries, or cheese curds, all these junk foods contain oils, salt, sugar, or a combination of these ingredients. And when it comes to food ingredients, your body is trained to be attracted to these things.
You might be thinking, “Why am I so drawn to these foods that are, in theory, so bad for me?”
In short, these ingredients are essential sources of fuel. Back when your ancestors lived in a hunter/gatherer society, it was critical to find these sources of fuel to survive. As a result, we became biologically wired to seek them out. They taste delicious because we needed them, and we want them because they taste delicious. When you think about it this way, our love of chocolate cake or a bowl of buttery popcorn makes biological sense. However, it does not make sense when it comes to our modern lifestyles.
Today, even the most active people in the world lead relatively sedentary lifestyles compared to our ancestors. Therefore, we cannot always eat every piece of buttery, fatty, delicious food we encounter, no matter how much we might want to. Instead, we can keep our taste buds excited by balancing out moderate amounts of healthy fat with spices! Be sure to add spices (not just salt) to everything you make. Some of these spices, like garlic and cinnamon, even have health benefits in addition to enhancing the flavor of what you’re eating.
Get Excited About Your Meal Planning
Meal prepping isn’t just for school lunches anymore. People of all ages have realized that meal prep is suitable for several reasons. Environmental activists get excited about meal prep because it helps reduce food waste. In the same vein, it helps families save money by using what they have rather than having to return to the grocery store.
One of the most exciting side-effects of meal planning? It also helps you better manage your time. This is great for people who want a little bit of free time at the end of the week, but it is also useful for nutritional reasons. You could also consider swapping out lunch a couple of times a week with an Herbalife Nutrition shake.
Instead of reaching for a junk food go-to when you’re crunched for time, meal planning ensures you have time to nourish your body. No one is saying that junk food every once in a while isn’t okay. But often, when you are the most cramped for time, you are also the most stressed. Making sure your body has ample nutrients during these times helps keep your immune system healthy and gives you the extra boost of energy you need to get you through it.
Your Ultimate Goal Should Always Be About Maintaining Your Body Long-Term
The human body is extraordinarily complex, so self-care is often hard to navigate because it must account for your mental, physical, and spiritual well-being.
For instance, if you’re two days into a head cold and not sure whether it’s getting better or worse, it can be hard to say how you should treat it. You might be tempted to put off your daily run to let your body rest. After all, if we strain ourselves as our bodies are trying to heal, it can make problems much worse. However, if your body doesn’t need that rest, it could set your training back a bit or foster bad running habits.
But many of the goals we can foster in our lives promote longevity, and they make things easier for ourselves over the long term. Setting the goal of maintaining your body long-term sounds harder than it is. If you take anything away from the self-care movement, it should be these three main things:
- Always have a variety of foods in your house, including wholesome, nutritious foods. Having a variety of foods (including a treat or two) means you are less likely to eat out. You could even remember to keep Herbalife Nutrition meal replacement shakes on hand. This not only helps you stick to nutritional requirements, but over time, you save money. Additionally, even if you’re excited about eating healthier, do not neglect to give your body occasional treats. This doesn’t mean filling up your pantry with junk food. But if you’ve got a sweet tooth, keep a brownie mix on hand. Treating yourself every once and a while prevents you from consistently bingeing on things that aren’t nutritional.
- Set weekly schedules that leave room for your personal time. When your schedule’s too full, you don’t leave room for the surprises that life throws at you, which leaves you open to burnout and a lack of holistic self-care. If you plan consistently and stick with that planning, you often end up with much-needed free time. That free time leaves you with room in your life for some of the more enjoyable aspects of self-care—like long bubble baths, spa days, or Netflix time after your daily run.
- Move in ways that bring you joy and make time to fit in that movement. We all understand that exercise is good for us, but activity is also is vital to eating well. Not only does regular, healthy movement improve digestion, it also changes what your body craves. Those who exercise experience fewer food cravings. Additionally, an exercised body often craves water-rich foods (like fruits) and protein, which helps you reach your nutritional goals more easily.
Get started on your new nutritional goals this National Nutrition Month by making a list of food-related goals for 2020. Herbalife Nutrition is a great source of advice for how to set yourself up for success. If you’re still unsure of where to start or whether you’re headed down the right path, speak with your doctor or a registered dietician about ways to make your food routine healthier.