Natural Health Illustration - Melinda Beck

Let’s cut straight to the chase: What’s the one small change that will have the biggest impact on your health?

Recently I asked 13 bright sparks who have a  unique perspective on health, wellness and nutrition for a single lifestyle tweak that will get BIG results. Here’s what they had to say…

 

Dr Joanna McMillan, Nutritionist and Accredited Practising Dietian: Get Lean

Eat more plant food. I’m a meat-eater and animal foods have much to offer us nutritionally, but what most people lack when I analyse their diets is plant food. Whether you choose to eat animal foods or not, most of us could benefit enormously from upping our daily serves of vegies in particular. These bring a wealth of plant compounds and micronutrients that boost our health and well-being, plus they’re low in kilojoules so help you to stay lean. Make half your plate veggies at each meal and you’re well on your way to a fabulous diet.”

 

Eugenie Kelly, Beauty and Health Journalist: Well-To-Do

Start the day with a green smoothie. In one serving you get more greens than what you’re probably eating now in a week. Its blended, so kinder on your body digestion-wise, meaning you can devote energy elsewhere. There are a zillion recipe ideas out there to help get you started, and although a high-powered blender like a Vitamix delivers a gorgeous smooth texture, my trusty old Breville does an equally impressive job!

 

Stacey, Creator: Veggie Mama 

I like to make small changes wherever I can – as the mother of two under two, small is all I seem to be able to manage! So this past week, I have taken a washing basket and removed everything from my living areas that didn’t need to be there, or wasn’t making me happy. I sorted new homes for the items once I got them out of my everyday sight! This immediately created a cleaner and clearer base for us to make fun messes in every day, which leads to less stress… and less dusting! A happy home is a healthy home.

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Saimaa Miller, Naturopath and Detox Specialist: The Aussie Body Diet & Detox Plan

I advocate having a green juice each day as the single most beneficial thing you can do for long-lasting health. BUT above and beyond everything we eat and drink, are our thoughts.  How we think (consciousness or mind connection) will have the biggest impact on our health.  In my opinion, stress is the biggest killer, it creates acidity in the body and it is by far more detrimental than any food or drink.  Yet stress is merely activity in the mind, a perception to your situation.  Practise awareness and you transform your health.

 

Brandi Doming, Creator: The Healthy Flavor 

One of the best changes my husband and I ever made was choosing a vegan lifestyle. We initially chose it because he suffered from a really serious form of arthritis called gout.

Gout, as well as a large amount of health problems, stem from eating meat and dairy. The processing and additives in the products cause inflammation in the body. After we chose a vegan diet, not only did his health drastically improve, but I also lost 40 lbs. I had been struggling to lose the weight after I had my baby, but within weeks of changing to a vegan diet, it started to melt off.

We have both fallen in love with all the fresh fruits and veggies now in our diet. We get tons of protein from grains, legumes, nuts and avocados. I’ve noticed a change in my skin, hair and I have no more tummy aches or headaches. I believed so much in the vegan diet, that it is why I chose to start my blog. I have unleashed a passion of creativity in the kitchen with my love of cooking. I now bake for others all the time and it is a joy that makes many happy. The greatest benefit however, is that everybody who loves my recipes is not vegan! This just proves that delicious food is possible, no matter what you label it.

 

Jo Whitton, Creator: Quirky Cooking

Eat real food. Your body doesn’t know what to do with ‘food’ made in a laboratory. Your everyday meals and snacks don’t have to be fancy, in fact simple is usually best. Think wholefoods, homemade, grown without chemicals, local, seasonal, delicious food. Enjoy cooking with real ingredients, and throw away the fake foods with a list of numbers on the packet! Just get back to basics. Your body will thank you for it.

 

Illustration Marta Antelo

Allie Gaunt, Creator: One Handed Cooks

Simply to enjoy nutritious home cooked meals together as a family. When you create a nurturing mealtime environment you also encourage your children to develop a happy and healthy relationship towards food. These positive food associations can make a huge difference to their mood, growth, development, lifestyle and future wellbeing.

 

Amy Crawford, Health and Wellness Practioner: The Holistic Ingredient

Simplify your diet. As far as possible buy whole foods and eat as nature intended it. Whole foods don’t come with numbers on the back of a packet that we don’t understand. They don’t come with hidden additives, chemicals and a low nutrient value as a result of over processing. Feed your body the goodness it deserves and reap the rewards.

 

Claire Obeid, Holistic Health Coach and Yoga Teacher: The Wellness Project

The one small change that will have the biggest impact on your health is learning how to breathe properly. What? I hear you say. But I breathe, every single day without trying. Yep,I know you do… but do you know that most of us don’t breathe properly!

We all tend to breathe right up into our chest. ‘Chest-Breathers’ tend to bypass the diaphragm and breathe quite forcefully high into the upper chest. There is a time for this type of breathing, or ‘fight or flight’ breath. It’s when we are in danger, working out, need to move or react fast. But when we breathe in this way the majority of the day we are engaging our sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) when we don’t need it. This has a whole host of knock-on effects when it comes to our health, immunity, stress, focus, emotions and more.

Learning how to breath first by inhaling from the diaphragm then the rib cage and up into the chest requires us to consciously slow down and in turn switches off sympathetic and moves us into parasympathetic – our rest and restore state. Keeping a stable, even, nourishing breath throughout the day, despite the stressful situations that come our way can be a game-changer.

 

Eat Real Food

 

Lee Holmes, Certified Holistic Health and Wellness Coach: Supercharged Food

I recommend trying to keep it real with loading up on as many real foods as possible. If you’re in the supermarket and you have the choice between a processed/packaged or real food product then opt for the real food option and one that’s preferably organic, where your budget allows.  It means you are absorbing the nutrients from the food only and not the added ingredients, chemicals and preservatives, high salt and sugar that comes along with many packaged foods.

 

Michelle Newton, Creator: Every Mama Knows

Park the car ten minutes away from where your meeting is so that you have to walk. If you have three meetings in a day, that’s 30 minutes of exercise that you’ll barely notice! meetings is 30 mins a day

 

Illustration Marta Antelo

 

Caro Webster, Writer and Author: Caro & Co

I believe that our emotional and spiritual health is every bit as important as our physical wellbeing and that outdoors should play a pivotal role. As such I regularly advocate that people spend time not only exercising outdoors, but also just “being” ~ connecting with nature.

One of my favourite quotes is “Nature does nothing uselessly.” (Aristotle). Taking/making the time to find the wonder and magic of nature is incredibly restorative. It does something deep down inside of you. It calms, energises and refocuses busy, stressed brains. Even just an hour a week works wonders ~ everyone should try it! And it doesn’t have to be hard, a simple picnic in your local park, gardening or taking a walk around the neighbourhood are all effective ways of enjoying the natural world around you. Dianne von Furstenberg (fashion designer) hit the nail on the head when she said “Nature is where I can silence all of the noise and find myself again.”

Kid’s also innately know the joy of outdoors. In a recent study by The Children’s Centre, 73% of the children surveyed said that they would prefer to spend time playing outside than indoors.

 

Cyndi O’Meara, Nutritionist: Changing Habits

Quality over quantity! Often when people look at food labels they don’t seem to look at the ingredients, but rather at the percentage of fat, carbohydrates and proteins. The most important thing to read is the ingredients. You want to make sure that the food you are eating is from nature and not from technology. For example, you may have a very low-fat food but the ingredients may be of very low quality, whereas another food label may have a higher fat content but the quality of the food is much superior.

 

 

Illustration 1: Melinda Beck // Illustration 2: Akvile Miseviciute // Illustration 3: Marta Antelo // Illustration 4: Susa Talan // Illustration 5: Marta Antelo
  • http://www.theveggiemama.com veggie mama

    I second the eating veggies motion!

  • Mary Lyle

    Look at your docket and try and reduce the amount of GST you pay as this means you are eating unprocessed foods and always shop around outer edge of the supermarket.

  • Carolyn

    I love all of them especially “How we think has a big impact on our lives ” and it’s probably the easiest change to make – one within ourselves.

  • http://www.MealPlanningYourWay.com Louise D’Allura

    Agree with everything mentioned PLUS I would add – get organised. Being organised makes a huge difference so you discover you don’t need a huge amount of time if you want to cook from scratch. It’s about getting your kitchen and pantry set up and planning for how you think WHEN you’re stressed and too busy to eat well!

  • http://www.checksandspots.com Clare

    So true Louise! I love the saying, ‘Cook once, eat twice’. It’s a great approach to making your meals stretch and means that with a bit of planning you’re not caught on the hop and left with less-the-ideal food choices…

  • http://mamagoingsolo.com Mamagoingsolo

    Some great and very sensible suggestions here – I agree with a lot of them. Thanks for sharing! Checking in from Digital Carnival :)