Practicing gratitude is a tried and true method for increasing happiness and life satisfaction, so I try to incorporate gratitude before I even open up my eyes in the morning. I allow myself to wake up naturally without an alarm, so before I get out of bed, I take a few minutes to do a breathing meditation or a Hebrew prayer and think about all the incredible blessings in my life. I also love doing the Modeh Ani, which is an ancient prayer about gratitude. Research shows that people who cultivate more acts of gratitude in their life tend to have longer, healthier lives — and that’s what we’re all ultimately after, isn’t it? Gratitude practices will be in my life for good.
2. Intermittent fasting
My days are pretty long — I see my first patients around 8 a.m. and typically don’t wrap up until 6 p.m., which is why I need my brain to be on point and my energy levels to be steady. Enter: intermittent fasting, one of my favorite wellness practices for maintaining my metabolic flexibility. If you’ve never heard the term “metabolic flexibility,” it basically means that your body is able to provide you with steady energy even when you haven’t eaten recently. To be metabolically flexible, your body has to be able to use blood glucose for energy (which happens if you’ve recently eaten carbs) or stored fat for energy (if you are fasting or on a low-carb diet).
Unfortunately, thanks to the standard American diet and our thriving, carb-filled, snacking culture, many of us have lost our ability to switch fuel sources. That’s where intermittent fasting can be helpful; it gives your body a break from digesting and allows it to start burning fat for fuel, preserving your metabolic flexibility. I credit intermittent fasting for my ability to think clearly and sustain my energy throughout the day without constant hits of caffeine and sugar. I usually eat my first meal around lunchtime and instead of breakfast, I sip on Earl Grey tea in the morning.
Every day at lunchtime, I take my supplements. Recently, I’ve been loving the BodyBio supplements, specifically the PC and butyrate supplements. These supplements are superstars when it comes to supporting a healthy gut and brain. Butyrate is the short-chain fatty acid produced when our gut bacteria ferment the plant fiber we eat. It has been shown in the scientific literature to support a healthy, balanced digestive system and a healthy microbiome. PC stands for phosphatidylcholine, which supports brain and cognitive function by supplying the body with choline, an important ingredient for the production of neurotransmitters involved in memory and overall brain function.
I take my supplements with food and typically break my fast with a Ketotarian lunch, which means a salad with an organic field green or spinach base and then some healthy fats, like nuts, seeds, avocados, and of course, an extra-virgin-olive-oil-based dressing.
4. A workout
I try to move my body first thing in the morning for about thirty minutes. Typically, this means a cycling class on my Pelton bike (one of the best investments I’ve made!) or a HIIT class with or without weights. That said, I always listen to my body, and if it tells me to sleep in, I obey its command. Sometimes, I’ll do a workout after work instead, and sometimes I’ll just skip that day. To me, working out and moving my body isn’t about strict goal-setting or success and failure, it’s about feeling good and giving my body what it needs. I never beat myself up.
5. Time in nature
I’ve long been fascinated by the research on shinrin-yoku (‘shinrin’ is ‘forest’ in Japanese; ‘yoku’ is ‘bathing’). Forest bathing research has mostly been done in Japan and South Korea and the studies reveal that nature can lower stress hormones like cortisol, lower inflammation levels, and improve plenty of biomarkers for overall human health. Because of this, I try to spend some time in nature every single day — even if it’s taking a 15-minute walk without my phone, music, or any distractions of any kind.
At the end of the day, your wellness routine shouldn’t be punitive or dogmatic — it should be fun and make you feel good. These are the practices that work for me and that I can maintain in the long-term, but I’m a big fan of figuring out what works for you, your body, your schedule, and your priorities. And remember, you don’t have to adopt every passing wellness trend, fad, or newest, buzziest supplement and remedy. You just have to stay the course and take care of your health in ways that withstand the test of time.
The remaining days of the week, I’ll moderate my clean carbohydrates. I increase white rice, fruits, sweet potatoes, things like that. I still want clean carbs when I want them. I eat intuitively. Food is not supposed to be miserable and punitive and dogmatic; it should be fun and delicious. This is just what works for me.
If you want to learn more about your own health case please check out our consultation process. We offer in person as well as phone and webcam consultations for people across the country and around the world.