Healthy Morning Routines To Kickstart Your Day

Healthy Morning Routines

This article was originally posted on PyrureOrganic.com, modified as a guest post here on Loreeebee…

How you start your morning sets the tone for the day. With that in mind, you can see how your morning routines can help you or hurt you when it comes to your health goals – whether that’s feeling energized and focused, managing blood sugar levels, keeping fit, preventing heart disease or controlling your weight.

In my roles as a registered dietitian nutritionist and a certified diabetes educator, I’ve watched thousands of people work to get their healthy habits in order. Behavior changes and new habits seem to flow better when the morning starts off right. A successful start to the day simply breeds more success.

Here are 5 ways you can get your morning in tiptop shape.

1. Start your morning before you even go to bed

Sometime in the early evening, check your schedule so nothing surprises you first thing tomorrow. Get organized by picking out your clothes, packing lunch, gathering any papers or books you may need, and grabbing a piece of fruit for a snack and some Pyure Organic Stevia packets to sweeten your mid-day work beverages. Then get into bed on time. A good nights sleep is critical to feeling energized and being well. In fact, research suggests that short sleeping increases the risk for weight gain, heart disease, and Type 2 diabetes.

2. Wake up gently

Skip the jarring, blaring alarm clock, and wake up to something you enjoy. I open my eyes to a simulated sunrise and soothing bird chirping sounds. It’s made a difference in how I feel each morning. And try to find an extra few minutes before jumping out of bed to think about the good that lies ahead in your day. Start your day with positive feelings whenever you can.

3. Do coffee right

Or tea. Sipping on a warm caffeinated beverage can be a nice way to ease into your day. And both coffee and tea are associated with less risk of Type 2 diabetes and likely have heart health benefits, too. But sip smartly. For the sake of your weight, blood sugar, and heart, avoid extra calories, added sugars and saturated fats. Instead of syrups and heavy cream, add a splash of milk and a non-caloric sweetener.

4. Eat a health-boosting breakfast

It’s good to sit down to a nourishing meal, but even if you’re on the go, pick wholesome foods. Let this first meal of the day fuel you for a positive and productive morning. Eat favorite foods that fill you with both protein and fiber. For a leisurely breakfast at home, try savory oats topped with greens and an egg. Or enjoy a Greek yogurt and fruit parfait. If you’re on the run, grab a couple of hard-boiled eggs, half of a peanut butter sandwich on whole grain bread, and some fresh fruit. If you eat breakfast at work, steer clear of the typical sugar bombs like donuts, pastries, and your officemate’s candy dish. Instead, bring overnight oats with whatever fruit is in season. Say no to the sugar, and jazz up your oats with stevia or a sugar-free honey alternative and cinnamon.

5. Get some exercise

Morning is my favorite time to exercise because it gives me time to think about my day and what I want to accomplish. And I feel terrific starting my work or chores knowing that I already did something good for myself. Sadly, only one-third of adults get the recommended minimum amount of exercise each week, and a mere 5% of adults get 30 minutes of physical activity daily. Now really, it doesn’t matter if you exercise in the morning or later on. But each morning, do commit to exercising at some point during the day – even if you can find just a few minutes. Every time you exercise, you do your body good. Physical activity is good for controlling blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol levels. It reduces the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some types of cancer. It’s also good for the muscles, joints and bones. Exercise can lift your mood and help you sleep better, too.

Conclusion

Make changes to start your day in ways that support your goals. Give yourself the gifts of time, nourishment and joy. Healthy morning routines will kickstart your day.

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Making Good Choices in the Time of COVID-19

good choices in COVID

This informative article was originally posted on the Pyure Organic blog Sweet Talk and ties in nicely with a recent post of mine. It has been adapted for a guest post here:

At the peak of the pandemic, there were new guidelines seemingly every day to help us stay safe and lower our risk of catching and transmitting COVID-19. Today, the advice is clear. Wash your hands regularly, wear a mask and keep your distance from others. 

There are other ways you can make healthy choices beyond virus prevention: changes to your diet, exercise and mindset. These lifestyle changes may not completely prevent your risk of catching coronavirus, but they can boost your immune system, help keep your spirits high and make your body stronger for whatever life throws at you. Here are some simple changes you can make to stay fit and healthy in the midst of a pandemic. 

Focus on good nutrition

There are many reputable research studies that have found a link between a well-balanced diet and a strong immune system. As we head into winter, flu season is right around the corner; pandemic aside, it’s useful to start building healthy nutrients into your diet so your body is ready to ward off everything from the common cold to COVID-19. Here are some simple changes you can make to your diet. 

Switch to sugar alternatives

We know sugar can have negative consequences for our long-term health and is a contributing factor for diabetes and obesity. But some studies have shown that sugar can also decrease the effectiveness of white blood cells – a critical part of our immune system that fights infection. Eating lots of sugar can actually decrease your body’s ability to ward off the bad stuff. 

That doesn’t mean you should stop production on all that quarantine comfort baking! There are plenty of better-for-you sugar alternatives that can make your tasty treats even better. Stevia is one sugar alternative that we love – and Pyure Organic Stevia is one of the only organic stevia brands out there. Stevia is a sweetener that rates a zero on the glycemic index (meaning it won’t spike your blood sugar), zero-calorie and free from any of the chemicals used to create artificial sweeteners. Check out some of our favorite recipes that use Pyure Organic Stevia for some healthier at-home baking inspiration.

Add in a few supplements

In addition to cutting out the bad stuff, you can also add in some minerals and probiotics to make your immune system even stronger – and able to fight off threats. We get most of these minerals through eating a balanced diet, but many of us are deficient in the so-called “Big Four” that help our immune system: 

  • Zinc: This mineral is critical for the development and function of immune cells, yet 79% of us are deficient in zinc. Studies have shown that “80–92 mg per day of zinc may reduce the length of the common cold by up to 33%.” 
  • Magnesium: This so-called “master mineral” is involved in processes like producing energy and building important proteins like your DNA. Your body needs magnesium to function properly, and most people should aim to take 200–400 mg per day. 
  • Selenium: This mineral acts as an antioxidant to reduce inflammation in the body and improve immunity. You can get selenium through foods like fish, eggs and mushrooms.
  • Iodine: This mineral boosts your thyroid gland, which produces hormones that directly impact your immune system. Too much iodine can be a bad thing, so be sure to consult with a doctor before adding in an iodine supplement.

The more proactive you can be about building a healthy immune system, the better! Luckily, many of these minerals can be found by adding some new ingredients to your grocery list.

Eat your leafy greens

Feeding your body with the good stuff is an easy way to keep out the bad stuff. We’ve all heard that citrus is full of Vitamin C and can help ward off the common cold – these foods can also make a big difference in your health: 

  • Red bell peppers: These veggies contain almost 3 times as much Vitamin C as a Florida orange. 
  • Broccoli: It’s packed with Vitamins A, C, and E, fiber, and many other antioxidants.
  • Spinach: rich in vitamin C, antioxidants, and beta carotene
  • Plain yogurt: Look for the unsweetened kind, which is packed with Vitamin D to help regulate the immune system (and add a little Pyure on top to make it taste great!). 
  • Kiwi: These little green guys are high in folate, potassium, Vitamin K and Vitamin C.

These are just a few foods that are great additions to your diet – there are many more out there that can give your immune system a little extra power. 

Stay active, even at home

With many gyms closed and workout classes canceled, it can be difficult to find ways to stay active – but every little bit counts. “Inactivity is an important risk factor similar to high blood pressure, smoking or high cholesterol,” reports the American Society for Nutrition

Regular physical activity supports your immune system and your mental health (more on that in a minute). It’s also a big part of protecting your health from long-term, chronic issues like heart disease and high blood pressure. 

If you’re not sure where to start with an at-home workout, think about what it is you would like to improve. Do you want stronger arms? Better flexibility? More aerobic capacity? From there, you can find a workout plan that works for you. Aim for 15 to 30 minutes a day of moderate exercise and build from there. Check out YouTube and Instagram for free at-home yoga classes, circuit workouts and bodyweight strength-training to keep your routine varied and interesting.

Don’t ignore your mental health

Mental stress can put your body in physical distress, as anxiety takes a big toll on the body. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep and taking care of your mental health. “Immune system activation alters sleep, and sleep in turn affects the innate and adaptive arm of our body’s defense system,” says the National Institute of Health. Many of us are juggling working from home, caring for family and many other parts of life, but getting a good night’s sleep – that’s seven to eight hours for adults – should be a priority. 

There’s also evidence to support the idea that meditation can improve your immune system. Meditation can not only improve your sleep, but it can also help you manage stress and anxiety. Take 10 minutes out of your day to do some deep breathing, relax and calm down your nervous system. Your body will thank you!

Kick Your Sugar Habit

The following is another guest post from Pyure:

It’s not breaking news — sugar is bad for you. 

It’s fattening, promotes tooth decay and puts you at risk for a myriad of diseases.

What you may not know, however, is that sugar has been clinically proven to be addictive, producing symptoms typically associated with substance abuse, including cravings, tolerance and withdrawal. 

In fact, one study showed that given the choice, lab rats choose sugar over cocaine.

So, don’t beat yourself up if you’ve been trying to go cold turkey, but have been coming up short. 

How to Kick Sugar Cravings

Try these realistic sugar-cutting tactics and see if you get better results.

  • When it comes to empty calorie sugar bombs like soda and cake, make them special treats rather than everyday snacks.
  • Before making a purchase, get in the habit of eyeing the nutrition label for sugar content — you’ll be amazed at what products unexpectedly contain sugar.

Tips to Kick Your Sugar Habit

For a sweet fix at work, opt for fresh fruit or the occasional juice. As your taste buds adjust to your reduced sugar diet, these guys will taste all the more sweet!

  • Get in the habit of exercising, even if it’s just once a week to start. 
  • Physical activity stimulates the same pleasure receptors as sugar!
  • When sweetening your morning coffee or tea, opt for Pyure Organic Stevia for a zero-calorie, zero-sugar alternative that tastes great.

Look, when it comes to cutting out sugar, we know it’s easier said than done. But with realistic goals, manageable steps, and a little sweetness from Pyure, you’re well on your way!