Did you know that “Meatless Monday” was actually created back during World War I? The U.S. Food Administration encouraged families to reduce the consumption of key staples in order to aid in the war effort. More than 13 million families pledged to give up meat on Mondays and wheat on Wednesdays. Meatless Monday was again reintroduced and widely followed during and after World War II.
It wasn’t until 2003 that this movement was revived though and for quite different reasons. Meatless Monday was reintroduced as a public health awareness campaign. You might not have realized, but the average American eats as much as 75 pounds of meat a year! The health and environmental effects of such a high rate of meat consumption are truly devastating.
Did you know that according to EarthDay.org…
Eating one less burger a week is the same as taking your car off the road for 320 miles?
Skipping steak once a week is equivalent to not driving for almost three months?
The world’s population of cows eat enough to feed nine billion people?
70% of the deforestation of the Amazon Rainforest is to provide land for livestock?
An eight-ounce steak requires 900 gallons of water?
Deciding to lead a plant-based lifestyle is one of the best things that you can do for your body and the planet. However, such a decision is completely personal and not necessarily what everyone wants to do. If you aren’t ready to go full plant-life, eliminating your meat and dairy consumption by even just one day can have wonderfully positive consequences on your health and on our planet.
A meat-heavy diet has been linked to obesity, heart disease, and cancer. Meat, dairy, and highly processed foods also increase inflammation, which is the root of most chronic diseases. Many of us have been taught or led to believe that the best source of protein comes from the meat of cows, chicken, pigs, and fish. This is simply not true. Protein in found in countless plant-based forms.
Veganism, vegetarianism, and meatless-days are trends that have been gaining momentum and will continue to do so as we venture into 2019. Eating a plant-based diet has become more accessible, affordable, and appetizing than ever as brands and companies that are dedicated to this shift in the way we eat are continuing to grow and evolve.
You can easily swap out animal protein for these nutrient-dense plant alternatives:
Remember, little changes can produce grand results, and our actions and decisions affect more than just our individual health and wellness. Let's make 2019 OUR healthiest year yet!
Our diet is one of the most important components that contributes to our overall health and wellness. It is also a component that we have complete control over. We eat certain foods to maintain our weight, to protect our heart, to strengthen our immune system, and even improve the quality of our skin, but it is above all most important that we eat for our brain. What is good for our brain is good for the rest of our body.
Brain-boosting nutrition will definitely be a focal trend of this upcoming year. We seem to be busier than ever between our careers, our families, our social lives, and our individual interests. We are asking our brains to juggle a lot of different things on top of all of the involuntary actions that it is constantly performing.
Not to mention Alzheimer’s dementia is on the rise! Today, 5.7 million Americans of all different ages are living with Alzheimer’s disease. Every 65 seconds someone develops it, and by the middle of this century is it estimated that those seconds will decrease to every 33.
There is no definitive preventative practice to avoid the development of Alzheimer’s and memory and brain function deterioration as we age. However, your diet plans a significant role in the health of your brain. Our brains need brain food!
The good news is brain food is not only tasty but very accessible. Our brains want food that is rich in vitamin K, omega-3, lutein, folate, beta carotene, flavonoids, theobromine, B vitamins, magnesium, iron, selenium, manganese, and potassium.
The top brain foods include kale, spinach, collard greens, broccoli, walnuts, avocado, flaxseed, wild and sustainably-caught salmon, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, and raw cacao. Coconut oil and olive oil are also beneficial for the integrity and function of your brain.
Aside from eating foods that support your brain, it is also of the utmost importance that you drink enough water throughout the day. According to Medical Daily, nearly 75% of Americans don’t drink enough water. Your brain’s content is 80% water and proper hydration is essential for nearly all functions in the body. The average person should be drinking at least two liters of water a day. That breaks down to around eight cups of water, which is a very manageable amount if you are conscious of it.
When our brains start to go, everything starts to go with it. Your present and future life depends on this powerhouse organ, and it is your responsibility to keep it properly fueled. Eating the right foods is one of the easiest and best things that you can do for your brain and the rest of your body.
Overconsumerism has long consumed us. It is the core of our economy and has dominated many of our lives for far too long. According to Northwestern Mutual and CNBC the average debt an individual has in the United States is $38,000 with credit card debt being responsible for 25% of that. Large percentages of our debt are coming from buying things that we can’t afford and don’t actually really need.
It has long been engrained in our society that material possessions and success go hand and hand. The more stuff that you have the more successful you must be. When did the type of car, house, clothes, electronics and accessories become a symbol of success and personal worth? It often seems that the more we make the more we spend, and then the more we become indebted to our things.
The idea of minimalism is really starting to gain traction though. In short, according to The Minimalist, “Minimalism is a tool to rid yourself of life’s excess in favor of focusing on what’s important—so that you can find happiness, fulfillment, and freedom. Minimalism can help us eliminate our discontent, reclaim our time, live in the moment, pursue our passions, discover our missions, experience real freedom, create more, focus on our health, grow as individuals, contribute beyond ourselves, rid ourselves of excess stuff, and discover purpose in our lives.”
Minimalism does not mean that you have to get rid of everything that you own. It simply means that you only own things that bring you joy and have meaning to you.
Some of us are beginning to wake up and realize that we are so cluttered internally and externally that various areas of lives are being affected by mindless or influenced consuming. When our space is cluttered and disorganized, it is difficult to function to our highest potential.
We have been led to believe that possessions make us happy. We are bombarded every day with marketing campaigns telling us to buy and to upgrade. These ads paint a false reality of happiness being connected to material possessions.
But, if you really took the time to ask yourself and answer with complete and utter honesty what brings you joy in your life, it is likely that it would be hard to say that an item, such as a new iPhone or another pair of shoes is really providing you with everlasting joy. Is the debt that is attached to overconsumption and the weight of working more to afford more and “better” possessions contributing to your life in a positive way?
Less is more! And the less we consume that less we are negatively impacting our planet as well. The idea isn’t to stop making purchases and stop having material possessions entirely. The idea is to be mindful about what you consume and what you keep in your space. Maybe 2019 can be your year of less!
Mindful Ambitions’ step-by-step guide to “Minimizing Your Possessions to Live a Focused Life” is a really great resource if you are interested in taking the initial steps to living a life that is less cluttered and more fulfilling.
The Minimalist also have a great documentary on Netflix that is definitely worth watching and might help inspire your "less is more" year ahead.
We all have that song that does something to our complete being when we hear it. It’s that song that makes you almost involuntarily turn up the volume and say, “oh, I love this song!” The song elevates your mood, makes your body groove to the beat, and in the end leaves you feeling all around better. This is an example of sound therapy.
Music has long been a powerful tool for healing, among other things like inspiring creativity, productivity, motivation, and peace of mind. For thousands of years, music and sound has been utilized to alleviate mental disorders, stress, insomnia, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and anxiety. The ancient Greeks, Tibetans, and native tribes of North, Central, and South America have used sound therapy for many different reasons.
Sound therapy goes far beyond just hearing a song that has meaning to you though. Sound therapy involves the use of different instruments and tools that produce different frequencies and vibrations of sound. Common tools include but are not limited to gongs, singing bowls, tuning forks, cymbals, chimes, bells, and drums.
These instruments are used to induce entrainment, which is a process that synchronizes our fluctuating brainwaves by providing a consistent frequency for our brainwaves to match. The idea of entrainment is to take our normal beta state down to an alpha (relaxed consciousness), theta (meditative state), or even delta state (sleep state).
When our brainwaves are operating in a down-shifted state of alpha, theta, or delta healing can occur. Sound healing is sometimes used during yoga or meditation practices. A guided meditation or a meditation that includes a mantra is also considered sound healing in and of itself.
In a world where our senses are constantly being inundated, a practice that focuses on solely one sense can be quite powerful. The whole-body sensation that occurs from the vibrations made from singing bowls and a gong are almost paralyzing, but in a very positive way.
Sound healing is used to move us from a state of imbalance to a state of balance. More and more of us are finding that we need a little extra help when it comes to balance in our lives. And who could blame us! Our lives pull us in so many directions and there are so many demands for our time and energy that it is no wonder many of us feel unbalanced.
This upcoming year of 2019, you will start seeing a lot more sound healing classes and opportunities popping up as sound healing really starts to make waves in the Western world. This holistic and natural healing practice is one that every single person can benefit from.
Superfoods are nutrient-dense foods that come straight from the earth and the sea. These powerhouse foods are chalked full of vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, and antioxidants. By regularly eating a diverse selection of superfoods, you can reduce your risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and other chronic ailments.
Superfoods have also been linked to metabolism regulation, healthy weight management, reduced inflammation, improved brain function, softened signs of aging, and an increase in energy, immunity, and overall wellness.
While the awareness and availability of superfoods is nothing new, what is likely to trend in 2019 in relation to superfoods is the rise of mesonutrients. Mesonutrients are the nutrients that are found in the superfoods that make them so super.
While we should all be eating more plant-based foods and more nutrient-dense foods, in order to obtain the full range of benefits that are often listed next to foods like turmeric, green tea, pomegranates, and tomatoes, you would actually have to consume an inordinate amount every day.
For example, most studies that have been conducted proving the benefits of curcumin, the mesonutrient found in turmeric have been on study subjects who are taking 400 mg of curcumin a day. In order to get 400 mg of curcumin by ingesting turmeric root you would need to consume 220 pounds of turmeric or 22 pounds of dried turmeric powder. This is completely impossible and unobtainable.
This is not to say however that there aren’t amazing benefits that come from consuming less than 400 mg of curcumin on a daily basis. It is just that a lot of the data highlighting turmeric’s super strength as a superfood comes from studies where subjects were just taking the curcumin and not the entire root.
This is the same with the mesonutrients anthocyanins, lycopene, saffronal, and epigallocatechin gallate. Eating the whole food has many benefits that go beyond the key mesonutrient found within each of them, so this is not a call to stop eating the whole food. The trend that we will see in 2019 though is a rise in the direct access to these powerful mesonutrients. This could be through powdered or capsule concentrates.
While curative medicine is still the front runner methodology in Western medicine, preventative medicine in the form of diet and nutrition is really starting to make some bigger waves in the wellness world. Access to mesonutrients could end up playing a key role in preventing many of the diseases that are commonly faced in our modern world.
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