I’m 40. While some of my friends are starting to complain about “age-related” aches and pains, I’ve been going in the opposite direction. The chronic illness I developed in my early 30s is getting harder to see in my rear-view mirror. It’s gone, and I watch chronic complaints disappear over and over with my clients. What a treat to watch! Here’s the road map for how to make that happen for YOU.
1. Eat Gobs of Vegetables– Eat more of what you already like. Try vegetables you’ve never had. Join a CSA and try to really eat it all! That’s right. Eat MORE. Don’t focus on what to cut out, just get more of these nutrient-dense, antioxidant-packed foods into you. They clean out your liver, help you think clearly and make your skin shine.
2. Do your inner work— If you go through life without facing painful events that leave traces on your consciousness, you naturally close down and feel less and less as you get older. When you face your stuff, it can be very unpleasant for a short while, but the reward is that you get reconnected with the full life force that is available to you. It’s worth it. Be brave.
3. Make your exercise into your spiritual practice—When you find ways to move your body that get you outside in any season, connect with the elements, animals, plants, friends or God, you will be drawn to it when you run into stress.
4. Cleanse— Do a 7-day cleanse at least once a year, in the spring. Use this week to reset your metabolism, remove sugar, caffeine, all refined foods and most animal products. Drink more water, add superfoods and supplements you need and sweat often. There’s no need to be hungry, just clean up your intake.
5. Find Your Food Fingerprint– Use the week after your yearly cleanse to re-introduce foods slowly and systematically to reveal any food intolerances you have. Every human body has its own “food fingerprint.” Only when your system is running very clean can you find out exactly what works for you and what does not.
6. Sleep—get to bed before 10 pm to honor your circadian rhythms so that the hours of sleep you get are deepest and most restorative. Make your bed into a sumptuous haven with nice lighting and yummy sheets. Back off on caffeine after 12 noon and make sure you fully hydrate early on each day so you’re not drinking at night and waking up to pee. Sleep deprivation has been clearly shown to interrupt hormones that aid in weight loss. Sleep more to lose weight. Not kidding.
7. Take an annual retreat by yourself– Whether it’s a pilgrimage to the same place every year (Check out Omega, Kripalu, Esalen and Hollyhock) or a new place each time, choose a contemplative, restorative trip to somewhere without your friends or family (unless they are ready to meditate!) As a cleanse reboots your body, this retreat reboots your soul and helps you forge the future you deserve.
8. Explore your sensuality—Sensuality is life force. Get off your devices and pick up a musical instrument. Buy flowers, fill your home with velvets, silks, high thread count sheets and fragrances. Dance, play with babies, sing in your car, go swimming, eat amazing food and laugh.
Holly Noonan writes about self-nourishment and food empowerment every month in her Mind Body Nutrition Newsletter.
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