Image courtesy of Evgeni Dinev at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
Happy New Year! As we get back into the swing of our normal daily life now that the holidays are past, I wanted to discuss a favorite New Year topic, resolutions. For so many of us our New Year resolutions are made in good faith and fall by the wayside when life gets complicated. Last year my resolution was to make sure I am in more photos with my family because even though I am present for my kids all the time, there isn’t much photographic evidence. Aside from phone pics, the grand total of photos I am in last year is one.
It’s not easy to change engrained habits unless you are committed to go through some growing pains and that goes for something as simple as being photographed more, or something life changing, like taking responsibility for your health.
How can you resolve to make changes in your life and make sure they stick? I know for me, being accountable to someone else is effective. I cleaned up my eating last fall and was successful in sticking with it through the holidays because I began the process with a friend of mine and we encouraged each other. Other ways I have had success in accomplishing my resolutions in the past have been to start small. If you have a big life change you want to make, break it down in to smaller, more reasonable goals so you feel like you are making progress. You could even write the steps down and cross them off as you complete each. Also, make your resolutions specific. It’s easy to have a grand idea to make a big change in your life, but if you can’t measure your success, it is a lot easier to ignore your good intentions.
Since you are reading this, I’m sure you know that for many of the most popular New Year’s resolutions, there are herbs that can assist in making some of your changes a little easier. I’m sure you know not to rely on herbs alone, and to use common sense when taking them. Here are some suggested herbs for a few of the most popular New Year’s resolutions:
Obviously, changing your eating habits and regular exercise are the best and healthiest way to lose weight. When I made my food changes last fall, I lost weight because I eliminated most sugar, processed foods, I cut way back on my caffeine intake, and I was smarter about what I put in my body. The first few weeks were difficult, but once I got in to a routine, I found I didn’t even want the sugar or crappy snacks I turned to so quickly before. If you are looking for a little something extra to help curb food cravings, try Diet Aid. It is particularly effective for people with sluggish thyroid symptoms, problems in dealing with carbohydrate metabolism, and those who experience binging behavior. If you are diabetic or pre-diabetic, High Blood Sugar Balance may be helpful.
If you’re a smoker, or love someone who smokes, you know that one of the hardest things to do is to quit that nicotine habit. I don’t know of any herbs that will magically calm a person’s nicotine fits, but there are plenty that can help with some of the side effects of nicotine withdrawal. Blue vervain is helpful for a number of things including calming the nerves and hormonal acne, which is why I am suggesting our Hormonal Acne Relief. Black Cohosh is also great for female hormonal issues, but can be used for calming anxiety and nervousness, meaning it may be helpful for similar feelings while quitting smoking. St John’s Wort is a mood lifter, and as such may help promote a more positive attitude when it comes to helping someone successfully kick the habit.
Eating healthier and losing weight generally go hand in hand. By identifying any foods your body may have issues with, you will be healthier and happier. I had noticeably more energy, my skin looked better, I was more patient with my kids, and I lost weight just by cleaning up my eating. It takes some preparation if you want to be successful, because without it I found it dangerously easy to fall back in to old habits. Meal planning was essential. Also, thanks to some choosy eaters in my family, there were frequently dinners where I made something for myself and something the others would be willing to consume. We have a few formulas that may be helpful. No Burp or Holiday Bitters are excellent options to promote healthy digestion. It eases burping and reflux after too much food or a rich meal. Diet Aid may also help here, especially if it is taken when you have an urge to snack. Also, depending on your issues, you may want to consider Blessed Thistle (loss of appetite, digestive issues including upset stomach and indigestion), Moxa Tincture (digestive stimulant), or Marshmallow (indigestion, stomach ulcers).
Improve dental hygiene
I know very few people who floss as regularly as their dentist recommends, so this is a simple fix. My mom, in her genius, formulated Gum Protector Plus which has a dedicated following. It is incredibly effective for a wide variety of gum and tooth issues and has been instrumental in improving and maintaining the health of teeth and gums for those who use it.
Get more sleep/less stress
It seems that I read weekly articles on how poor or how little sleep we as Americans get. There are a lot of contributing factors to this: we are too busy, our attachment to our electronic devices, or young kids who don’t believe in sleeping. Lack of sleep contributes to a wide variety of health issues beyond just being tired including obesity, dementia, and increased stress. Not sleeping is an epidemic in our country and is something that probably most of us need to address. My mom always said that the most important sleep of the night were the hours prior to midnight. While it is always more beneficial to deal with the underlying issue, sometimes a little herbal push is helpful to get sleep in the short term. Some suggestions for this are: California Poppy Tincture, Albizzia & Passion Flower, Kava, Passion Flower, and Ashwaganda.