The authors of The New Health Rules share a few easy, unexpected habits to adopt now.
By Frank Lipman, MD and Danielle Claro
Get away from fruit and grains in the morning -- you don't need that sugar and gluten. A dose of healthy fats will start your day off right. Have boiled or poached eggs with greens, or sardines on gluten-free crispbreads or half an avocado -- score it, spritz it with lemon juice or olive oil, sprinkle it with salt and cumin and eat it like a grapefruit.
Counting calories is a distraction that could lead you down a path of artificial sweeteners and preservatives -- the absolute worst stuff for your body. Instead, think about eating clean food, close to nature and dense with nutrients. Pay attention to the source of your calories rather than the number. (A hundred calories from kale are much better for you than a hundred calories from the vending machine.)
They're the command center of the body. Be nice to them. While you're doing dishes or chitchatting on the phone, roll a tennis ball under the bottom of one foot, then the other, for five minutes each (or to really spoil yourself, use a foot roller). Doing so ungrips all the tiny muscles that hold up your frame all day and has gentle trickle-up benefits for your entire system. Minimize the number of hours you spend in torturous shoes. High heels don't just hurt your feet; they affect the body all the way up -- knees, hips, spine, neck (and then your brain and mood, because if you're hurting, you're cranky). When you take off a pair, always take two minutes (literally two minutes) to stretch yourself back into shape; stand on a step with just the balls of your feet and let one heel lower down for a deep calf stretch. Hold for a few seconds, then switch feet. Repeat 10 times.
The good, nutritious fats you get from extra-virgin olive oil are altered when the oil is heated. That doesn't make it bad for you when it's used in cooking; it just takes away some of its magic properties. So go ahead and use a little of it to keep the fish from sticking to the pan. But for maximum health benefits, drizzle it on your salad or swirl it into a green juice (it adds amazing richness).
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This is easy to say and hard for some to do, but make it a goal -- in fact, write it on a Post-it and stick it anywhere you get stuck (at your computer, say). After 55 minutes of work, get up and walk around, or climb a flight of stairs. Or if you have a private office, run through a couple of yoga poses or some old-school calisthenics (push-ups, jumping jacks) -- anything that shakes you out of the "chair" shape your body's been holding. This break also gives your mind a restart, so this habit can be great for productivity.
This except was taken from The New Health Rules by Frank Lipman, MD and Danielle Claro (Artisan Books). Copyright 2014. Photographs by Gentl & Hyers.