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By Arwa Lodhi
Since I started writing for Eluxe, I’ve learned a lot: about what constitutes ethical fashion, sustainable jewellery, but mainly about natural health. Some of what I learned really surprised me – for example, I had no idea that the toothpaste I was using every day (in my mouth!) was full of toxic chemicals. Other facts I kind of knew, but preferred to sweep under the carpet.
Well, no more. Over the past three years, I’ve made some big changes in my habits, and feel all the healthier for it. Since it’s now the time of year when we’re all making resolutions to improve our lives, I thought I would share with you here the 7 health resolutions to make for the new year that I believe could really make a difference. Of course, you don’t need to subscribe to all of these; but even if you take small steps, beginning with one or two of them (as I did), there will be almost immediate payoffs in terms of your health and well being for the upcoming year.
1. Use your mobile less
We’ve all suspected it for some time, but now studies have proven it: heavy mobile phone use can indeed lead to brain tumors. And when I say ‘heavy’, I mean speaking on the phone for more than around 15 minutes a day (depending on your network, the proximity to a mobile phone mast, and the make of your phone). Why not just cut your losses and send more texts? Learn more about why mobile phones harm your health here.
2. Quit sugar
Another one we all know we should do, but given how much hidden sugar there is in modern supermarket foods, this one is harder to do than you’d think. To reduce your chances of obesity, diabetes and even wrinkles (yes, really!) the best approach is to avoid sugar as much as possible by not buying any packaged food and cooking at home instead; if that’s not possible, learn the myriad names for sugar and avoid anything with stuff like fructose, glucose, corn syrup, etc on the package. Learn more about the harmful effects of sugar and how to combat them here.
3. Go vegan
This is probably the very best thing you can do not only for your health, but for the planet, too. Did you know that the gases emitted from livestock have a more negative effect on the earth than those emitted by all forms of transportation combined? Fact! But going vegan also makes a wonderful impact on the body: vegans live longer and stay healthier far longer than meat eaters, and even vegetarians. Not sure how to go vegan, or what to eat? We have plenty of awesome recipes to get you started in our Food section. Check it out!
4. Get tested
There are certain tests we should do every year or so: women should get a PAP every 12-24 months and we should visit the dentist twice a year, for example. But I personally think it’s a great idea for people to visit a nutritionist once a year to ensure they’re getting all the nutrients they need, and to see whether they’re high in heavy metals. This probably won’t be covered by your health insurance, but if you nip any health problems in the bud, it will definitely pay off in the long run. I discovered I was seriously low in Vitamin D, Vitamin K, Vitamin B, iron, ferritin and calcium recently – quite a long list for someone who tries to eat well. I never would have known this unless I’d visited a nutritionist. She told me that doctors are only taught to heal problems once they manifest themselves; doesn’t it make more sense to take a proactive approach to your health and get an MOT once a year to ensure your body is one clean, mean health machine? Check Google for a local nutritionist this year – you’ll be glad you did.
5. Move more
Whether it’s going for a hardcore run a few times a week, doing gentle yoga or a combination of those two, if you move more, your body and mind will thank you. Regular exercise needs to become a way of life: move your body for at least an hour, 3-5 times daily and you’ll experience a better overall mood, increased energy, muscle tone and weight loss. One great site for motivation is Instagram, where you can get inspired by healthy celebs, or for actual exercise advice click here.
6. Quit smoking
This is usually one of the most popular resolutions, and with good reason: basically, smoking is nothing but pure evil. It constricts the blood flow to all your tissues, negatively affecting your heart and lung functions, and inhibits healthy cellular turnover, which has a knock on effect of making your skin dull and hair brittle. Of course, smoking increases your chances of developing cancer, heart problems and other grave diseases. It’s not that people don’t know smoking is bad for them (and all those around them – even outdoors!) but it seems it’s hard to kick the habit. If you need some help with that, click here for suggestions.
7. Get beautiful – organically
As I mentioned before, I was surprised to find there were so many toxins in my toothpaste. But the scary thing is, there are actually loads of toxins in other things we put on our faces, in our hair and on our mouths every day, from hair dye and deodorant to lipstick and shampoo. Few government bodies in the world (including the FDA in America) are required to regulate cosmetics at all, and the result is that companies will use whatever chemicals they like, no matter what the long term effects may be, and despite the fact that we absorb toxins in beauty products through our skin. The solution? Toss out your usual grooming products and switch to natural ones instead! There are plenty out there, and in fact our list of natural hair dyes is one of the best on the internet. We also sell a lot of natural beauty products in the Eluxe Exclusives shop, but surely you can find some great organic makeup and skincare at places like Planet Organic or Love Lula. There’s really no need these days to put anything chemical on your body.
8. Buy less
While the other 7 resolutions have focused on physical health, this one focuses more on mental wellbeing.
We live in an advanced capitalist society in which we’re all pressured by TV, the internet, magazines and peer pressure to consume stuff daily – from clothing to cars, junk food to household items, the pressure to buy is unrelenting. As a result, many of us are in debt for having bought items we’ll never use or don’t really need at all. This can lead to serious anxiety about how to pay the bills, and even depression as we feel caught in a debt trap. Some people have developed an addiction to shopping, and only feel truly good when they’ve made a purchase, and then experience a profound low afterwards.
Learning how to take a step back and think about the impact your spending habits makes on the planet and your bank balance will make you richer not only in monetary terms, but in personal ones, too – freeing yourself from the ties of material goods is truly a liberating experience, and spending money in a more productive way leads to deep satisfaction.
Myself, I look at Rob Greenfield for inspiration, but if you need more motivation, set yourself a goal – for example, rather than spending money on yet another sweater you’ll never wear or a new phone when your old one is working fine, put that money aside for a long term goal: maybe it’s a visit to a friend in a far away country? Or a down payment on your own home? Or make investment in an ethical fund that will pay off great dividends in a few years? Even if it’s just treating yourself to a weekly massage session, there’s always something better you can do with your money than mindlessly consume material goods.
I’ve already resolved to stick to these 8 resolutions. What will you be doing in 2016? We’d love to hear from you in the comments section!