More Daily Stuff

After I published yesterday's blog about the 4 things you should include in your daily regimen (3 liters of water, fish oil, a rainbow of veggies, and meditation) I realized I had left out some pretty important stuff. A big part of my goal was to make the list easy enough that anyone could look at it and say "I can do that!" But I decided to write a Part Two today, in case I have a few readers who are up for a little more challenge.

I would say that the four things mentioned yesterday are all a good place to start. Especially if the idea of getting healthier feels overwhelming to you, if you already have so much on your proverbial plate that you want to scream, then starting with something really easy is best. But when you have those basics down and you are ready to make more progress, what should you tackle next?

Here are my suggestions for 4 more daily to-do's:

1) Move your body. This was the most glaring omission from yesterday's list. SO glaring, in fact, that I thought about editing my post after publication and adding this to the list. However, this step is not quite as easy for everybody as popping a fish oil capsule or filling another bottle of water to sip. But the bottom line is that we were made to move. We were designed to move all day long. In fact, many ancient cultures did not even have chairs! If you needed to work in one spot, you would simply squat. And today, this natural movement and position has become practically impossible for most sedentary Americans. But I digress. My point is: sit less and move more. Exactly what type of movement you do is less important than just getting your body moving. Walk, run, swim, dance, sweep the floor, play soccer, play fetch with your dog, climb a tree, hike up a mountain, ride a bike. If you are crazy busy, try to combine moving your body with other chores or tasks. If you cannot avoid the computer, take regular breaks to get up and move. If you watch TV, get up during every commercial break and move. Just move, okay?

2) Get enough high quality protein. This one is a touchy subject for many people. I have written quite a few posts about protein, and I happen to believe in the Zone diet and its prescription for protein. There was a time when I ate almost no protein whatsoever. I was a vegetarian and a carboholic in my twenties. And sure, I survived. But I was frequently sick and hungry all the time. When I became pregnant with my first child, my body told me quite clearly that I needed to eat red meat. I craved beef nonstop. That was the end of my vegetarianism. And I never became anemic during or after the birth, thanks to that switch in my diet. What IS high quality protein? Grassfed beef, organic chicken, organic eggs, wild caught fish, organic tofu or tempeh, Greek yogurt and cottage cheese. How much protein do you really need? Visit and use the bodyfat calculator. This will give you an exact measurement of your dietary needs based on the size of your body and your activity level. Most adults will need at least 20 grams of protein per meal.

3) Get outside and get some sunshine. Doctors have recently discovered that most of us are significantly deficient in Vitamin D. Yes, you should probably add a Vitamin D supplement to your list, but even more important is getting outdoors whenever possible. Scientists have not yet uncovered all the reasons why getting out into nature has so many benefits for our health. But it seems obvious to me: we were designed to live in nature, not indoors in a climate-controlled environment. The sun gives us much more than just Vitamin D. The light elevates our moods and energy levels. Immersing ourselves in a green, leafy environment is both calming and restorative for our spirits. Even if you must work indoors full-time, use your lunch break to get outside. Get up early and go for a jog while the sun is rising. Gather your whole family and take a walk after dinner.

4) Sleep more! I can't believe I almost forgot this one. Another no-brainer as far as easy steps to take which have a huge payoff. Sleep is perhaps that most fundamental need we have. You can go for maybe a month or more without eating, but try going one night without sleep and you have already impaired your ability to focus and damaged your immune response. Lack of sleep can be responsible for all kinds of health issues from weight gain and insulin resistance to car accidents and inability to fight off infection. The average human needs about 8 hours of sleep each night. Figure out how much you need to function at your peak performance and then make a concerted effort to get that much every night. Naps are great, too, but they don't give you the same benefits as a long stretch of sleep.

Okay, I feel better now. I think I have covered all of the most fundamental and vital components of living a healthy life. It is up to you to take it from here. If there is an aspect of your health or level of fitness which is currently suffering, take a good look at the 4 plus 4 daily needs and discover what might be missing from your routine. Once you have all these basics in place, you should be feeling fantastic and ready to conquer the world!