1.) Try the Mediterranean Diet
Here are the basics:
• Eat: vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, potatoes, whole grains, breads, herbs, spices, fish, seafood and extra virgin olive oil.
• Eat in moderation: poultry, eggs, cheese and yogurt.
• Eat only rarely: red meat (for a better choice, try grass-fed).
• Don't eat: sugar-sweetened beverages, added sugars, processed meat (pre-packaged lunch meat, bacon), refined grains, refined oils and other highly processed foods.
2.) Eat Nuts and Healthy oils
These nuts and oils contain heart healthy fats. Remember to keep portions small.
• Brazil nuts
• Macadamia nuts
• Extra Virgin Olive Oil
• Coconut Oil
3.) Have Breakfast
Whole grains, lean protein, low-fat dairy, fruits and vegetables are all great choices. Here are some great recipes to try! (Want more recipes? Go to www.minimalistbaker.com)
• Overnight Oats: 2 Tbsp rolled oats, ½ cup blueberries, 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk (from the dairy cooler), 1 Tbsp of walnuts, 1 pinch cardamom. Combine and refrigerate overnight. Eat cold or warm in microwave.
• Heart Healthy Smoothie: 1 cup strawberries, ¼ avocado, ½ banana, 1 ½ cups unsweetened almond milk.
• Protein Rich Quinoa Bowl: ½ cup cooked Quinoa, ½ cup mango, 1 ½ cups unsweetened coconut milk (from the dairy cooler), 1 Tbsp of unsweetened coconut flakes, 1 pinch cinnamon. Combine and refrigerate overnight. Eat cold or warm in microwave.
4.) Lift Weights
Regular strength training will help you build muscle mass, which will lead to more calories burned, which can help you maintain a heart healthy weight and fitness level. Here are some ways you can start with regular household items!
• Milk jugs. One full gallon-sized jug of milk weighs about 8.5 pounds, which is perfect for giving your arms a good workout. Try doing 2 or 3 reps of 10 bicep curls holding one jug with each hand. You can also hold one jug with both hands and do overhead presses.
• Laundry detergent bottles. Laundry detergent bottles are also good dumbbell alternatives. A 72 ounce bottle weighs about 5 pounds.
• Stairs. Use the original stair climber – stairs! For someone that is 140 pounds, just 30 minutes of walking up and down the stairs burns 175 calories. Running up and down the stairs is also a great way to combat cabin fever on bad weather days.
• Chairs. Believe it or not, you can get a full-body workout using a simple dining room chair. For toned arms, try tricep dips. Stand in front of your chair with your back to the chair. Slowly lower yourself down until your legs form a 90 degree angle, and place your arms behind you, gripping the edge of the chair’s seat with your hands. In controlled movements, raise and lower your body to form a 90 degree angle with your arms. Aim for 3 sets of 12 to 15 reps.
Walking for 15 minutes a day is equal to approximately 1 mile, 5,000 Fitbit steps and 65-100 calories (depending on your weight). Do this every day and you will cover 7 miles/week and burn 455 -700 calories!
6.) De-stress with Mindfulness
Stress increases the risk of heart disease. These de-stress tips will improve your health and help you enjoy the moments in your life.
• Put down your cell phone. Be present in every moment.
• Respond with kindness instead of anger. Kindness keeps us open and happy. Here is an article that may help you begin to do so.
• Roll down your windows and enjoy the ride. Sometimes it’s a quiet ride home from work that soothes the soul. Turn off the radio, roll down the windows and just enjoy the ride.
• Take 5-Deep Cleansing Breaths to de-stress.