Habits for healthier life

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Background:

As an unofficial but super professional hypochondriac I spend a lot of time reading studies, books, blogs and many other pieces of information on how I can live healthier and avoid meeting doctors any time soon. Over time I created a list of habits you need to adopt so you can be healthier ever after. You can read the full list on this page, or you can start with The Short List of few relatively easy habits you can start and implement starting now.

The Why:

Our species of Homo sapiens started to emerge about 200,000 years ago, but many of our organ systems started to evolve millions of years ago. However, the modern conditions we live in today, are far from being similar to the conditions that existed on earth during most of this period. The food we are now able to consume due to advances in agriculture and technology is not the food our body was designed to consume when it was evolved over millions of years. This gap also applies to the environment we live, work and sleep in, and also to the physical activities our body is experiencing throughout the day.

The How:

I divided the habits into 8 categories, representing groups of daily decisions and activities that influence our health.

  1. How & when to eat

  2. Daily “must have” food ingredients

  3. Other recommended food ingredients

  4. Drinking

  5. Breathing

  6. Fitness

  7. Sleeping

  8. Other activities

Short
List
GO TO
 
How & when to eat
  • Base your nutrition on a plant-based diet. I recommend you to be completely vegan if you can

  • Always remember, not every food containing “healthy ingredients” is a healthy food

  • Whenever possible, eat organic food

  • As much as possible, eat raw food

  • Eat your food as fresh as possible

  • Start your day with a good and healthy breakfast

  • Keep at least 1 hour between waking up and eating breakfast

  • Try to have your large daily serving of fresh greens during lunch (probably as a salad)

  • Eat dinner at least 2 hours before you go to bad (4 hours before is better)

  • If you have to eat close to bedtime, eat cooked food and not fresh, so it will digest easily

  • Whenever possible, don’t buy processed food. Buy the ingredients yourself and make your own food

  • Don’t eat fried, grilled, overcook or burn food

  • Don't eat food that contain trans fat or more than 20% unsaturated fat

  • Don't take supplements (other than B12 if you are vegan)

  • Whenever possible, eat the whole fruit/vegetable

  • Don’t eat food that has artificial colors or preservatives in it

  • As much possible buy products that doesn’t contain GMOs

  • Read the ingredients list and the nutrition labels BEFORE you buy the product. Learn how to read nutrition labels. Try to buy food with fewer ingredients on its ingredients list or no list at all. Make sure you are familiar with all the ingredients on the list

  • Chew your food thoroughly

  • Eat small portions

  • Don’t do “social eating”. Don’t eat when you aren't hungry

  • Avoid the habit of deserts

 
Daily “must have” food ingredients
  • Raw fruits that are in season. I recommend fruits to be the food category you'll eat the most of. By the way, Avocado, Tomatoes and Bell Pepper are fruits

  • Citrus fruits get their own section because of the importance of vitamin C. This could be oranges, lemons, grapefruits, pomelos, and limes

  • Blueberries. Also try to add any other types of berries like strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, cranberries or goji berries. Tomatoes are technically also a berry

  • Raw leaf vegetables (greens): Spinach, Microgreens, Chard / Swiss chard / Beet Greens, Romaine Lettuce, Endive, Bok Choy, Parsley, Dill, Coriander, Celery

  • Cucurbits: pumpkin, zucchini, watermelon, cucumber and melon

  • Turmeric. The only spice with its own section. I put it in almost every dish I make

  • One tablespoon of ground Flax seeds

  • Mushrooms

  • Alliums. Best are Purple Onion and Garlic

  • One or two Brazil nuts

  • Take B12 supplement (if you are vegan)

  • This is very important to notice how much fat you consume daily. Best is not to consume more than 10% of your daily calories from fat sources

  • If you are debating between several types of raw food; choose the type with the stronger color

Other recommended food ingredients
  • Spices: Other than Turmeric, it’s good to add spices to every dish you make. Most recommended are: Ceylon Cinnamon, Black Pepper, Ginger, Amla, Cardamom, Clove, Saffron, Cumin, Nutmeg, ground Mustard Seeds, Beer Yeast, Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, Dried Parsley, Dried Basil, Dried Thyme, Paprika, ground Celery Seeds. I eat it all of them everyday!

  • True nuts and culinary nuts: Other than Brazil nuts, you can eat Walnuts, Chestnuts, Hazelnuts, Almonds, Cashew, Coconut, Pecans, Pistachio, Pine nuts, Peanut

  • Cruciferous vegetables: Most recommended are Broccoli, Kale and Cauliflower. You can also eat Red Cabbage, Radish, Kohlrabi, Arugula, Brussels Sprouts, Watercress

  • Underground plant: Carrot, Kohlrabi, Sweet potato, Potato, Fennel, Ginger, Ginseng, Maca, Ashwagandha

  • Seeds: Quinoa, Chia, Sesame, Sunflower seeds, Pumpkin seeds, Cocoa beans

  • Legumes (including lentils): Because they are cooked, try to eat only small portion. This include Peas, Lentils, Beans, Chickpeas, Paul, Soybeans and Mung bean

  • Whole grains: Try to avoid this group as this food is processed and cooked, but if you eat them - eat a small portion. Whole Rice will be your best choice

  • Avoid the 4 whites: Salt, wheat, milk, sugar

  • Avoid oils or consume them in low amounts

 
Drinking
  • Other than the water you consume through fruits and vegetables, drink minimum of 6 (women) / 8 (men) glasses of water every day (1 glass = 250 ml) . If don't eat much fruits and vegetables add 2 glasses. On top of that, add 2 glasses for every 30 min of intense exercise. 

  • On days of exercise, add at least 2 glasses of water to the daily minimum

  • Drink one glass of water right after waking up in the morning

  • Tracking the number of glasses of water you drink every day (you can use an app). It will help you achieve the daily minimum 

  • You can drink coffee, but only till noon time, so that the caffeine will not influence your sleep quality at night

  • Most healthy coffee is Filter Coffee, and I recommend to use an organic and medium roast brand, and to ground it yourself just before making it

  • You should drink green tea, but only till noon. Afternoon you can drink infusions tea with no Caffeine

  • Other than tea or coffee, drink only water. Don't drink soft drinks, sodas or alcohol

  • Our water is not "rich and safe" as it was in nature thousands of years ago, and every type has its disadvantages. This is why I recommend to simply consume water from several sources if possible (Purified at home, a number of mineral brands, etc.)

  • Avoid drinking from plastic bottles, and if must, make sure they don't contain BPA (also apply to plastic you eat from)

  • Drink small sips, not a large amount at once

  • Avoid drinking very hot drinks

 
Breathing
  • Meditate every day, at least 10 minutes. Among other things, it will help you get better in breathing

  • At least once a day, breath deeply: few deep and long inhales followed by complete long exhales

  • Surround yourself with plants, especially in your apartment and in the room you sleep in. I recommend plants that release high levels of Oxygen, reduce carbon dioxide and other toxins. I'm using Areca Palm, Snake Plant (Sansevieria), Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum), Aloe vera and Chinese evergreens (Aglaonema). All are also very easy to grow

  • Use air purifiers in sleeping and leaving rooms to improve the quality of the air in your home

 
 
Fitness
  • ​Do 3 types of exercise: aerobic, strength and balance

  • Track your heart rate with a smart watch

  • Do aerobic exercise (running for example) at least 5 days a week, for 45-60 min each day. 3 of these days should be moderate, where you are around 65-75% of your maximum heart-rate, and in 2 days you should reach a high intensity level of 75-100% of your maximum heart-rate

  • Adopt a sport routine - make sport a habit, not a special occasion. In exercise consistency is more important than intensity. If it makes it easier, exercise with friends or in a group or pay a trainer

  • Try to exercise when you wake up, early in the morning, before you eat

  • Plan recovery time between workouts

  • Make sure to also include sports that include thinking, like Tennis, Basketball etc.

  • Do at least 10,000 steps every day. If you missed a day, make sure to complete 70,000 by the end of the week. This includes the steps you do while running

  • Keep moving all day. Whenever possible, walk or cycle to your meetings, or park a bit far so you can walk. Take the stairs instead of the elevator when possible

  • Listen to your body - don’t exercise in a way that hurts yourself
  • Don't sit more than 30 minutes, you want to get your blood flow

  • Track your BMI and improve it if needed

  • Track and optimize your body fat percentage. Man should have 10%-20% body fat and women 15%-25% (aim to the lower range)

  • Track and optimize your heart-rate at rest

  • Keep good posture when standing, walking, sitting, lying down

 
Sleeping
  • Don't consume caffeine after 12 noon time

  • Don’t exercise before you go to bed. Finish your exercises no later than 4pm

  • Sleep in complete darkness

  • During daylight, use your sunglasses only when you have too

  • Sleep at least 7 hours every night (best will be 7.5 to 8 hours, but not more than 9)

  • Go to bad no later than 10pm

  • Woke up early, between 5 to 6am

  • Try to use a grounding mat

  • Don’t take a nap during the day

  • Reduce blue light coming out of your screens

  • Stop looking at your phone at least 1 hour before you get into bad

  • Don’t watch TV in your bedroom

  • Don’t put/charge your phone next to your bed. If possible, sleep far from any electronics.

 
Other Activities
  • Touch the earth ground with your hands or bare feet at least 10 minutes every day

  • Track your heart rate at rest and see how certain changes influence it
  • Hug someone at least 20 minutes every day (This has an important chemical effect on the body)

  • Don’t smoke

  • Don’t take drugs

  • Avoid radiation. When on the phone, prefer the speaker over placing the phone next to your head.

  • Get some sunlight during the day, but do it smartly. For good amount of Vitamin D you need between 10 to 30 minutes of mid day sun, depending on you skin color. Dark skin = more time needed

  • Protect yourself from sunlight when outside for long period of time

  • Wear black when going out to the sun

  • Floss before you brush your teeth

  • Avoid beauty / shower / cosmetics products that contain animal by-products, artificial colors or fragrances, GMOs, parabens, petroleum derivatives, phthalates, sulfates (including your toothpaste)

  • Randomly, change small movement-habits, that’s good for your brain

  • Keep learning new things, but make sure you exercise before, so your brain will have the ability to absorb the new information

  • Enrich your brain and keep learning new things. Read, study, listen to audio books, go to lectures, watch documentary films, travel to new places, talk to new people

  • Be with people, socialized, it reduces stress

  • Take very cold showers

  • Track you pH level and analyzes your body acidity. Easiest way is to test your urine pH level, which is also an indicator of your overall health. I'm using an easy to use test strips every morning when I wake up - it helps me to understand how yesterday food and activities influenced my body acidity

  • At least once a week, go outside to the nature or at least to a green park

  • Have sex

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© 2020 by Lior Weizman