Years ago, I smeared at simplicity. If something was going to improve my wellbeing, I figured, it had to be complex and hard to come by. But with age one learns to value the simple things in life, and more often than not it’s precisely the naïve routines and habits that cultivate a well-balanced lifestyle.
What follows ahead is a diary of sorts. Curious about which drinks promote balance, I tried to closely observe the effects they had on my body and mood. My fiancée was keen to join this layman case study, so both of us would adopt a certain habit like drinking a specific tea and share the info between ourselves weeks later.
This obsession with how liquid intake affects the body started when I was going over a workout regimen. Meri – my girlfriend at the time – was shocked to see how less frequently I drank water. I almost doubled my intake since and it started to show… More energy, more heat tolerance, and workouts started to produce far better results.
Seeing how such a small change can have such a profound effect, I decided to test more habits and make a list.
So let’s start from the base…
A common question was being asked during my coaching sessions was how much water to drink per day. And before you adjust for energy expenditure, here is the basic formula. You should drink water equal to 2/3 of your weight in pounds.
It goes like this- if you weigh 150 pounds, then you should drink 100 ounces of water per day.
You get this number by multiplying your weight in pounds with 0.67 (2/3).
Not going over the details, drinking your recommended water for the day will help you reduce weight, help your body detox faster, and provide for more comfort during those summer days when heat resistance is going critically low.
Adjusting for workouts and intensity of physical labor, you should add an extra of 12 ounces for every 30 minutes you spend working out. If the intensity is super high and you are doing cardio stunts then simply add 50% more or 18 ounces for every 30 minutes.
Also, take into consideration the nature of your work. If you are doing physically demanding tasks, just consider each hour working as half an hour of exercise.
Tip – Carry with you a water bottle, for it will serve as a great reminder to stay hydrated throughout the day. Don’t drink your recommended intake in bulk, but rather one small bottle at a time, taking small sips whenever you can.
You can also drink one glass after you wake up, and half a glass before you go to bed.
To make things easier add lemon or fruits into a water container and let them sit, giving the water flavor.
Plus – one or two glasses of water before each main meal will suppress appetite and help you keep up with your daily consumption.
Tea instead of coffee
Who wants change? – Everybody.
Who wants to change? – Nobody.
Coffee is great for the caffeine it supplies. But one cup can really mess with your energy levels. Though it gives a noticeable boost 30 minutes to one hour after one cup, the energy chart sees a sharp decline afterwards.
Besides it speeds up your metabolism in the same fashion causing turbulence.
Overall, whereas certain practices promote balance, coffee works the opposite way.
But without coffee, you realize that you must pay the sandman rather sooner. People are getting addicted to the point where they cannot picture themselves without their daily dose.
Worry not. A habit – any habit – can be suppressed equally fast as it was developed. You need to find a small replacement first.
Green tea is your pick here.
It supplies your body with enough caffeine, and unlike coffee, here you have a rather prolonged effect. Though noticeably lesser the effect, it will however last longer promoting balance instead of spikes of energy and then an inevitable low.
My fiancée introduced me to Fit Tea – a detox tea she started using for the purpose of getting leaner (this was after her knee injury, when she decided to stop with exercise for a while).
In short, the tea blend was working wonders on her digestive tract, and metabolism being improved she did manage to lose few pounds.
I looked up the ingredients chart, and there it was- green tea, Oolong tea, ginger… Caffeine, metabolism boosters and a natural diuretic.
One bag per day and it was noticeably improving her overall well-being.
She wrote about it in her Fit Tea review, so give it a read if you are interested.
But you don’t have to buy a soecific product or brand if you want to feel the benefits of a daily intake of tea. Instead, do as Tim Ferriss (the New York Times bestselling author) does, and prepare the blend for yourself. Buy a stack of organic green tea; add stevia, lemon, ginger, Oolong tea and a slice of coconut.
Mix everything together and there you have it.
Besides, the sole process of preparing your tea in the morning will make you shift your focus from wandering thoughts and to a simple yet singular activity. This will help you be more in the here-and-now, and set the pace for the rest of the day.
More energy, stronger immune system, improved metabolism, and sense of lightness… All with a single cup per day.
Smoothies and juices
The raw diet is the way of the future. And though I’m not disciplined enough to fully transfer to a raw way of eating (I want to enjoy my junk food from time to time) I see how it affects many of my friends.
Stronger immune system, less fat composition, more energy, increased heat tolerance, vitamins and minerals aplenty to help other processes run smoothly.
So, if you are like me and cannot yet transfer to a healthier way of eating try this – blend together some vegetables into a smoothie and have one before dinner or better yet lunch.
We fail to consume enough vegetables throughout the day, so making it convenient is the way to go.
As far as fruits go, juicing is preferable. Every other day squeeze together some orange, lemon and grapefruit, or add raspberries and strawberries as well. Apple is also very healthy when combined with cinnamon, and orange.
Preparing our fitness program now, we carefully select juice and smoothie recipes to add to the daily schedule.
Multivitamin drinks and protein shakes
Usually I would advise against carbonated drinks, but as long as it is limited to your multivitamin drink there is nothing to worry about.
About protein shakes, though I tend to avoid artificial drinks, whey protein is something you should incorporate into your “allowed list”.
It will speed up your metabolism, and make you lose some weight everything being equal. If you work out and add intensity, consider making whey protein a part of your list.
I mix one scoop with water only, so it’s a way for me to keep up with my daily water intake.
Don’t drink these except once in a blue moon
Sweet and processed drinks come first to mind. These are going to add unnecessary sugar into your diet, as well as a palate of substances that harm your body overall.
Carbonated drinks are equally bad. I mean what are you trying for? To upset your stomach, to feel uncomfortable, to have your energy depleted as your body tries to adapt to the unpleasantness?
Alcohol is not your friend. Avoid almost everything with the exception of good wine every now and then. Once per month you can have a glass or two of anything else you want. But this is the ideal goal – in a less perfect world, you can have one or two beers per week and nothing noticeably bad would happen.
Everything that’s not listed in the previous section – if it’s not natural and calorie free, then try not to consider it. Healthy habits really exist on a spectrum. On one end you have your organic blends, lots of water, vegetables and fruits, and on the other some balance to keep yourself sane.
Try to follow this guide if you’d like to improve your well-being without lifting a finger. Once you get the habits going it’s easy to forget there was any extra effort given.
As you adopt some of these habits, you will find out that balance comes easily after tweaking some daily rituals and being consistent about it.
Here is to a balanced body and a healthy lifestyle.