Do you ever finish reading a book and feel the urge to tell everyone you run into about what you’ve read?

This is exactly what happened to me after reading “The Whole Health Life” by Shannon Harvey. Shannon is a journalist and the filmmaker behind the feature documentary, The Connection: Mind Your Body.

The inspiration for Shannon’s book came after a series of unfortunate events following a diagnosis of an autoimmune disease that had no known cause and no known cure. Once Shannon was told by her doctor that she would end up in a wheelchair she realized she needed to take her future into her own hands.

Throughout this book Shannon focuses on refining our health by taking small steps to big improvements.

Here are 5 things that you can do today to boost your energy and improve your overall health.

1. Stress Less

Shannon explains how stress can harm our health and the ability for our body to make clear decisions and healthy choices. Identifying the difference between “good” stress (such as exercising) and “bad” stress (such as long-term unhelpful thinking) is a key to finding a healthy balance. This is determined by how we choose to perceive situations we encounter in life.

In order to reduce stress, you may choose to meditate. This is a scientifically proven method for stress relief. Incorporating exercise into your daily routine is also a highly effective way to reduce your stress levels. Find an exercise regime that appeals to you and find at least 30 minutes per day to schedule this in.

2. Eat Real Food

It’s as simple as that, really.  Eat food in its whole, natural state. The is exactly what Food Matters promotes and we are so thrilled that this is now a common movement in the health industry.

Shannon shares how eating processed foods, taking certain medications, or not getting enough fiber can be detrimental to your gut microbiome.

Throughout the book, Shannon suggests eating a diet high in fiber containing a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, lentils, seeds and nuts as a way to boost the healthy gut bacteria in your belly and promote better overall digestion.

3. Move More

To be healthy from top to bottom and inside out, exercise is a fundamental human need. The book explains how the risk of many chronic illnesses including heart disease and diabetes can be prevented by simply moving our bodies.

So many of us spend hours sitting behind a desk only to go home and sit on the couch. In today’s society it’s easy to fall into the notion of sitting. With more sitting comes less flexibility, a weakened core and a decrease in our cardiovascular abilities.

How can you incorporate more movement into your day? Take the stairs instead of the elevator, walk around while you make phone calls or try parking farther away and walking the extra distance to your destination.

4. Sleep Well

Did you know that sleep is vital to our health? Throughout this book, Shannon shares how so many of us simply aren’t getting enough hours on our pillow. Sleep deprivation can lead to an increased risk of heart disease as well as jeopardize your mental health.

Shannon recommends being conscious of your caffeine consumption, particularly before bedtime. She also shares the importance of sleep hygiene and ensuring healthy sleep behaviors such as reduced light exposure at night.

Shannon’s tips for a good night's sleep include sleeping on a comfortable mattress in comfortable clothing, dimming the lights a few hours before bedtime and switching off from your electronic devices and screens in order to properly wind down.

5. Relationships

This was a standout section of Shannon’s book which really resonated with me. Throughout the relationships chapter, Shannon shares how the link between social closeness and good health is now well established in the research. People who are more socially connected happen to be healthier and live longer.

Relationships, be that between friends, colleagues or an intimate relationship, all foster their own unique benefits and fuel us as human beings.

Shannon recommends connecting and being part of a group. Surround yourself with people you enjoy spending time with doing the things you all love! Spend quality time with your friends and family. Shannon also shares how it’s so important to forgive those who have hurt you and release yourself in those times from unwanted pain and grudges.

The book is a great refresher for some key pillars to healthy living, with simple concepts that can improve our health, but can often slip our minds.

If you're interested in learning more about the book, you can watch the trailer below. I highly urge you to find time for self-improvement in 2017 and find small ways that you can make positive changes to your overall health. This book is a great start!

Plus! Even better news! As you're a valued Food Matters family member, you get 15% off the book until February 23rd, midnight EST! Simply use the code FOODMATTERS at checkout right here! Happy reading!

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