2023 has come and gone, and what a year it has been. But rather than lament over all of the negative things that went WRONG last year, I thought I'd take a minute to share what we (my wife and I) will be focusing on NEXT year.
Our main focus is on our blood pressure, as both of ours have been all over the map this last year. My wife's goal is to get OFF her blood pressure medication, and mine is to not NEED it!
We are going to tackle 2024 together by focusing on these 4 pillars of health that Dr. Dean Ornish wrote about in his book Undo It. (affiliate link)
My BNV Support Group will be reading this book together starting tomorrow, Jan 1, 2024, if you'd like to come join us.
I feel I already eat pretty dang healthy, being a blogger for the last 10 years focusing on a whole foods, plant-based, oil-free diet.
But one thing I KNOW I am lacking is drinking enough water. And since my blood pressure has been all over the place this year, and dehydration DOES affect blood pressure, I bought myself this fancy water bottle as a reminder that I need to drink more water.
Another thing we have already started is reducing the amount of wheat products we consume, and for me - it's a lot. I LOVE bread. But regardless of whether it's gluten sensitivity or the glyphosate that's in almost everything these days, lowering the amount we consume HAS had positive effects on my wife's blood pressure, so are going to make that a focus next year.
What if I'm not plant-based or vegan you ask? How can I eat better?
Here's where I would start - and remember that even the tiniest change can have a positive effect:
- Eliminate fast food as much as possible
- Eliminate ultra-processed foods (UPF) as much as possible (junk food)
- Eliminate processed meats as much as possible
- Eliminate fried foods as much as possible
- Try to incorporate more fruits and vegetables daily
- Eat more salads or have a green smoothie
- Eat more starches, whole grains, and beans
- And cut back on your sugary fizzy drinks - drink water instead
Another area of my life I need to work on. MOVING MY BODY.
I sit here behind this desk a LOT. Writing posts, interacting with people in my groups, doing daily livestreams, answering emails, etc.
It's the life of a blogger, but it DOES have side effects - and in my case.... hypertension.
Even if it's just a stroll around the neighborhood, try to get at least 30 minutes of movement a day. Find a walking buddy, and make a date of it. Have an iphone? Close those rings!
If it's cold, raining, or snowing, try to find something indoors to do. I have an Oculus Quest VR so sometimes I'll just play Beat Saber for an hour.
One way or another - however you can manage - try to move more in '24.
Does anyone else have stress and anxiety like I do? Not like the last 3 years have been anything BUT stressful but still...
Factor in declining ad revenues, self-publishing your very first cookbook, health issues not only with ourselves but also an elderly parent, and yeah - the stress is real. And the blood pressure reflects it.
But how do we manage it? My wife and I?
Not so well.
Again, shout out to walking, especially in nature for reducing stress and anxiety. Yoga is good for this too.
This will be a BIG focus for Rhonda and myself.
The last pillar Dr. Ornish talks about is love and support.
Because guys, if you are trying to eat healthier for your health, but no one around you supports you - it is going to be VERY hard to do. Maybe you can do it by yourself, but not many do.
You have GOT to have people to support you.
And that's what my little community in Mighty Networks is for.
We meet daily via a livestream to simply chat and be around like-minded people who GET this. We talk about our issues, what we ate for lunch, our doctor's appointments, the weight we've lost, a little bit of everything.
There are no annoying ads, no one will make fun of you, or judge you - we accept you just the way you are. Some are not even fully vegan, and that's ok... they are trying, and we are there to hold their hand and give them their best shot.
In addition to the livestream, we have:
- a book club where we read books together
- a movie room full of plant-based documentaries
- a section for meditation
- a section for gardening
- a section for sharing our favorite exercise
- a section for vegan pantry items we find
- recipes of course
- and so much more
We'd love to have you join our little family. Come visit us if you can.
Happy New Years
And with all of that, Happy New Year everyone.
Have a happy, healthy, blessed 2024.