Honeymoons are a time to soak up quality time with your partner, relax from the common busyness that’s prior to a wedding, have fun, explore, sleep in, eat really delicious food, drink to celebrate if that’s your choice, and spend as much time in real life and offline as you can to really soak it all up.
One of the most frequent questions I get from brides to be is “how do I make my honeymoon healthy?”, “what foods should I eat while I’m on my honeymoon?”, and more along the lines of fitness, food, and feeling great.
The definition of “health” for the purpose of this article is defined by engaging in activities and behaviors that are contributing to your definition of health. Health can be mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical health — so it’ll look different for all of us and that’s the beauty!
Tips For A Healthy Honeymoon
Making sure that you’re properly hydrated every day is one of the easiest ways to feel your best. As soon as we start the travel process or even get out of our normal routines, it’s really easy to forget to drink enough water which can make us feel tired, cause digestion issues, or give us headaches. Remember, water is responsible for every process in the human body which is pretty amazing for something that many of us take for granted.
Staying hydrated not only keeps your hunger cues more accurate, but you’re also more likely to not mistake thirst for hunger. Water also has been shown to increase thermogenesis, which may aid in weight loss. As a baseline to start from, aim for at least 10 cups/day and adjust based on your needs. You’ll need to increase that amount if you exercise and sweat, if you’re active throughout the day, if you’re not eating enough water containing foods, or if you eat a high fiber diet.
If you’re not drinking enough water you may not be giving your body enough fuel to combat everyday stresses, fight fatigue, keep your digestion moving, your metabolism efficient, supple skin, along with many others. Whether it’s experiencing sweating in the summer heat or dry skin in the winter chill, water is key to keeping our bodies healthy on a cellular level. Read more in the Spotlight on Water.
2. Sleep in
I know you’re excited and I know you’re busy, but sleep is absolutely key to taking care of yourself during this time so that you can look and feel your best. Sleeping in on your honeymoon is the perfect time to catch up on those zzz’s! How often are most of us able to take off work and from our general daily responsibilities to soak in and be indulgent with our sleeping patterns? Most likely not that often so catch up on sleep during your honeymoon — it’ll do your health good.
Studies have shown that quality sleep is vital to our well-being, making it an important time to address nutrition and lifestyle choices that surround it. Lack of sleep has been associated with fat gain, weight gain, and general obesity. It can also affect cognition, insulin sensitivity, androgens, thyroid hormones, and growth hormone. Poor sleep can also make us less likely to experience positive emotions and may increase the likelihood of depression. Read more about how to get the best beauty sleep every night.
Ah, this is the most important point to drive home here when it comes to your health, enjoy. Enjoy, be present, practice gratitude, and soak up the pleasures of the honeymoon from the food, drinks, fun, nature, exploration of a new city, or just quality time together no matter where you are.
One of the most common conversations I have with my clients who are either going on vacation or on a honeymoon is about their relationship with food. If you catch yourself saying to yourself “I can’t eat that because XYZ” and the XYZ is defined as looking good in a bathing suit, pictures, etc., then you might want to reframe and remember what’s really the most important part of this magical time between you and your partner.
Forming and cultivating a healthy relationship with food takes a lot of time, patience, self-love, and more importantly daily practice. The next time you start to hear that monkey on your shoulder give you worry about your food choices, just check in with yourself and ask if it’s a valid point. For example, if eating outside of your “normal” foods or diet (i.e. more indulgent food), causes you terrible digestion issues, then that would be something to be mindful of.
But if it’s just causing you mental worry, feelings of lack of control, or a heavy preoccupation (i.e. consumed with thoughts about food) to where it’s pulling you out of the present moment, then I highly recommend working with a licensed dietitian prior to your honeymoon to support you with the tools you need to work through that. Otherwise, express those thoughts with your partner to find support, take a deep breath, and ask yourself what’s the most important thing to gather from this moment — the endless thoughts around your food choice or enjoying a meal with your partner on your honeymoon?
Explore the surroundings of the location of your honeymoon, from the beaches to the mountains there’s so much to experience. One of the things we did for our honeymoon was intentionally picked a place where we were surrounded by nature, at Blackberry Farm a 4,200-acre estate in the Great Smoky Mountains, and activities we could do at any time like biking, hiking, paddleboard yoga, yoga in the mountains, etc.
If you’re in Tennesse or you want a taste of the mountain and nature life here, check out the new Blackberry Mountain (a sister resort to Blackberry Farm) which has all of these activities we loved having the option to pick during our honeymoon. Try to find a place where you and your partner will naturally feel more active in and will have the urge to go explore! When you embrace movement as a form of play, rather than something you’re putting our body through, it can be an empowering and enjoyable part of your daily routine.
5. Digital Detox
This tip to make your honeymoon healthy is all about disconnecting with everything else around you to deepen the connection within and with your partner. Again, just like sleeping in, how often in your daily life are you able to put everything away from work to social media, to just be.
When’s the last time you and your partner took a break from social media, websites, the internet, emails, etc. to just turn off and be with each other in real life, at the moment? For most of us, since being so connected digitally with others is part of our life, we don’t get that time unless we’re really intentional about it and set boundaries.
If this seems really abstract to do and put action behind it, sit down with yourself or with your partner and come up with some rules to using your phones, computers, and TV’s while away celebrating. It can help to gameplan what this looks like or can be as simple as not bringing phones at during meal times, taking pictures on a traditional camera so you’re not tempted to open up social apps, etc.
Use your honeymoon as a time to reset and completely take a digital detox — except pictures, totally take pictures and videos of your memories for each other! Once you get back to your daily life and the swing of your normal schedule, re-enter the digital world with more intentionality and a greater sense of connection with yourself and your partner. If you’re curious, I wrote an article about my digital detox time and it was incredible.
This may sound obvious, but planning ahead to stay in a resort, hotel, or honeymoon location that’s conducive to your definitions of health, is key! That might look like staying at a place that has access to water to swim, a gym, a fridge in the room, nutrient-dense food choices, yoga classes, meditation classes, a spa, etc.
If you’re an adventurous pair, then look into honeymoons that involve skiing, hiking, water sports, yoga in the mountains or on a beach, learning other cultures, cooking classes, the list goes on.
If you’re looking for total relaxation then look into honeymoons that involve a spa, nature, fresh air, quiet or low tourism season, etc. Also, think about where you both feel drawn to — is it the mountains or the beach? The sun or the snow? This can help you start to plan where to go in the first place.
As I mentioned, we chose to go full on relaxation with being surrounded by fresh air, nature, trees, and the options available to be really active if we wanted. Blackberry Farm is one of my favorite places I’ve ever been too — I’ve had about 3 solo trips there to relax and work on projects or to just take a reflective solo trip and it’s been amazing. Since Jesse had an injury before our wedding, we took this time really easy and just soaked up quality time in the fresh air. It was everything we needed during this chapter!
I can’t wait to share more pictures and videos from our wedding experience with you, in case you’re on this journey right now. If you are or someone you know is in this chapter of their life, whether planning a wedding or it’s the week of, then check out these articles. Many of these are my personal thoughts, advice, and tips so I hope it helps support you during this exciting time!
Gooey Toasted-Coconut Chocolate Brownies are gluten-free, delicious, and simple to make with calcium-rich tahini.
This is the chocolate brownie recipe for those times where you want something super sweet and a little savory.
Tahini, which is made from ground sesame seeds, is rich in calcium, healthy fats, and plant-based protein. Along with being a nutrient-dense option to add to a brownie recipe, it’s a bit earthy creating a savory-sweet combination.
If you don’t enjoy tahini or just ran out, you can easily replace it with any other seed or nut butter you have stocked in the pantry.
A couple other additions to this chocolate brownie recipe are to add chopped walnuts, pecans, or dark chocolate chips to add a little texture.
If you’re allergic or prefer not to use one of these seeds found in the recipe, simply double up on the portion of one of the seeds you do enjoy or omit and replace with a nut. This recipe is flexible so make it work for you.
How To Use Simple Seed Mix
This is one of many healthy eating hacks I’ve trained my clients to incorporate into their diets. It’s about finding those small tweaks you can make every day to sneak in more nutrients and to help change your habits and mindset about eating to nourish yourself.
Use the seed mix in:
Sprinkle on top of avocado toast, peanut butter toast, etc.
Sprinkle in any salad for a crunch
Add to smoothies for more minerals and healthy fats
Sprinkle on top of scrambled eggs, tofu, or tempeh
Stir in while grains are cooking like rice, quinoa, and millet
Stir in yogurt
Sprinkle on sliced fresh fruit (or hot stewed fruit)
This is the best homemade tomato sauce I’ve ever made and maybe yours too.
Homemade tomato sauce is one of those staple recipes we should all have bookmarked, dog-eared in a cookbook, pinned on board, or memorized so you can whip it up with pantry staples.
Just like hummus, soups, plant milk, smoothies, and salad dressings, it’s great to have the go-to recipes you can rely on and that you trust will always taste great. I memorized this recipe so it feels like second nature when I’m craving a week full of pasta sauce to use on roasted vegetables, with fish, or tofu, and of course with pasta.
This is a recipe you make on the weekend or on a day where you have more space and freedom to relax around the house because of the cook time. I know this recipe says it takes 4 hours to cook, but I promise the cook time will make up for the flavor.
It takes about 4 hours to get the best result in flavor and texture, but you can extend it to 6 hours if you really love a thicker sauce and one that’s strong in flavor. I found that 4 hours is the sweet spot for our flavor and texture preference but try it out to see what works best for you.
Another fabulous thing about this homemade tomato sauce is the leftover-factor. It makes leftovers to last you (and the whole family) meals for the entire week or if you’re cooking for yourself be sure to save half and put it in the freezer for later.
What Kind Of Pasta To Use
One frequent questions or topics of discussion with clients is “can I eat pasta?”. Yes, yes you can eat pasta! First up, if you have a known food intolerance or sensitivity to gluten or wheat then try kinds of pasta made with gluten-free grains or legumes — there are plenty on the market to choose from.
Just remember, consuming a gluten-free pasta just because you think you “should” or “need to” based on media or marketing isn’t true. Pasta made with whole organic wheat (or added bonus if it’s homemade) can be a good fit for your lifestyle.
Something to keep in mind if you’re looking for the more nutritionally-dense option is to give gluten-free and legume-based pasta a try. Most of the newer legume-based or gluten-free kinds of pasta have significantly more fiber and more plant-based protein which is a great addition to an otherwise carbohydrate-dense pasta.
Another thing to keep in mind is the context in which how often and how much pasta you eat during the week. Whole food carbohydrates that are closest to nature are always the best option — they typically contain more fiber.
Collagen protein powder can now be found in matcha lattes to brownies — but what is collagen?
How is collagen produced in the body? What nutrients are involved in collagen production and what causes break down of collagen?
Let’s take a look at the biology of collagen and dive into collagen-related products so you can best navigate the growing collagen product market and know what’s best for you.
What Is Collagen?
Collagen is a fibrous protein found in the bone, teeth, skin, tendons, cartilage, blood vessels, hair, and nails. Collagen is a structural protein that plays a key role in the structure and holding the body together, essentially. Interestingly, there are some types of collagen fibrils, gram-for-gram, are stronger than steel! Think of collagen protein as a glue that sticks our body together and it accounts for about a third of our total body protein.
Collagen is made of three polypeptide chains that are cross-linked for strength and made with glycine, proline, hydroxylysine, and hydroxyproline — all are amino acids and the latter two are not found in any other proteins.
Collagen is made up of three alpha-helix structural proteins which are shaped by coiling of the polypeptide chain on itself. In the case of collagen, it’s made of three long polypeptide alpha-chains, each of the chains are twisted and crosslinked within making a tough rodlike structure. (1)
Collagen polypeptides are also attached to carbohydrate chains, which also make them glycoproteins. Glycoproteins help support our immune system, digestive system, and reproductive systems. (2)
How Does The Body Make Collagen?
Your body makes collagen out of key vitamins, minerals, and through multiple processes. All proteins contain amino acids and the most abundant amino acid found in collagen is glycine, which is an essential amino acid.
As you age, it’s natural and normal for collagen to decrease, which can contribute to less flexible ligaments, weakening muscles, joint pain, wrinkles, and may thin the lining of your digestive tract which can cause digestive issues. (3) (4)
Besides aging, the most common reason someone doesn’t produce enough collagen is poor nutrition or poor diet or eating too much sugar, lacking the essential nutrients your body needs to create collagen. (5)
Just as the body can make collagen, it also can catabolize it as well from damaging actions like spending too much time in the sun and smoking can break down collagen.
Key nutrients involved in collagen production
Vitamin C is key to collagen production because it plays a role in three hydroxylation reactions, which are important in order for the collagen molecule to change into a triple-helix configuration.
In addition to vitamin C, iron also plays an important role as the cofactor, which means in this process it’s oxidized during the hydroxylation reaction and converted from ferrous state to a ferric state (an additional oxygen molecule). In order for vitamin C to work (in this case, used as a reductant), the iron (ferric state) needs to reduce to its ferrous state (with 2 oxygen molecules).
You can see, although this seems simple for our body to maintain healthy skin, hair, nails, connective tissue, tendons, cartilage, bone, and teeth — it’s also heavily dependent on our bodies supply of vitamin C.
Vitamin C deficiency is rare in the modern day, but in order to support your body in producing collagen, make sure you’re eating foods rich in vitamin C, iron, and other collagen producing nutrients.
Also, if you’re a meat eater you’re most likely eating plenty of the amino acids and nutrients required to produce collagen. Your body will break collagen down in the gut and reuse it to build more proteins. Zinc, an abundant nutrient in meat-rich diets, is a key nutrient in this process and the function of collagenase which digests collagen in the gut. Although plant-based diets may not contain the same load of amino acids and meat-rich diets, they can still provide the nutrients needed to create collagen.
Foods rich in collagen-producing nutrients
Foods that contain vitamin C, iron, silicon, proline, lysine, threonine, and zinc are important in the collagen production process.
Vitamin C rich foods are found in a variety of foods you may have in the kitchen already. These foods include citrus fruits, peppers, cherries, chives, parsley, rose hips, currants, guava, kale, tomatoes, leeks, and so many more.
Silicon-rich foods are abundantly found in plant-based foods like oats, whole wheat, nuts, root vegetables, seafood, and organ meats. (6)
Proline, the amino acid, is found in gelatin, cheeses, beef, soy protein, cabbage, yogurt, asparagus, bamboo shoots, seaweed, mushrooms, sunflower seeds, and more.
Lysine-rich foods are found abundantly in animal proteins and dairy. Lysine is also found in plant-based sources like avocados, apricots, mangoes, tomatoes, potatoes, pears, peppers, leeks, beets, legumes, soy, pumpkin seeds, cashews, pistachios, and grains like quinoa, amaranth, and buckwheat.
Iron-rich foods include animal proteins and organ meats like liver, kidneys, red meat, and shellfish. There are plant-based sources of iron which include spinach, legumes, quinoa, pumpkin seeds, molasses, broccoli, tahini, and tofu.
Threonine is another amino acid needed for collagen production, is essential meaning your body can’t make it so you have to get it from your diet. Foods rich in threonine include lentils, peanuts, eggs, animal proteins, chickpeas, beans, and asparagus.
In addition to food sources, supplements can be taken to make sure you’re getting enough of these nutrients to produce collagen, but if you’re consuming a diet rich in whole foods, you’re most likely getting enough of these key nutrients. If not, just chat with your dietitian to get a proper plan in place for supplementation needs.
Why Is Collagen Protein Powder Trending?
Most collagen protein powder brands market their collagen to improve digestive health and support beauty. In the beauty world, for example, creams that claim to increase collagen levels through the topical application, but this application may not work because collagen molecules are too large to be absorbed through the skin.
Another reason collagen protein powder has been trending and growing in products are due to health claims. Most claim collagen powder can heal leaky gut (i.e. intestinal hyperpermeability), increase the length/strength/thickness of hair, increase the health of nails, and produce collagen within your skin to look younger.
What The Science Tells Us About Collagen Supplements
In 2014, a double-blind study found a significant enough difference in skin elasticity of around 50 middle-aged women who added a few grams of collagen to their daily diet over a couple of months (7).
There are some studies showing that consuming collagen peptide powders rich in the amino acid glycine may improve joint health, reduce joint pain, improve skin elasticity, reduce intestinal inflammation, may improve quality of sleep, and may improve wound healing. (8) (9) (10) (11) (12) (13)
Just like anything, we can subjectively try it out and see if it uniquely works for us. If one is increasing the protein in their diet, such as collagen protein powder, one will increase the intake of amino acids in their diet.
Consuming more amino acids in your diet especially glycine, which are the building blocks of protein, you’ll reap the benefits of a diet richer in protein. Protein is heavily involved in collagen production within the body — oftentimes protein sources also contain the nutrients needed for collagen production. Protein is also a key macronutrient for maintaining the overall health of the hair, skin, nails, etc.
Protein is also largely responsible for improving gut function and supporting the cell turnover that happens — glutamine for example, is an amino acid that’s a key player in gut health and gut function and is found abundantly in protein-rich foods.
Glutamine is also found in collagen powders, but also plant-based protein powders and animal-based protein powders, and even cabbage.
We don’t know if collagen protein powders live up to all of the claims, yet the studies on collagen have also shown that it doesn’t cause harm.
As with any food supplement such as collagen protein powders, there’s always room for more studies on humans, testing different types of collagen peptide sources, while controlling for more variables in one’s diet and lifestyle to get a fuller picture.
On another note, if collagen protein powders don’t sit well with you from an ethical standpoint, plant-based protein powders can be an addition to your diet to ensure the intake of enough amino acids.
As a society, it’s easy to wish there were powders or pills we could consume that would guarantee results quick like our hair, skin, and nails are strong and heal gut issues and improve joints. But we know improving health conditions is more about engaging in long-term sustainable healthy eating habits and living well.
Have you tried collagen protein powder? Share your experiences and thoughts on the topic by commenting below or share on Instagram.
Become an NS Society® Member
A monthly membership to support you in making healthy habits with monthly video classes and member perks exclusive to the NS Society® community — led by Dietitian and Founder of NS, McKel Hill, MS, RDN, LDN.
NS Society Monthly class is about habits, support, and accountability.
Making lasting change, routines, and accomplishing goals take practice and small steps to creating new habits. We’re two months into the New Year and were overwhelmed with questions from the NS Society members about how to continue to stay on track, how to find support with their family and friends, and one member as a new mom asks how to take the time to take care of herself.
In this NS Society Monthly Class McKel answers…
Melissa asked: I feel like I don’t have any support with my new goals that I’m trying to add to my life – how do I stay strong and motivated?
Jamie asked: I went on vacation and now all my habits and goals are gone! How do I get back on track?
Sarah asked: I have so many negative habits like sleeping with the TV on which I know I’m not supposed to do, mindless snacking late at night, and drinking heavily on the weekends when I’m out with friends. I feel like I should do better and don’t know where to start.
Jen asked: I have all these goals I want to accomplish but I have no idea how to start and now it just feels too overwhelming. What plan I can follow?
Alicia asked: I have a really stressful job, I’m a new mom, and caretaker of another family member. I’m feeling so overwhelmed and have no time for myself. How do I real my goals of weight loss to my pre-pregnancy weight?
Remember, as a member of the NS Society, you can submit your questions, topics, and coaching questions here.
Also, be sure to check your inbox with news on new features!
New Features: NS SocietyAccount Info —
To access your member account type, sign into your account here. This is where you will go if you need to update logistics (i.e. your payment method, cancellations, address updates, etc.).Member Portal —
NEW! If you’d like to view all your NS Society member content in one easy to access place, then please click here to let us know you’d like access to the new member portal.You’ll be getting a separate email with your login and password if you choose to access your NS Society content there. Otherwise, you can still freely access it on nutritionstripped.com after you’ve signed into your Account. (scroll below for a sneak peek of the portal.)
NEW! We’re evolving our Q&A’s which have been reflected in articles, to video classes. Be sure to submit your question each month to have it answered in the video. Submit your questions, topics, or thoughts here.
Join us —
NEW! Join McKel and the rest of the members of the NS Society group to chat daily. Click here to request access — it’s a private group to members-only so allow 24 hours for our team to grant your access.
Not all our NS Society members want additional support and accountability, so if it’s not your jam no worries, but we’d love to have you! One of many benefits of joining is we’ll be hosting occasional surprise live chats.
But, more importantly, it’s a safe space to share your successes and challenges in making self-care, health, and nutrition a daily practice.
Live Facebook Group Chat —
In our new NS Society members-only Facebook group, I’ll be hosting a quick live chat to catch up, answer your questions, and I’d love to meet you!
First, join the Facebook group and introduce yourself, then be on the lookout for an announcement post in the group for a live chat next week.
Tired of cooking tofu that tastes like blah? Meet the best cooked tofu recipe.
I’ve found this to be my go-to, reliable, and trustworthy tofu recipe that I can always count on making on meal prep day and inevitably will enjoy later in the week.
If you’re looking for a tofu recipe that goes with everything you add it to — from salads, a stir-fry, roasted vegetables, dipped in a sauce or condiment, added to pasta, or your favorite Nourish Bowl — then you’ve found it here!
This best cooked tofu recipe is a mix of sweet, spicy, and savory from the nutritional yeast (hello B vitamins and protein), soy sauce of your choice, a splash of maple syrup, an optional dash of chili sauce, and spices you probably already have in your pantry.
Is Tofu Healthy?
The soybean is one of the most common foods in our diet, primarily because soy is found in most processed foods (1).
Tofu is made from soy and depending on the brand you can purchase tofu that’s organic and/or organic and sprouted. Sprouted means the soybeans have been sprouted before being processed as tofu, which may help increase the nutrient density.
Whole soybeans have many nutrients, and they’re a decent source of plant-based protein. They become unhealthy, however, when they’re processed at high temperatures. They also contain phytates, which affect the absorption of their nutrients. (2)
The soy you can find now isn’t the same as the soy crop from your grandparents’ day and age. Soy-derived products like soybean oil and soy protein are incredibly refined, and over 90% of them in the US have been genetically modified, according to the US Department of Agriculture. (3) Soybean oil also contains an imbalanced amount of Omega-6 polyunsaturated fats, which in excess, that can lead to inflammation and health problems. (4)
Take a deeper look at the health benefits of soy and some things to consider when consuming soy in our NS Society exclusive journal article.
You can make a large batch of this recipe for multiple servings for the week ahead and if you want to use this sauce on other proteins like tempeh, fish, chicken, etc. then you absolutely can and it’ll taste great!
If you like oatmeal, you’ll love this simple Baked Raspberry Porridge.
I just started baking my oatmeal in batches during my weekly meal prep and I’m pretty happy about it. I think you’ll love this Baked Raspberry Porridge that can be made with a variety of fruits, nuts, and even different grains.
Baking your oatmeal might save you a lot of time, effort, and the result will be delicious!
If you don’t love raspberries, you can use whatever fruit you enjoy from fresh blueberries, mango, pineapple, banana, cherries, apples, the list goes on. In addition to the variety of using whatever fruit you love and have on hand, you can also use frozen.
Frozen fruit is often more affordable, easy to get your hands on, and even easier to keep stocked in your freezer for a quick recipe to make on your meal prep day. A win-win.
I’ve been making varieties of this baked porridge for the past month because it’s so easy to toss in the oven alongside sweet potatoes, tofu, veggies, etc. on my meal prep day.
It also makes several servings, between 4-6 depending on your unique portion needs, and tastes just as delicious heated up as a leftover as it does straight out of the oven.
Learning how to make your home a health sanctuary can include stocking the kitchen, to great air quality.
This article brings in some facts about creating a home more conducive to health and is also a way for me to answer so many personal questions I’ve had about this topic. For the past several years I’ve intentionally put systems in place where our home feels more like a place of rest, retreat and solitude from my full schedule.
I’m incredibly impacted by the atmosphere of my surroundings — from the sight, scent, air quality, organization, etc. all of it impacts my ability to either fully relax or focus, depending on the space I’m in.
Do you feel the same way? If so, these tips to creating a space that’s more supportive of your self-care and health will help.
How The Home Can Support Your Health
Just as we’re mindful and aware of food items we put into our body, the same should be said about the air we breathe, the cleaning supplies we use in our home and everything else that surrounds us.
Things that make our space feel more like a health sanctuary or a space that supports my overall wellbeing is a mix of items and actions.
I’m mindful of the energy I bring into my home — as in checking myself if I’m particularly stressed or anxious — that way, what’s coming into our space is more aligned with how I would like to feel.
Engaging in activities that you love are also key to making it feel like a retreat away from all of the stimulation and distractions of daily life. For me, this looks like cooking, journaling, meditating, practicing yoga, reading, spending quality time with my husband, hanging out with friends, tidying, painting/artwork, watching movies, anything that brings me joy.
How To Make Your Home A Health Sanctuary
We have many resources on how to stock and organize your kitchen, food safety, and how to best utilize your space from these articles and our programs.
Understandably many don’t have access to buy completely new furniture, a home of our dreams or to get everything on our wish list at any given time, but we can take a lot of action that can impact the overall mood and vibe of the home.
Natural Lighting: If you have a lot of natural light then utilize it! Natural light can be so peaceful, not to mention more economical versus having lights on all day. After sunset, we typically turn off all blue lights and switch over to beeswax candles (which seems quite primitive but amazing and cozy!). Or we turn on sea salt lamps which are a beautiful amber warm color which is more conducive to relaxation.
Plants and nature elements: plants not only can improve the air quality, but they also bring a sense of nature and earth into your home which can be grounding and bring a little extra hygge to your space. (4)
Scent: as much as I love all the fancy candles, with my migraine history most candles and strong scents like perfumes can easily be a trigger so we opt for essential oils. Regardless of migraines, most candles contain hundreds of chemicals that can be irritating to our health over time so opt for a simple essential oil blend which is also more economical in the end. (1) (2) Also try burning palo santo, or organic incense.
Cozy: the element of cozy can be fluffy blankets, your favorite pillows, a great soft rug, or maybe your favorite cozy sweatshirt. There are so many individual preferences for what defines “cozy” so adding more of those elements in your home can help you feel more relaxed and at ease.
Declutter: if you haven’t heard of the KonMari method, try that one out! It’s been the most effective method for our home in clearing out the clutter, keeping it minimal, and only bringing in things into our home that we love and that bring us happiness. Not only that, the air feels different in your home when you’re able to declutter and get rid of the things by either donating, selling or giving away to a friend.
Special space: is there a special space in your home you can completely dedicate to you? If so, make that space (i.e. a room or a spot in one room) all about the things that make you feel great, bring joy, and help you feel at ease.
Beauty: are there pieces of artwork, sculptures, family photos, drawings from your kids that light you up? Hang them around your space to be surrounded visually by things that cultivate love and beauty as defined by you. For me, that includes all of the above and I really enjoy interior design and style so having a beautiful space (by my definition) is important for how I feel when I’m relaxing.
You would think that the cleanest air we breathe is at our home, right? For the majority of us, our homes and offices or places of work can actually contribute to worse air quality than outside.
Did you know that the average American spends about 8.7 hours a day inside their house, which is just based off sleeping and household activities? That’s about 70 hours a week we may potentially be in contact with harmful chemicals, toxins, mold, etc. that might be hanging out in your home.
Unless you live in the mountains or far removed from city life (our goals for 2019!), it’s important that the air quality in your home is as clean as possible. Not to mention having cleaner air can help those who suffer from allergies.
Air Filter: I’ve been using air filters for over 10 years in my homes and the one that I recently switched to has been the best, called an Intellipure. I’ve also used and recommended this HEPA filter.
Be sure to change your air filters in your home HVAC unit or if you use portable AC / heat units be sure you’re changing the air filters regularly.
Having plants in your home can not only give off my oxygen but also can clean your home. The top plants said to give off better air quality are spider plant, dracaena, ficus, peace lily, snake plant, boston fern, bamboo, and aloe. (3)
Remember the statistic about most of us spending 70 hours a week at our home, including sleep?
For example, if you sleep 8 hours a night, that’s roughly 56 hours a week just sleeping let alone getting ready for bed or in the morning. Why not maximize your health during that time?
Here are a couple resources to keep in mind with a healthier sleep:
Avocado Mattress or another organic mattress company you enjoy. Mattresses typically have chemicals such as flame retardants and formaldehyde. (6)
Make your own DIY sleep spray with lavender essential oil
Consider Natural Cleaners
Not only do natural cleaners work, but they contain less (if any) chemicals in them while helping us protect the environment, reduce costs in the long-term, and can smell great without causing any headaches for those sensitive.
Note that some natural cleaners haven’t been shown to effectively disinfect or kill harmful bacteria and potential viruses so use these in context.
Castile soap: I love using this for a multi-purpose cleaner and it doesn’t hurt that it’s actually a body wash too.
Baking soda: Baking soda is great for neutralizing odors and when mixed with vinegar created a bubbly cleaning solution (always test small areas before going all in).
Vinegar: because of its acidic nature it removes grease, grime, and any build up. Because of the strong smell, try adding in a couple drops of orange or lemon essential oil and it’ll smell much better.
Orange essential oil: great for keeping bugs and ants off kitchen countertops and also has a bright smell. I mix this with water or vinegar for a multi-surface cleaner and wipe off with a cloth.
Lemon juice: smells amazing and is great for polishing and cleaning up stains. I use this in my kitchen sink all the time and put it down the disposal to help clean the blades while making it smell nice.
Spray bottles for making your own DIY house cleaners (with labels to make sure you know what those bottles contain and if there are any special instructions to note).
Try using a swiffer at home but instead of purchasing the pads, use these microfiber mats. You can cut them into 8 pieces that fit the pad giving you washable and reusable pads for cleaning or polishing the floors.
Be sure to wash the filters in your vacuums or replace them regularly, ideally use vacuums with a builtin hepa filter.
What are your favorite ways to make your home a health sanctuary? Share below or on Instagram so the rest of the community can hear what you have experienced!
Here’s an interesting and informative list of common household chemicals that were potentially linked to health issues in a landmark UN study and according to the NY Times in 2012.