The last 2 months have been an incredible learning experience for me. After pushing through with my rehab for several months, I finally started to make noticeable changes in how I was feeling each day.
Honestly, this would not have been possible at all without Anna, as well as my trainer Teon Plater (@topknotchfitness).
I want to quickly go over some of the more important knowledge and tactics that I have learned, starting with letting everyone know that without a doubt the person who you are receiving the majority of your health and fitness advice from is 100% indicative of the results that you get from your training.
I have had some excellent people train me (I am referring to Athletic Trainers, Physical Therapists, and Personal Trainers alike by this) over the years and would not be where I am in my career without the help of a lot of different people.
The most important point that I can make to everyone right now is make sure that you are listening to the right people, because I know that my rehab would not have been as successful without making the right decision on who to train me through this process.
Listening to the correct person not only allows you to hear the best advice possible, but will also stimulate beneficial thoughts of your own. So if nothing else, take this piece of advice and remember it for whatever you are attempting to be successful in!
Now, on to my advice!
How to Stay Healthy During the Summer
Summertime is the season of Pitta (one of the three doshas), which affects digestion, metabolism and all heat in the body, mind, and environment.
When Pitta gets overactive and overheated, we get out of balance. This affects everything in us: we can experience anger, impatience, irritability, sleep disorders, and just burnout in general.
Luckily, Ayurveda teaches us how to create a balance of our minds and bodies in our environment.
Follow these tips to keep cool and find balance this summer!
Avoid Foods and Drinks that Heat You Up
When your body is already hot, the last thing it needs is more heat in the form of spicy foods.
Try to avoid all hot spices, like curry, chili, hot peppers, and salsas. A bit of pepper, cumin, or ginger are ok, but avoid cayenne pepper in Pitta season.
Also, foods like cheese, yogurt, and sour cream add too much heat in the summer. So do salty foods, which will also leave you dehydrated and can irritate your skin.
Try to avoid onions, garlic, tomatoes, beetroot, and spinach if possible. And don’t forget alcohol – it also has a heating effect on your body.
Consume Foods that Cool You Down
The best foods to consume in summer are either sweet, bitter or astringent.
Coconut, olive, and sunflower oils are great for balancing Pitta as are milk and butter.
Eat sweet and ripe fruits like mangoes, plums, peaches, pineapples, grapes, cherries, avocados. Mint and cilantro are also excellent.
Green vegetables like broccoli, salads, zucchini, cucumbers, asparagus, beans are great and so are sweet potatoes.
See Also: Coconut Products
Stay Hydrated but Avoid Ice Cold Drinks
While most people think an ice cold drink is the best way to cool down in the summer, in reality, it is not. Cold drinks interfere with digestion and can cause all sorts of problems like bloating, cramps, and general discomfort.
Drink cool liquids like mint tea, coconut water, or regular tap water.
Another great way to support your body in the hot summer months is consuming fresh juice made with a cold press juicer.
The juice will be at the right temperature as well as contain all the necessary vitamins and minerals to help your body deal with the stress of the heat.
Additional Information: Benefits of Juicing Once a Day
Avoid Exercising During the Day
The best time to work out according to Ayurveda is early morning or early evening – that’s when nature is the coolest. Exercising in the middle of the day when the sun is at its strongest is going to create unbalance.
Best exercises to do are light activities like walking, swimming, and yoga.
Related Reading: Summer Shredding
Don’t Forget Fun!
Try to balance the heat with less intensity in your work.
Make time for relaxing and de-stressing. When we are out of balance, we tend to be more impatient and demanding, which often results in burnout. Take time to play and have some fun.
Read Also: Health Benefits of Playing Outdoor Games
Relax Your Mind
The best way to create balance in your body is by finding time to meditate every day. If that’s not an option, take a walk in nature during your lunch break, listen to some soothing music, or try breathing exercises to relax your mind.
Try some of these tips and see if you feel calmer, lighter, and happier.
Additional Reading: How to Create an Outdoor Meditation Space
Avoid Common Food Allergies for Good Health
Avoid the most common food allergies at all costs, because whether you consciously feel it or not they are slowing your body down!
The 3 biggest that I suggest to avoid like the plague are gluten, dairy and soy.
Others include fish, shellfish, tree nuts and nuts.
These have remained in my diet because I do not have any food allergy to them and am yet to see the need to kick them out of my usual diet.
As someone who has dealt with asthma their whole life and chronically suffers from season allergies, eliminating gluten, soy, and dairy was the best decision I have ever made.
I will go in to this more about reducing seasonal allergy symptoms in a different way in my next tip, but I want to explain this more here first.
Within 2 weeks of making this change I felt a noticeable difference in my breathing and my need to use allergy medicine. After about 5 weeks, I’ve effectively reduced my need to use Zyrtec (my allergy medicine of choice) to once or twice per week.
Something I would have considered impossible at any other time in my life.
Along with this, I have noticed an extreme reduction in inflammation throughout my whole body-especially after the first 3 weeks of removing these foods.
For the first time in years I have been able to bench press consistently without shoulder pain, and do any type of leg training without the need for leggings or knee sleeves. My body doesn’t ache, my ankle is not swollen anymore, and I am lifting stronger than I ever have.
Whether we notice it through any conventional allergy symptom or not, the human body does not process these foods well at all.
Along with this, there are just as easy replacements for all of these. The need to keep them in your diet is just not there.
Dairy milk is easily replaced with its healthier cousin-goat milk, and almond milk and cashew milk has been readily available at every grocery store I have seen since looking for them. Some people cringe at the thought of goat milk (for some undenounced reason to me), but it is far more similar to human milk, and therefore far more easily digested.
Gluten-free options are available just about everywhere at this point, you just need to get on board with the understanding that gluten is actually that bad for us.
Most people don’t purposefully intake soy, but I suggest becoming increasingly aware of companies sneaking it in to their products. Soy is a cheap and effective filler for a lot of companies looking to make extra profits, be on the lookout for this!
I have learned a valuable lesson in the las couple months in that soy, dairy, and gluten are not made for us.
Any time I decide to add a couple pieces of cheese to something has been the greatest reminder of this. The taste of any of these just isn’t worth stimulating my allergies and inflaming my joints, it just isn’t.
Eat Local Raw-Honey for Seasonal Allergies
Local raw-honey (can) be just as useful as Zyrtec or other seasonal allergy medicines, and it makes perfect sense why.
I am not suggesting to anyone to discontinue your current defense against seasonal allergies if it works for you, but I want to suggest this to everyone out there to try.
Along with the fact that buying local honey means that you are supporting your local farmers (which is a very good thing to do), eating local honey has some very understandable benefits. Bees pollinate flowers, and bees also produce honey.
Local honey works very similar to the allergy shots that they give you to “treat” allergies.
Little by little you will be ingesting the pollen that is natural to your area, building your tolerance to these allergens over time.
Regardless of whether you believe this or not, there is not too much risk in trying at least. I don’t think anyone really needs an explanation on how to intake honey but if you do I’ll give you a quick rundown. Head over to your local farm and purchase some raw honey.
Ingest about 1-2 tablespoons of honey, 2-3 times per day. Personally, I like to mix it with oatmeal or just eat it straight with a spoon (I really like the taste of honey).
Contrary to popular theory I do not suggest that you mix it in to hot tea. The sugar in honey can actually combust in high temperatures causing a pretty bad chemical reaction.
Depending on the temperature of your tea this can actually happen, so I don’t really advocate the practice of it.
Outside of anything that can increase the temperature of the honey too much, this is a generally safe trick to try and hopefully you will feel the same benefits that I have!
Try Organic Maple Sugar Instead of Overloading on Caffeine
Organic-raw maple syrup, maple products, and honey are possibly the 2 best sources of lasting and stimulating energy I have ever tried, trumping caffeine in a land slide.
Pre-workout might give you a little kick, but it doesn’t have the same lasting power as these two.
I am fortunate enough to have grown up in a region of the world (Upstate New York) with a rich cultural tradition of making maple syrup.
I don’t have the exact story but briefly; the Native American’s in this region taught the settlers who came over from Europe early on about the benefits of maple syrup and other maple products, along with how to effectively cultivate it.
From then on maple syrup has been a staple product made in Upstate New York, and I can firmly assert with legitimate support that my high school produces the best maple syrup in the world.
Lucky enough for me, this information has dripped to me through the years and I was allowed to learn the benefit that this wonderful product can have.
However, it was not until just a few weeks ago that Anna stumbled upon this information online when looking for a suitable replacement for sugar in our cooking. This sparked my re-investment in maple products, and 2 weeks in I could not be happier.
Combining maple syrup, maple sugar and honey with my morning oatmeal has made me feel as energetic and “pumped-up” for workouts as I have in a number of years.
The easiest explanation for this is that it is a concentrated form of glucose, that is also natural and organically produced.
This type of glucose stimulates your brain, and doesn’t just dump dopamine leaving you feeling drained and tired in less than an hour.
Instead it improves the cognitive ability of your brain, and powers your muscles to work just the same. Similarly, to purchasing honey from local farms, the best maple syrup you will find is also at farms in your area.
In the northern part of America, I know that maple syrup is produced fairly regularly, but I am not sure about the south.
Regardless, looking for maple syrup that is produced from a local source instead of a large company will be far better quality and far better tasting.
Other benefits of maple products include anti-inflammatory properties, high levels of antioxidants, improved digestion, important vitamins such as zinc and magnesium, and a surprisingly low glycemic index when compared with other types of sugar.
Combining these benefits of maple syrup with the aforementioned local honey gives you a powerful stack of natural products to fuel you every day!
Protect Your Eyes from Infection This Summer
You may think about putting on lots of sunscreen when you’re laying at the beach this summer or when you’re walking around town.
But what about your eyes?
Sure, you’re protecting your skin from the harmful rays of the sun when you put on sunscreen, but that’s also going to be leaving your eyes dangerously exposed and prone to infection. And you definitely don’t want something like that ruining your summer fun.
Keep reading down below to learn some more about the top ways that you can protect yourself and your eyes from infection this summer.
Additional Information: Foods That Will Improve Your Eye Health
Be Sure to Wear Sunglasses That Offer Complete Protection
First up, we’re going to start with the obvious one – sunglasses! You have got to be wearing sunglasses whenever the sun is shining this summer. This is your first weapon in your line of defense against the dangerous effects of the sun. However, you shouldn’t just purchase any sunglasses.
Make sure to only use sunglasses that offer 100% protection against the UV rays that come from the sun. This will ensure that you are getting the maximum protection possible when you’re out and about.
Use Goggles When You Go to The Pool
One of the worst parts about going for the first dip of the summer in your pool is that the chlorine can sting your eyes a lot when you first open them in the water. A great way to avoid that and the possible damage to your eyes that comes with it is to wear swim goggles when you’re swimming in the pool.
This will decrease the chances of that chlorine getting into your eyes and improve your infection prevention.
Wash Your Hands and Avoid Rubbing Your Eyes Too Much
Next up, we have a piece of advice that’s one that you’ve probably heard a lot about over the years.
You’ve got to wash your hands thoroughly and regularly and avoid touching your eyes with them to avoid infection. Even if you think that your hands are clean, you would be surprised at how much bacteria can get on them throughout the day and stay on them.
This is especially true if you’re going to be on a family vacation at the beach.
Everything from the public restrooms to your kid’s hands have the potential to spread around dangerous bacteria that could then be rubbed into your eyes, causing an infection.
Wear Hats to Protect Your Eyes
Even if you were to wear sunglasses all of the time when the sun is out, this wouldn’t be enough to give you 100% protection from the sun’s UV rays. This is because there are still the gaps on the top of the sunglasses that allow the rays to get through.
You can solve this problem by wearing a hat that curves around on the front, to fully protect your eyes from the rays.
Protect Your Eyes from Chemicals
Even if you don’t think about chemical burns in your eyes so much, there are plenty of ways that you can get into this situation at home. For example, when a soap bubble pops near your eyes, that can cause a chemical burn. Or from splashing cleaning solutions.
When you are handling any kind of toxic chemicals this summer, make sure to wear the proper protective eye gear to be extra safe. You definitely don’t want a chemical burn happening anywhere near your eyes.
Keep Your Children Safe
It’s true that many people don’t realize until their adults the importance of taking care of their eyes from UV rays and chemicals.
However, by that time, there is already lasting damage because the proper precautions were not taken. A great idea this summer is to get your kids started on eye protection.
Teach them these topics while they’re young and they will be better prepared throughout life to keep their eyes safe and healthy.
Always Wear Eye Protection During Outdoor Activities
And lastly, whenever you’re going to be doing any sort of outdoor activity, make sure to wear eye protection in the form of sunglasses or other more intense gear.
This is because you never know what could fly into your eyes, whether that be an actual fly or some dirt from the ground. Any number of things that make contact with your eye can cause serious infections.
Each of these points is an important way to take precaution and protect your eyes from infection this summer. Make sure to follow these points and you’ll be well prepared to have a great and safe time.
Concluding Thoughts – The Best Summer Health Tips
Here you are!
These are three of the biggest and most important changes I have made to my life in the past few months, and they are simple changes that I believe everyone can make fairly easily.
Later this week I will come back with a few more of the most important health and fitness tips that I have learned that have led to my improved health lately, this time with exercise and training advice!
Remember, you should always consult your doctor before making any drastic changes to your diet or exercise routine that you do not feel comfortable with.
Additional Reading: Summer Weight Loss Tips