These health hacks really deserve a post all to themselves. Each of them are so super simple, it’s hard to believe that things this easy have such a huge, positive impact on our health.
They say Rome wasn’t built in a day, and beginning new habits take time – but these little tricks are that easy, you could start them all tomorrow and it wouldn’t take you more than 5 minutes all together!
1. Tongue scraping
Tongue scraping is an ancient Ayurvedic self-care ritual that removes toxins and bacteria from our tongues. When we sleep, our body is doing most of it’s work to rejuvenate and remove waste and toxins from our bodies. A lot of these toxins are removed while we exhale, and are left on the surface of our tongue. So when we scrape our tongue first thing in the morning, we remove the toxins that would otherwise be reabsorbed when we eat or drink next. These toxins cause bad breath, can block our pores and taste buds, make our immunity system work overtime and decreases saliva production (which plays an important role in our digestion). So there is lots of reasons to give it a go.
Have you seen those Colgate or other dental hygiene ads where they are promoting the use of tongue scrapers? Many brands have included tongue scrapers on the back of their toothbrush heads. Ayurvedic tongue scrapers work a little differently, and when used remove either white, yellow or off-coloured debris from your tongue. I’m addicted to mine now, and crave the feeling of it as soon as I wake up. Knowing what I know about it now and being in the practice of it, it doesn’t feel right for me to drink or eat anything to wash the toxins back down into my system that my body worked so hard to remove in the first place. Such a simple and effective practice!
Side note: the first time you do it will feel pretty weird and might gross you out a bit. But you quickly get used to it, and can’t imagine swallowing the yuck that you remove each morning!
2. Honey and Apple Cider Vinegar
First thing I do in the mornings (after tongue scraping of course, and excluding the mornings I meet my friend Georgie for coffee before work) I make myself and Zac a honey and apple cider vinegar drink. It’s a teaspoon of honey and a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar with hot water. I like to boil the kettle and let it sit for a bit while I get dressed or have a shower, so that when I pour it, it’s not super hot. For so long I tried to have apple cider vinegar in hot water in the morning before breakfast. I really didn’t like the taste and sometimes it would make me feel sick. But because I knew how good it was for you I would try to persist, but never stuck with it for long periods of time. It was then suggested to me to add honey (because it’s a natural sweetener) to counteract the bitterness of the vinegar, and has it’s own super healing powers. Genius! Now I love the taste, and don’t feel like I can eat my breakfast until I’ve cleansed my stomach with the honey and vinegar drink first. Because we get so dehydrated when we sleep (because we’ve gone so long without water) eating something first up isn’t the kindest thing we can do for our body. So to give it some TLC and a kick start, apple cider vinegar is the bomb. Digestive system cleansed and woken, tick. Re-hydrated, tick. Deliciousness, tick.
You can get Apple Cider Vinegar and honey from the supermarket! Be sure to get honey that is real, rather that the sugary syrups pretending to be honey that are available – just check the label.
3. Coconut Oil
Have you ever seen the movie ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding’ and the dad in the film puts Windex on everything? That’s how I feel about Coconut oil; it’s my go to for everything. Here’s the most proven ways that it can be used in your everyday routine.
You may have heard of oil pulling before; it’s an ancient remedy where you put a teaspoon of coconut oil in your mouth and swish it around. Although, most of us think that oil pulling needs to be done for at least 20 minutes, but the truth is, 2-3 minutes will suffice! The problem with mouth wash is that it doesn’t only kill the bad bacteria, but it kills all the good bacteria in our mouth, too – even the ones we need to fight off common, little nasties. Enter, Coconut oil! It’s a great safe and natural replacement for your common mouth washes, as it draws out all the bad bacteria from your gums without damaging them, your enamel or any of the useful bacteria that keep our immunity strong.
I LOVE coconut oil as a face wash. I have pretty normal skin, with the occasional dryness on the cheeks and oily forehead. My husband has always used an exfoliator everyday because he feels like he needs the roughness to really clean his skin. He also has skin on the oily side, so anything that makes his skin feel more dried out out is a win. However, most products have added fragrances or alcohol. This is what can give you the ‘dryer’ feel. Unfortunately, this strips your skin of it’s acid mantle – which is an acidic layer our skin produces to protect itself. When this acidity get’s off balance, that’s when we can have blemishes. You see, there is a big difference between dry skin, and dehydrated skin. So products that you think are making your face less oil could be stripping your skin of water and your body’s natural defense mechanism. The answer? COCONUT OIL! My husband is 100% converted. You might think that washing oily skin with oil seems ludicrous, but it works. And I love that my skin feels so super soft after using it. I really don’t like the idea of lathering my face with god knows what sort of chemicals, and speeding up the aging process.
TIP: you only need to use a little bit. Wash twice to remove make up (if you wear it), once to remove and the other to cleanse. Use your towel to get any remainder off your face when drying if you need.
Eating it before a meal
Eating a teaspoon of coconut oil 15 minutes before you have a meal helps your digestion! The better digestion we have the more nutrients we absorb and retain from our food, the more waste we excrete and you can kiss bloating good bye!
4. Dry body brushing
When I went to Elly Lukas a billion years ago, we learnt about the benefits of dry body brushing and how to perform it as a treatment. Dry body brushing is when you use a brush to, well, brush your body. You can get a dry body brush from places like priceline or the body shop. Just before you jump into the shower, or while you’re waiting for the water to heat up before you jump in, use long stokes starting from your ankles up to your knees, then from your knees up your thighs. You can do your belly and your arms as well. So many amazing benefits for something so simple that only takes a couple of minutes.
- Increase circulation to the skin; reduce appearance of cellulite
- Helps shed dead skin cells for smoother and brighter skin
- Assists blood circulation and lymphatic drainage; releases toxins from the body
- Rejuvenates the nervous system; stimulates nerve endings on the skin, and it feels really nice too!
- Evens distribution of fat deposits
- Assists absorption of nutrients by the skin; eliminates clogged pores
5. Filter your water and add salt
EVERY SINGLE REACTION IN YOUR BODY NEEDS WATER! To breathe, to digest, to speak, to walk to do ANYTHING our body NEEDS water!
Water that comes from the tap has traveled through kilometers of pipeline, picking up contaminants, pesticides and industrial run-off along the way. Water companies disinfect our water by often adding in more chemicals that sometimes you can taste, like chlorine. There’s so much funk in the water that it’s best to filter it. We use Brita jugs at home which you can also get from the supi.
A little bit like the mouth wash, most mouth wash removes both the good and the bad bacteria. The same happens when we filter the water – we also remove the good stuff. So to prevent water retention and to enable our bodies to absorb the water that we drink, add a pinch of salt to each litre that you filter. This puts the good stuff back in (obviously not table salt or refined salt, but a good quality pink rock salt, or Himalayan etc.).
(6.) Also, drink room temperature water, not cold. It’s better for your digestive system.
Cold water is not good for our digestive system. It constricts it functioning, so it’s always best to drink anything at room temperature. Drinking room temperature water is like a big hug for your internal organs.
I would absolutely love to hear from you. Do you do any of the above already?
What are you going to try?
Image via @t2tea