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    The Unexpected Workout That I Actually Enjoy (and You Might Too)

    I’m ready to sing it from the rooftops: I finally found a form of exercise that I’ve stuck with and that I truly enjoy. It’s not too strenuous—but it burns enough calories for me, makes me feel good, and is easy to fit into my routine. So, what is it? Walking. Yes, that’s it: just going for a nice long walk. I have long heard about the benefits of walking (and obviously have gone for walks here and there in the past), but I hadn’t really gotten into a regular routine until recently.
    I’ve always been someone who reaaaaally struggles to find the motivation to workout, and I’ve also struggled with finding a type of workout that I truly enjoy. I’ve had little bursts of getting into a routine and doing one specific workout multiple times a week, but I always end up becoming bored of it and then losing motivation to work out altogether. 
    Then, a few months ago, I was inspired by the “Hot Girl Walk” trend on TikTok (if you haven’t seen it, it’s basically just putting on music that makes you feel confident, using the time to manifest for yourself, and walking a few miles) to invest in a good pair of walking shoes and a fanny pack and really commit. Now, every time I go for a walk, I come back to my apartment feeling so much better and like I did something great not only for my physical health but for my mental health as well. 

    So, what are the benefits of walking?
    According to Mayo Clinic, daily walking may help your general physical health because it can improve cardiovascular fitness, assist in maintaining a healthy weight, and strengthen your bones, muscles, and endurance.
    Regular walking has numerous mental health benefits as well: It can increase your energy levels, improve coordination, strengthen your immune system, and reduce stress. It can also improve your mood, cognition, memory, and sleep. I mean seriously, what’s not to love?
    Experts at the Mayo Clinic also say you should walk at least 30 minutes per day to truly enjoy all of the benefits of walking. You could also take it up a notch by adding weights or using the interval or incline features on a treadmill.

    Here’s how I do it:

    What’s in my headphones?
    When I first decided that I was really going to commit to getting the most out of my walks, I settled on either following the rules of the Hot Girl Walk and listening to music that helped boost my confidence or listening to a podcast. A podcast works really well because it motivates me to listen to at least one whole episode, ensuring that I walk for well over the 30-minute daily goal. 
    I haven’t tried a guided walking workout yet, but I’m very intrigued by them and definitely want to try it out. A lot of your favorite fitness apps offer them, and Apple Fitness+ even offers walking workouts narrated by celebrities (including Dolly Parton, Nick Jonas, Misty Copeland, and many more). 
    My favorite playlists and podcasts:

    Time and distance
    I don’t focus strictly on numbers; instead, I try to walk for as long as what makes me feel the best. I would say that I normally walk at least two or three miles, mostly because I genuinely enjoy it. If I’m listening to a podcast, my walks tend to be at least 45 minutes to an hour.
    At first, I just didn’t think I had enough time in the day to walk for very long, but the more I did it, the longer my walks became. I began to love walking new routes, finding new playlists, and catching up on my favorite podcasts while I walked. 

    How I fit it into my routine
    Incorporating regular exercise works best for me when I don’t force myself to stick to a particular schedule. I know that having a set routine works really well for some people, but I personally need the flexibility of just fitting it in whenever I can depending on the day. I often find that if I do try to stick to something specific (for example, getting up before work every day and working out), I tire myself out and feel defeated and less motivated when I miss a day. 
    Instead, I do whatever my day allows. Sometimes I do get up early and fit in a walk before work, sometimes I take a break from working from home and go for a walk during the day, and sometimes I don’t walk until dusk (I think sunset walks are underrated). I listen to my body, and because walking really does reduce my stress and anxiety levels, I take a walk when I feel like it’ll benefit me most. 
    It’s also important to note that I started walking regularly in early spring and live in Chicago, so the weather was unpredictable. If it’s raining or too cold, walking indoors on a treadmill is great too! I use those times to challenge myself with different incline levels and interval workouts.

    Why it works for me
    Although walking as a workout might give off old-lady-in-a-walking-club vibes, I genuinely think it has benefitted me more than any other exercise I’ve tried. Taking a long walk makes me feel less stressed, it boosts my energy and mood, clears my mind, and it actually burns a fair number of calories.
    I sometimes find it hard to actually get out the door (as I do with any workout), but once I return to my apartment, I feel 10 times better than when I left. I also enjoy the time to myself to think through big decisions or stress points in my life, practice gratitude, manifest positive changes for myself, and disconnect for a bit. Oh, and the people-and-dog-watching is always enjoyable. 
    I try to supplement my walks with other workouts as well when I can—such as strength training, pilates, or yoga—but as I mentioned, I don’t force myself to do anything in particular. I think the flexibility in this routine and my commitment to truly listen to my body has helped me actually enjoy exercising.
    So if you’re like me and have been struggling to find a workout that you enjoy, I challenge you to lace up those sneakers, put your headphones in, strap on a fanny pack, and start walking for at least 30 minutes per day. The benefits go far beyond just physical, so you might just find your new favorite activity. 

    Here are all of the products that have elevated my walking routine:

    Everywhere Belt Bag 1L
    This belt bag is so popular and for good reason. It fits everything you would need for a long walk, but it isn’t too bulky—plus it adds a little element of chic-ness to your walking outfit.
    14 colors available

    Dagne Dover
    Mara Phone Sling
    I love this bag for when I really don’t need to take much on my walk. It’s designed to fit your cell phone, and then it has card slots so you can carry just the essentials. It even has a chapstick loop, which I really appreciate.
    4 colors available

    Hoka One One
    Bondi 7 Sneaker
    After much deliberation, I decided to purchase these shoes a few months ago. They were an investment for me, but it has definitely paid off. Hoka One One sneakers are designed for running and walking, and this particular pair is ultra-cushioned and so comfortable. Is it crazy to say these literally motivate me to workout?
    10 colors available

    Myriad Walking Shoe
    If you need a more budget-friendly pair of walking sneakers, these are a great option. I’ve owned Ryka shoes in the past, and they treated me well. Plus, how cute is this colorway?

    New Balance
    Athletic Cushion Comfort Quarter Socks
    This might seem weird, but trust me on this: You need the right pair of socks for a long walk. I love these because they’re cushioned but don’t make my feet sweat, and the quarter-length prevents any rubbing from the back of a shoe.
    7 styles available

    Obé x Bala Bangles
    Ankle/Wrist Weighted Bangles
    If you really want to get the most out of a walking workout, ankle weights add that little extra something that takes it to the next level. Plus, I seriously can’t get over how cute these Obé x Bala Bangles are!

    Quay Australia
    PSA Square Sunglasses
    I bought these sunglasses at the beginning of the summer, and they’re seriously the only ones I’ve been wearing. They’re perfect for walks for two reasons: 1) They don’t get stuck in you hair when you put them on your head and 2) Nobody can see your eyes through them (meaning they’re perfect for people-watching).

    Silicone AirPods Case with Rosegold Keychain
    Not only is this AirPods case cute, I’ve found it extremely functional (and it helps you not mix up your AirPods with your roommate or partner’s). I previously owned a case without a keychain, but I found that I was wanting to be able to hook it to things. This is perfect for hooking to my belt bag.
    30+ colors available More

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    8 Easy Swaps I Made This Year To Become My Healthiest Self

    For a long time, I viewed “healthy living” as unapproachable and intimidating, mostly because I felt so unbelievably far from achieving it. Up until a few months ago, I ate too much salt, went to bed super late, watched way too much TV, drank a lot of wine, and ordered McDonald’s chicken nuggets more times than I’d like to admit. Before I discovered attainable health swaps for my life, I felt like a bit of a failure in the wellness department.
    This year, I’ve put more focus on the small day-to-day choices that I make instead of becoming consumed and overwhelmed with drastic, unsustainable changes that derail me from even trying in the first place. For me, making healthy swaps for things I was already doing and eating was a great, welcoming approach for living my best life, and now, I swear by it. These eight healthier choices helped me transform the way I look at healthy living and have fueled my fire to keep this lifestyle going:

    1. Matcha instead of coffee
    Don’t get me wrong—I love my coffee and still drink it occasionally. But instead of viewing espresso as a vital necessity to life, I view it as more of a treat instead of a three-cups-a-day routine. After years of drinking almost a pot of coffee a day, I realized that it didn’t even keep me awake anymore, and I felt close to ill when I’d skip a cup. This is when I knew I needed a change. Now, I drink a teaspoon of matcha with vanilla oat milk almost every day, and I’m hooked. Not only does it give me a little bit of a caffeine buzz, but it’s also packed with antioxidants and other nutrients that actually make me feel good about drinking it. 

    2. Reading before bed instead of scrolling on my phone
    Before the last month, falling into a bottomless, deep, dark hole on TikTok or Instagram before bed was one of my most fatal flaws, and unfortunately, my most closely practiced ritual. While I didn’t completely give up scrolling through my phone, I do opt to read before bed instead of being sucked into the blue light blob. I find that reading three pages helps me wind down more quickly than I would spending an hour (or more) on TikTok and allows me to sleep at a more reasonable hour.

    3. Banza noodles instead of traditional pasta
    This is one of the easiest swaps I’ve incorporated into my meal prepping routine. If you aren’t already on the chickpea noodle train, this is your sign to hop aboard. I’ve been a pasta junkie my entire life (perks of growing up with an Italian grandmother), and while I never felt guilty for consuming it in mass amounts, I found that chickpea noodles (low carb, gluten-free, and high in protein) are just as good and so worth the healthy substitute. If I’m going to be eating pasta anyway, I might as well swap it with something that tastes just as great and is a bit healthier, right?

    4. Eating in instead of eating out
    OK, I’ll admit this is probably one of the more difficult “easy swaps” on this list. But I can finally say, now that I’m on the other side, it’s so much easier than I thought it would be. For years, I relied heavily on eating out and ordering on DoorDash, which typically left me feeling bloated, guilty, and—quite frankly—broke. 
    Two things that really helped me gain control over eating out were 1) finding a grocery schedule that worked for me and 2) recreating the meals I was craving in my own kitchen. That included mastering my favorite vodka pasta recipe, figuring out how to make my own Chick-fil-A sauce, and recreating my go-to Sweetgreen salad. From there, I realized that I can in fact cook, and beyond that, I could take the liberty of making healthier versions of some of my favorite meals to eat out. While I still do dine out, I now do it a lot less frequently, which has given me back some financial freedom, helps me make healthier choices at home, and allows me to cherish the times I eat out a bit more.

    Source: Colorjoy Stock

    5. Walks instead of binge-watching TV after dinner
    For a while, I was gridlocked into the routine of plopping down on the couch after cooking, eating, and cleaning up the disaster in my kitchen. Enter four-hour-long Netflix binge-watching sessions with intermittent naps that messed with my sleep schedule and took precedence over any night routine that would set me up for success the next day.
    Now, instead of giving in to the food coma, I engage in a light walk after dinner, which helps me beat the post-meal slump and allows me get some steps in toward the end of the day. Whether I walk and catch up with a friend or enjoy the solitude of a favorite-playlist-filled sunset walk, my post-dinner stroll has become one of my favorite self-care acts of the day.

    6. Dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate
    All of my life, I looked at dark chocolate with disdain because of its bitterness—I didn’t quite get the hype. But now that I’m older, wiser, and more aware of dark chocolate’s health benefits (antioxidant-packed, flavanol-filled, and more heart-healthy than milk chocolate), I gave it another go, hoping my taste buds had changed. To my surprise, I loved it. Now, I opt for dark over milk chocolate whenever I have the chance, and like my matcha vs. coffee switch, it’s an easy swap that makes me feel a lot better.

    7. A flexible activity schedule instead of a rigid workout schedule
    Before, I’d try to hop back on the workout train—lifting five days a week, sustaining injuries, losing motivation quickly—only to fall right back off of the boat. While I kept up with this yo-yo workout situation for quite some time, it’s not until this year that I finally took a step back to reevaluate my relationship with physical activity.
    I still lift weights here and there, but if I’m not able to go to the gym four to five days a week like I used to strive for, I don’t beat myself up over it. The reality is this: Life is busy. We get tired, we don’t have time, or we can’t coordinate our strict hair-washing schedule with a day of dripping sweat at the squat rack. And that’s OK. My new fitness goals focus on moving in any capacity, and I’ve found that taking a more flexible approach has made me more motivated and excited to get moving. Whether it’s a walk in the park, a yoga class, a HIIT session at the gym, or a 10-minute affair with my weighted hula hoop, I’ve found that listening to my body and keeping activity simple and fun has been a game-changer in keeping my activity levels more consistent.
    8. Hydrating before reaching for caffeine 
    The number of times in my lifetime that I’ve chugged two cups of coffee before even thinking about water is an absolute tragedy. This year, I’ve really prioritized hydrating, especially in the morning after a night of sleeping and hours of not taking sips of water. Starting my day off hydrated AF helps set the tone for the day and sets me up for success before reaching for my morning caffeine choice. 
    On the days where I focus on my water intake, I find that I have more energy to power through the mid-afternoon slump, have more stamina during my workouts, and am less prone to suffer from that late-afternoon headache and/or annoying right eye twitching. It’s not groundbreaking but, now that I’ve finally hopped on board, I totally get the hype.

    7 Things Every Woman Should Change for Better Health RN More

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    Start Today: Everything You Need to Know About Weight Training

    Wellness comes in many iterations with endless interpretations, and that makes the possibility of discovering a fitness regimen that works specifically for you and your lifestyle all the more possible! In the interest of examining every possible option to improve physical health, I would like to make the case for weight training as the perfect exercise for all of you busy, powerful women out there that are interested in factoring a new workout into your lives.
    Full disclosure: I don’t mean bodyweight strength training. I mean building up to use a barbell, free weights, and kettlebells. That’s right, I’m talking about dominating that section of the gym where all the dudes stand in front of mirrors acting like they know what they’re doing, busting out biceps curls. Strength training is one of the most rewarding skills one can master with just a few simple and extremely functional movements. If you would like to get started with weightlifting or have already started working on some movements, keep these tips in mind throughout every stage of your journey:

    You Won’t Bulk Up (Unless You Want To)
    One of the great things about strength training is its choose-your-own-adventure methodology. It’s a very common belief that you’ll start bulking up the minute you so much as look at a set of dumbbells. But here’s the thing: that’s simply not true. It requires a massive amount of time, effort, and intention to bulk up. If you don’t want to take my word for it, we polled a handful of experts and the common thread between all of their replies was this: most women don’t have anywhere near enough testosterone to bulk up the way men do.
    The benefits of strength training are so much more than this myth. Shelley Armstrong, Ph.D., MAT, MCHES, laid it all out for us: “Lifting weights two to three times per week is extremely beneficial for women to reduce their risk of osteoporosis by promoting bone health. Between the ages of 30 and 70, muscle mass and strength decrease by an average of 30%, mostly due to inactivity. Weight training can prevent or even reverse this process and, in turn, provides the following benefits: improved performance of physical activities, prevention and management of chronic diseases, improved joint health, prevention and treatment of low-back pain, injury prevention, relief of aches and pains from stress or after prolonged sitting, improved posture, and improved quality of sleep.”

    Repetition is Key
    If you have never tried any basic strength training movements, odds are your first attempt at even the most basic movement will not be perfect — and that’s OK! In fact, it’s wonderful because your muscle memory will only build relative to the frequency of your training. The more you pick up a weight, the more familiar with the movement your muscles will become. Think about your favorite beauty tool. When you first bought it, there was a period of time in which you probably weren’t using it as seamlessly as you did after you conducted a little bit of research and practiced with it each morning. Before you knew it, that practice turned that tool into an integral part of your beauty regimen.
    Practicing weightlifting movements is very similar. At first, it will feel foreign and strange. But after a few weeks of repeating movements consistently, the muscle memory will develop. Trying using a PVC pipe or a training barbell to begin and practice in the mirror until the movement feels like second nature and a seasoned eye confirms that the movements look correct. Practicing with a PVC pipe or a light barbell will simulate the real thing for your muscles and teach you the correct way to grip and move around the bar. All it takes is 5 or 10 minutes of repetitive, concentrated work and before you know it, those movements that felt so foreign to you will start to make sense and you’ll see significant jumps in your strength when the time comes to load up the bar.

    Source: @pure_barre

    Go for the Real Thing
    Don’t be afraid to skip weight machines with cables and tracks. While a lot of these machines are very useful for isolated exercises, it can be difficult to get a full-body workout and genuinely build strength. Not to mention, working with free weights or the barbell will allow you to apply your strength training directly to your everyday life, almost immediately, and teach you to lift heavy objects without running a risk of injuring yourself.
    Free weights, like dumbbells or a barbell, work more than one muscle at a time. For example, using a Smith Machine for bench press will not activate your core and lats like dumbbells or a barbell will due to the fact that the barbell in a Smith Machine is on a guided track. You can work up to a heavy press with a Smith Machine, of course, but the barbell is so isolated that you lose the benefits of having to stabilize the weight on your own with additional muscles. So when in doubt, reach for free weights. If you concentrate and are conscious about the muscles you’re working on, you’ll be sore in places you didn’t even know were there!

    It Requires a Full Effort
    Approaching weight training with an open mindset and conviction is key to achieving strength training greatness. Weight lifting is a skill that requires genuine time and patience to build correctly. It also requires you to pay attention to what your body is telling you, like when to back off and when to push yourself. In weeks when you need to take it slow (or even add more rest days), lower your weights and focus on technique. When your energy levels are up, don’t be afraid to push yourself and break personal records.
    Full effort not only pertains to the approach—but also applies to consistency. The American Heart Association recommends incorporating strength training into a workout regimen at least twice a week, and this is great as a starting point. If strength training is something you want to work on, keep a consistent schedule and get into the gym (or pick up your at-home weights) a couple of times a week. This will work wonders for gaining knowledge, developing the skill, and seeing results.

    You’ll Feel the Benefits Beyond the Gym
    At a certain point, when you’ve been training consistently and mindfully, the benefits of weightlifting will start to become apparent to you beyond what you’re able to accomplish in the gym. You’ll find you’re less winded after climbing a flight of never-ending stairs and heavy luggage will be no match for your strong back and shoulders. Not to mention, an arduous task like moving into a new place will not seem as strenuous once you’re able to apply your functional movement knowledge to that dreaded of all dreaded tasks: lifting boxes. It’s also extremely important to note that strength training is great for cardiovascular health and strengthening muscles to help prevent injury, and can also improve your mental health!

    Source: @hannahbronfman

    Start With These 3 Basic Movements
    There are three simple movements anyone can start with to build an understanding of weightlifting and strength training: deadlift, squat, and push press. These three movements cover the core, functional movements of strength training and will be a great way to establish a foundation to eventually introduce more complex movements into your repertoire.


    A deadlift is a very simple, functional movement in which the barbell is lifted from the ground at the lifter’s shins, up to hip height, and then returned to the ground. This movement is great for building strength and athleticism and introduces the lifter to the essential motion of hinging at the hip. Deadlift will strengthen your core, hamstrings, and back and can be mastered with either the barbell or dumbbells. It’s a very simple movement without many complex components and will give any beginning lifter a great introduction to strength training.


    The squat is fantastic for building core and leg strength. With feet slightly wider than hip-width apart and turned slightly outward, place the bar at the top of your back and narrow your grip to sit slightly outside of your shoulders to engage your back. Once you’ve adjusted the placement of the bar, engage your core, squeeze your glutes, and lower slowly and controlled until your quads are parallel with the floor. Then raise up in a controlled way, squeezing your glutes at the top.

    Push Press

    The push press is another great movement for beginners to learn because like the deadlift, it incorporates another fundamental motion to weightlifting: explosive hips. With feet shoulder-width apart and the barbell or dumbells at your chest with your elbows pointing forward, bend your knees slightly and drop into a quarter squat. As you press into your heels and drive up through your legs, push the bar over your head and lock your elbows. This movement will introduce you to the explosive hip movement that is key to mastering more complex lifts and will build your shoulder and core strength.

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    7 Things Every Woman Should Change for Better Health RN

    As the wellness content manager for The Everygirl, I’m constantly on the hunt for the very best health tips to bring you, my dear readers, to help you live your best, healthiest, and happiest lives. As soon as I heard about Dr. Taz Bhatia and her mission to empower 1 million women to restore their health and well-being (we stan an ambitious woman!), I knew I had to ask her for all her best advice. Dr. Bhatia, M.D. is board-certified in integrative medicine, a certified nutrition specialist, best-selling author, and NOW Expert. She’s made medical expert appearances on The Today Show and Good Morning America and calls herself “a champion of super women worldwide.” In other words? She’s a royal badass. 
    “I think we all have unique gifts and powers, but stress, circumstances, and responsibilities can erode our ability to see or feel them,” she said. “When we are in our highest health, we attract abundance and uncover our superpowers.” I love Dr. Bhatia because she preaches that there’s a purpose to caring about your health beyond weight loss or because we’re “supposed to.” Being our healthiest gives us access to our best lives and truest selves. Now read on for seven things you can change about your health right now and uncover your superpowers. 

    1. Be in control, know your body, and educate yourself
    PSA: You are the #1 person in charge of your own health. Even with a team of doctors and experts (more on that below!), you should be the biggest advocate for your own health, trust your instincts, and fight for what you know your body needs. Dr. Bhatia wants every woman to know that she is in control of her health and that her well-being can be determined by how she treats and know her body. “Health is in your control,” she said. “It’s important to understand hormone levels, nutritional status, and long term health risks.” In other words, don’t just rely on your doctor to keep an eye out for what’s going on in your body. Educate yourself on the body’s basic functions and keep track of how certain foods make you feel. Most importantly? Trust your body. Your body knows what it needs, so if it’s communicating to you (whether it’s through symptoms, cravings, or emotions), listen. 

    2. Stop trying to “catch up” on sleep
    If you’re sleeping five hours a night on weekdays with the plans of sleeping in until noon on Saturday, it’s not evening out like you hope. “There is no such thing as catching up sleep,” Dr. Bhatia said. “Instead, get into bed at a consistent time every night (ideally before 11 p.m.), and sleep until 6-7 a.m., which helps the hormone axis and keeps hormone levels balanced.” Yes, getting enough Zzz’s is crucial for your health, but you should be getting enough sleep every night instead of aiming for a certain number of hours per week thinking you can “catch up” from shorter nights. Instead of sleeping in on weekends and sleeping less during the weekdays, aim for a consistent bedtime, sleep for a solid 7-9 hours, and wake up around the same time every morning for optimal health.

    3. Rely on whole foods
    We’re all trying to improve our diets and eat healthier, but it’s not always easy (or else we’d all be eating salads for every meal and never be tempted by a Krispy Kreme donut), so I asked Dr. Bhatia for her #1 tip when it comes to healthy eating: What’s most important for our health and what changes will give us the biggest bang for our buck? Dr. Bhatia said that lowering sugar and processed foods is the first step. But it doesn’t have to be as restrictive or as difficult as cutting out all the foods we love (which can actually lead to bingeing and an unhealthy relationship with food!). Instead, the key is focusing on eating more whole foods, which will subconsciously crowd out processed foods and give your body more of the nutrients it needs. “Learning to rely on whole foods rather than foods in a box or a package can be a health game-changer,” she suggested. Build meals around fruits, vegetables, clean proteins, and whole grains. 

    4. Vary your exercise
    So you’re a consistent runner or love your daily barre class? Good for you for moving your body and prioritizing exercise, but if you’re looking to kick your health game up a notch, consider switching up your exercise routine. “Using different muscles and challenging your body is important,” Dr. Bhatia advised. “Sometimes we focus just on cardio or muscle strength, but we have to take it all into consideration for balance.” If you’re a marathon runner and love a daily jog, consider taking a day off and adding some weight training into your routine. If you’re a gym rat who spends all your time in the weight room, consider throwing in some treadmill action from time to time. Working toward a goal and doing one type of workout is great, but we need a variety of exercise to stay challenged, work our muscles, and be our healthiest. 

    5. Get your supplement routine right
    One of the most asked questions I get as both a wellness editor and a holistic health coach is, “What supplements should I be taking?” There’s no doubt that the supplement world is confusing AF: Between probiotics, collagen, vitamins, and countless brands with pretty packaging, it seems like a new brand or supplement comes out every day that many of us feel like we need to achieve optimal health. Do we need shelves full of supplements and a budget for the latest trends? The answer: no. To simplify, Dr. Bhatia universally recommends most women could benefit from taking a methylated B vitamin, omega-3 fatty acids, probiotics, and magnesium, as these each help women’s health pathways, but since supplement needs vary based on body, diet, and health history, it’s important to come up with a personalized plan with your doctor.

    6. Build a medical team that works with you
    Especially as women, many symptoms or issues go undiagnosed and untreated because of the fear that we’re being “dramatic” or because of a doctor who doesn’t take the time to listen. Dr. Bhatia stresses the importance of trying new doctors, nutritionists, specialists, and gynecologists until you form the care team that feels best for you. She said, “If you’re struggling to diagnosis or identify symptoms, don’t give up. It’s not in your head!” You deserve a care team that makes your well-being and feelings their #1 priority, so search around until you find a doctor that gets you, listens to you, and trusts your opinion. Finding a doctor really is like dating to find “The One!” Oh, and IDK who needs to hear this, but no, it’s not just in your head. Yes, you do know what’s best for your body, and you can find a treatment, plan, or fix to anything that doesn’t feel right. 

    7. Craft a life and routine you feel good about
    “Restoring your health means crafting a life and routine where your energy flows and your mood is consistent,” Dr. Bhatia said. After all, your physical health is integrally related to your happiness. If you have a job that’s unfulfilling, are in a relationship that doesn’t make you happy, or live in a city you’re dying to get out of, it’ll show in your physical health. Know that self confidence is just as important for your well-being as a nutritious diet and eight hours of sleep, and happiness is a key factor for optimal health. “Health starts with you,” she advised. “How you feel about yourself is the vibration or rhythm of your life, so make choices from a place of abundance instead of lack or fear, and then just go for it!” Now that’s the kind of doctor advice I can get behind. 

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    20 Women Share Their Experience on an IUD

    When it comes to choosing your birth control, it’s always a little complicated. There are so many different routes to consider, all of which have different pros and cons. While we should always listen to what our doctor suggests for what they think is best for us, it’s always nice to hear other people’s experiences with birth control — whether they’ve experienced some of the side effects we fear ourselves, or help us by totally recommending them.
    When it comes to IUDs, the waters are a little murkier than other forms of birth control. Many fear the insertion too much to consider getting one, while others made the switch and claim they’d never go back. Read on to hear from 20 women about their experience on an IUD.

    On the pros and cons:

    “Cons: While not having a period, I have been spotting for three months sporadically. It’s also given me weird abdominal cramps that are unpredictable, forcing me to take naproxen more frequently throughout the month (instead of just once a month for pain management). I gained weight (10 pounds thus far), and hormonally I feel kind of crazy, but that could just be in my head. I wouldn’t subject my body to it and would find some other way of contraceptive.
    Pros: I have not had a ‘real’ period in three months, which means decreased pain related to endometriosis. I also don’t have to remember to take a pill every day, and hopefully, won’t need to have endo surgery for a while.”

    “I have to start out by saying I love having an IUD, and highly recommend it! I made the decision to wait to have sex until I was married, and was not on birth control before my IUD, so it was a bit intimidating making the decision, but I haven’t looked back since.
    Pros: My close friends had had positive experiences with the IUD, and my sister’s bad experience with the pill (some amounts of depression) made me know I didn’t want to do any type of pill. My IUD lasted three years, was low maintenance (place it and forget it), and I get little to no period on it.
    Cons: The pain of the procedure. The day it gets placed is not for the faint of heart; however, I think, because I had known it was so painful from friends, that I built up the pain so much that the actual placement didn’t reach the pain I thought it would. Also, random periods. For the first six months, I feel like you never know when bleeding will occur. Cramps came out of nowhere and during cardio workouts for me for the first 6-8 months.”

    “I had an IUD called Skyla, which is effective for three years. I personally had a fantastic experience with it. I’ve always had regular periods, but with pretty brutal cramps and bloating. Other types of birth control just didn’t work for me — I used to love Nuvaring, but it got really expensive and I suck at remembering to take birth control pills. The only con was that the insertion hurt like cramps I’ve never experienced.”

    Source: Stocksy

    On (finally) not needing to remember to take a pill at the same time every day:

    “The upside to the IUD is never worrying about taking birth control according to time. I can go about my day mindlessly (which is good because I’m very busy). It also makes sex more fluid (there’s no need to use condoms, especially if I have a regular partner). I also no longer have cramps, and used to have excruciatingly painful cramps. The downside is inconsistent periods and the possibility of it poking my partner’s penis.”

    “I’ve had my IUD for just over two and a half years now, and I cannot stop sharing how much I love it. I used birth control pills for over 10 years and never had a problem taking them every day. But I changed jobs and my new insurance hadn’t started yet, so I didn’t want to buy new pills. I wasn’t having sex at that particular moment in time and figured I’d just start them again when my insurance picked back up. Man, was I glad when I didn’t have to take a pill every day! I never thought of it as a problem, but it was nice to not have to take it every day. That’s when I looked into long-acting methods. My BFF had an IUD and loved it, so I explored with my doctor. The insertion process was uncomfortable, but nothing I couldn’t handle (I even went to work afterwards!). I haven’t had any negative side effects and truly love having it.”

    “The first IUD I had (Mirena) migrated and had to be removed; the second (Kylena) has stayed put thus far, and I had no pain at insertion. I’m experiencing headaches and have had multiple ovarian cysts since getting it put in, and an increase in cramping and spotting between periods. I’ve had it in for a year now and am not a huge fan, but it beats remembering birth control every day.”

    On post-pregnancy contraception:

    “Shortly after I had my daughter, I had an IUD placed because I knew I didn’t want to get pregnant again any time soon, and never liked the pill or Nuvaring I’d used in the past. My OB/GYN placed a low-dose hormone IUD. The insertion was a little uncomfortable, but not bad (I’ve heard it’s much worse pre-pregnancy). I had it for almost four years until about three months ago. During that time I had no periods! Mild spotting a couple times a year, but no period. That was amazing for me.
    During the time I had it, I had it checked at annual exams (they feel for the strings), and had no issues or side effects. It was also completely covered by my insurance. I had it removed about three months ago because we decided to try for another baby, and shortly after, I had a crazy heavy period and felt a huge hormone swing — like a teenager for a day. I plan on getting another IUD after baby #2 (Side note: the removal was quick and painless).”

    Source: Stocksy

    On that dreaded insertion:

    “I have had mine for four years this September and I honestly love it. I remember it being a sharp pinch when being placed, but the real pain came later. I never had a particularly difficult period, so the cramps I had after the placement were rough! Like, doubled over on the drive home. After that night, though, I’d never experienced issues. My boyfriend has said that he’s felt it before and that a few times in certain positions it’s felt like he’s been poked, which is not comfortable. But all in all, I will get another put in next year when this one reaches the end of its lifecycle.”

    “I switched from the Ortho Evra patch to a hormonal IUD in January 2017. Since I’ve never been pregnant and had a small uterine opening, my gyno used an anesthetic and dialated my uterus to properly place the device. It took longer than expected, and I passed out immediately after the insertion. The cramps and bleeding afterward were horrible for months — I almost had it removed. Now, I rarely have a period, and it’s only minor spotting. I completely lost my sex drive.”

    “I got my IUD two years ago. I have the Skyla, which is smaller and only lasts three years. When I first got it, it hurt so bad. I had taken an ibuprofen, which helped later on, but I had horrible cramps and random heavy bleeding and spotting for 2-3 months after. They finally subsided and I haven’t had troubles since. I was told it would only hurt for a few weeks, and it lasted months. I loved my decision to get it, and will get a new one next year, but I wish they told me that pain might last longer than expected.”

    “I got my IUD placed in June 2017. The insertion was what I imagine childbirth without an epidural feels like (kind of ironic, no?). I handle pain extremely well, but it was the worst pain I’ve ever felt in my life. The doctor admitted it was unusually complicated to insert mine, but we got it, and I returned to work still trembling from the pain. The next 12 months were awful. While PMSing, I experienced painful cramping, raging hormonal acne, fatigue, and even mood swings. I got my period every month, but I never knew what to expect — sometimes it was super heavy, just spotting, or nothing at all!”

    On an IUD over time:

    “Although it hurt to install, I’d recommend it to everyone. Years one and two were awesome — no pain, no period. Year three came around and now my menstrual cramps are unbearable and my period came back. I thought it was because it was wearing off, but my gyno assured me that that wasn’t the case. It’s time to change it out and I’m definitely getting another one. I’m hoping to go back to the pleasant days of years one and two.”

    Source: Stocksy

    On the IUD vs. The Pill:

    “For years, I was taking traditional birth control. I tried around seven different brands of low-hormone pills. Every night, I ended up being so nauseous that I just couldn’t take it anymore. That’s when I started researching IUDs. I have had my IUD for five years and I would never go back to regular birth control. My first IUD lasted for three years, and now I’ve had my second in for two. The implantation was a little painful, but my doctor suggested for me to take two ibuprofen a half hour before I got it, and that helped with the pain. It was more of an uncomfortable feeling, and my body getting used to having something foreign inside it. There was a little bleeding after as well.
    For the first six months, I didn’t have a menstrual cycle, and since then, it’s been kind of on-and-off. So, it definitely hasn’t been consistent for me. When I do have it, it’s much lighter than it was before, and I only have it for a couple of days. I did have some pain in the beginning for a couple of months, but my body is so used to it now that I forget that I have it.”

    “I switched from the pill to Mirena because of the pure convenience of never having to worry about taking my pill. Getting it put in was very painful, much worse than I expected (I should’ve taken medicine before I went like they advised). I love not having to worry about the pill, especially because I’m sexually active with my significant other. But I do experience bleeding after sex and frequent spotting, even a year and a half after getting it put in. That’s the major con.”

    “I love my IUD! I’ve used the pill and Nuvaring in the past, and I don’t know why I waited so long to get the IUD. The only negative was that I had spotting for the first 3-4 months after having it inserted. But after that, my periods got lighter and I had less cramping leading up to my period. I also love it as a back-up form of birth control with condoms. I got Mirena, as suggested by my gynecologist.”

    “I love my IUD. I previously was on the pill for years and years; however, I began to have more and more migranes and started to have auras with them, and my nurse practitioner said it wasn’t safe for me to remain on an estrogen-type method because of this. I went with the Mirena IUD and couldn’t be happier with it. I did notice a little bit more acne initially, but it settled out quickly. I love not taking a pill every day, and my migraines almost disappeared after switching. I will say, it was a complete bitch to have put in, but considering I have a very effective birth control method for five years, it was worth it.”

    Source: Stocksy

    On periods:

    “I decided on the copper IUD, because I was told by my doctors to avoid hormonal birth control methods due to my 2x history with breast cancer, and ovarian cancer running in my family. It’s been three years since, and aside from some random spotting and cramping periodically, in the first six months it’s been amazing. It’s such a relief to focus on my life, career, etc., and not have to worry about an unplanned pregnancy. And while this doesn’t seem to be scientifically proven, my periods got more regular, shorter, and my cramps almost disappeared since being on it (my period was really difficult before this). I would recommend a copper IUD to anyone, especially those unhappy with the side effects of hormonal medications, and girls who dislike or aren’t good at taking the pill every day.”

    On your body rejecting an IUD:

    “When I had my IUD put in, I had the copper one without hormones, and I was in severe pain for four days. I’m talking crying on the couch, not being able to move, feeling like my uterus was being ripped apart. You have to wait a few weeks and then have it checked, and to no surprise, my body had rejected it (it had moved), and they pulled it out. My insurance wouldn’t cover another until a year later, so I haven’t had one since.”

    On nasty side effects:

    “I had Mirena for over a year. I had breakthrough bleeding the entire time, no exaggeration. Within weeks of having it put in, I developed horrible cystic acne that never went away until after it was removed. And even a year later after having it removed, my skin hasn’t been able to balance out without the help of the birth control and Spironolactone. I liked the freedom of not having to think about the pill, but that freedom wasn’t worth the havoc that the IUD brought to my skin.”

    On recommending it:

    “I was on depo for 5+ years, but it started to worry me that I never got a period, and I wanted to be more natural. Now I have a copper IUD and I love it! My periods consistently last four days, with no heavy bleeding and less cramping than I used to have. And it’s virtually 100% effective. I would recommend this as your first choice, even to teens. It’s a much more invasive procedure to get it implanted than to start the pill or depo, but there’s no hormones! That is so huge, I wish I had started this way.” More

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    6 Unexpected Ways Your Body Changes After 25

    If you grew up female in the early 2000s, chances are you owned a copy of The Care and Keeping of You, or some other equally awkward, illustration-filled body manual. These prepubescent bibles warned us of all the changes to come as a teenager, and seemed to promise that after seven years of embarrassing acne and the daily, crippling fear our periods would start (was anything scarier?), the rest would be history! We’d be WOMEN, and by then our undoubtedly sexy woman bodies would be in working order!
    Well, I’m here to tell you we’ve been duped.
    If you’ve reached the milestone-no-one-said-was-a-milestone—AKA the age of 25—you’ll likely know what I’m talking about. Changes you’d never prepared for have begun to sneak up on you. The following are just a few examples of bodily weirdness that awaits us at after a quarter century.

    1. Cool, guess I have acne now
    I was one of the lucky few who managed to escape high school and college without experiencing any major breakouts. I was even once told in high school that I had “angel skin.” Angel skin! Well, either angels struggle with cystic acne, or my skin has fully rebelled against me. Keeping a clear complexion has become a struggle I never expected to have, let alone in my mid-20s. With changes in hormones and progesterone, many women will experience acne for the very first time post-teens. Go ahead and DIY that facial; you’ll thank me later.

    2. Hangovers: 1, Me: 0
    At 21 years old, I could pound a bottle of Goldschläger at midnight and wake up ready to take a midterm, rescue a puppy, and run a 5k before noon. Now? I can hardly eat bread without gagging. Hangovers take on an epic level of strength in your mid-twenties. Let’s just say before a heavy drinking night out these days, I ask myself, “am I prepared to do nothing but binge watch Netflix tomorrow?” (The answer needs to be “yes”). FYI, if a hangover hits you like it hits me, here’s how you can save your skin. 

    3. Sleep, I miss you
    Ah yes, speaking of hangovers: remember the days of sleeping in until 1 p.m.? Those were cute. Now my body rockets me wide awake at 8 a.m., regardless of the time I went to bed. Forget about the “recommended eight hours.” Try as I might, insomnia has become a new routine, constantly challenging my ability to switch off my brain. You’ll try herbal teas and essential oils, but mostly will long for the days your mother had to bang on the bedroom door to get you conscious.

    4. My vagina hates me
    I will never forget waking up with my first UTI. It was painful, it was burning, and it led to a subsequent three more in the following year. Yeast infection? Been there too! And if you’re really looking for a party, try bacterial vaginosis. That’ll cling to you longer than Dylan from Tinder. Reminder: if you have a vagina, it needs (and deserves!) some serious TLC. For a quick refresher, check out five things you’re doing to your vagina that you shouldn’t be. 

    5. Where did this booty come from?
    Despite it all, not every change you’ll face in your mid-twenties is negative. Whether you’ve been rocking curves since puberty or have noticed more curves as of late, the body will likely go through some visible changes around this age–and yes, that’s a good thing. It was an exciting moment when I packed up my low-rise Hollister shorts I was questionably still wearing and embraced my new Kim K booty! No matter how your body is changing, embrace all the wonderful curves and features that come with being a full grown woman. Can I get an “amen!?”

    6. I just had sex, and it feels so good
    Perhaps it’s the shifting hormones or your new-found confidence (or both), but sex sounds and feels better than ever at this point in your twenties. Think about it: you’ve gotten past the mediocre romps on dorm room futons, and your G-spot has officially been located. You probably feel more confident telling partners what you want, but you also know that you don’t need a partner to reach the big “O.” By this age, you’ve spent years growing more confident in your body, and your body knows what it likes a little bit better (and no, it’s not you, Dylan). More

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    Nutritional Psychiatry: How What You Eat Can Actually Boost Your Mood

    So you might already know that the way you eat can affect your gut or even help change your skin health. However, nutritional psychiatry shows that food not only helps the body feel its best, but may help the mind feel its best too. That’s right: there’s a connection between food and mood beyond getting hangry if you haven’t eaten in a while or craving Ben & Jerry’s after a breakup. While it sounds like two very different worlds colliding (nutrition? And psychiatry?), the concept makes perfect sense to me. As a holistic nutrition coach, I always work to connect the dots between diet and emotions. 
    Think about it: the brain works 24/7 to keep the body running optimally. Food is fuel for the body, but the brain is the wheels that keep the car driving. Premium fuel is not only better for the car, but helps the wheels run smoother. Confused? Since I’ve never been a car person, I’ll just let science explain: an emerging field in psychology known as nutritional psychiatry supports the connection between what we eat and how we feel, which means a direct correlation between diet and mental health. You are what you eat, but you may feel what you eat too.

    What is nutritional psychiatry?
    The field of nutritional psychiatry has been growing rapidly after emerging over a decade ago. In 2010, a study found that women whose diets were higher in vegetables, fruit, fish, and whole grains, were less likely to have depression or anxiety than women who consumed a diet high in refined carbohydrates, added sugars, and other processed foods. Since then, multiple studies (like the “SMILES” trial or identifying “antidepressant foods“) have made way for an emerging field that combines nutrition with psychology and the body with the brain. In fact, google “nutritional psychiatry study” and the results alone are pretty impressive. “Nutritional psychiatry means using food, supplements, vitamins, exercise, meditation, etc., in conjunction with standard psychiatric medications to optimize the potential of all treatments,” explained Dr. Sheldon Zablow MD, a nutritional psychiatrist and author based in San Diego.
    What makes the field unique is that it acknowledges and works with the gut-brain connection (more on that below). While nutritional psychiatry traditionally looks at how nutrients that go into the gut (i.e. through food and supplements) affect mental health, many nutritional psychiatrists are also acknowledging the role that everything from exercise to meditation plays in mental health for a more holistic view. “It’s important to address mental health through diet and lifestyle, because the body has nutritional needs,” agreed Dr. Ellen Vora MD, a board-certified psychiatrist. “When we’re malnourished physically or psychospiritually, our mental health suffers.” Nutritional psychiatry is not intended to replace prescription medication, but rather to support a treatment plan and help patients heal using every route possible. 

    Source: Tim Samuel | Pexels

    How does the gut-brain connection work?
    While we typically consider the mind and body to be two separate entities, nutritional psychology acknowledges that they’re intrinsically connected. “The gut directly connects to the brain through the vagus nerve, and the brain is also indirectly impacted by the gut microbiome,” explained Dr. Gonzalo Laje, MD, MHSc, FAPA, a clinical professor of psychiatry based in Washington. “Think of the vagus nerve like a two-way highway connecting the brain and gut,” agreed Dr. Uma Naidoo, a nutritional psychiatrist and author of This Is Your Brain on Food. “Chemical messages from the food we digest are communicated along the highway. Following a healthy meal, the ‘communicators’ are also healthy and help the gut and brain to function at their best.”
    The “two-way highway” is also known as the gut-brain connection, or the link between gut health and mental health. Besides just the communication between the two, our moods can be affected by chemicals in the gut microbiome, showing that the brain and gut might be one and the same. For example, gut bacteria manufacture about 95 percent of the body’s supply of serotonin (AKA the happy hormone). Is anyone else’s mind blown (pardon the pun)!? Besides just the benefits that come with a good gut, the gut-brain connection also means there might be a price to pay when you’re not feeding your gut with the good stuff. 
    “Inflammation triggered by certain foods (like highly processed foods, added sugar, etc.) has a direct impact on brain functioning,” Dr. Laje said. “Nutrition is the source for building blocks that the brain needs to function, so if there are any deficits, the brain can’t function optimally.” You’ve probably heard of the word “inflammation” and might know that fried food or a couple of daily sodas might be to blame, but do you know what inflammation means? “Inflammation in the gut leads to inflammation in the brain over time, which is a major underlying cause of mental health issues like depression, anxiety, cognitive problems, and more,” Dr. Naidoo explained. “A poor diet, therefore, can worsen mood.”

    So what does a nutritional psychiatrist “prescribe?”
    So you get that what you eat matters, but is it as simple as just eating more fruits and veggies and less processed foods? The short answer: kind of. When it comes to a nutritional psychiatrist’s role, they work with each patient individually to come up with a treatment plan for specific needs, using both prescription medications as well as diet and lifestyle changes, as needed. For example, Dr. Laje includes diet as one of the essential elements in treatment plans for every patient, explaining he incorporates nutrition in his practice through food education (i.e. learning how to make better choices and understanding what those choices do to the brain).
    As for what exactly to eat? Holly Klamer, MS, RDN, recommends clients follow a similar eating style to the Mediterranean diet, which is high in omega-3 foods and plants, and supports brain health. She also encourages clients to eat probiotic-rich foods (like sauerkraut, kimchi, and other fermented foods) for optimal gut health. Meanwhile, Dr. Naidoo recommended a wide variety of plants. “A basic pillar of nutritional psychiatry is eating the colors of the rainbow, which brings rich antioxidants from plant foods to supply the gut microbes with fiber to help reduce gut inflammation,” she said. Bottom line: fill your plate with a variety of fruits and veggies, eat your omega-3s (like salmon, walnuts, chia seeds, etc.), and prioritize gut health to make your diet more brain-friendly. 

    Source: Sam Lion | Pexels

    Interested in nutritional psychiatry? Here’s how to try for yourself.

    IMO, nutritional psychology is cool because it proves that nutrition is way more powerful than just being about calories or weight loss/gain (duh!). This article is not intended to stop you from eating all of your favorite foods or to think food is the only type of “cure” you need when feeling down, anxious, or stressed. A spicy margarita or a bag of movie theater popcorn here and there likely won’t do any damage, just like one salad among an entire diet of processed foods won’t make a difference. Also, when dealing with anxiety, depression, chronic stress, or any other mental health condition, talk to your doctor about the role that food or gut health could play in your healing plan, knowing it is usually meant to support treatment, not to be the treatment.
    If you are interested in learning more about nutritional psychiatry for an overall mood boost, Dr. Naidoo suggested starting small and simple, since consistency is most important when it comes to mental health. “Start with just one eating habit you want to change or take on,” she suggested. For example, try adding leafy greens to each meal, or replace your go-to frozen pizza with a cauliflower crust option. “Another easy win is focusing on whole foods and limiting processed foods. However, remember that it’s about finding the right formula for you, so speak to your doctor before making any changes.”

    Please consult a doctor before beginning any treatments. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a mental health condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this article. More

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    Expert Advice: 14 Nutritionists Share Their Secrets for Better Digestion

    So you load up on smoothies, make sure to eat your greens, and limit sugar for special occasions (yes, a Ben & Jerry’s binge on a random Tuesday night totally counts as “special”), but you still have digestive issues? I’m not surprised: 61 percent of Americans reported experiencing at least one gastrointestinal problem in the span of a week, according to a study of over 71,000 people. Whether it’s heartburn, bloating, abdominal pain, constipation, or diarrhea, digestive drama is something that often goes unexplained or untreated.
    Of course, if you experience symptoms that persist or feel abnormal, talk to your doctor about a root cause and treatment plan. But since so many of us experience a random stomach ache or some indigestion here and there, I polled nutritionists for their tips on dealing with the occasional digestive issue and how to support digestion overall. Read on for nutritionists’ secrets for optimal digestion and better gut health (bye, bye bloat!).

    “My 2 top wellness weapons for better digestion are:
    Hydration: I aim to drink 60+ ounces a day. It helps to prevent constipation and bloat, and keeps me feeling more energized. Sometimes, I drop frozen berries in my water for a little flavor (they also make great “ice cubes”)
    Taking a probiotic. Probiotics are a huge part of my wellness routine. They promote the growth of the good bacteria in the gut, which promotes motility, meaning it helps keep you regular. A women’s probiotic is specifically beneficial because it also works to help combat UTI’s and yeast infections.” — Brigitte Zeitlin, Registered Dietitian and Founder of BZ Nutrition

    “Before each meal, I do a few rounds of deep breaths (for about a minute) to trigger my parasympathetic nervous system, known as the ‘rest and digest’ nervous system, which helps us digest food properly. This also reminds me to practice mindful eating throughout the meal, which not only supports digestion, but also guides you to become more aware of what you’re eating, why you’re eating, how you’re eating, and how you feel as a result of eating. All of that information about your eating habits, beliefs, thoughts, and experiences with food helps you better understand what’s best for your unique body, so you can feel fully confident in how you’re nourishing yourself.” — McKel Kooienga, MS, RD, LDN, Author and Founder of Nutrition Stripped

    “Keep moving! Getting in steps throughout the day (instead of sitting for eight hours straight) helps food move through the body and keeps you regular. Set a reminder on your phone to get up and move every hour or so.” — Becca McVicker, MS, RD, LD, CPT

    “You are not what you eat, you are what you digest! Before most meals, I take a digestive enzyme supplement. Digestive enzymes help break down protein, fat, and carbohydrates, but they also support optimal nutrient absorption and can help reduce gas and bloating. I also aim to eat a predominantly plant-based diet rich in fibrous, whole foods, because they help build good bacteria. For example, I love adding frozen cauliflower and avocado to my morning smoothies.” — Megan Roosevelt, RDN, Founder of Healthy Grocery Girl

    “As a women’s health dietitian who counsels people with hormone-related disorders, I talk a lot about gut health, which includes supporting digestion. Optimizing gut health is one of the many keys to keeping hormones happy and healthy. An eating routine consisting of a variety of foods can help diversify your microbiota, which is wonderful for your digestion and overall health.” — Valerie Agyeman, RD, Women’s Health Dietitian, and Founder of Flourish Heights

    “The more lemon water you can drink, the better, especially first thing when you wake up. I squeeze fresh lemon in warm water because of its alkalizing effect on the body and its ability to help to neutralize toxic buildup. It’s also an Ayurvedic practice, which sets the day up for success with healthy eating. Plus, the fresh smell of lemon lifts the senses, which is a wonderful way to start the day.” — Cindy Kasindorf, Holistic Nutritionist and Founder of Remedy Organics

    “Our digestion actually begins with the smell of the food, whether it’s cooking or steaming on a plate in front of us. Our bodies start responding and preparing to digest from our livers to our stomachs, so it’s really important to eat as slowly as possible. Good digestion improves our nutrient absorption, and we don’t want to waste all the good foods we are eating. My other favorite ways to help get digestion back on track are:

    Starting my day with lemon water or diluted apple cider vinegar
    Adding a multi-strain probiotic to my plan
    Taking a few minutes before meals to be mindful (prayer and deep breathing)
    Eating five colors a day along with combining my macros” 

    — Cara Clark, Certified Sports & Clinical Nutritionist and Author

    “My tip for better digestion is something most people forget about doing, especially when they are extra hungry or rushing: chewing. Chewing food is so important to the digestive process. When we chew our food well (about 32 times before swallowing), it gets broken down into smaller pieces, making it easier to digest and absorb nutrients. Saliva contains certain digestive enzymes to improve the digestion of carbohydrates, and gets released when chewing.” — Mary Ellen Valverde, Licensed Nutritionist MS, CNS LDN

    “If I’m having any kind of GI issues, I tend to opt for ginger. I like having tea which helps with digestion, and sometimes I make a ‘shot’ of fresh ginger blended with orange juice. Other foods that will help are probiotics like yogurt or other fermented foods. And water! Many people forget to drink enough water during the day.” — Shana Spence, MS, RDN, CDN, Founder of The Nutrition Tea

    “While a lot of factors play a role in good gut health, one of the key factors is fiber. Papaya is loaded with fiber, as well as nutrients like lutein and vitamin C, and contain an enzyme called papain, which helps digestion and the breakdown of proteins. All of these nutrients aid with bowel regularity and help prevent constipation and bloating, making papaya an ideal food for digestive health.” — Tejal Pathak, Registered Dietitian, Clinical Practitioner, and Education Specialist

    “Practice the five F’s to healthy digestion: fully chew (digestion begins in your mouth), fiber (aim for 30g of fiber a day), fluids (we need about half our body weight in ounces per day), friendly bacteria (which help keep digestive tract healthy), and fitness (exercise helps keep you regular). Also, eat foods with ginger and peppermint. They help calm and soothe the gut for better digestion and less bloating.” — Dawn Jackson Blatner, RDN, CSSD, Author and Daily Harvest Nutritionist

    “By chewing more (and more mindfully) you’re likely to swallow less air which can contribute to bloating and burping during meals. Also, you might have heard that eating adequate fiber (25-30 grams per day) helps support healthy digestion, but just a reminder, when you increase your fiber consumption, you also need to increase your water intake. If you’re not used to consuming high-fiber foods, take it slow and work your way up to avoid overloading on fiber. While supplements are not the direct answer to GI or digestion issues, they’re good for temporary relief. When it comes to bloating and excess gas, I’m a big fan of Hilma’s Gas Relief blend made from ingredients like caraway seeds, fennel, and peppermint leaves.” — May Zhu, RDN, LDN, Founder of Nutrition Happens

    “Digestive bitters have been used for hundreds of years to help prepare the body to digest and assimilate food. Taking bitters can be the difference between feeling content and feeling bloated after meals. For years, I watched my patients and loved ones struggle with digestion, so I formulated a bitters tincture that combines full-spectrum hemp extract with organic botanicals (like dandelion root, bitter fennel, ginger, etc.) to decrease bloating and support the digestive tract.” — Dr. Kristi Wrightson, ND, Registered Dietician and Naturopathic Doctor

    “A few of my tips for improving digestion are:
    Eat high-fiber foods: among many other health benefits, fiber can help support digestive health and regularity. Try beans, lentils, nuts, oatmeal, whole grain products, fruit, and vegetables with the skin.
    Stay hydrated: adequate hydration helps support digestion as your body breaks down the food that you have eaten. It’s also especially important to focus on getting enough fluids in as you increase fiber in your diet to make sure your digestion stays regular.
    Add fermented products to your diet: fermented foods (also referred to as cultured foods) contain healthy bacterial strains that can support and promote a healthy gut and digestive tract. A few of my favorite cultured products to include in my own diet are kefir and greek yogurt with live and active cultures.
    Get active: a sedentary lifestyle can cause digestion disruption, so an easy way to support healthy digestion is by staying active.” — Lauren Twigge MCN, RDN, LD

    Please consult a doctor before beginning any treatments or routines. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical or mental health condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this article. More