5 Simple Science-Backed Lifestyle Changes That Will Improve Your Health
Early last year I read a book called “Genius Foods: Become Smarter, Happier, and More Productive While Protecting Your Brain for Life” (about how what we eat effects our brain health) by Max Lugavere and it completely changed my entire life. Max is a health and science journalist who dove deep into this topic because of his late mother’s brain health issues.
Over a year after implementing many of the lifestyle changes he suggested in “Genius Foods” I can say without a doubt that I am significantly healthier (not just my brain, my entire body). I feel amazing. And I am also am back down to my college competitive swimming weight (which I hadn’t come within 10 pounds of in YEARS). And I should note, I’m down to that weight without counting calories, feeling hungry, or working out like a crazy person. It simply took fueling my body with food that is actually good for me. And after reading “Genius Foods”, the changes were actually really easy to make. Once I understood exactly WHAT the bad food was doing TO me, and what the good food was doing FOR me, I had zero desire to eat the bad stuff anymore. It was crazy!
I HIGHLY recommend reading “Genius Foods” if you’re committed to living a healthier lifestyle.
Max just came out with a new book called “The Genius Life: Heal Your Mind, Strengthen Your Body, and Become Extraordinary” and I spent last weekend reading it. While he touches on food in the new book, I personally think “Genius Foods” is still the must read on the healthy eating front.
But in this new book (which is also very eye opening and I can tell will definitely change my life in a multitude of ways) Max digs into other science-backed lifestyle changes that can make a huge difference for our brain (and body) health – beyond diet.
Read this book, too, because I can’t scratch the surface in a blog post, but I wanted to share a few easy to implement gems of wisdom from this awesome new book.
5 fast and easy lifestyle changes Max Lugavere suggests in “The Genius Life” that you can make immediately:
1. Expose your body (and eyes) to bright natural sunlight first thing in the morning for a half hour.
Max explains in “The Genius Life” that going for a walk or sitting near a large window without sunglasses first thing in the morning will help set your body’s master clock to properly maintain your circadian rhythm (which will have all kinds of positive health effects for you!)
2. Take a 2 minute walk after every 30 minutes you’re seated.
Set an alarm if you need to, just make sure to get up and walk around for a couple of minutes, every 30 minutes – especially if you’re working at a desk all day. This small action can help ensure your brain is getting the blood flow and nutrients it needs, and can even help prevent some of the ‘normal’ brain changes we associate with getting older.
3. Throw away any skin and personal care products that have ingredients that end in “-paraben” and replace them with paraben-free options.
These ingredients (which are super common in everything from lotion to face washes to shampoos and deodorants) can wreak havoc on our hormonal systems and have been linked to a variety of cancers. They’re in a ton of everyday items (but the good news is people are starting to wake up and demand they be removed, so there are more and more options without this chemical available these days).
4. Replace your plastic food storage containers with glass / Pyrex ones.
Okay, eliminating plastics from our entire lives is probably close to impossible, but all of these plastic products contain chemicals that may also be disrupting our hormones – especially if they seep into our food. Many people are waking up to the risk of BPA, but Max explains that may of the ‘replacements’ in “BPA Free” plastics are likely just as bad.
One very simple switch (that’s also better for the planet) is to get rid of the plastic food storage containers and replace it with glass (or stainless steel). That way your leftovers aren’t leaching chemicals that you’ll later consume! (He says you don’t need to worry too much about the lids just try not to have your food touch them).
5. Ditch “ominous oils” in your food.
This is actually one I learned (and implemented from) “Genius Foods” and am now religious about. But Max brings it up again in “The Genius Life” so I’m including it on the list.
According to Max (and science, and now me) the ominous oils to avoid at ‘all costs’ include:
- Canola oil
- Corn Oil
- Cottonseed oil
- Rice bran oil
- Safflower oil
- Soybean oil
- Sunflower oil
- “Vegetable oil
Max explains in detail in both books (especially “Genius Foods”) why to ditch these oils. I can’t explain it nearly as well as he does so I’m not going to try (did I mention, read the amazing books?!).
Stick with olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, grass fed butter, and ghee as the ‘oils’ in your life! For me this was really easy to do because it’s not like I ever go “ohhh I want to eat soybean oil!! That sounds so good!” and the healthy oils taste much butter. When I go out to restaurants that cook with others and I can’t control what they’re using, I can feel the difference in my body almost instantly. (I’ve now turned into ‘that’ person when eating out asking them to restrict their oil usage to my parameters for me because the change is that noticeable in my body). The hardest part of this change is reading the ingredients label on anything that is pre-made.
These are just a VERY small handful of the tips I found peppered through “Genius Life” as I was reading it last weekend. It’s a fascinating read, and full of amazing tips. I highly recommend adding both of Max Lugavere’s books to your reading list!
One last note: I paid for my copies of both books, don’t work for Max, wasn’t asked to write a review or promote these, and am not getting paid any kind of affiliate commissions if you do. They’re just books I have found to be incredibly valuable and wanted to share with you!
If you’d like to get copies, please try and support small local bookstores! Here’s indiebound.org links for each to find a small business to buy from: “Genius Foods” and “The Genius Life“
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