With summer comes parties, vacations, and long and leisurely happy hours. While it’s hard to resist indulging, swinging in the opposite direction to try and correct our decadent weekend behavior through strict rules and suffering will not save us. The only healthy and sustainable way to enjoy the spoilings of summer is to have core habits in place that you can always come back to, especially when the offerings of life call for you to cut corners.

Instead of delving into a juice cleanse, tea detox, or new diet, I suggest implementing tools into your everyday schedule to rationally get back on track. Extreme practices not only deplete you, they are harder to get results from because it pits your body and mind against one another. By using the following practices that are manageable and practical, you can stay healthy and have fun without feeling restricted.

Morning practices

1. Take two minutes to breathe deeply

Meditation in the morning not only puts you in an excellent mindset for your day, it fires up your digestion and helps release toxins that might be blocking your system from properly eliminating and cleansing. It will help you make wiser choices throughout your day when it comes to food, and cultivates self-control.

2. Drink hot water with lemon first thing

Hot water with lemon neutralizes acidity in your system that comes from stress, refined grains and sugars, alcohol, meat, and processed foods. It activates your metabolism and cleanses your organs.

3. Eat only fruit for breakfast, and until lunchtime

It will energize you put very little strain on your digestion so that your body can burn calories and do maintenance and restoration where needed

4. Pack food

Do yourself a favor and pack healthy snacks and a light lunch 2-3 times a week. It will save you money, and will ensure you get lots of nutrients when you’re hungry instead of chowing down on processed convenience foods and sandwiches during your workday.

Lunchtime practices

1. Drink a glass of green tea before eating your meal

Drinking tea ensures that you’re hydrated before eating and reduces your appetite. It also slows you down and brings some mindfulness into your lunchtime.

2. Talk a walk around the block

This is a beneficial practice to do before or after you eat. Walking stimulates your brain, gets your large muscles moving that spend a good portion of the sedentary, and shifts your energy. It will help to stimulate digestion before or after a meal, and is relaxing to the nervous system. Keep off your cell phone during this time.

3. Practice mindful eating

Chew slowly. Taste your food. Don’t multitask. Mindful eating helps you eat less, better absorb nutrients, and digest more efficiently. It has a number of physical and mental benefits, and is valuable to incorporate into every part of your life.

Evening practices

1. Cook more and with friends

Cooking is one of the best ways to eat well and lightly. It connects you to your food and the people you eat with. Simple food can be incredibly delicious and nourishing, just using herbs, garlic, and a spice of your choice.

2. Get a workout in

Pack your workout clothes and go straight to the gym or park when you’re done with work. You might feel wiped after a long day at work, but there’s nothing better to shift your mood and boost your energy than exercise. Doing the stairs for 30 minutes or trying a fun new class will nourish your spirit and cleanse any heavy feelings of stress or tension from your day.

3. Go meatless 2-3 nights a week

While meat can be nutritious, it puts quite a strain on our digestion and can be very acidic. Try reducing your meat intake at dinner, especially since this time of day should be particularly restorative. It will give your system a break and typically improves your sleep.

4. Limit sugar and sweets

Sugar ages you, disrupts your hormones, and creates an acidic and unhappy system. Reduce as much as possible. If you enjoy sweets after a meal, find healthy options at the grocery store that have low sugar and low dairy. Hail Merry has a great line of tarts and macaroons, and fruit with honey is a good tool to combat sugar cravings.

By incorporating one of these options into each part of your day, you’ll set the foundation for a clean regimen that reinforces your vitality. Gently recalibrating your health through strong habits supports your goals and means zero guilt, no matter what you get into this season.

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