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Healthy New Year – Resolutions for Better Health in 2013

It’s here. 2013. Hopefully you rang it in with joy and good health, but if you are like many Americans, you have resolved to eat better and be better when it comes to your health this year.

Easier said than done, right?

If you are still on track and haven’t broken that New Year’s Resolution just yet, good for you. If you’ve faltered a bit, here are 5 top tips from Traditional Chinese Medicine (or TCM) that may help you stay the course.

1. Move more

Stagnation is not good – especially when it’s your body. To really take control of your health and keep your blood and endorphins flowing, you’ve got to get up and move. It could be as simple as getting outside for a 20 minute walk. The key is moving. Your body is an instrument – the most important (and only one!) you’ve got – you’ve got to keep it tuned up and in shape to get the most out of it.

2. Stress less

This one seems obvious, but it’s often the hardest to accomplish. We all have stress in our lives, but it seriously impacts your qi and the body’s ability to clear toxins and ward off illness. Take 10 minutes to slow down and listen to your breathing. Seriously think about cutting out those activities or people that bring you nothing but stress. Your body will thank you.

3. Eat and Drink When You are Hungry and Thirsty

I know, this one sounds plainly obvious, but think about how the vast majority of people eat or drink today. It tends to be about quantity, not quality and about schedules, not listening to your body’s needs. Traditional Chinese Medicine emphasizes moderation in eating and drinking (TCM says to eat until you feel 70% full) and advises that people consume food and beverages when the body needs it.

4. Think About “Hot” and “Cold” Foods

Again, TCM is all about balance, so if you are someone who tends to feel or be cold, think about adding more “warm” foods and spices into your diet – both food temperature and also characteristics (curries, chili peppers, etc.) On the other end of the spectrum, if you are often hot or live in a warmer climate, TCM dictates that “cool” foods will help balance your diet. You might want to add more mint, cucumbers, or celery to your meals.

5. Eat locally and seasonally

TCM emphasizes balance and the body’s relationship with its surroundings. By eating fruits, vegetables and even meats that were locally grown or harvested, you are connecting your body and your health with your environment. You also eat more healthily by selecting produce that is in season. There’s a reason certain fruits and vegetables are ripe and ready for eating in certain months, whether it’s peaches in the summer or root vegetables in the fall and winter – your body is attuned to that harvesting cycle and will thank you for it.

These are just a few of my own tips and resolutions for 2013. What are some of yours? Let me know in the comments or Tweet me at @empiricalpoint.

And here’s to a happy and healthy 2013!

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Philadelphia, PA, 19118

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