Top 5 Health Benefits of Family Hiking

1. Improved Cardiovascular and Muscle Fitness

Do you remember when children ran outside and played active games like hide and seek or hopscotch? Today children are often sitting in front of the television, engrossed in a video game, or texting their friends. Regular hiking will build stronger muscles and improve their heart, lung, and vascular fitness. Adults are also less active if they have careers that keep them at their desks.The whole family gets healthier together!

2. Improved Bone Health

A sedentary lifestyle results in weak bones that may break more easily, in children and adults. The impact of walking and hiking strengthens bones at the cellular level and is one of the factors to reduce the chance to develop osteoporosis as we age.

3. Better Sleep

Who doesn’t want their children and themselves sleeping better!

4. Active Learning Using All the Senses

When you expose your children to different environments, the opportunity to learn is huge. Take the time to engage all your senses by closing your eyes and smelling the odors of nature; pine scent in a forest, earthiness of a swamp, sweetness of wild roses, the deliciousness of ripe wild strawberries. Using touch, feel the textures of different rocks, tree bark, leaves, and stones. In the stillness of a quiet forest or along a lakeshore listen for the calls of birds. Look for the small animals often missed, ground beetles, blue dragonflies, hummingbirds, and butterflies.

5. It Just Feels Good

The positive energy in nature makes us smile. To tune in to its treasure, ask your family to sit on a rock or bench in a comfortable location, in sun if it’s chilly, in shade if it’s hot. Instruct everyone to close their eyes and breathe in to the count of 4, breathe out to the count of 4. In a soothing voice say, “Feel the breeze across your face and the warmth of the sun on your neck. Ahhhh. How do you feel?” Let your children express their feelings in this safe, loving environment. Congratulations, they’ve just participated in a short meditation!

Grateful for Changes in My Diet

I’ve been exploring new ways to be healthier the last year. My journey brought me to Susan Swern, Eating IQ and Dr. Paul Austin, Chiropractic Functional Neurologist. In mid-December 2015, we met to go over my Cyrex Array 10 Food Immune Reactivity Screen. When I saw my test results with the first values in the yellow and red columns, I was taken aback. One whole food group just fell off my plate! Instead of fearing the second page, I was curious. Thankfully most results were in the green “safe” column. I breathed a sigh of relief. Just a few nuts and peanut butter with sensitivity on page 2. Each page of data became “greener”; all vegetables and fruits, all meat and seafood (except cooked tuna and imitation crab meat) were safe for me to eat.

I was ecstatic!  “Look at all I CAN eat!”

The doctor and certified eating psychology coach both looked dumbfounded. They had never had a patient so happy who had food sensitivities that included gluten (all wheat products), dairy (eggs, milk, cheese, goat milk) and rice (white, brown, and wild).

As you can imagine, these foods were staples in my diet. Now, as I avoid these foods, I’ve come to appreciate every morsel of healthy food. And I’m feeling better! Bloating, abdominal discomfort, intestinal gas and joint pain were so prevalent in my life, I considered it normal. Now I’m amazed to feel the nuance of digestion. I eat and can discern true fullness. There are no unpleasant digestive symptoms, just a calm, peaceful, clean feeling that brings a smile to my face.

I love to cook and these changes are empowering as I discover new ways to tickle my palate while eating more of the vegetables and fruits my body craves. Eating out is an opportunity to peruse the menu, finding the healthy vegetables and communicating with the server those few ingredients to leave off my plate. I have a new love for me and compassion for others with food sensitivities.

What about breakfast? It traditionally includes a lot of the foods I no longer eat. My EatingIQ food coach, Susan Swern, told me, “Think of breakfast like any other meal.”

Now I have breakfasts with sautéed vegetables, meat and potatoes or grits. It’s amazing how good food tastes, my palette poised and eager after a night of rest. For snacks, I like to create a bowl of fruit. My favorites are fresh oranges, raspberries and bananas. Whole foods have been the norm in my diet for a while, now I’m exploring a more varied diet, eating almost no processed foods.

I am so grateful to both find the foods that were making me ill and to be excited about what my body wants. Follow me on Twitter, Pinterest, and friend me on Facebook as I post some of my dietary joys. #GratefulForDietChanges

My New & Improved Breakfast