Having a series of simple habits you do every day can totally transform your health in the long run, so today I’m sharing six holistic habits for a plant-based diet.
By holistic habits, I’m talking about non-diet habits that round out a healthy lifestyle. I like to think of them as complements to a healthy diet that give you even more benefits from your food choices.
There are many other daily health-promoting habits that can be part of a healthy lifestyle, so the list that follows is not conclusive by any means. These six holistic habits are particularly supportive for people following a plant-based diet, though, and can complement any other lifestyle practices you enjoy.
Holistic Habits to Support a Plant-based Diet
Holistic Habit #1 – HYDRATE
Water. It’s the essence of life. We literally cannot survive without it. There’s a big difference between drinking enough to survive and drinking enough to optimally hydrate all our internal organs, our skin, and our cells, though. Most of us do the former, but few of us achieve the latter.
Aim to drink 2-3 liters (1/2-3/4 gallon) of water per day. If you are active, drink more! Consider adding essential minerals (potassium, sodium, calcium, magnesium) to optimize hydration.
You can make simple “mineral mocktails” by adding the juice of half a lemon, ¼ teaspoon high-mineral sea salt (I use Celtic sea salt), and ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar (a great source of potassium) into a glass of filtered water or coconut water. Try this in the morning or make one to drink during a workout.
If you’re looking for support drinking more water, check out this post I made on the topic a while ago.
Holistic Habit #2 – GET OUTSIDE
Sunshine is important for so many processes in our bodies. If you work in an office or at a desk, you likely aren’t getting enough of it.
Spend 20 or more minutes in the sun each day. Morning light is ideal as it initiates Vitamin D production without damaging the skin. Keep in mind: The darker your skin, the longer you need in the sun.
This habit can be tricky to navigate especially if you’re prone to sunburn. Early morning (before 9 AM) or late afternoon (after 5 PM) are the best times to get your vitamin D hit while avoiding sun damage, however, if that isn’t possible for you, know that any time outside (with sunscreen) is preferable to none.
Holistic Habit #3 – MOVE YOUR BODY
We all know the many benefits of daily exercise, but it can feel daunting to move our bodies if you’re doing something you dislike. Here’s your sign to let go of the form of exercise you think you “should” be doing and try something else that’s enjoyable to you.
Make it a goal to consciously move your body every day, in whatever way feels good to you. It can be as much as a hardcore HIIT class or as little as ten minutes of stretching in your bed in the morning. Or both! Do what works for you.
I love combining this habit and the last one and going on a daily walk. Not only does it become a peaceful routine I look forward to every day, but it’s also become a sacred time for my husband and me to spend together at the end of the workday.
Holistic Habit #4 – BE CONSISTENT WITH SUPPLEMENTS
Supplements can play an important role in a plant-based diet, but to really experience their benefits, consistency is key.
Develop a routine to take your supplements every day. An easy way to do this is to incorporate taking supplements into your breakfast or lunch routine.
Don’t forget about whole-food supplements such as Brazil nuts for selenium, ground flaxseeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and walnuts for omega-3s.
I always recommend a food-first approach and treat synthetic supplements as a safety net to top off and round out the nutrients I’m getting from food. This means prioritizing the whole foods supplements mentioned above (and others) even if I’m also taking synthetic supplements of those nutrients.
Holistic Habit #5 – SEASON YOUR FOOD
Herbs and spices are underrated when it comes to both health and flavor.
Use herbs and spices liberally in your cooking, the more, the better. Aim to include at least a few herbs and spices in every meal for anti-inflammatory power.
Not only will your food be more flavorful, it will also be healthier! No matter what you’re cooking, there is always an herb or spice (or a few!) that will enhance your meal with an antioxidant and flavor boost.
Holistic Habit #6 – OPTIMIZE YOUR ABSORPTION
What’s the point of eating a healthy diet if we don’t absorb all the nutrients? (Answer: there’s no point.) There’s a saying among nutrition professionals that goes like this, “You’re not what you eat, you’re what you absorb.” This speaks to the importance of actually absorbing the nutrients in our food. It might seem out of our hands, but we can influence this by making our gut’s job of processing all our food properly as easy as possible.
There are certain ways we can optimize the absorption of certain nutrients like iron and zinc on a plant-based diet (both nutrients of focus for plant-based eaters).
- Pair raw vitamin-c-rich foods with foods rich in iron and zinc (chickpeas, oats, and tofu are a few). You can do this easily by squeezing lemon or lime juice onto your meals after cooking. The same concept works with other foods rich in vitamin c like raw bell peppers and strawberries. Top your morning oats with strawberries and your burrito bowls with red bell pepper for increased absorption.
- Additionally, aim to drink tannin-containing beverages like coffee, tea, and red wine separate from meals to avoid interfering with nutrient absorption. When we consume drinks high in tannins with our meals, we make it harder for our bodies to get needed nutrients.
There are so many ways to improve our health, but no matter what else you might be working on, sticking to small actions over a long period of time will lead to truly life-changing results.
Small, daily habits can seem inconsequential in the short term, but if you stick with them, you’ll look back years from now and see the incredible improvement in your health. Particularly if you’re a plant-eater, the power of these holistic habits to support a plant-based diet cannot be overstated.
Consistency above all else will make you feel like a badass.
If you found this blog post helpful, I’d love to know! And after reading this, if you have more questions than answers, I’m here for you! Send me a DM @plantssogood on Instagram or Facebook and let’s chat!
Want the 6 holistic habits for a plant-based diet in an easy-to-consume format?
If so, you’re in luck! I created a printable checklist of all six holistic habits for you as a daily health checklist! Access the free checklist below so you can print it out and refer to it whenever you need a quick reminder.