It’s perfectly reasonable and common to want to adopt a healthier lifestyle in a new year. In a recent study, researchers found the top six most common New Year’s resolutions were… (drumroll) exercising more, losing weight, eating healthier, taking an active approach to health, learning a new skill, and spending more time on personal well-being. If your 2019 goals are somewhat aligned with that, you’re certainly not alone. It can get a little confusing, though, with differing dieting beliefs and studies that can counteract one another. Wellness can be fickle—and debatable.
Whether you’re a lifelong prescriber of well-being or if you’re hoping to be more consistent in 2019, here’s a quick guide of habits to ditch and the easy swaps you can make. While it may be a new year, there is no need for a “new you.” Maybe you just need a more empowered version instead.
Relying on store-bought milk
You’ve probably switched to an alternative milk, whether that be almond, coconut, macadamia, or oat. But you don’t have to be tied to the store-bought version.
“I love stocking up on Oatly just like anybody else does, however, when Oatly disappears from existence for a few weeks (when every coffee shop in your neighborhood puts up the dreaded “we are out of Oat milk” sign)—worry not!,” says wellness chef and new Cherry Bombe cover star Sophia Roe.
We’re a big fan of DYI’ing our alternative milk (you can grab our handy alternative milk recipe here), and Roe’s recipe couldn’t be easier. Take one cup of gluten-free oats that have been soaked for at least 30 minutes (it helps with the digestibility) and put it into a blender with four to five cups water, 1/4 teaspoon salt, blend all together for 45 seconds, and you’ll have tasty alternative milk that will last about a week in your fridge. (Be sure to shake before use.)
Buying things without looking at the ingredients
This is such a simple way to keep tabs on the things you’re putting in your body. “You may think you’re eating relatively low-sugar/additive-free, but a quick look at the label may show you that, in fact, you’ve been eating some yucky ingredients after all,” says Roe.
It’s always a good rule of thumb, but a friendly reminder in the New Year is to look at the sugar content and ingredient list to know what you’re consuming.
Consuming too many liquids—and not enough water
“Dehydration is a leading cause of fatigue, cravings, and headaches, so remember to drink two liters of water throughout the day,” says holistic nutrition expert and best-selling author Jessica Sepel. To make matters worse, you’re probably consuming too much caffeine, alcohol, sugary sodas, and juices. Sepel personally tries to keep her caffeine intake to one coffee a day, saying more than that can dramatically spike adrenalin, which can cause drastic mood swings.
Don’t love drinking water or frequently forget to drink those two liters? Try to supercharge your water by adding fresh lemon, lime, or mint (or all three if you’re feeling adventurous). When it comes to cocktail hour, stick to low-sugar drinks such as vodka, gin, or rum, and then use mixers such as soda, tonic, fresh fruits, mint, or rosemary for a flavor boost. Also ensure you’re having water between drinks and try to stick to two or three drinks in one sitting, says Sepel.
Using plastic straws, cups, or lids
While this has less to do with your wellness directly, plastic consumption has a dramatic and obvious impact on the environment. The Natural Resources Defense Council says reducing your plastic consumption is one of the four most important things you can do for water pollution.
There are thousands of amazing travel mugs, metal straws, tumblers, etc., that make using them easy and chic. “It may seem like a small thing, but every effort makes a difference,” says Roe. She keeps one in every part of her daily routine, from her gym bag to her purse to her car, so she’s always prepared.
Neglecting a consistent routine
Consistency in your daily schedule that is. “Never underestimate the power of consistency,” says Roe. “Bodies respond super well to a consistent routine.” No matter what changes you want to make in 2019, from working out regularly to more greens to less electronic usage to more sleep, remaining dedicated to consistency is where you’ll see the most difference.
Also, it’s not about the huge changes. “Yeah, it’s great to completely overhaul your entire diet overnight, but don’t underestimate a small change like only eating meat once a week, cutting out all added sugar, or opting for green tea instead of coffee,” says Roe. Even small changes can lead to big victories over time.
Ignoring gut health
Gut health is the key to overall health, and a few easy steps can help keep things consistent. Probiotics have not only gotten chic in their packaging design, but they’ve become advanced and effective.
Beyond that, you can stimulate the stomach every morning. Simply grab a glass of warm water and add a half of a lemon or a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, which “assists with digestion and the assimilation of nutrients,” says Sepel.