How to up Your Wellness Game Without Spending a Ton of Money

Photo: Unsplash/Kinga Cichewicz
I first heard of Daphne Javitch from Lena Dunham at the opening of Tracy Anderson's new Upper East Side studio last year. (What can I say? The wellness world might be expanding at a rapid pace, but it can still feel pretty small sometimes, at least in New York City.) When I'd asked the Girls creator what new healthy habits she was practicing, she told me she'd recently started working with the holistic nutritionist and health coach to generally feel better and help alleviate her endometriosis symptoms. (Javitch herself had dealt with chronic menstrual pain since age 13, including stage 4 endo.)

"She told me to drink more water," Dunham says. Undoubtedly, this wasn't the full extent of Javitch's orders; however, at a time when people are going to extremes in the name of good health, to hear such a duh-inducing answer was refreshing. And it's exactly this type of minimalist approach that's led healthy gals (Dunham included) to turn to Javitch for advice, which she's now sharing with more than just an inner circle, through her holistic health practice Doing Well.

"She told me to drink more water," says Lena Dunham. To hear such a duh-inducing answer was refreshing.

I found myself sitting among about a dozen or so of them the other week inside the Tory Sport boutique in Manhattan's Flatiron District. They'd come to have breakfast (green juice, beet blinis with scrambled eggs, sourdough bread, salad) and hear Javitch talk about wellness (in real life) as opposed to the highlight reel of health so often screened on social media.

Tall, with a messy blond bob, makeup so natural you'd swear she wasn't wearing any, and outfitted in an oversized blue sweater with high-waisted jeans, Javitch embodied the laid-back vibes of your best friend's slightly older sister who hasn't figured it all out, but has decoded enough to make you want to listen when she decides to drop some knowledge.

Despite being 10-weeks postpartum and still suffering from some pregnancy brain fog—"I have such a short memory right now that I’m like, 'If you robbed a bank and you want to unload, just tell me because in 10 minutes I won’t remember it,'” she quipped—her message was clear: "Consistency heals," she said. "As humans, we’re really wired for novelty. We’re wired to want something new. And, as consumers, we’re also wired for novelty, so we love the idea of potions and powders and new programs and new approaches. But the truth is that what really heals is choosing a few things and doing them again, and again, and again every single day. Making it a daily practice has more of an impact on your health."

"Health is created by doing better than we did the day before."—Daphne Javitch

It's a protocol called human co-repetition, she explains: "Health is created by doing better than we did the day before. What we do most of the time matters more than what we do some of the time. So having a healthy lifestyle is not about being perfect all the time. If you go out and you get plastered and you end up having a burger and fries and a milkshake, it’s more about waking up the next morning and gently returning to your routine."

So what can you do on the reg that could have a big impact on how you feel? Javitch recommends four small things, and while she calls them "un-sexy" ("They’re not like, collagen or other amazing things that people are using right now"), she also calls them "essentials."

Ready for some basic training? Keep reading as Javitch explains her top 4 easy, yet effective, tools for living your best (healthiest) life. 

Woman sleeping
Photo: Unsplash/Kinga Cichewicz

Get great sleep

If you’re not getting seven to nine hours of sleep every night, consistently, you’re missing the biggest detox of all. Sleep is what cleans the brain. It’s where our cells renew and rejuvenate. Try to develop a sleep routine, which basically means going to sleep and getting up around the same time—but be forewarned: It’s actually really hard.

And, obviously, well-rested humans are more intentionally mindful, so sleep is really powerful even in terms of maintaining a positive health routine. Because if you’re sleepy, you’re always grabbing the easy thing to munch on, and you’re making decisions that are less mindful and intentional.

Daphne Javitch's holistic health tips
Photo: Unsplash/Brooke Cagle

Drink more water

Water is my favorite thing. It's as simple as water. If you’re experiencing thirst, dry mouth, dry nose, dull skin, fatigue, irritability, hunger between meals, dark pee, or any kind of constipation, which really means that you’re not going every single day, that can be dehydration. Water is really a cure-all.

Getting that water in every day really helps. It creates almost like an internal shower in the body and it creates flow through the body so that’s a nice way of saying it makes things move through the colon and helps push out dense matter and stress. And it can even improve your circulation, reduce inflammation. It’s one of the most powerful tools and again such a simple tool just to get that water in every day.

A trick is to divide your body weight in half and drink that amount in ounces every day. But if you would rather just drink three liters a day, that’s fine too. And I try, and I advise people to try, to get most of that in before noon.  

grain bowl, raw food, recommended by daphne javitch
Photo: Unsplash/Jo Son

Be good to your gut

The other big tool is to eat raw vegetables, fruits, and grains. Raw foods are living foods. They have an enzymatic spark that pulls dense matter through the colon. They’re oxygen-rich. So just eating more leaves, plants, vegetables, and fruits oxygenates your cells. And also, all plants have disease-preventing phytochemicals in them—4,000 have been studied, but there’s more.

"They’re little piggies, our bacteria. So we need to know what they like so we can feed them the right things."

Phytonutrients prevent cancer and other diseases, and they’re literally the definition of plant medicine. So if we’re eating well-sourced, non-GMO fruits and vegetables, we’re really getting positive plant medicine in the body. And they’re fiber rich. Fiber feeds your good bacteria, it's a prebiotic. So again, we’re obsessed with probiotics, but we can get a lot of that good gut health through the food that we eat. We just need to know…they’re little piggies, our bacteria. So we need to know what they like so we can feed them the right things. 

Green smoothie, as recommended by Daphne Javitch
Photo: Unsplash/Alison Marras

Go green

Just like raw vegetables and fruits, green juice has phytonutrients. It’s like pure cell nourishment that doesn’t require any effort from the body. So when your body isn't “efforting” to digest food, it’s working on renewal, healing, rejuvenation, and what I like to call becoming younger.

And it’s a great tool for intermittent fasting. When you’ve finished managing and digesting your dinner, you go through a cleansing process. If you wake and you extend the fasting window, even start with two hours, you’re going to continue that healing process. Green juice is something you can consume during that time that gives you macronutrients and hydration, and energy—nourishment.

It also has the life force energy and the enzymatic spark—it helps to kick out debris in the body, and then it helps to pull it out, almost like an intestinal broom. You can also get a lot of benefits from juicing every morning that are similar to what you would get from an extended juice fast, without the stress. The cumulative effects of those morning fasts have a really big impact. The definition of health isn't a full-body makeover, it’s doing a little bit better than the day before.

Take your wellness knowledge up another notch by learning what happens to your gut on a juice cleanse. Then add these liver- and gut-cleansing foods to your grocery list. 

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