3 Things to Support Your Health That Aren’t Food!

June 21, 2021

 3 Things you can do today to support your health that don’t involve food! Yes, as a nutritionist, I believe that feeding our bodies with nourishing food is KEY but as a holistic nutritionist, I understand the importance of looking at all areas of health and wellness. 3 things you can do to support your […]

Nicole VanQuaethem

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 3 Things you can do today to support your health that don’t involve food!

Yes, as a nutritionist, I believe that feeding our bodies with nourishing food is KEY but as a holistic nutritionist, I understand the importance of looking at all areas of health and wellness.

3 things you can do to support your health that don’t involve food are:

  1. Getting Adequate Sleep
  2. Stress Management 
  3. Moving your body

We all know that we need to sleep more, stress less and move our bodies but some of us don’t fully understand the impact that these can have on our bodies. On the other hand, some people focus so much on healthy eating and still don’t get the results they want because they aren’t focusing on these other key pieces.

Why is sleep so important?

When we don’t sleep well we tend to need an extra coffee or struggle to get through the day or maybe rely on sugary snacks to keep our energy levels up but there is so much more to it! Here are some of the reasons you need to prioritize sleep:

  1. If you are active sleep is an important time for our muscles to rest and repair
  2. This is also an important time for our digestive system to take a rest. Many people who don’t sleep well tend to have digestive issues and vice versa
  3. We need sleep in help support healthy hormones. This includes blood sugar regulation, stress and sex hormones. 
    1. Cortisol – lack of sleep and impact the ability to produce healthy levels of cortisol and also lead to higher levels of cortisol during the day
    2. Insulin – lack of sleep can negatively impact insulin sensitivity
    3. Sex hormones – lack of sleep can lead to suppression of sex hormones
    4. Ghrelin – lack of sleep can increase this hormone which is responsible for hunger cues and cravings
  4. To generally feel good and have a productive day!

Some simple things you can do to promote sleep are herbal teas, turning screens off 1-2 hours before bed, using blue light blocking glasses, and making sure your room is dark, cool and quite.

Why is stress management important?

I feel like I have talked about this a lot because of how interconnected stress and gut health are but stress also impacts our sleep, as mentioned above, our hormones and so much more! 

  1. If you are stressed you are most definitely impairing your gut health. People who are chronically stressed are more likely to experience things like IBS and various bacterial and fungal overgrowths. If you want to learn about the nitty gritty then be sure to read my blog post all about digestion and stress!
  2. Another thing you may have heard of before is adrenal fatigue. Although not everyone in the medical community quite agrees with the concept of adrenal fatigue, there comes a point when someone is so chronically stressed when their body stops producing cortisol or in low amounts. Many people who experience this may experience other hormone imbalances, brain fog, poor sleep and extreme fatigue. 
  3. Stress can also impact impact our estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone levels. 
  4. Another hormone is can impact is insulin which regulates our blood sugar. When cortisol is being pumped out our insulin levels can rise as well. Plus we are also more likely to crave sweets and other comfort foods when we are stressed. 
  5. Chronic stress has also been linked to obesity, diabetes, cancer and other serious illnesses. Yikes! 

Simple things you can do everyday are setting boundaries around your phone/technology, getting outside, meditating, and deep breathing. 

Why is movement important:

I always like to start off by saying not all movement is the same but a little movement everyday is great for the body. I think we know that walking and high intensity workouts are not the same, and although they can both be great, sometimes high intensity isn’t good to do regularly as it can increase stress in the body. For women, I recommend sticking to high intensity workouts during their ovulation window. So why and how should we move:

  1. It gets us more connected to our bodies. Many of us are tied to a desk all day and aren’t really thinking about the functionality of our bodies or how to move them in the most optimal way
  2. To help increase sleep at night BUT also increase energy throughout the day
  3. Decrease our risk of cardiovascular disease and other chronic illnesses 
  4. Might also be a good excuse to get outside and get some fresh air and Vitamin D 
  5. Help increase blood flow, flexibility and mobility 
  6. Help us destress 
  7. Help boost our mood 
  8. May help regulate sex hormones in men and women 

Movement doesn’t have to be going to the gym everyday. If you are short on time, try at-home workouts or getting outside for a walk. 

Check out the YouTube video here!

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