1. Just reading this article is good for your health.
Even better: reading it aloud to your friends. In 2009, Mayo Clinic researchers, detailing study findings at a neurology conference in Seattle, revealed that people who socialized regularly and read magazines during middle age were about 40 percent less likely to develop memory loss than their wallflowery, less literary peers.
2. Detox the air.
How to put this politely? Thanks to chemicals in your carpet and cleaning products, your house is toxic. Sorry. But there’s good news: A NASA study found that a simple spider plant can, in 24 hours, remove 87 percent of indoor pollution. Meanwhile, the cataractarum palm converts CO2 to oxygen with amazing efficiency. Buy some of each at Capitol Hill’s coolest plant shop, Envy (1546 15th Ave, Capitol Hill, 206-588-2498; envygrows.com).
3. Deborah Enos wants to raid your kitchen.
The Sammamish-based weight-loss coach (deborahenos.com) chucks whatever pantry staples are making you chunky and suggests easy, healthier options to keep you cooking light. One of her favorite 15-minute dinners: a taco salad using low-calorie Pop Chips instead of tortilla chips, a can of black beans (rinse to remove 40 percent of the sodium, per Enos) mixed with ground bison (30 percent less fat than beef), veggies, salsa, and low-fat cheese.
4. Drink more coffee, not less.
There’s nothing moderate about Seattle’s coffee kick—we rank second in the nation for most coffee shops per capita with 2.5 shops per 1,000 people. And whether you’re loyal to Lighthouse or sip nothing but Stumptown, you needn’t be moderate about how much java you imbibe. “I typically tell my patients to drink as much coffee as they can and still be able to sleep,” says Peter R. Martin, director of the Institute for Coffee Studies at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. (Full disclosure: The institute is funded by coffee growers.) While people with anxiety or heart conditions should go light and pregnant women should avoid it altogether, coffee—lots of coffee—combats depression, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes. A 2005 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, for example, found that people who swilled more than six cups of coffee a day reduced their risk of acquiring Type 2 diabetes by 35 percent.
5-7. Healthy Happy Hours:
From 3 to 7pm daily, Garage (garagebilliards.com) on Capitol Hill offers up their swanky bowling lanes for just $10 per hour. Opt for a light beer and sip slowly, and you may even end up losing weight.
Happy hour at Fonté Coffee roaster and Wine Bar (fontecoffee.com) runs from 5 to 7pm every day and includes a highly snackable deconstructed Caesar—crunchy romaine spears sticking upright out of a bowl of creamy dressing ($3). Pair with a glass of white for a healthy predinner pick-me-up.
From 2:30 to 6pm on weekdays, Café Flora (cafeflora.com) features a discount menu whose healthy highlight is the Pate Platter ($7). Anchored by an earthy lentil-pecan pate and a tangy red-onion confit, this sampler is one effective ambassador for the vegan kingdom.8. Show this one to your boss:
Vacation is good for you. A University of Pittsburgh study surveyed 1,399 people to discover that leisure time is an important part of a healthy, stress-controlled lifestyle. Seattleites can keep it local by booking an Alaskan cruise that originates right on our waterfront with Bellevue-based travel service Expedia (expedia.com).
9. Get your Undriver’s License. (undriving.org)
Pledge your commitment to alternative transportation—help a friend find a bike route to work, give up driving two days a week—and Sustainable Ballard will issue you a business-card-size “license.” Creator Julia Field says kids are especially inspired by the idea of becoming undrivers, and there is no trip to the DMV necessary: The cards are issued at events around town; see website for details.
10. Sure it’s a goody-goody platitude.
It’s also a fact: The fastest way to start feeling good about yourself is to do something nice for someone else. Seattle Works (seattleworks.org) will help you find volunteer opportunities that match your skill set, interests, and commitment level. It couldn’t be easier.