One of the biggest challenges of being an integrative doctor is helping people make foundational lifestyle changes. As we know too well, fundamental shifts to healthier habits don’t happen with a single decision.
They happen over numerous small choices made in many tiny instances throughout the day, which becomes a week, a year and a lifetime. You can’t be with your patient all day long when these choices happen, but through apps, you can help give them the nudges they need to make meaningful, healthy change. Here are a few of my favorite apps to get you started.
Have you ever stood in a grocery store wondering how to pick a pineapple? This app can help. It provides useful information on what fruits and vegetables are in season based on your location, along with a handy guide on how to select and store each type of produce.
Sleekly designed, this app lets you search through a comprehensive database of recipes to find meals that fit specific allergies, diets and palettes. It even pairs up with an Instacart account to have the ingredients delivered right to your door within 1-2 hours.
Thrive Market (Apple/Android)
Featuring bulk buying for the health food crowd, this app lets you order wholesale amounts of healthy foods and products and have them shipped directly to your home. You might not need your Costco membership after using this app, which also includes the option to filter by “values,” such as organic, paleo, gluten-free, vegan and “Moms.”
Forks Over Knives (Apple/Android)
The Forks Over Knives app is a great go-to source for whole foods recipes, which are vetted by their huge community of plant-based nutrition lovers.
If anyone uses a healthy lifestyle app, it’s probably this powerhouse which lets you track calories (including a built-in barcode scanner and perhaps the largest database of nutritional values out there) as well as weight, activity and more.
Sworkit creates customized workouts based on your individual health goals, capabilities—even mood. Each workout is demonstrated by trainers calling out verbal cues, making this the perfect app to inspire your living room workout or walk you through a trip to the gym.
Meditation made for anyone, this playfully designed app is a delight for both adults and kids. The introductory series begins with 10 sessions of 10 minutes each to ease the most stressed of minds into a contemplative practice.
We all want to get out in nature more often, but when you can’t, Wildfulness can help. This gorgeous app is simple—watch hand-drawn nature scenes set to “psychoacoustic 3D sounds” when you’re tied to your desk but need a brief escape. This app will meet you where you’re at.
Track your water intake, get “sip” reminders throughout the day and visualize your progress on finally getting in those eight glasses of water a day.
Quality Time (Android)
For the cell phone addicts out there, this app will track how much time you spend in each app or even how many times a day you check your phone. It becomes a lot easier to break that Facebook habit when confronted with the cold hard facts of how much of your life is spent browsing other people’s memes.
Classy, not cutesy, this app is designed around the fact that a menstrual period is, well, a cycle. At a minimum, you can keep track of cycle length with the click of a button. There is additional functionality for tracking symptoms and fertility and creating body awareness in relation to hormonal shifts.
Rock Clock (Apple/Android)
The Rock Clock (yes, made by The Rock) is my favorite guilty pleasure. It’s an alarm clock that you can customize with upbeat, tongue-in-cheek wake tones. Whenever you need a jolt of inspiration, you can also listen to The Rock read you his favorite motivational words of wisdom. Go seize the day!
By Gillian Hanson, ND
Dr. Gillian Hanson is a naturopathic doctor who
combines her healthcare experience with a
love of technology for the San Francisco-based
start-up PicnicHealth. We’re proud to have her
on Emerson’s Practitioner Advisory Council!