Chances are that you did not stick to your new year’s healthy eating habits resolutions at some point.
New Year is around a corner and with it comes a new opportunity.RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
Opportunity to achieve your aspirations and actually enjoy the journey!
1. Break the fast
Ever wondered where the word ‘breakfast’ comes from? This crucial meal of the day literally breaks an overnight fast and provides your body with much needed fuel for the day ahead. You would not expect a car to run with no petrol, would you?
I honestly cannot think of an easier way to set the tone for the new day other than appreciating a delicious nutritious breakfast.
So even when our usual mornings are packed with many competing priorities, here is why breakfast should be your new year’s number one eating habit:
The first and foremost reason for not skipping breakfast is the fact that it will provide much needed energy for the first part of the day. And let’s be honest, who doesn’t like to feel cheerful and bouncy first thing in the morning?
Struggling to trim down that waistline? It’s been proven that those who do not eat in the morning tend to snack on high caloric/sugary foods to keep them going till lunchtime. By having breakfast you are essentially adopting healthier eating habits by stabilising your blood glucose levels. Consequently, this may reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
As long as you stay away from sweet pastries, sugary cereals and large portions of fry ups you are doing your body a massive favour.
2. Drink more water
I know that you know this one already but have you ever thought why?
Let’s start by saying that our bodies are made up of 65% of water. By the time we feel thirsty, we are already dehydrated. The body is desperately calling for rehydration and this is because it simply cannot function adequately without a proper water intake.
Water makes things move around in our bodies, good and bad, in and out of the cells and in and out of the body. If we don’t drink enough, we risk constipation, bad skin, headache, confusion, mood changes, weight gain, toxins accumulation, kidney stones, blood pressure problems, cardiovascular problems and a lot more.
The message is clear: drink plenty of unsweetened water – around two litres per day.
3. Love your bowels
An easy way to show some tlc to your insides is by including dietary fibre into your diet. One of the Mother Nature’s nature gifts to humankind has undoubtedly got to be plants that help our bodies function properly. Fibre, which is the indigestible portion of plants, is split into two kinds: soluble and insoluble.
The soluble one dissolves in water and includes foods like oats, barley, rye, fruits, and root vegetables. Insoluble fibre keeps the digestive tract healthy by moving food through and good sources are whole wheat bread, wheat bran, beans, nuts and seeds.
And why is it that your bowels will love you for eating more fibre? Few of the health benefits are: maintaining healthy bowels, reducing risks of developing haemorrhoids, diabetes, heart disease and some form of cancer; controlling blood sugar balance, maintaining normal cholesterol levels and achieving healthy weight. So not only you’ll be healthier from the inside, you’ll look charming on the outside!
Make sure you increase your fibre intake gradually as sudden big increase can cause intestinal upset. Allow couple of weeks for your digestive tract to adjust to the change.
4. Fruits and veg
Let’s keep this one simple.
Try and aim for a minimum of four cups of different vegetables and two different pieces of fruits a day. If you can eat more, good for you!
By increasing your daily intake of fruits and vegetables you already mastered a very important bit of all good eating habits. The reasons for doing this are so extraordinary that you will undeniably feel a difference within first few weeks. Opt for various types and colours of fruits and veg to add a lovely appeal to your plate.
They form a foundation for maintenance of overall health so if you wish to live a healthy long life, you just discovered one of the easiest tools in achieving this.
5. Let season guide you
Shop in harmony with the current season and you will be enjoying much needed nourishment that your body needs.
Not only eaten seasonal foods happen to be less expensive, they also taste better and are higher in vital nutrients. Logically, foods that are grown and shipped from different parts of the world are going to lack in rich colours, vitamins, minerals, trace elements and flavours.
They were most likely harvested too soon, immediately refrigerated and so did not get a chance to ripe into their full potential goodness. Compare eating strawberries in July and December. Which one do you really prefer?
It also makes ecologic sense to eat seasonally as fruits and vegetables travel lesser distance from farm to local shop. By eating seasonally you are eating sustainably too.
6. Say “no” to sugar
And here is why:
Sugar as it comes is not a food group as opposed to protein, fats or carbohydrates.
It has no nutritional value at all – that means no vitamins, minerals, enzymes, good fats etc. All it contains is calories. And we get enough of those from the food we already eat.
By staying away from sugary foods you are reducing development of health problems associated with every bodily system. To name just a few: risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular and liver disease, hormonal disturbances, tooth decay, candida albicans, weight gain, depression and addiction.
And only because unhealthy snacks are all around us and are cheap, that does not justify their intake. Use radical thinking as to why you want to avoid sugar. Its short term ‘quick fix sweet pick me up feeling’ is not worth the harm it causes to your health in the long run.
7. Swap and limit your salt
When you swap your refined table salt for natural sea salt, you will also get a small amount of trace minerals such as magnesium, calcium, potassium, zinc, iron and sulphur. However, whichever salt you use, it will always contain equal sodium chloride content.
It is these two minerals together that are responsible for increase in blood pressure, risk of developing heart disease or stroke. Aim to eat no more than recommended 6g of salt a day (this equal one full teaspoon) or even lower if possible.
Your body has an amazing capacity to adapt and so you’ll find that after cutting down your salt intake, foods that are salty will actually taste unpleasant. On the contrary, your awaken taste buds will enjoy a variety of fantastic natural flavours you were missing out on. It is just a matter of persisting around three weeks whilst the food might taste blander without the salt you have been adding to it.
8. Chew your food
If you find yourself rushing throughout the day with no time to spare it’s likely you gobble down your food in five minutes. However this unconscious habit impacts health in so many ways that we seriously need to reconsider the powerful action of slower eating.
Put simply, improperly chew food is harder to digest and therefore certain nutrients may pass the intestines unabsorbed. On the other hand, larger food particles provide an ideal place for bacteria and fungi to multiply. As a result, bacteria win over essential nutrients which go undigested. Remember, your stomach does not have teeth!
Also, you’re likely to eat less the longer you take to eat. The brain takes good twenty minutes to tell stomach it had enough food so if you eat slowly you get a chance to ‘listen’ to this important signal.
Lastly, when you really savour the meal with all the senses and do not rush finishing it, you’re truly enjoying everything it has to offer, including flavour, smell, appeal and of course, its nutritional value.
9. Natural vs processed
Change the way you think about the food. Everything our bodies need has been provided to us. Have you ever seen a ready meal or a chocolate bar growing on trees? (Well if you did, you gotta tell me where this was cause I definitely want to take a picture……) The reasons are simple – our cells, tissues and organs were not design to cope with the amount of manmade additives they contain.
And this is exactly why you should not become extremely concerned about counting calories, instead, think of your foods in terms of ‘being natural’. Choose various natural healthy foods from different categories over those that do not come from the ground or grow on the trees.
Discover new tastes, colours and shapes and experiment. Incorporate your new found favourite ingredients to come up with an easy recipe and gradually, you’ll become the healthiest version of yourself.
Here is an example of a nutritious healthy recipe:
– 1 cup barley (soaked overnight)
– 2 cups vegetable stock
– Handful cherry tomatoes, diced
– Half cucumber, diced
– Two handful of rocket
– 2 cloves of crushed garlic
– Olive oil (you can try and experiment with other oils such as avocado or nuts/seeds oils
– Sea salt
– Ground black pepper
– Freshly squeezed lemon juice
Bring vegetable stock into boil and add barley. Simmer for around 15-20 min. or until tender, then rinse under water, drain and let cool down. Mix garlic, olive oil, salt, black pepper and lemon juice together to make dressing. Place barley into a bowl and top with tomatoes, cucumber and rocket. Add dressing and enjoy!
Tip: you can sprinkle the dish with pine nuts, cashew nuts or diced feta cheese if you like
And last but not least,
10. Praise yourself
Every little change you adopt will eventually make a positive difference to your overall health. You’ll feel and look better for it. Surround yourself with support and love that you need to achieve your ultimate goal. Make self-kindness your driving power and self-love your furthermost priority.
For without the appreciation and respect of oneself, one will never make an effort to take care of his health and wellbeing. So let’s find that inner loving sparkle in ourselves and follow it throughout the New Year together.