It’s confusing isn’t it? Trying to work out what we should and shouldn’t do in terms of healthy living and eating. As the New Year rolls around, it’s usual to see and hear people announce that they are giving up…..fill in the gap. Anything from alcohol, caffeine, meat, gluten etc. Or they are going all out and doing a juice fast/cleanse for 10 days etc. STOP! We have a notion that things are good and bad. Black and white. But what if we stop for a minute and realise it is more about balance. Now don’t get me wrong, if something doesn’t agree with you, then by all means stop consuming it. If you have a medical diagnosis and need to, for example, stop consuming gluten then please listen to your medical practitioner.
But how about looking at things from a different perspective. What if it was all about moderation? What if we try to follow the 80/20 ‘rule’ i.e. eating well 80% of the time, with the occasional 20% for treats? Or find a percentage that suits you and your lifestyle. Don’t forget that we’re all individuals and what my body needs is very different to what your body needs.
Here are some suggestions on how to start the New Year with some new healthy habits:
Reduce the number of cups of coffee that you drink. You don’t need to give it up completely but how about starting your day with lemon water and move onto your cuppa for morning tea. Or keep it for occasionally drinking at café’s. Don’t be scared of coffee though. Some of the benefits include improving physical performance, fat loss, protection from dementia and lowering the risk of cancer and strokes. Blog post coming….this is a big topic!
As an alternative to coffee, I love this ginger latte.
2. Eat less meat and more veggies
Eat at least 5 serves of veggies per day. One serve equals 1 cup salad or 1/2 cup cooked veggies
Swop red meat for healthy fish a couple of times per week
Consider Meat Free Mondays. You don’t have to become vegetarian or vegan but reducing meat consumption and increasing veg consumption will have a big impact on your health. Check out my recipes here.
If you are in the habit of coming home from work every night, and pouring yourself a glass of wine/gin/beer etc., think about reducing the weekly intake or consuming it just on weekends. You don’t need to stop drinking alcohol. Remember red wine can be good for you! But try occasionally swopping it for fizzy water with flavouring such as strawberries/limes etc or a kombucha.
Swop standard bread for organic sourdough which is easier for the gut to digest. If you like bread, and it has no effect on you, there is no reason to go gluten free. There I said it. Will this make me popular? No! I remember going to a nutrition seminar a few years ago and over morning tea a woman said to me, “I can’t believe some people still eat bread.” I made sure to sit as far away from her as possible when I ate my lunch that day.
Don’t be scared of it. Eating fruit will really help your energy levels and overall wellbeing. Swap the processed cereal bar you usually eat for morning tea for a piece of fruit. Add some fruit to your cereal for breakfast.
Your friend is on a 10 day juice fast and you feel guilty and think that you should join her? Why? Think about what your reasons are behind it. Can you eat extra healthily for 10 days and eat more fruit during that period. Don’t fall for any fads or detoxes, especially because (an unqualified) friend says it’s good for you.
6. Don’t be scared of food
Want to eat that piece of chocolate cake? Eat it! And don’t spend the rest of the day feeling bad and starving yourself because quite frankly THAT thinking is doing you more harm than the piece of chocolate cake. If you feel sluggish and tired after eating it, take note and think whether this is something that you want to do again. But if you feel good, and like it as a treat, go for it! Remember 80/20!
And non-food related:
1. Social Media
Unfollow anyone that makes you feel bad for not following a certain regime e.g. green smoothies EVERY day. I’m the first admit to clients and at workshops that I don’t do this every day. But if it works for you also, that’s great. Just don’t feel bad if you don’t do something that someone else thinks you should do to be healthy.
Take a break from social media every few weeks. It is good for your mental health
Do your friends and the people you follow inspire you or expire you ? Every time you wonder what to do about a connection or friendship remember this!
(I got this from a talk by Tiffany Peterson the other day and love it!)
2. Move Your Body
Move your body in any way that suits you and your family. You don’t need to conform to a certain way of exercising. Walk or cycle the children to school. Do push ups against the kitchen bench when dinner is cooking, dance around the living room. Find out how to fit exercise into your daily routine. And most importantly find something fun!
3. Breathe Deeply
Did you know that breathing properly and deeply is one of the best ways to keep our body alkalised which is essential for good health? Take up yoga if this resonates with you or spend 5-10 minutes a day in silence, deep breathing. If you’re a parent, grab these moments when you’re on the toilet if you need be. Or traffic lights in the car. Grab those magical grounding moments whenever and wherever you can.
4. Positive affirmations
Try some Louise Hay work. Look in the mirror every day and tell yourself how wonderful you are.
Be proud of who you are.
I listened to a great training the other day By Tiffany Peterson and there were so many wise words of wisdom in there including:
- Habits equal results
- You are the creator of the quality of your life
- The first 10 minutes of your day should be for YOU (not for your phone etc.)
- Doing isn’t difficult, deciding is
I hope that these suggestions help. Most importantly listen to what your body is telling you. Really listen. It often gives us warning signs, softly spoken. It doesn’t like to shout. But if we don’t listen, just like a parent with a naughty child, the voice gets louder. Tune into your body. It knows what it needs. It may need to give up coffee, alcohol, chocolate cake etc. as you find this works for you.
What you need is not what your friend or partner may need. Remember that because we are all individual.