If your wondering how to take the first steps into a healthier lifestyle, I’ve put together some tips below. Remember: any positive change is beneficial, no matter how small. If you have any questions, feel free to email me and I would be happy to chat!
H2O IS YOUR BEST BUD
A bottle or flask of water should go everywhere with you! Our bodies require water to function: it cleanses our body of toxins, transports nutrients, it’s the main constituent of blood…I could go on. Sadly, pop and commercial juices not only add a ridiculous amount of sugar to our diets, but they deplete our body of essential vitamins and minerals. Try adding some lemon for an even better purification tonic or some cucumber and mint for a bit of flava! Aim for 8-10 glasses a day; more if you drink alcohol, coffee and/or exercise.
This is my life’s motto: real food is healing, nourishing, and down right delicious! This also means that real, organic (and local if possible!) butter is better for you than fat-free margarine, vegan butter and any other butter substitute out there. If it comes in a package, it’s a by-product of a marketing company trying to sell you something. “Low-fat/Fat-free” convenience items are the biggest misconception in the health world. This fake food contains added sugar, preservatives, chemicals, and doesn’t give us the nutrients our body needs. Start eating real food and you won’t have to count calories again. If your going to buy processed foods, read the label! If you can’t pronounce it, it’s not food.
One of the top culprits of physical and mental disease is stress! We live in a society that is so “go-go-go” that we often times forget about taking care of ourselves. Along with eating right, one of the most valuable gifts we can give our mind and body is exercise. Join a local rec league, take up biking or SUP or channel your inner yogi! Whatever it is…just start moving! Best advice I ever took was signing up for a sprint triathlon. It gave me a purpose to train and a goal to work towards. I was in such good shape and felt so amazing by the time the triathlon came around that I’ve never stopped since! I sign up for various races each year to keep me motivated and to reduce stress. Your biggest obstacle is not trying at all!
EAT LOCALLY & SEASONALLY!
Not only is it better for the environment to eat local, but by eating foods in season you are giving your body the nutrients it needs dependant on the climate.
EAT THE RAINBOW!
Choose fresh produce with an array of colors and you are bound to have a well-balanced diet. The more colourful your plate the better! Each food has a different color which means it contains different phytonutrients, proteins, and antioxidants. Tomatoes=red=lycopin; sweet potatoes=orange=carotenoids; Swiss Chard=green= chlorophyll. By switching up the colors in your grocery cart, you are providing your body with an array of nutrients. Try picking up a food you have never had before…you never know..it could be your new fave!
Try and have as many plant-based, whole foods in your diet as possible: fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts/seeds, legumes and beans. I’m not trying to convert anyone to a vegetarian or vegan, (because I’m not one!) however, I would like to emphasize that by adding more fresh fruits and vegetables to your diet, you will gain all the nutrients your body needs to stay healthy while lowering your weight, cholesterol and stabilizing blood sugar levels. This in turn will lower your chances of heart disease, cancer and diabetes. There are so many benefits of a plant-based diet and I can’t list them all here. I don’t even need to sell you on it because the more plant-based, whole foods you eat, the better you will feel and look. However, I would like to share some helpful resources should you wish to look into it further. Please see below.
DON’T BE SCARED OF FAT!
There are so many people who stay away from fat because they think it will make them fat…oh the contrary! Healthy fats help slow down the digestion of food keeping us fuller, longer, providing a steady stream of energy. Essential healthy fats (Omega 3’s and Omega 6’s) such as avocado, flax seeds, wheat germ, raw nuts, raw seeds, fish oil in salmon, mackerel, herring, etc. are essential to our body processes and envelope every cell in our body. These healthy fats are the building blocks of our sex and stress hormones and even help burn bad fat! Try adding these to your salads, soups, stir-fry’s, smoothies, or any meal you see fit: ground flax seeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds or the oils of these nuts and seeds. *The oils of these nuts and seeds are extremely delicate. They must be kept in a dark bottle in the fridge and can NOT be heated! Use only when they can be kept cold. Salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines, anchovies and marine algae are also wonderful sources of the Omega-3 healthy fat.
EVERYTHING IN MODERATION!
Ok…lets be real…we are all human! Who doesn’t enjoy a glass of wine with some cheese and chocolate?! Do I recommend indulging often? Well of course not! However, a treat every now and then doesn’t hurt. Choose organic and good quality when possible and don’t use food as a reward (“I ate so good this week so I’m gonna treat myself with an ice cream sundae!”). Indulge because you want to…don’t feel guilty, just enjoy it mindfully. If you want to reward yourself for eating well, do it with a manicure, a new bathing suit or a day off from chores and a bubble bath!
PLANNING AND PREPARATION ARE KEY!
Fail to plan and you’ll plan to fail! Take a day to plan and cook the majority of your meals for the week and always have healthy snack options available (a dip, fresh cut veggies, fresh fruit, a homemade dressing, homemade granola bars, a dried fruit and nut mix etc.). This way you are never tempted with an unhealthy, quick fix. If you don’t have an entire day to dedicate to shopping and cooking, plan a few nights a week to cook and make enough to last for a few meals. If you can, make a huge batch of brown rice, quinoa and lentils at the beginning of the week so you have already prepared grains and beans to grab for a salad or spontaneous creation. Some of my best creations are quick, last minute ideas that come from random things in my fridge: some pre-cooked quinoa, pre-cooked chickpeas, fresh tomatoes, goat feta cheese, mint from the garden, artichokes, an oil and vinegar combination and BAM! You have Tuesday’s dinner!
SAY NO TO TOXINS
Its no wonder heart disease and cancer are on the rise: “In the past 50 years 3,500 chemicals have been added to food and 3,000 have been introduced to our homes. The average person has a metal toxicity 700 times that of his ancestors!” (“New Optimum Nutrition for the Mind” – Patrick Holford). If we can decrease the amount of anti-nutrients (pesticides, herbicides, food additives, toxins in makeup and household cleaners, etc.) then nutrients won’t have to compete for absorption and our mental and physical health will be stronger. Please see my resources below for additional information.
REMEMBER: THIS IS NOT A DIET!
It’s a healthy lifestyle that relies on mindful eating and good quality, organic, whole foods, not processed, fake food. Diets are temporary and many times detrimental; lifestyles are forever.
Sugar, Salt, Fat
There’s Lead in your Lipstick
Optimum Nutrition for the Mind
The Art of Fermentation
Hungry for Change
Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead
Forks Over Knives