Trying to get back on track after holiday indulgences can be difficult. A little too much mulled wine followed by a greasy breakfast and holiday sweets can get us into an unhealthy rut. Here are some simple rules for getting back on track.
Eat Real Food!
What does this mean? Eat foods in their natural state. Organic vegetables and fruits are filled with antioxidants, phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals—basically everything we need to support a healthy body. Eating a wide variety of different-colored fruits and veggies is always a healthy choice. When you look at your plate make sure 80% is fresh or lightly cooked vegetables. The other 20% should be organic grains like brown rice, millet, quinoa, nuts and seeds, organic free range/grass fed proteins and healthy fats.
Minimize Processed Food Intake
As Author Michael Pollan says, “The longer the shelf life, the shorter yours…” Foods that are processed usually come in a box or bag and have a long shelf life. These include things like crackers, chips, cookies, cereals, and cake mixes, and they have little to no water content. Processed foods can contain unhealthy fats (see next).
Eat Healthy Fats
Healthy fats are important for providing energy, healthy cell membranes, and hormone balance. My short list includes all organic: avocado, coconut oil, olives, nuts, seeds, unheated olive and flax oil, clean salmon, nuts and seeds. Stay away from margarine, vegetable shortening, fried foods, and anything with “partially hydrogenated” oil listed in the ingredients. Stay away from processed oils such as soybean oil, sunflower oil, corn oil, canola oil, cottonseed oil, and safflower oil. These oils are industrially manufactured, usually from GMO crops in the US, using high heat and toxic solvents to extract the oil from the seeds.
Make Your Meals with Love
Sharing meals is an ancient ritual that many of us do not partake in anymore. Turn off all technology – smart phones, television, tablets, etc. – and take time to connect offline, with those you love. Create community and connection with your family and friends by getting creative with healthy recipes that inspire conversation and nourish those you care about.
Drink 8 glasses of filtered water a day. Our body is about 60% water; drinking enough water maintains fluid balance, which transports nutrients, regulates body temperature and digests food. Dehydration lowers energy levels and brain function. Drinking 8 glasses a day will give you a boost in energy and keep your brain functioning. Proper hydration also promotes healthy bowel movements, keeps our skin clear and flushes toxins. You can infuse your water with fresh herbs, fruit, or a dash of stevia for sweetness.
Eat with the Seasons
Buying produce from farmers markets is a great way to see what’s fresh and seasonal in your area. In the cooler months, eat more warming foods like soups, hot teas, and warming spices like cinnamon, pepper, and garlic. In the warmer months, eat more cooling foods like fresh green juices, salads and ingredients like lettuce, cucumbers, watermelon and cooling spices like peppermint, fennel, and cilantro.
Do Not Overeat.
In Chinese medicine overeating stresses the spleen, which is responsible for the proper functioning of the digestive system and transforming food into energy known as qi (our life force energy). Disharmony of the spleen will result in symptoms such as fatigue, slow metabolism, water retention, loose stool and a feeling of heaviness. Try not to overload your plate with large portions. Make sure vegetables take up the largest percentage when possible.
“Something amazing happens when we surrender and just love. We melt into another world, a realm of power already within us. The world changes when we change. The world softens when we soften. The world loves us when we choose to love the world.” ― Marianne Williamson