Your body is amazing; thank it with some New Year Nourishing
Ah New Years Eve. The anticipation of a new year ahead. The promise of a new start. The enthusiasm for change. No matter what kind of year you’ve had, you probably hope for better next year. It just seems to be human nature. A lot of people tell me of their grand plans for new diets, cutting out this and avoiding that. It’s a lot of pressure, and in my experience sets people up for failure. But should we ditch the desire to improve ourselves because it never works out? No. I think the answer lies with gentleness. Gentle goals, gentle progress. Ultimately, that’s the only way to sustainable change.
In the southern hemisphere where the New Year coincides with Summer we seem to have ample motivation to prioritise our health. We badly want to shed those bad winter habits along with the scarves and coats. Unthinkable in the depths of winter, a reset seems do-able with a good dose of sunshine.
I’m a fan of being kind to your body often, like more than once a year. But the idea of a New Year cleansing goes back centuries. The New Year can be a great cue to really focus on your body’s needs, on its subtle messages to you, before they become louder.
Harness some New Year enthusiasm and use that momentum to propel yourself into some gentle healthy practises.
New Year Nourishing
New Year Nourishing is great for people who are generally healthy but have slipped into a few habits that are taking them further from health, rather than towards it . A glass of wine EVERY night after work? A big block of chocolate every week (guilty!)? Or maybe you’ve lapsed into a repetitive, nutrient poor diet over winter? These relatively minor deviances from good health can be corrected with these 3 steps.
1) Count nutrients not calories
Each meal, including breakfast, ideally contains a palm portion of protein, 2-3 cups of vegetables and 2 tablespoons of good fats. How many colours can you get onto your plate? Diversity is the key here. Too many of us stick to the same rotation of 3-4 veggies our entire lives! If vegetables at breakfast time is taking it too far for you, get acquainted with a blender and make a smoothie.
Breakfast smoothie recipe:
4 ice cubes
200ml liquid –Water, milk, unsweetened rice, coconut, almond or oat milk
Protein – Nuts and seeds, protein powder or raw egg if that’s your thing!
Fruit – Frozen banana or berries work really well
Greens – Spinach, kale, parsley, dandelion leaves from the garden
Optional extras – Cacao powder, spirulina, ginger, turmeric, vanilla, dates.
2) A little less of the sweet stuff
Currently you’d be forgiven for thinking sugar is the root of all evil! And although I don’t advocate an all or nothing approach to anything, I do think we’re all eating more than we should, and more than we think. Don’t shun your made with love home baking, but get smart about sugar in the things you eat everyday. Read labels (although most real food doesn’t have a label), and remember there’s no need for sugar in anything that isn’t dessert or a treat.
3) Beware of EFLS
EFLS is a term coined by one of my health heroes Michael Pollan. It stands for ‘edible food like substances’. Additives of all kinds like artificial sweeteners, preservatives, colours, fillers, gums, thickeners, invert sugar, modified starch, hydrogenated vegetable oils, etc, etc, etc. These things are not even really food yet they make up an estimated 10% of our diet. Get them out while resetting, and I bet you wont want them back!
These three steps done consistently but with wriggle room will feel sustainable. Add in 8 hours sleep each night, 2 litres of water daily and weekly time in nature. Gently but surely you’ll gain a sense of achievement and wellbeing better than any strict New Years resolution could provide.
So, may you have a Summer full of fun, good food, rest and adventure! Set goals that feel gentle. Listen to those subtle messages your body is sending. You’ll reap what you sow with amazing health.
Here’s to your health and happiness in 2019! (Yikes! How did that happen?!)