How often do we promise ourselves that 'we’ll get our act together' and eat only healthy foods in the New Year? It’s a tall order and usually only lasts a short time if we’ve bothered even to start at all. But I’ve come up with some ways that will hopefully help make one of your New Year resolutions a reality.
- First of all don’t overwhelm yourself and try to make too many radical changes to your diet in one go. If you pace yourself and gradually start to introduce new foods and swap unhealthy foods to healthier alternatives over the next few weeks you will be more likely to stick to your new healthy dietary regime.
- One of the best things you can do to start the New Year off in a healthy way is to give your liver a rest from alcohol. Get into fresh vegie juices, a couple of great liver loving combos include carrot, beetroot, celery, apple, lemon and ginger; or spinach, kale, cucumber, celery, pineapple and mint. Try cutting down of coffee and replace it with some health boosting herbal teas including ginger (ZesTEA), peppermint (VitaliTEA), chamomile (SereniTEA), and green tea (ViridiTEA). Dandelion root is a healthy caffeine-free alternative to coffee and does wonders for helping the liver detox. It can be made with milk or as a tea (PuriTEA). Don’t forget to drink lots of water too, around 2 litres a day will help flush toxins from your body. Natural sparkling mineral water with a splash of fresh lemon or iced teas are also refreshing ways to stay hydrated on a hot summer’s day.
- Your aim should be to get rid of as many processed and refined foods in your diet as you can and start replacing them with nutritious and natural, unprocessed alternatives. A good place to start is by cleaning out your cupboards and fridge of all your packaged unhealthy foods like sugary breakfast cereals and biscuits, soft drink, and unhealthy sauces. Natural, unprocessed foods are naturally rich in vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidants. Eating more of these types of nutritious foods and less processed, refined foods will promote good health and reduce your risk of developing chronic diseases such as cardiovascular, cancer and diabetes.
- Next, start swapping refined ‘white’ grains such as breads, pasta and rice, for healthy fibre-rich wholegrain alternatives including grainy breads, brown rice, whole oats and wholemeal pasta. Wholegrain foods are important sources of sustained energy, fibre, B vitamins and vitamin E. Choosing these foods over refined ‘white’ carbohydrate foods will help you maintain a healthy weight and help to keep blood sugar and insulin levels nice and balanced.
- Then, swap unhealthy saturated and trans-fats for healthy unsaturated fats. Replace vegetable cooking oil with virgin olive oil or coconut oil. Instead of butter or margarine you can use flaxseed oil drizzled on toast or avocado. Make your own healthy mayo out of Greek yoghurt, and salad dressings from seed and nut oils, lemon juice and fresh herbs and spices. Instead of buying greasy take-away meals make your own healthy homemade alternatives e.g. oven baked sweet potato chips, healthy burgers and pizza and oven baked crumbed fish.
- Next step is to start including more antioxidant-rich foods in your diet. These foods help prevent free radical damage in the body and they can keep you younger and healthier. Free radicals damage cells in the body and increase the risk of premature ageing along with chronic diseases. The easiest way to incorporate more antioxidants in your diet is to add a handful of mixed berries to your breakfast cereal, add some super berry or super green powder to a smoothie, enjoy a few green teas a day, and add some dark green leafy veggies, and red and orange vegies to your lunch or dinner such as tomatoes, red capsicum, carrots and pumpkin. Try making a pitcher of iced tea made from antioxidant-rich rose hip (LongeviTEA), then add some fresh pomegranate and lime juice (Click Here for Recipe).