Every new year arrives with the common refrain: “I am going to be healthier this year!” But, alas, all too often best intentions result in little or no sustained action, due to competing priorities or unmanageable expectations. You may join a gym, sign up for an online program, or start a “fad” diet. Not only expensive and unsustainable, superficial programs or diets run the risk of only further hampering your attempt to achieve balanced, healthy outcomes over the longer term. Rather than falling victim to the all-too-foreseeable cycle – engaging in a short-term burst of diet or exercise – challenge yourself to become empowered to do things differently. In light of this, here are a few tips to support you on your journey – it does not have to be overwhelming or complicated!
1) Start your day with a boom!
How you start your day will have a huge impact on how you will feel throughout the day! Consider replacing your muffin or bowl of cereal with a high protein, macro-balanced breakfast, such as overnight oats, or an omelette with a side of greens. Additionally, rather than stop at a coffee shop for an x-large coffee, consider making yourself a healthy mushroom coffee at home – such as the Dodjivi’s 4 protection coffee blend consisting of Reishi, Chaga, Lion’s Mane, and Turkey Tail. These medicinal mushrooms are loaded with antioxidants, they help maintain an optimal immune system, and support overall health. Studies have shown that medicinal mushrooms can alleviate stress, anxiety, depression, and insomnia! (1) A sublime choice for a morning drink, with its great taste and favorable health benefits, creating a deliciously compelling combination. Added bonus – no jitters or “caffeine crash”!
2) Choose whole foods.
Swap your packaged snacks, frozen meals, canned foods, to whole foods including fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and seeds. These foods are nutrient dense, and include protein, fibre, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals, giving your body the nutrients it needs to feel good. Processed and refined foods are void of nutrients, are empty calories, and will leave you feeling unsatisfied, low energy, and cause food cravings.
3) Do not care for calories, care for nutrients.
Calories are not created equal. The quality of the calories that you are eating is what really matters. You want to be eating a variety of colours, a variety of proteins, and healthy fats to ensure that you are getting a wide range of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and essential fatty acids. Do not be afraid of healthy fats as these allow you to feel fuller longer, allow you to absorb fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, K, and are so important for your mental health. If you want to improve the quality of your diet, eat healthier and improve how you feel, varying your diet and eating nutrient dense foods is key.
4) Keep healthy foods readily available.
It is when we are most hungry that we reach for the bad snacks. Avoid keeping unhealthy food in your pantry, and most importantly have healthy foods easily accessible. Have a basket of fruits on the counter, have healthy snacks like nuts and seeds at eye level in your fridge and pantry. Cut up a big batch of vegetables at the beginning of the week and put them in a container so that you always have freshly cut vegetables on hand and ready to be eaten. Hummus, bean dips, or guacamole are great for veggie dippers.
5) Remove sugary drinks from your diet.
If you are going to have one specific goal this year, this could be it! In 2015, Canadians purchased a daily average of 450 ml of sugary drinks per capita which equates to about one pop per person per day. (2) This is excessive and the consequences on health are detrimental. Cutting back on sugary drinks is one of the best ways to remove excess calories and to maintain a healthy body weight. Research is predicting that sugary drink consumption will be responsible for obesity in more than three million Canadians in the next twenty years. If you need a boost, rather than consuming a sugary drink, consider Dodjivi’s Vitality Blend – with its health benefits and deliciousness, there will be no going back!
(1) Nagano M, et al. (2010). Reduction of depression and anxiety by 4 weeks Hericium erinaceus intake. DOI: 10.2220/biomedres.31.231
(2) Press, C. (n.d.). Sugary drink consumption by Canadians is ‘excessive,’ could harm health and economy: Study. The Star. https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2017/02/10/sugary-drink-consumption-by-canadians-is-excessive-could-harm-health-and-economy-study.html
Author: Cat Binette, Registered Holistic Nutritionist