I meet a lot of people who want to clean up their diets. Maybe they know they’re unhealthy eaters, or they eat too many processed foods. Maybe they have the winter blues and want to switch things up a little. Maybe they’ve finally realized that it’s time to do something about the bloating and tummy discomfort that comes with most of their meals.
Regardless, we could all stand to freshen up our plates a little.
Well, now’s the time. If you start tomorrow, and commit to it, you’ll be feeling fabulous come Springtime. I promise!
5 Easy Ways to Clean Up Your Diet
1. Limit your sugar intake. Look for sugar listed in everything you buy that comes in a package or a jar. Tomato sauces and salsas don’t need to have sugar in them. Make your own salad dressings and use stevia or less refined sugars like maple syrup or honey.
Try this recipe for homemade salad dressing using stevia as the sweetener.
2. Eat more raw fruits and vegetables. Try a green smoothie. Dark leafy greens are ridiculously full of vitamins and minerals. I throw kale, romaine, or spinach into my smoothies, and then I try to have one big salad every couple of days. You can get loads of cancer-fighting antioxidants from raw fruits and veggies.
Try this recipe for the beginner’s green smoothie.
3. If you’re a meat-eater, consider using it as a condiment instead of letting it take up your whole plate. Talk to your local butcher about where he gets his meat. Does he know the farmer who raises the cattle? Are the animals grass-fed? Hormone-free? You want the answers to these questions to be a resounding YES!
4. Limit your dairy intake. Processed and pasteurized dairy is inflammatory and can clog up our bodies. This makes it harder for us to heal, easier for us to get colds, and it can drag us down. Try to buy local and organic dairy whenever possible.
Try this recipe for Homemade Nut Milk.
5. Start eating more power foods NOW. Last month I talked about the incredible nutritional benefits of dark leafy greens, eating a variety of colorful fruits and veggies, using ground chia seeds or flax seeds, eating dates when you need a sugar-fix, and the all-powerful coconut oil. Find a way to fit these foods into your diet today!
Photo source via Maggie Savage
Editor’s note: Today we will be kicking off a new series called “Your Body is a Temple” based on the Buddha quote above. The articles (one monthly) will be written by our newest contributor Maggie Savage. You can learn more about Maggie here. Thank you Maggie!
I’m excited to be joining The Conscious Perspective and sharing lots of healthy tips, recipes, and ideas throughout 2012.
I’ve come to believe that my body really is my temple. As a busy study-at-home Mom (I’m currently studying to become a Registered Holistic Nutritionist), I need to be at my best so I can get a lot accomplished in my day.
I thought I’d start by sharing FIVE power foods we need in our temples. These are power foods; they’ll give you the power you need to get through your day!
1. Dark, leafy greens – I start my day with a green smoothie and I can’t imagine it any other way. Dark leafy greens are packed with vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. I try to get in at least 2-3 cups a day. 1 cup in my smoothie and another couple of cups in the form of a salad or thrown into whatever it is I’m cooking for supper (soups, stews, curries, and even veggie burgers).
2. Color on your plate – In addition to eating your dark leafy greens, it’s important to eat a wide variety of colorful fruits and veggies throughout the day. Fruits and veggies are loaded with antioxidants, phytonutrients, and many of them have benefits scientists have yet to discover. I try to get as many raw fruits and veggies in as possible, since that guarantees lots of vitamins in my diet.
3. Ground chia seeds or ground flax seeds – Essential fatty acids (EFA’s) are an important part of our diets. Our brains need these EFA’s for cognitive functioning, and they even play a role in stabilizing our moods. I like to sprinkle ground chia or flax on my cereal, in my smoothies, and even my toast. I also use ground chia and ground flax in my baking.
4. Dates –Since giving up refined sugar, I’ve been using medjool dates to get my 3pm sugar fix under control. Dates are an excellent source of energy and dietary fiber. Dates are also loaded with potassium, which helps the body maintain a healthy central nervous system. I use dates to sweeten my smoothies, or when I’m headed out for a long run. Combined with some raw nuts, dates make the perfect mid-day snack.
5. Coconut oil – The benefits of coconut oil can’t be described in one small paragraph. It is hands-down one of the healthiest fats out there. It can be used topically to maintain healthy hair and skin. Taken internally, coconut oil is also excellent for maintaining cholesterol levels and increasing immunity. I love to cook and bake with coconut oil mainly because it is an excellent dairy-free alternative, but also because it is stable enough to resist heat damage.
Do you have a favorite power food? Share with us by leaving a comment below.