New Year’s Resolutions to ‘eat healthier’ and ‘lose weight’ are not sustainable habit changes. Instead use these easy strategies to improve your weekly diet:
After over-indulging during the holiday season, re-establish a more healthy weekly pattern by preparing and eating whole, unprocessed foods. Preparation is key. Spend a couple of hours a week cooking the basics in quantities that will last the whole week: slow cooked onions, bulk cooked grains and of course prepare a large pot of chicken stock which you can use for soups, stews, and sauces.
Move meat to the side of your plate and make vegetables the main component. Use a little meat as a tasty condiment to the vegetables. Red meat provides many vital nutrients including protein, iron, vitamin B12 and zinc. From a Chinese medicine perspective, eating meat is seen as blood nourishing.
Eat a colourful variety of plants. Choose berries, tomatoes, citrus fruits and dark green, leafy vegetables. Also ensure you eat cruciferous vegetables including pak choi, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, kale and cabbage. Avoid peeling vegetables and eat more of the tough parts e.g. stalks, stems and pulp. Separate these fibrous parts from the leaves and cook for longer. Adding butter and oil not only makes them more tasty but also helps you absorb more antioxidants. Put a seasonal chart on your fridge to help save money and reduce the environmental impact of your choices.
Don’t eat throughout the entire day. There is evidence suggesting that fasting may help protect the gut microbiome by activating an anti-inflammatory response. I don’t advocate missing meals out completely as you will also miss the opportunity to eat nutrient-rich foods that are beneficial for fertility. But remember, sleeping counts! Rest your digestion overnight for 12 hours (i.e. eat no later than 7.30 pm if you have breakfast at 7.30 am whenever possible.)
Breakfast is an important way to start the day. Make it more exciting and ditch traditional breakfast cereals and toast. Use leftover grains, wilted greens topped with an egg and chopped herbs. Or prepare overnight oats with kefir, nuts and berries. By planning ahead, breakfast takes minutes to prepare and helps you leave home nourished and without needing to rely on nutritionally poor (and expensive) breakfasts on the way to work.
Acupuncture is the perfect treatment to help support digestion and digestive function. As we are fond of saying “ diet is important - digestion is everything ". The World Health Organization recommends acupuncture treatment as effective for some common digestive problems such as Ulcerative Colitis and suggests it may relieve symptoms from other inflammatory bowel disorders.
Eat warm cooked foods and avoid juicing - your body needs warmth at this time of year . Our motto in the clinic is "Food: eat it don’t juice it"