The earth is covered in plants that provide living creatures with food to keep us healthy and medicine for when we are sick. It makes sense that plants are an essential part of any healthy way of eating. Even in the harshest conditions, plant life, …
Tag: healthy lifestyle
The Mediterranean Diet has sustained its reputation as one of the world’s healthiest diets for more than two decades. When it first gained popularity in the United States in the 1990s, most Americans thought a heart-healthy diet restricted not just saturated fat, but all fat, …
It can be easier to lose weight when you’re eating mindfully but there are plenty of other reasons to adopt a more mindful approach to your eating habits, even if you’re not actively looking to slim down. From getting to grips with emotional eating to improving your digestion, mindful eating can have some seriously impressive benefits.
Benefit #1: Less potential for overeating
Eating at a slower pace gives a lot more opportunity for signals to pass between your stomach and brain – namely the ones that tell you when you’re full. It’s all too easy to fall into the trap of eating “mindlessly” and automatically, which often means that these signals don’t have the same effect and before you know it, you’ve eaten a whole heap of calories and still don’t feel full.
With mindful eating, it’s a whole different story. Taking your time over your meals and snacks makes it easier for your body to recognize when you’re full so you can take your cues from that. Tapping into your body’s natural hunger cues makes overeating a lot less likely. Another great reason to avoid eating in front of the television!
Benefit #2: Getting to the bottom of emotional eating triggers
What makes you crave junk food? Often, it’s nothing to do with hunger and everything to do with emotions. When you get the urge to snack, mindful eating gives the perfect platform to take a step back and ask yourself how you’re feeling and what emotions may be playing a part in your cravings. Being super mindful with your eating gives you a lot more opportunity to delve deeper into emotional eating triggers so you can recognize patterns and take action.
Benefit #3: Trusting yourself to make healthy food choices
When it comes to cravings, you’ll often hear advice to remove unhealthy foods from your home to avoid falling victim to temptation. This can help in the early days when you’re first getting the hang of mindful eating and taking steps to change your eating habits but it’s not necessarily something you’ll need to stick with in the long term. Not if you’re committing to mindful eating, anyway!
Once you can get to grips with mindful eating, you can have a whole heap more trust in your ability to make healthy food choices, even when there are some not-so-healthy options in the vicinity. It’s about building a better relationship with food in the long term.
Mindful eating can give you more control over cravings and limit how much you consume when you indulge your cravings. Over time, it becomes a lot easier to satisfy yourself with just a few bites, rather than overeating in super quick time. And sometimes, you’ll just lose the appetite for junk food altogether! Slowing down your eating can make you much more appreciative of the tastes and textures of your food but when it comes to processed food, you may not enjoy the reality as much as you did when you were eating less mindfully.
Benefit #4 – Encouraging you to live in the moment
Do you find it hard to be in the present moment? Mindful eating can be a great way to practice this to a much bigger extent. Tuning into your eating habits regularly gets you into the habit of being in the present and over time, it becomes a lot easier to master. If you’re looking for a way to include more mindfulness in your average day, mindful eating is a great choice.
A few tips for making sure that you stay truly mindful when you’re eating?
- Check in with your body while you’re eating and ask yourself how you feel. One of the best things to ask? How full you’re feeling. When you put this question to yourself, the break from eating can help you to recognize that you might be feeling fuller than you realized.
- Sit down (preferably at a table) when you eat, even if you’re only having a quick snack. And definitely keep the devices out of reach. Putting your sole focus on your food makes it easier to be mindful. If you tend to eat on the go or while you’re watching television or using devices, this is a big one to switch up.
- Notice the tastes, textures and smells linked to what you’re eating. It can help to keep your eyes closed when you take that first bite and let your senses take over.
- Take deep, calming breaths between bites. When you’re used to eating fast, you’ll often barely breathe in between bites but taking a bit of time to rectify this can slow things down and help you to be more mindful.
Benefit #5 – Less bloating and indigestion
Struggling with bloating, indigestion and other digestive problems? This is yet another area where mindful eating can have positive effects. Eating at a much slower pace means there is less potential for bloating and other digestive discomfort. The main reason? You swallow less air and chewing each bite thoroughly before you swallow breaks your food down into really small pieces for better digestion. The end result? Far more potential for a happy gut!
Hands up if you’ve tried pretty much everything to kiss goodbye to cravings and had no luck whatsoever? With mindful eating, you don’t need to spend heaps of time and energy on crushing your cravings completely. Telling yourself that you absolutely can’t have a particular …
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Falling temperatures and shorter days can zap your energy during the winter. Most of us struggle with the dreaded 3pm energy slump, but in winter, it can feel as though this lasts all day long.
If it’s a major struggle to get out of bed in the mornings and your energy and motivation never really get going, it’s time to take action.
Try these tips to get your mojo back and give your energy levels a massive boost during the winter.
Stay Away From Winter Comfort Food
Cozy winter comfort food can make winter a whole heap more bearable, but it’s super unhelpful for your energy levels. Sugary treats are a major culprit for spikes and crashes and having zero energy as a result. If your diet tends to be high in sugar over the winter months, swap it for healthier choices that won’t crush your energy levels. With the right foods, you can give your energy levels a huge boost and keep your mojo all winter. Swap high-fat and sugary comfort food for a balance of whole grain carbs, protein, and healthy fats to slow down the absorption of carb. The end result? Your energy levels stay super stable, and energy crashes are a thing of the past.
Tempted to skip breakfast most mornings in favor of a slightly longer lie-in? Struggling to get out of bed in time to eat a good breakfast can have a super important impact on your energy levels. With a filling and nutritious breakfast, your body has an opportunity to refuel after a night without food and receive nutrients that help your mind and body function at their best. A healthy breakfast that includes protein, fiber, and healthy fats will keep you feeling fuller for longer and keep your energy levels stable throughout the morning. Oatmeal drizzled with Greek yogurt and nut butter, avocado or peanut butter toast topped with chia/flax seeds, fruit and quinoa parfait (with Greek yogurt, nuts, and seeds) and egg spinach breakfast burritos are all great examples of delicious and nutritious breakfast options.
Even mild dehydration can make you feel super tired. Staying hydrated is an easy way to make sure your energy levels don’t slump. If you’re not a big fan of water, sip on warming herbal teas. These have the bonus of helping you to feel perkier and more energized. Go for green tea, peppermint tea, or black tea for an energy boost and good hydration. Drinking lots of caffeinated drinks can also affect your energy. Caffeine gives you a quick energy boost in the short-term, which is quickly followed by an energy slump that can leave you feeling even more fatigued. It’s fine to have the odd caffeinated drink still — as long as you’re not relying on them to keep your energy levels up. Bear in mind too that caffeine isn’t very hydrating and can contribute to dehydration.
Exercise may be one of the last things on your mind during the winter months, but it’s another way to keep your energy levels higher. Exercise boosts blood flow around the body and helps tissues to receive more oxygen. Aim for around 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days for a regular energy boost. As a bonus, exercise also helps boost your mood — which can also have a knock-on effect on energy levels.
Stretching your muscles may not seem like the most obvious way to boost your energy, but it’s a hugely underrated way to get a quick boost. Stretching improves your circulation. If your muscles are on the tight side, it’ll help them to be less tight. Since your body needs to use more energy for tighter muscles, helping them to be looser frees up more energy. Starting off your morning with even a few minutes stretching is a super quick energy boost to prepare you for a busy day!
Improve Your Gut Health
An unhealthy gut can have a lot of negative effects on health and wellbeing, and it’s a big influence on energy levels. A healthy gut is super important for absorbing nutrients and getting energy from your food — which is also hugely vital for energy, of course! If you’re regularly struggling with your energy levels, it could have a lot to do with your gut — especially if you’re also eating poorly and not doing a lot of exercise in the winter months. Probiotics can be super helpful for giving your gut health a boost. Foods with probiotic and prebiotic qualities are also a great move. Bananas, leeks, and onions are just a few examples of prebiotic foods that you may already be eating, and they can support your probiotic intake.
Have you spent a lot of the beginning of 2020 wishing that you were happier with your life and less stressed? A lot of the time, we take our happiness cues from the outside, especially ones that other people can see. And if we don’t …
Did you know that winter is the perfect time to detox? Going about it in the right way helps your body prepare for spring, lose any weight you’ve started to gain over the holidays, and feel fitter and healthier.
Winter also brings changes for your hormones, metabolism, and circulation —all of which can have a direct effect on toxins and wellbeing. A winter-specific detox helps removes some of the toxins that have built up from the summer and lets your body prepare better for the changing seasons. The end result? You can enjoy better energy and wellbeing, even if you only do a full detox for a super short period and follow the basic principles during the rest of the winter months.
What springs to mind when you think of a detox? You’ll likely conjure up images of juice cleanses, smoothie detoxes, and salads, right? These are great for detoxing during the summer, but they’re not super effective in winter. An extreme cleanse can also promote toxins and create imbalances in your body — definitely not the result you were looking for from a detox!
A detox that works well in winter is a whole heap different to one that serves you well in summer. During the winter, gravitate towards warming foods that are super easy for your body to digest.
Try these tips for resetting your diet and lifestyle with a winter detox:
What to Eat On a Winter Detox
When you’re choosing what to eat for your winter detox, go for foods that have natural detoxification properties.
Fiber-rich foods help get rid of toxins — they make it easier for them to move through your body and be eliminated through bowel movements.
Eat plenty of nutrient-dense winter foods as part of your detox reset. Root vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, whole grains, eggs, healthy fats, bone broth soups, grass-fed beef are great examples of this. They’ll provide a ton of nutrients for your body. Low-fat carbs such as sweet potatoes and oatmeal also offer winter comfort without.
A few more tips for winter detoxing includes:
Pack In the Bitter Greens
Bitter greens (and greens in general) are super important for winter detoxing too — not least because they’re great for giving your liver function a boost and helping your liver to remove toxins. They’re also highly anti-inflammatory, which is another major goal of detoxing.
Think kale, collards, turnip greens, arugula, and watercress. Team them with other nutritious greens such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, spinach, and artichokes.
Bitter greens have a reasonably strong taste that can take some getting used to. Make them more palatable by blanching them or combining them with garlic or spices. This is super effective for taking the bitter edge off the taste.
Other Ways to Cleanse Your Body in Winter
Beets are a great addition to a winter detox. They’re hugely warming and have liver detoxing qualities too.
Cauliflower contains indole-3-carbinol, which is super important for liver cleansing. Eat it in place of potato or use it in soups to get the benefits.
Spice Up Your Life
Add in warming and immune-boosting herbs and spices are another winter detox tactic. Cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, and garlic all work great.
What Not to Eat On a Winter Detox
And what should you look to ditch for your winter detox? Some people remove all gluten, dairy, sugar, and meat from their diet, but you don’t need to go as far as this.
Skip the Sugar
Most of us eat a ton of sugary foods in the winter and see a noticeable decline in energy levels as a result.
A sugar detox is a super important part of a winter detox. Sugar is a toxin in itself, so it’s definitely one to avoid when you’re on a detox plan. It’s also linked to huge blood sugar spikes and crashes, and the energy loss that comes with this.
If you can’t do without your sugar hit, swap it for honey or maple syrup in the short term while you wean yourself off the white stuff.
Ditch Dairy If You’re Prone to Mucus
If winter tends to bring out excess mucus, try cutting back on or ditching dairy. It can encourage more mucus to be produced.
What Else Can You Do On a Winter Detox?
Diet isn’t the only way to detox this winter. Resetting other elements of your lifestyle and routine can ramp up your detox efforts:
- Exercise every day to help eliminate more toxins. Working up a sweat helps speed up the rate at which your body removes toxins.
- Brush your skin in circular motions 1-2 times per week to add another dimension to your detoxing. This stimulates your body’s lymphatic system, which makes it easier for toxins to be removed.
- Don’t forget to cleanse your mind too — meditation, yoga, and journaling are super effective for this.