Spring is certainly here. In fact, as you probably know, we’re well on our way towards a gorgeous summer.
Things always seem to get a bit easier when the weather heats up and the sun rises earlier – don’t you think? I know it does for me.
As we adjust most things in life to the four seasons, so we should look at our diets and apply this to the food we feed our bodies with to maximise the benefits it can and will bring.
Spring is also synonymous with cleaning; clearing out the clutter mentally and physically as well as in your house and everyday life.
Unfortunately many people turn to ‘quick-solutions’ when it comes to diets and altering your lifestyle in terms of eating. Quick fix’s like juice-diets and soup-diets have grown exponentially in the past years.
Now, I’m not saying juices or soups are bad for you at all – actually, they’re great! However, I personally don’t believe in only drinking juices or soups for a period of time without complimenting with wholefood meals, simply to loose a few kilo quickly.
It’s also not for me, personally, as I really enjoy to sit down to have a meal and chew my food. Chewing your food is also signalling to your brain and tummy that you’re actually feeding your body for it to feel full and satisfied when you’e reached the right amount of food for your body. This link doesn’t happen when you’re simply drinking your meals, and you often end up being picky for food, or feeling over-full because the connection of ‘when to stop’ was lost.
Wanting to jump on the spring-clean bandwagon?
Here’s some tips to spring clean your diet – what to eliminate and what to add:
- Refined Sugars
Most of us eat way too much sugar. High intake of added sugar is linked with risk factors for heart disease, such as high blood pressure and high triglyceride levels. One idea to cut back: Skip processed foods, which can be loaded with hidden added sugars, and when you want a sweet treat, reach for fruit, raw treats like protein-balls or a handful of nuts.
- Refined Grains
White flour & white rice are stripped of beneficial fibre, vitamins and minerals. So, while they add calories, they’re not really providing much in the way of nutrients. And since they’re low in fibre, they’re less satisfying than whole grains. One idea to cut back: Check the ingredient list and make sure the word “whole” describes the grains in the product—if it just says “wheat flour,” for example, that’s not whole-wheat, so make another choice.
- Processed Foods
I know this should come as a no-brainer to a lot of us, but sometimes it’s hard. Don’t worry, I get it! By cutting these out, you can quickly and easily minimise your intake of added sugars, salt and trans and saturated fat, too, since these things are often added to processed foods for taste. One idea to cut back that works for me; if it has any package or product has an ingredients-list the length of a small novel, throw it away of leave it on the shelf. The less ingredients normally equals the healthier it is.
I know this may be a hard one for a lot of people, especially with spring, the warm weather and cheering rosé like there’s no tomorrow. But cutting out alcohol, even if it’s just for a little period of time, will allow your digestive system to reset itself without a heavy impact on your kidneys and liver. Drinking alcohol really dehydrates your body. And what’s worse, in my opinion, drinking lowers the levels of serotonin in your brain – a chemical that helps to regulate your mood. Meaning, depression and anxiety is more likely to be a part of your life.
Add to your diet:
- Greens and Vegetables
Since veggies are calorie-poor and nutrient-rich, they should be the foundation of your diet. They are packed with enzymes & vitamins including potassium, fiber, folate (folic acid) and vitamins A, E and C. The consumption of vegetables takes care of your digestive, excretory, and skeletal system, as well as blood pressure levels. With a diet rich in vegetables, you are being benefited with abundant antioxidants that works proactively to keep away diseases like cancer, cardiovascular problems and strokes.
Now, a lot of people don’t believe in adding fruits to your diet since it’s a form of ‘sugar’. However, I personally believe, fruits and fructose is good to incorporate into your diet in moderation. Fruit is an important source of many nutrients, including potassium, fiber, vitamin C and folate (folic acid).
The nutrients in fruit are vital for health and maintenance of your body. The potassium in fruit can reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke and potassium may also reduce the risk of developing kidney stones and help to decrease bone loss as you age.
- Portion Size
Since most portions you’re served are ginormous, it’s harder than ever to determine a healthy serving size. And as a result, we overeat and wonder why we can’t lose weight or keep our weight levelled. You can also minimise portions by using a tablespoon to dress your salad instead of pouring oil or salad dressing on straight from the bottle. Another great idea is to pile half your plate with fiber-rich veggies, which not only provide volume, but will also help keep you feeling fuller longer on fewer calories. What helps me with portion-size, too, is eating THR1VE home-delivery ready-meals. I know what’s in them, I know it’ll be nourishing for my body and I know I’ll keep on track with my health goals.
- Tea & Water
Drinking enough water is incredibly important. If you’re dehydrated, more often than not, you’ll confuse hunger with simply being thirsty. Downing at least 2 liters of water a day, should be at the top of your list. You can also drink herbal-teas that will ‘count’ towards the 2 liters a day. Herbal teas, depending on the ‘key-herb’, are beneficial for numerous things; drink ginger &/or peppermint tea for digestion, chamomile-tea to help sleep better, influenza and to aid tummy-ache, lavender-tea to keep calm and relaxed, and drink sage-tea if you’re feeling a tad down on the happiness-scale.
Be careful with drinking too much green and black tea as it contains caffeine that can have an impact on your adrenals and cause fatigue if you overdo it.
- Try something different
Chances are, if you’re reading this, you want to give your diet an overhaul and spring-clean. What’s the worst that can happen? You may think your current methods aren’t that beneficial, and as they say “if you always do the same thing, you will always get the same result”. It’s time to change it up!
Some of these steps are easy, some of them are harder – don’t worry, I feel you! Diet, lifestyle, exercise and mindset is hard and living the life we do today in an, often, frantic world, these tasks can seem daunting. However, stick to it, and just simply try the best you can. Life is all about balance, it’s not about missing out, but about making healthier choices and swaps.
If you are time-poor like I very often am, THR1VE is a very good option for you to look at. THR1VE both has healthy restaurants but also do home-delivery of pre-cooked, pre-packed, single-portion meals that are delivered straight to your door. These are meals that are developed by a nutritionist so that they each contain the right amount of vegetables, protein and healthy fats for your body to operate at its highest level possible.
Happy Spring! x