Healthy Habits | Week 2: The Basics
Week 2 starts bringing in small daily changes that will help you to eat better without even realizing it. These new habits will become second nature, and while you’re only required to do them once, I’d bet you keep these in regular rotation day after day. This week will require minimal planning and shopping – pick up berries, different sources of protein, alternative grains and look ahead to schedule a visit to a local farmers market or fruit stand.
You can access the recorded call here
Topics we covered:
It seems innocent, but soda, juice or sugary coffee beverages are a vice for a lot of people. They taste good, can be refreshing or act as a morning pick me up, and are readily available. Helloo Starbucks drive-through! But these beverages have plenty of downsides as well. Sugary drinks can cause tooth decay, weight gain, increased cravings for sweets, and bone weakness. Cutting your intake just a little can have great health benefits.
Instead of starting the morning with sugar and caffeine, replace it with a glass of warm lemon water. It will facilitate digestion, helps restore and regenerate the liver (which is extremely active while we sleep), offers an immune system boost through the Vitamin C and potassium and has been shown to help with healthy collagen production for smooth healthy skin.
For the ‘Bean Lovers’- You don’t have to ditch the coffee altogether – simply begin the day with warm lemon water and then a few hours later enjoy a nice hot cup of black coffee or tea. Coffee and tea are two of the most amazing sources of antioxidants in our diet, so long as they’re sustainably (preferably) organically sourced, so they’re produced without pesticides. These two beverages boost mental health, liver health, and promote a healthy heart. The key is to leave out the sugar and milk, which takes away most all their benefits. Coffee is even being studied most recently for its healthy effects on the longevity and cancer prevention, while tea has been a long-standing healing remedy.
This one is a 3 part task – Eat Berries With Breakfast, Greens With Lunch & Protein At Every Meal.
Berries are an incredible food, rich in nutrients for our brain, our digestion, and they’re disease-preventative. They’re also a fresh source of produce and keep us fuller than processed cereals with dried fruits. Add 1/2 cup of your choice frozen or fresh berries to either a smoothie, oatmeal, or just have some with some unsweetened coconut yogurt and a little chia or flax seeds. Berries are also a great source of vitamin C to kickstart your immune system.
Instead of a sandwich, burrito or sushi platter, make your lunch a bowl full of delicious spinach, kale, chard or watercress (topped with all kinds of fruit, veg, protein and healthy fat). Leafy green vegetables are ideal for weight management as they are typically low in calories. They are useful in reducing the risk of cancer and heart disease since they are high in dietary fiber, and rich in folic acid, vitamin C, potassium, and magnesium, as well as containing a host of phytochemicals, such as lutein, beta-cryptoxanthin, zeaxanthin, and beta-carotene. One study showed that an increment of one daily serving of green leafy vegetables lowered the risk of cardiovascular disease by 11 percent. Green leafy vegetables are also rich in beta-carotene, which can also be converted into vitamin A, and improve immune function.
Healthy sourced protein can help keep you full for longer as well as rebuild muscles worn down in training. Try adding an egg, turkey bacon, Greek yogurt, or scoop of peanut butter to your breakfast. Top that lunch salad with canned tuna or salmon and add 4-6oz of fatty fish or 1/2c beans to a veggie and wild rice stirfry.
Step outside the quinoa/brown rice box and pick up one of these just as nutritious alternative grains: amaranth, buckwheat, barley, black rice, kamut, farro, millet or spelt. Opt for a hot buckwheat and blueberry cereal for breakfast or add 1/2 cup of cooked farro to your lunch salad. Amaranth served alongside kale sauteed in coconut oil and a fillet of salmon makes for the perfect post-run dinner.
Many ‘ancient’ grains are gluten-free, versatile and loaded with trace vitamins and protein to keep you going. To read more about them check out these articles.
Ditch the office trip to a nearby fast casual food joint and bring your lunch. Packing lunch at home allows you to have more control over the types of food you enjoy at your mid-day meal. Not only will it be healthier but it will save money and offer a better variety of nutrients than the standard turkey and avocado sandwich with a side of chips.
Easy lunch options include packing leftovers from dinner, making a mason jar salad (see recipe), deli meat avocado rollups in swiss chard or a precooked grain bowl with 2 servings of veggies and hard boiled eggs. If you already pack your lunch, this task is still doable, simply find a way to make your meal even healthier. Do you always pack an apple, swap it for 2 small kiwis. Do you bring a container of canned soup, make your own at home in the blender. Do you always pack a salad, try rotating nuts and seeds or using microgreens instead of romaine lettuce.
Cooking is a lot more fun when you have something fresh and new to try. Life is too short to only have scrambled eggs or a grilled chicken salad. Go online (or open up one of the dozen cookbooks you own but never use) and pick one new recipe to try, aiming for something nutrient dense that contains all three macronutrients- fat, protein and carbohydrates.
Some of my favorite sites (that also have video tutorials) are DELISH , GOODFUL , BBC-GOODFOOD and TASTY
Food is fun, tastes good and is definitely part of our social lives, so mixing it up and trying new things can be a great adventure as you embark on a healthier you.
Tired of broccoli, peas, and carrots? Challenge yourself to try an out-of-the-box veggie like kohlrabi, kabocha squash, okra, or purple sweet potatoes. Are you always grabbing green apples and bananas to snack on? Pick up blackberries, cherries or dates. You may just find a new favorite, and give your diet a nutrient boost at the same time. Today the goal is to pick one fruit or vegetable you haven’t had in awhile (or ever). If you aren’t sure how to use it – google, ask in the FB group or reach out to the produce manager while in store.
This task may require a little planning (which is why I’ve placed it on the weekend). Most farmers markets are hosted on Saturday’s and Sundays although the Whole Foods near me has a fantastic one every Tuesday. Depending on your schedule feel free to complete this one any day during the week. Set aside 30 minutes (and $15 in cash) to peruse the aisles, meet local vendors and learn about new produce and small farming techniques. Grab at least one item to take home and enjoy. If you’re unsure what to do with it strike up a conversation with the farmer, he or she will have plenty of ideas and genuinely enjoy sharing their knowledge.