The new year is upon us and chances are you have been thinking about what resolutions to make in 2012. Getting healthier and lossing weight are popular goals, but how do you turn good intentions into an actionable plan you can stick to?
The key is to break up the process of getting healthy into small, achievable goals. That's why we've come up with these six resolutions to help you on your way.
Step 1: Water – drink more, more often.
Choosing water instead of sweetened or caffeine-laden beverages is a smart and easy way to drive down your overall calorie intake and to increase the body’s ability to eliminate waste and toxins. An average adult female should drink 5 pints of water / day and the average adult male 6 pints. Size and activity levels affect your fluid requirements. Put simply, the larger and more active you are, the more water you will need. If you are considering losing weight, try to drink water before your meals to increase satiation and decrease your appetite.
Step 2: Vegetables – eat more, more often
When planning meals, consider first the vegetables you would like to eat and then plan the protein and starch around that. Letting vegetables take the spotlight at mealtime helps you increase the total nutrients on your plate. Vegetables deliver more healthy phytochemicals, essential vitamins and minerals than starches or carbohydrates. Plus, vegetables fill you up on fewer calories than other foods. For an added boost, try to minimize the processing of the vegetables to retain their live enzymes.
Step 3: less salt, more flavor
Salt adds flavor to food. But too much salt is also linked to high blood pressure. The daily recommended limit is just 1 teaspoon of table salt which most Americans easily exceed. To flavor your food and use less salt, start with fresh ingredients and experiment with new flavors. Acidic flavorings like lemon or lime juice and vinegar can help bring out a food's inherent flavor. A sprinkle of fresh grated lemon zest, chopped fresh herbs, garlic or ginger can add an abundance of flavor. Our favorite is chili or cayenne pepper which has an active ingredient capsaicin which stimulates and enhances digestion. As an example of how to flavor food with simple ingredients, try this Spicy Raw Vegan Chili.
Step 4: more fruit snacks, less sugar snacks
A typical Mediterranean diet, associated with a healthy heart & digestion, promotes snacks between meals as a great opportunity to eat the foods not consumed during the main meals. These are not the snacks as we know them, but fresh fruit. Fruit is a great choice for snacking between meals, as fresh fruit tends to be low in calories, high in fiber and water. Not only can fresh fruit take the edge of hunger, but many fresh fruits provide vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants. Less calories, more nutrition…. sounds like a winning snack.
Step 5: More whole grain, less refined grain
White refined floor and grains are overly processed and consequently lack nutrition and fiber. As well as replacing refined grains with whole grain why not try grains you don't normally eat? Wild rice, quinoa, polenta, amaranth-there are lots of whole grains out there, each delivering a different flavor, texture and nutrition. Whole grains deliver healthy slow release carbohydrates, your body's main energy source, as well as fiber, vitamins and minerals. If your digestion is feeling sluggish, why not try gluten free grains/seeds including oats, quinoa, buckwheat, millet or rice (whole grain, black or wild). Here is a great vegan macrobiotic recipe for a Brown Rice Risotto. Alternatively, why not try this Thai Black Rice Salad.
Step 6: More Live Food, Less Processed Food
Live food is a simple philosophy. Source the freshest ingredients (organic and in season, if possible) and apply less heat to the food in order to extract the maximum flavor and nutrition. Why Live or Raw Food? Live or Raw Foods are foods that contain enzymes. Enzymes are important because they assist in the digestion and absorption of food. The act of heating food over 116oF destroys enzymes in food. You will notice the difference.
O2Living offers Live Food Plans and Juice Cleansing for delivery in Westchester and Fairfield counties and operates a Live Food Café at the O2living Wellness Center in Yellow Monkey Village, Cross River, NY and Saw Mill Club East, Mt Kisco, NY.