It’s the beginning of the New Year and many of us want to make health resolutions we just can't stick to. So rather than opting for the latest fad diet (which is just not sustainable), try making lifestyle changes that will optimise your health and well-being for the long term. If these simple changes become part of the way you lead your life, they won’t feel like a chore.
1. Remember the 80/20 rule.
Stick to clean, non-processed, whole foods 80% of the time. We are talking vegetables, fruit, fish, lean grass fed meats, organic poultry, whole grains, nuts and seeds. By making your meals from scratch you will avoid unnecessary added sugar, salt, hydrogenated fat and nasty additives that are required to make all processed foods. Try making a new healthy recipe every week to build up your repertoire – maybe ask your kids to select a new recipe and get them to help!
2. ‘Eat a rainbow’ every day
By ensuring you eat at least five vegetables and fruits from every colour group every day, (more vegetables than fruit) you will optimise your vitamin, mineral an antioxidant intake. Ensure you are having more vegetables than fruit due to the higher natural sugar content of fruit. Colour groups are yellow/ orange, blue/purple, red/pink, white and green. Veggies don’t have to be a bland accompaniment to a meal. Experiment with textures, tastes and colour. Use herbs and spices to jazz up the flavour. There are countless cooking methods that will enhance your enjoyment of the humble vegetable: sauté, stir fry, steam, mash, blend and roast, you name it!
3. Check your vitamin D levels
Vitamin D deficiency is thought to affect between 40-70 % of people worldwide. We are unable to make vitamin D from the sun between the months of November and February in the UK and only a few foods such as butter, eggs and oily fish naturally contain small amounts of vitamin D.
Vitamin D deficiency is associated with numerous health problems including autoimmune disease, osteoporosis, cancer, type 2 diabetes and depression. Ask your GP for a vitamin D test or you can do a test privately by contacting a registered qualified nutritional therapist. Supplementation of Vitamin D3 is easy and necessary for many people.
4. Keep on moving!
Make sure you're not sitting down for longer than 20 minutes at a time during the day, even if it means standing up and moving around for just a minute. New research suggests that sitting for long periods is a serious health risk even for the fittest amongst you.
5. Incorporate exercise into your day
It doesn't necessarily mean taking out expensive gym memberships. Go for a brisk walk (at least 30 minutes of continuous walking), take the stairs where ever possible, cycle to work, run around the block or try some restorative exercise such as yoga or Pilates. Arrange to meet a friend on a weekly basis so that you can motivate each other. It’s important to make it manageable and realistic.
Remember to make your changes manageable and realistic and make them for life rather than just a few weeks.
You can contact me for more information on vitamin D testing at firstname.lastname@example.org or 07961 166582. If you are interested in reading more ‘Nutritional Nuggets’, top tips and the latest nutrition news, sign up to my monthly newsletter at www.marcellerosenutrition.co.uk