March is National Nutrition Month, which is an opportunity for all of us to focus on eating properly and develop better food habits, in general. So if you didn’t follow through on any of your dietary New Year’s resolutions, now is the time to regroup!
Here are some helpful tips to consider when implementing an optimal eating plan:
- Focus your diet on whole, unprocessed foods (organic vegetables, grass-fed meats, raw dairy, nuts, etc.) from healthy, sustainable, local sources.
- Include raw foods in your diet (raw veggie salads, raw nuts and seeds, etc.).
- Avoid sugars (especially fructose). When consumed in excess, sugar acts as a toxin and promotes multiple disease processes in your body, including insulin resistance, a major cause of accelerated aging.
- Eat fermented foods – the fermenting process increases the amount of beneficial “good guys” in your gut, which are very important to boost overall immunity. Fermented foods also can help your body rid itself of toxic substances, like heavy metals. Examples of fermented foods are cultured vegetables (like kimchee), miso, sauerkraut, kefir, etc.
- Incorporate sprouts into your diet – this superfood is extremely nutrient-dense. When you sprout seeds, the amount of protein, fiber, vitamins, and essential fatty acids are increased. They also support cell regeneration, are potent sources of antioxidants, and help protect against abnormal cell growth, viruses, and bacteria.
- Start your day with some protein – avoid sugary, grain-laden breakfasts like pancakes, pastries, bagels, and cereals – instead choose a breakfast high in protein, such as eggs and/or high-quality meat so that your blood sugar levels will be stabilized and you’ll be less likely to binge on junk foods throughout the day.
- Chew your foods thoroughly – digestion starts in your mouth with saliva, and the longer you chew your foods, the easier it is to digest them and absorb the nutrients. This will also help with portion control.
- Eat foods that are locally grown and organic as often as possible – you will be exposed to fewer herbicides, pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, etc., to reduce your total toxic load. Organic farming is also much better for the planet.
- What we eat impacts our mood – when feeling bored, lonely, and stressed out, eating processed foods will more than likely make you feel worse. Sugar suppresses one of our “feel good” hormones and promotes chronic inflammation – considered to be a primary cause of depression.
- Limit alcohol intake – alcohol is loaded with empty calories that can increase your waist size. When you drink alcohol, your body stops burning fat and calories in order to break down the alcohol first. This means that what you ate recently is likely to be stored as fat.