I was surprised to see three times as many people in the Gym last week even before the New Year had begun. Every year there is a big influx of new members at the beginning of the year all with their New Year resolutions for better eating, to get more exercise and get fit or maybe lose some weight. Sadly the gym is back to the usual numbers by the end of February.
We all know that New Years resolutions seem to fail miserably after a few weeks. According to a study by psychologists nine out of ten resolutions are doomed to failure. Tips for sticking to your New Year Resolution include having more than a vague plan. For example, instead of saying you will start to eat more healthily, break it down into positive ways of achieving that. Take small realistic steps. Don’t try to give up all your bad eating or drinking habits at once.
Many people resolve to start a Detox Diet in the New Year after all that eating and drinking over the holidays. While it’s certainly a good idea to give your liver a rest from alcohol and your digestive system from rich and hard to digest foods I don’t recommend doing any strenuous detoxing with cold juices and salads in the midst of winter. If you live where it’s warm then go right ahead. I prefer to wait until Spring time considered by many detox experts to be the key time for detox.
Here are 5 simple better eating tips that can improve your diet and your health in 2010
1. Reduce the “Vitamin Robbers”.
Processed foods like sugar and white flour have been stripped of numerous vitamins and minerals that are essential to the body. In order to process them your body steals vitamins and minerals from your own tissue stores. The more refined food you eat the more you can become depleted. High sugar diets impair detoxification.
Look for whole unprocessed foods. Try a little raw honey (unheated and unfiltered), raw molasses, or Stevia instead of white or brown sugar.
2. Eat more fresh fruit and vegetables.
Fruit and vegetables are low in calories, full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber and many natural plant chemicals that are neded for good health and help fight cancer. Its amazing how many people still do not get their recommended 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day.
Use fruit or raw vegetable sticks in place of sugary and high fat snacks. Make more salads and vegetable soups. If your family doesn’t like vegetables get creative with them by adding garlic, ginger and/or herbs to make them more tasty. Get more greens and fruit into your diet with green smoothies or juice a variety of vegetables.
3. Give up the bad fats and eat the good fats.
Most oils found on supermarket shelves have been processed and refined to make them more stable and extend their shelf life. This removes all the natural substances that are needed for your body to make use of the oil. The refining process also strips them of their natural antioxidants including vitamin E which stops them becoming rancid. Many natural compounds are changed to substances that are detrimental to health and are toxic even in small quantities. They have been linked to many health problems.
Avoid food that contains hydrogenated or trans fats and do not eat food that has been deep fried. Do not use these refined oils for cooking.
Good fats are a different story. Good fats are needed for good health. If you are trying to lose weight do not avoid fats altogether. The right kinds of fat can actually help you lose weight. Raw butter, ghee, extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, clean fish oils, avocado oil, red palm oil, pumpkin seed and flaxseed oils are some of the good fats that you can use.
Only use a little clarified butter or coconut oil for cooking. Although olive oil is used for cooking in many Mediterranean countries it can still be damaged at high temperatures.
4. Take a break from alcohol and give your liver a rest.
If you have been drinking more alcohol than usual over the holidays give your liver a break. Your liver is the only organ that metabolizes alcohol and it takes precedence over other functions. Alcohol is a actually a drug and a poison.
Alcohol has adverse effects on almost every nutrient especially the B vitamins and Vitamin C. The minerals calcium, magnesium and zinc can be depleted in people who drink large quantities of alcohol. It increases blood fats and can increase blood pressure. Regular drinking can result in a fatty liver as the carbohydrate content is converted to fat in the liver cells which builds up and damages the cells.
Drink more filtered water or fresh vegetable juices.
5. Avoid soft drinks
The majority of soft drinks contain high levels of sugar, artificial color, artificial sweeteners, preservatives, and flavor enhancers that are not good for health. The high sugar levels trigger insulin which causes your blood sugar to come crashing down. The constant sugar highs and lows eventually lead to diabetes.
There is concern over the combination of certain ingredients, sodium benzoate and ascorbic acid or potassium benzoate and ascorbic acid. They can form a substace that can cause cancer.
Aspartame also known as NutraSweet, Equal, Spoonful, and Equal-Measure often used in sugar free drinks has been linked to numerous adverse symptoms including weight gain, depression, insomnia, headaches/migraines, breathing difficulties, anxiety attacks and many others. Look for drinks that contain only natural ingredients or make your own fresh juices.
Work on one better eating tip at a time and before you know it you will be eating a much healthier diet and will not fail in your New Year’s resolution to improve your diet in 2010.