Tag Archives: weight loss

Staying Healthy and Balanced in the New Year

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 Happy Holidays everyone! The coming of the New Year presents a perfect opportunity to reflect on how we can improve for the next time around. I’m sure we’re all hoping to be fitter, smarter, more productive, etc., but at the core of every goal comes one key element: balance. Without a sense of grounding and self-care, the rest of our goals go straight out the window. So rather than develop some grandiose resolutions for the New Year, why not work towards this one goal? Here are the steps that will help you to stay grounded in 2013.

 

Eat the Right Foods

Obviously now (holiday season) is not the time to advise shunning every treat that comes your way—we all know that is just not realistic. But it is important to recognize the strong link between the foods we eat and the way we feel. When feeling depressed, for example it’s best to avoid alcohol and too much sugar and instead opt for foods containing fatty acids (chia seeds, flaxseeds) and b-vitamins (nutritional yeast), as they help with mental functioning. Additionally root vegetables like sweet potatoes and squash are a great source of serotonin, which helps to counter mental imbalance.

 

Spend Time Outside

Several studies reveal the benefits of soaking up rays of sunshine. Not only does sun exposure provide immunity-boosting vitamin d, but it also helps alleviate feelings of depression. So whenever you feel bogged down, take some time to enjoy the great outdoors and remember that the world is much bigger than the problems we face on a day-to-day basis.

 

Stop—For 30 minutes

We live in a country of motion. Ironically, the “go” mentality often hinders us from getting anything done. When swamped with 80 things to do, we half-accomplish some of the things on our list while zoning out about how we could be something else. Instead, take at least 30 minutes a day to do something completely enjoyable and unproductive. Whether its exercise, watching 30 minutes of your favorite show, or grabbing a bite with a friend, when you get back to work, stopping will leave you with a clear mind and readiness to continue your day.

 

Keep a Good Support System  

Surround yourself with people who lift you up—who enjoy your company and accept your goals and responsibilities. It’s already difficult enough to stay grounded without toxic individuals in your life—there is no reason to be around people who don’t have your best interests at heart.

 

Five Beginner’s Steps to Changing Your Diet

 

“A Journey of a Thousand Mile Begins With the First Step” –Lao Tzu 

I frequently get the question from friends, family members, and blog visitors—“Alana, I’m ready to get healthy. Tell me how to eat like you.” The truth is, I would never advise anyone to switch immediately from the typical American diet to my diet— a nearly raw, vegan, no refined sugar, and gluten-free lifestyle. Getting there takes time, and transitioning too abruptly can have serious side effects on your body. But what I can recommend is that you take five easy steps to getting there. Perhaps these steps will lead you to an even greater dietary change, or maybe this will define your new lifestyle. Either way, it’s all about what feels right for you. Here are the first steps I took when transitioning my diet.

Listen to Your Body
Everyone’s body is different. The only way you can know what you should be eating is by listening to yours. Eat your meals very slowly, chewing each piece with intention, that way you can notice how it makes you feel and you can truly recognize when you are full. When you are done, set a one-hour timer on your phone reminding yourself to assess how you feel once you have fully digested. Once the timer goes off, do a personal inventory of your body. Do you feel tired? Gassy? Bloated? Energized? You will be surprised at the things that make your body tick, and be more inclined to get rid of them once you are more aware.

Slowly Replace Processed Sugar
In my ideal world, processed sugar would be thrown into a pit to be used to make punching bags! Processed sugar has been proven to cause diabetes, candida, and a myriad of other health conditions. To make things worse, it has addictive qualities similar to those of tobacco. However, getting rid of processed sugar altogether–particularly given its addictive qualities–can be extremely difficult and lead to withdrawal (I experienced it myself when first transitioning). I recommend spending one day counting the amount of sugar you eat normally. Track it on the website myfitnesspal.com if that makes it easier. Then, try cutting that number in half, or even by a fourth if that’s too difficult. Stock up on stevia, which is a low glycemic natural sweetener made from the stevia leaf, and start using it as your go-to sweetener for teas, drinks, coffee, etc. Keep some in your bag in case of emergencies. Look for products in the grocery store that use coconut nectar, stevia, or dates as their base for sweetness instead.

Don’t Drink During Meals
While water is extremely important, you should be using your time in between meals to drink as much water as you can. During meals, you should minimize your water intake so as not to dilute the production of digestive enzymes. You want multiple enzymes to be produced while you are eating so that you can fully digest your food, feel full, and reap all of the nutritious benefits of your food. So keep the water intake to a sip or two during meals and save your big gulps for afterwards.

Monitor Your Meat Consumption

Several studies have proven the harmful effects of meat—acidity, heart disease, obesity, cancer—the list goes on. While I understand that a completely vegetarian diet is not feasible for everyone, I recommend taking at least one day a week to eat vegetarian. On that day, try a new vegetarian restaurant. Some great restaurants in the NYC area include Quintessence, Caravan of Dreams, Blossom, and Peacefood, among others.

Read and Research
When I first decided to change my diet, I became largely inspired by the writings of nutritionists who were able to teach me how to do it safely. These nutritionists taught me that a proper diet is not only a cure for weight-gain, but also for skin-diseases, aging,cancer, and fatigue. Check out Kimberly Snyder’s the Beauty Detox Solution and Alejandro Junger’s Clean Program. Also check out some blogs filled with recipes and transitioning tips, such as living maxwellfood babe, and kimberly snyder.

I hope this helps you on your journey towards getting your body on track! :)