Hello and welcome to Monday! As we kick off the week, I invite you to start where you are. I mean, honestly where else CAN you start? If you want to pursue a vegan, raw, macrobiotic, alkaline diet but you’ve currently got a three-a-day Twinkies & Diet Coke habit, then let’s honour THAT. Quite frankly, you HAVE to start where you are, because well, it’s where you are. I’m excited for the science of dual-locality, but until we get there, let’s ditch the thought of doing a complete dietary overhaul every Monday morning, only to find ourselves barely hanging on come Thursday (or Wednesday. Or even Monday night).
I’m a big advocate for going after “low-hanging fruit” – and not just in literal orchard-picking. In any endeavour, these are the “easy wins,” the “no brainers” – if there was something EASY you could do to move the dial just a little bit in your favour, wouldn’t you turn that dial? If you’re trying to make a million dollars today, would you turn down someone who offered you $5? Nonsense! Maybe that’s exactly how you’re going to get to $1 million! Two hundred thousand people are going to give you $5. Who are you to turn them down?
So, in that same spirit, I’ve come up with five easy ways to improve your nutrition without even touching on your food or portion choices. As per usual, I’ve made really EASY, digestible (pun totally intended) videos on my Instagram (and also put those same videos on Facebook to make it EXTRA easy for you). Easy-peasy, lemon-squeezy, as my seven-year-old would say (another saying that’s made its way into my household with no clue as to its origin. Cute, but not mine. The saying, I mean. Not the kid. He’s cute and TOTALLY mine).
Drink More Water
Oftentimes, we mistake thirst for hunger, and we end up reaching for something to eat when we really just need some clear, cool H2O. Drink some water before you have something to eat to get more in touch with your true hunger AND (bonus!) to help with digesting the food.
Sufficient water intake also supports our bodies’ various processes (like digestion) and functions and helps with the condition or our nails, hair and skin. Hydrate your skin from the inside out and save on moisturizers! Win-win! Gosh, I’m just loading you up on bonuses here. It’s like double points day!
How much to drink? Well, without getting too caught up in the numbers, 2-3L can be a good place to start for many people. Really focus on drinking enough so that what comes out the other end looks similar to the clear water that went in. KnowwhatImean?
Don’t like the taste of plain water? Okay, well first of all you’re a grown-up and it’s time to get over that. Like seriously. I’m not asking you to eat liver. But since you get to be your own princess, consider adding flavour drops or use an infuser with sliced fruit or veggies to naturally flavour your water. Sliced cucumber and strawberry makes for a nice blend.
Take A High-Quality Multivitamin Supplement
Sometimes, we have cravings for a certain food because of a particular micronutrient it provides (vitamin or mineral). If the food we eat has low nutrient-density, we can end up eating more and more to the point of overeating and yet we still haven’t received enough of the missing micronutrient.
Once upon a time, our soil for agriculture had more nutrients and therefore the crops grown in that soil had more nutrients as well. With large-scale modern agriculture, this isn’t always the case any more. So, our parents or grandparents may have had a better chance of getting their recommended daily allowance (RDA) of all essential micronutrients from eating a balanced diet.
Now, we can provide extra “insurance” to meeting our RDA by including a high-quality multivitamin in addition to the food we eat, especially if we know we have room to improve in terms of servings of vegetables each day.
Be Still And Eat
I love focusing on the positive “to-dos” (must be a hold over from parenting a toddler), but I’m telling you: NO MORE EATING ON THE RUN. That’s right, no more eating in the car, no eating while walking, no eating while running errands or going from one meeting to the next…
When we eat “on the run,” we tend not to focus on the food. We might not even register that we’ve eaten at all! And that reduces our satiety and satisfaction with the food. And when we don’t feel dated or satisfied, guess what? We’re likely to reach for more food.
So, pick a designated “eating place” (not your desk!) and actually sit down to enjoy your food!
Plate Your Food
(Or put it in a bowl or glass, as the case may be). You are going to use real serving-ware for your food. No more eating out of Tupperware or plastic containers or packages. Yes, even good that comes in a package, like a protein bar or a bag of chips gets put on a plate or in a bowl. Even smoothies can get special treatment – get them out of that disgusting plastic shaker cup and into a glass beer stein, or martini glass, or patterned ceramic mug. You’ll likely need a few vessels to hold all of the liquid, which enhances the idea that you are getting a LOT to eat/drink (this is an advanced mind Jedi trick – see if eating three small cookies is more satisfying than eating one large cookie for the same total calorie count).
This is to enhance your eating experience. When you are more fully immersed in the act of eating and enjoy it more, you are more satiated AND satisfied by your food, making you less likely to reach for excess food later.
Eat More Slowly & Mindfully
Taking the time to properly chew your food will aid your body’s digestive processes, give you more nutrients and allow you to actually register and enjoy the food you are eating. All of these are keys for my 3 S’s of nutrition: satiety, satisfaction and sanity. Now, I’m not going to prescribe a set number of times to chew (I think taking the time to mentally count would actually take the focus AWAY from the food and detract from the experience). I’m also not going to ask you to set a clock or timer and stretch your meal to fill that time. Just SLOW DOWN. Maybe just take the time to actually look at each bite before it goes in your mouth versus haphazardly aiming the fork in the general direction of your pie-hole (reduces the risk of puncture wounds as well – see, another double bonus!).
For liquids, simply hold the food in your mouth for a moment to savour it, versus gulping it down.
What are your favourite tips for improved nutrition? Please tell me!
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Have a fit day!