A new beginning can technically be whenever you want it to be, but there's something special about the ones marked by the calendar—like the first of every month, new moons, and the first of day of spring, which is just around the corner. They feel like an invitation to start fresh.
This week I invite you to start fresh with your diet. I'm sharing five ways to sustainably declutter your diet so that you can fuel the increased activity levels that naturally accompany spring.
1. Say a sweet goodbye to sugar. Most of us get way more sugar in our diet than we need to! The American Heart Association recommends no more than 6 teaspoons of added sugar a day for women and 9 teaspoons for men. If you're looking at a nutrition label, there are about 4 grams in 1 tsp. Here are three healthy swaps to make this week:
- Instead of soda have Hint water—you'll get the carbonation and flavor without the added sugar and fake ingredients.
- Instead of energy drinks have green tea—you'll have improved mental clarity and performance without jitters and may even experience boosted metabolism.
- Instead of bottled smoothies and juice have home-made smoothies. Bottled smoothies can be a one-way ticket to type 2 diabetes. For example, Odwalla’s Original Superfood Smoothie has 51 grams of sugar per bottle. That is 8.5x the daily amount of sugar for women and 5.6x for men! I'm a total supporter of smoothies as long as you make your own, with no more than 2 fruits.
2. Eat better, not less. You can do this by focusing your diet on whole, unprocessed foods. A helpful guide to setting up your plate for success is 1/4 protein, 1/4 whole grain or starchy carbohydrate, 1/4 fibrous carbohydrate (aka vegetables or fruit), and 1-2 tablespoons of healthy fats. These proportions will help keep you satiated and your blood sugar stable.
3. Take interest in ingredients. Ingredients are always listed in order of predominance from those used in greatest quantities to those used in least quantities. The fewer ingredients, the better and if you can’t pronounce it or your grandmother wouldn’t recognize it, steer clear.
4. Write a pre-snacktual agreement. The afternoon slump is one of the biggest times for making an impulse snack purchase—and it's usually something sugary. Instead, plan ahead by packing your snacks. The best snacks are high-protein, high-fat like a handful of nuts and dark chocolate (72% or higher), Gruyere cheese kebabs with cherry tomatoes and veggies, banana or apple with nut butter, or hummus and whole grain crackers.
5. Eat like a cow. And by that I mean plant-based and chew slowly. Digestion starts in the mouth. Ideally, each bite should become a baby food-like consistency before you swallow and move on to the next bite. Take your time to enjoy the flavors and textures and put your fork down between bites—you'll slow down in no time. Additionally, it takes 20-minutes for your hunger hormones to relay to the brain that they are satiated so the slower you eat, the better. If you're thinking of getting seconds, wait 20-minutes and then evaluate how hungry you are.
As always, please feel free to email me with any questions or comments about decluttering your diet; I always love hearing from you!
In good health,