A new year and new month signifies for many the start of a health kick; out with all the Christmas chocolates and cheese, goodbye crisps and snacks, and hello vegetables for the rest of the year. Sometimes though, we underestimate how hard it is to start a proper health kick, and aren’t sure of what the benefits and end goals actually are, therefore crawling back to the jaffa cakes two weeks later (doh).
As someone who has tried many detox and healthy food options in life, I’ve rounded up some of my best tips, food products and swaps, and things you should try to do in order to make your health kick beneficial and easy to follow, whilst keeping the treats at bay – get ready to grab the grapes!
Something I find rings true with me and most people is ‘If it’s not there, I won’t eat it.’ It’s pretty self-explanatory but it’s the foundation to keeping a healthy habit. When a new shopping week starts, clear out all the unhealthy foods so there’s nothing there to tempt you, and then buy fresh and healthy alternatives to keep you going. The main thing to remember when starting a ‘health kick’ is to not deprive yourself, and to do it slowly otherwise you’ll fall flat in the first week.
For example, if you have a sweet tooth, buy 72-80% Dark Chocolate instead of the Dairy Milk and biscuits, as dark chocolate can improve your metabolism and is higher in natural cocoa. The lack of milk and sugar also makes it very rich, which means you eat less of it – winning! Or maybe bread is your weakness (I know it’s mine) and you don’t like the wheat feeling on your tongue or the flour bloat after a sandwich – try Rye Bread which doesn’t contain wheat but still makes an awesome sandwich. The taste may take some getting used to, but it is awesome topped with avocado and spinach.
Key Things In The Fridge: Spinach | Cucumber | Broccoli | Blueberries | Avocados | Carrots | Dark Chocolate | Natural Yogurt
Key Things In The Cupboard: Sweet Potatoes | Butternut Squash | Parsnips | Chickpeas | Quinoa
Healthy food doesn’t mean boring meals either, in fact meals are so much more exciting! It’s all about flavour, so instead of extra cheese on your salad, try some roasted peach for sweetness and an extra one of your five-a-day. Switch up your jacket potato to Roasted Sweet Potato, a more complex carb with less starch and a lovely flavour that means less salt – woohoo!
Another thing to consider is seasonal eating, which will make your shop cheaper and more economical. By buying the produce that is grown during a specific season you’re in, it will be cheaper per kg and also last longer in the fridge – Strawberries going off in a day? No thanks. Less food waste, equals more meals, and a more satisfied purse.
As you go on with the healthy eating, making swaps from traditional staples to healthier ones is easier and some of these also last longer too, so here’s a quick little list of ideas for simple food swaps to make in your daily diet:
Iceburg Lettuce > Spinach | Regular Milk > Nut Milk | Milk Chocolate > Dark Chocolate, Carob or Raw Chocolate | Crisps > Quinoa Chips, Houmous and Carrots or Almonds | Sweets > Candy Cotton Grapes (or Grapes, plain grapes are fine if that’s your thing (but the cotton candy ones are a godsend))
As well as being aware of what you eat, what you drink is also important. Cans of coke and even tea aren’t that great, so double up on your healthy living with some better liquids in your diet. Sparkling water with cordial or frozen fruit are a great alternative to juice or sweet drinks, and herbal teas will help stimulate or soothe your insides with natural flavours instead of caffeine (I recommend Pukka Tea because the flavours are ammaaaaaaazing!)
Smoothies and juices are the next port of call for ‘health kicks’ but make sure they contain some vegetables as large amounts of fruit smoothies can be as bad as sugary soft drinks. All fruit has natural sugar in it, but too much too often can cause your insulin to become imbalanced and wreck havoc on your skin – all in moderation and with vegetables to provide more nutrients.
Water is essential to keeping you hydrated and making sure you a detoxing the liver, and also adding cucumber can help keep bloat at bay and fill you up for longer – plus it’s more alkaline than lemon, therefore no sensitive gums!
It’s important that when you begin to eat healthier that you do it with good reason – most importantly it should be about living a healthy lifestyle and nourishing your body, but eating better can improve weight loss, muscle gain, clear skin, a better digestive system, stronger bones, and give you more energy throughout the day.
Detoxing is fine, but do it with eating better long-term in mind, not just so you can then eat loads of chocolates; it’s all about keeping balance, not depriving yourself and making sure you are looking after #1.
Once you start eating healthily, there’s so much you can begin to experiment with – dairy free milk, vegetable based puddings, and homemade treats that give you that little satisfaction without feeling ‘bad’.
If you’re making 2015 your year of health and clean eating, then you’ve come to the right place for healthy bakes, vegan and delicious meals (not that I’m shamelessly plugging myself of course 😉 ), but you’ve also made the decision to give your body a break from processing the hard stuff and letting it relax, chill, and do what it needs to do to make you work better.
So, say goodbye to them jaffas (you won’t miss them soon enough) and say hello to shiny new you, complete with large amounts of water and almonds permanently in your grasp – you’re going to love it.
Have you decided to eat healthily this year? What are your food goals for 2015? Will you be making any changes to your diet for health benefits?
Lots of Love,
Some products in this post may have been sent for review or gifted, and will be marked with a * or c/o. All opinions are mine are not influenced by brands or companies. Please see my full disclaimer for more.