13 Positive Dietary Resolutions
New Year’s Resolutions do not have to bring with them feelings of deprivation and misery. Instead focus on things to include in your diet rather than things to avoid. Here are some ideas for nurturing and nourishing dietary resolutions that will gently lead you to wellness.
1. Drink tea – fluids are important for many aspects of body function, not least detoxification and elimination. Tea and coffee both contain antioxidants and have been shown to benefit various aspects of health. Variety is good though so include water, freshly pressed vegetable juices, ginger tea, lemon water, herbal teas and dandelion coffee.
2. Think 30 – research from the American gut project suggests that eating 30 or more different plant foods each week is good for microbial diversity in the gut. Plant foods include fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains, pulses, sea vegetables, herbs and spices.
3. Eat soup – eating foods with a high water content can have a cleansing and hydrating effect. Soups can contain whatever ingredients you enjoy so experiment with vegetables, pulses, nut butters, herbs, spices, miso and tamari.
4. Eat organic – organic foods contain fewer pesticide residues and are often higher in nutrients, not to mention being better for the environment.
5. Go green – green foods are rich in nutrients, fibre and chlorophyll. Examples include kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, chard, lettuce, watercress, lamb’s lettuce and rocket.
6. Plant protein – much research shows that getting a significant amount of your protein from plants not animal foods is beneficial to people and planet. Plant proteins include nuts, seeds, pulses, tofu, tempeh, quinoa, amaranth, sprouts and green vegetables.
7. Get fermenting – fermented foods can help to increase the diversity of organisms in the gut with potentially wide ranging benefits to health. Fermented foods include kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, yoghurt, sourdough bread and kombucha. These can all be bought ready made but it’s fun to make your own too.
8. Get sprouting – sprouting increases the nutrient content and digestibility of many foods. Good foods to sprout include green lentils, mung beans, alfalfa and broccoli seeds.
9. Fibre – fibre is the indigestible part of carbohydrates. What is indigestible to us provides food for the gut microbes as well as providing a vehicle by which toxins can be removed from the body. Sources of fibre include whole grains, pulses, fruit, vegetables, chia seeds, flax seeds and slippery elm powder.
10. Sea vegetables – these are fantastically rich in minerals including iodine needed for thyroid function and metabolism. Use nori sheets to make sushi by wrapping up rice or vegetables with almond butter. Sprinkle kelp flakes onto soups, salads and grains. Add wakame or kombu to pulses while cooking to aid digestion.
11. Spice it up – herbs and spices can enhance digestion and provide antioxidants for the immune system as well as having antibacteral and antifungal properties. Include turmeric, cumin, coriander, ginger, fenugreek, basil, mint, fennel, dill, cinnamon, cloves, garlic and star anise.
12. Super foods – whilst all whole, natural foods are super foods in their own way there are some that are worth a mention and these include blueberries, goji berries, cacao, maca, mulberries, broccoli sprouts and turmeric.
13. Relax when eating – the digestive system only works when the body is in a relaxed state. Eating under stress can lead to malabsorption and food sitting in the digestive tract for longer than is healthy. Take some deep inhalations and full exhalations before eating. Leave the technology in another room and eat mindfully and with gratitude.
Always check with your doctor or medical specialist before embarking on any dietary or lifestyle changes, especially if you have a medical condition, are on medications or are pregnant or breast feeding.