1. Drink LOTS of water, all day, every day!
I’m currently on a plain water kick but if you’re someone who finds water boring, there are ways to up the flavour. Lemon and mint water is an old favourite of mine. I’ll make a jug ahead of time and leave it in the fridge to absorb the flavours. You can reuse the mint and lemon about 2-3 times before it loses its flavour. The mint is especially great for aiding in digestion and the lemon helps with bloating. Try also orange, berries, basil or cucumber for easy ways to spruce up your H20! The point is to be consistent and drink the same amount each day! If you drink 3L one day and 1L the next, your body will have a hard time using the water properly and you may feel bloated or have excessive urination, versus consistently drink 2L a day.
2. Choose organic when possible.
Let’s face it though, most of us cannot afford the extra cost that goes along with a full organic shopping trip! There are ways to get the most bang for your buck and knowing what produce is the biggest holders of pesticides versus produce that doesn’t absorb as much, is a key trick. Check out “The Dirty Dozen” list for a must buy organic list and do your research. When in doubt, foods where you eat the skin (potatoes, apples, berries) should be organic and items you peel (bananas, avocados) are okay to buy non-organic.
3. Choose no added salt when possible.
This goes for canned vegetables and beans too, to help with excess bloating and unnecessary sodium intake. Serving sizes can also be misleading, so be sure to read packing carefully, especially when using items like bouillon cubes and soy sauce. I actually don’t use table salt very often (if at all) and introduced sea salt or Himalayan salt to bring out the natural flavours of ingredients and for the added mineral benefits. They are often less processed than regular table salt as well.
4. Don’t count calories!
This is probably the most important point. My biggest pet peeve in the fitness industry is the promotion of calorie restricting diets. This can be a quick fix but is by no means a long term goal for healthy living. Calories are not the enemy! Calories are fuel. The problems arise when you eat processed, unhealthy foods. For instance, you could eat 2 Big Mac meals at McDonalds and still be under your recommended calorie intake for the day, but are you healthy?
Calories = energy and the body needs energy to survive, grow, repair and heal itself. Food is your fuel and not something to be restricted! If you eat a whole, unprocessed diet then you can truly eat as much as you want and need, without any concerns of weight gain.
This might not actually go without saying but all foods do not digest equally. For instance, bananas digest slower than other fruits and should be eaten alone or last. Proteins, grains, starches, fats, fruits and vegetables all have different transit times and some work better together than others. Yes, I still make banana smoothies with other fruits but being aware of how foods digest and how YOU feel after eating different foods can be super beneficial in feeling your best. Find what works for you, check in with your body after meals and how you are feeling, and keep a record to notice if it is consistent. We are all different and what works for me, might not be what works for you. Find what makes you feel YOUR best!