Hopefully 2016 was a great year for you!
The year 2017 is here and it brings with it an opportunity to make a change and strive for an even better year ahead.
Patients always ask me how they can improve their lifestyle choices. While some recommendations require more time and effort, there are many quick and easy changes you can make and even start implementing today.
Here are some tips that you can add to your list of resolutions:
1) Eat more fat – yes, you heard me right! People still get scared by the F** word but the research is clear and the medical community is (finally) coming around on this concept. When I say fat I refer to healthy, natural fats that come from plant-sources, such as avocados, coconut oil, nuts, seeds, and olive oil, or animal-sources such as good quality meats, fish, eggs and grass-fed butter. I could write a whole book about this topic but start focusing on including more healthy fats in your diet, while also cutting back on carbs that raise your blood sugar levels, cause cravings and are the true cause of weight gain.
2) Increase your vegetable consumption – I must sound like your mother but as a naturopathic doctor I can vouch that this is arguably one of the best things you can do for your health. Specifically, you should focus on leafy greens such as kale, spinach, arugula, bok choy and other cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and brussel sprouts. Each of these foods are nutritional powerhouses filled with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and liver and gut protecting phytonutrients. Add them to your smoothie, to your omelet, your salads, side dishes, soups, wherever, as long as you get them in!
3) Get more fiber – fiber is a form of a carbohydrate that cannot be digested or absorbed. You may think what is it good for then? Well, many things! It helps bulk stool and can be used both for diarrhea or constipation, but also has many non-gut related benefits such as helping reduce cholesterol and blood sugar levels, helping your body excrete excess hormones and even helping weight loss as foods high on fiber are more filling. Try to consume both more soluble fiber, found in oats, psyllium, legumes, or fruit and insoluble fiber such as flaxseeds, nuts, beans and vegetables.
4) Ditch the processed sugar and high fructose corn syrup – besides the fact that sugar contributes to a host of conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and even cancer, sugar it the biggest contributor to weight gain! It has also been claimed to be as addictive as cocaine, so it’s no wonder that cutting back is a difficult task to undertake. Start by cutting out all sources of “empty calories” – pop and even juice that is stripped of all vitamins and minerals. Don’t forget about hidden sources of sugar that come in the form of high fructose corn syrup and are found in most processed foods and sugary snacks. Read labels carefully and opt for food that looks like it came from nature rather than a lab.
5) Choose better quality – while the debate of whether you should go organic and grass-fed is a complicated one, the research is in favour of organic foods ( SOURCE 1and SOURCE 2). It’s important to know that just because something says it’s organic, if it’s processed that doesn’t mean it’s healthy! You don’t have to buy everything organic, but perhaps choose just a few items that are staples in your diet. You can also check out the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen (SOURCE) – a list of the 12 most highly contaminated and 15 cleanest produce.
6) Change your oils – there is the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to oils. The ugly are your trans-fats that should be avoided entirely! These are man-made fats founds in processed foods, shortenings and margarines, fried foods, and commercially produced fast foods. You should also limit vegetable oils such as canola, sunflower, soybean, safflower, corn and cotton-seed oils, which are more inflammatory, refined and typically come from GMO sources. Healthy fats include cold-pressed virgin olive oil or flax oil for salads and coconut oil, avocado oil or grass-fed butter for cooking.
7) Add turmeric to your diet – turmeric is the spice that gives curry its yellow colour and has been used for centuries as a spice and medicinal food. The active ingredient in turmeric is called curcumin which is a strong antioxidant and powerful anti-inflammatory. Curcumin can be used for anything from cancer prevention, to arthritis, better memory and brain function, depression, and cardiovascular disease. Add it regularly to your vegetables, soups, rice or legumes, sprinkle on your eggs or even add to a smoothie. For increased absorption, take curcumin with food and black pepper.
Some of these you may already be doing and some may be totally new concepts, so I challenge you to commit to 2-3 of these nutritional resolutions and you will be on your way to better health and well-being. Remember it takes 21 days to form a habit, so be consistent, committed and don’t forget to also reward yourself for your efforts!
If weight loss is one of your main resolutions for 2017, make sure to check out our 6-week Holistic Weight Management Program. We look forward to helping you look and feel your best in the New Year!
A naturopathic doctor, expert in preventative health and integrative care, Inna has a clinical focus in hormonal concerns, stress related imbalances, weight management, improving sleep and energy, and enhancing well-being and quality of life.
Note: This blog provides general information and discussion about medicine, health and related subjects. The words and other content provided in this blog, and in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice. If the reader or any other person has a medical concern, he or she should consult with an appropriately-licensed health care worker.