Feeling a little sluggish after 6 weeks of parties? Did a few extra pounds creep into your pants since Thanksgiving? You are not alone. Millions do this every year, and we arrive at New Year's feeling less than optimal and resolve to do better.
What if it's not about giving up everything, but making the choice to rebalance, review, and renew? What if we get to just draw a line under it all and take today as a brand new day? What will make you feel better?
I did my share of over-indulging this holiday season, and what I really crave is a cleaning. Nothing does that better than greens, and kale is one of the best of the bunch. Rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber, kale is like a green broom for our insides that "degreases" our engines. You can slice kale in ribbons, massage with a little sea salt and add it to any type of salad. You can saute it with a bit of garlic and good olive oil and serve with a squeeze of lemon. You can chop it up and toss a generous handful into soup. Not a fan of kale? Use any other greens you like in the same way.
New Year's brings with it an increased resolve to "do better". We make the determination to eat better, work harder, get more exercise, drink less, quit smoking, go on a diet, or lose weight. It makes me tired just to read that list. I always think there's an element of shame in these resolutions, some notion that we are not good enough as we are. What if we take out the "should" and focus on loving ourselves more? What are our bodies asking for? More nourishment, rest, or movement? More acceptance? More care? Is your body overheated from "too much"? An overload of food, drink, work and other indulgences or stressors can tax our internal engines, and when there is no relief, our systems pop into overdrive. Inflammation follows close behind.
An anti-inflammatory diet is a gentle way to get back on track after living in the land of "too much". It's pretty simple: eat 9 (yes, NINE) servings of a rainbow of veggies every day. Sound like a lot? 4 cups of salad greens gets you almost halfway there. In addition to the vegetables, add on two servings of seasonal fruit, one if you have blood sugar issues.
If you tolerate grains, consume 3 servings of whole grain rice, quinoa or millet. Baked flour (breads, all baked goods) is inflammatory so give it a rest.
Eat a combination of plant based proteins, and small amounts of wild caught small fish, and sustainably raised eggs and meat (if you eat animal food). Vegans and vegetarians can just stick with the plant based foods.
Eat happy fat: avocados; coconut; olive, sesame or nut oil and your EFA's (essential fatty acids). These can be consumed in food form via nuts and seeds, oily fish and by taking supplements.
Drink plenty of good water with lemon, green tea, turmeric and ginger tea. Add in some green juice as long as it's not loaded with fruit, which radically increase the sugar content.
If sugar cravings kick in to the point of taking over, a couple of dates with almond butter or a few dried apricots should probably do the trick.
As you can see, I don't scale portions. As long as you're getting in the rainbow of fruits and veggies, with enough dense food (sweet potatoes, whole grains etc) that your hunger feels satiated, chances are your body will be very happy and not feel deprived. You'll rapidly feel less bloated, less congested, and more clear.
In a few days, I'll be talking about the other key piece of the landscape: your inner world. See you soon!