Winter is finally coming to a close and we are beginning to see hints of Spring on the way. You know what that means…it’s time for spring cleaning! Every year, right around March or April, many of us feel motivated to tidy up our surroundings. This might include a really thorough cleaning of your home, preparing the yard for warmer weather, or purging things no longer needed.
This year, why not clean up your diet as a part of your spring to-do list. Cleaning up your diet is an excellent way to energize, boost your mood and improve your overall health to feel your best this Spring and Summer. Here are some tips to help you get started.
Replace heavy comfort food with healthier options
It’s easy to get stuck in a diet rut when the temperatures are cold and blustery. In the winter, many of us crave high fat and high carb foods because they boost dopamine and serotonin, neurochemicals that increase feelings of happiness – (It’s called comfort food for a reason).
However, this feeling of pleasure is usually only temporary. Plus, comfort foods tend to be both high in sugar and fat and lacking in nutritional value. These foods are pro-inflammatory which overwhelm your body and can cause a decline in overall health.
So instead, opt for an anti-inflammatory diet including low glycemic foods with high nutrition content. An easy way to do this is to eliminate processed foods which may include: frozen entrees, bakery products, processed deli meats and sausages, bakery products, fast foods, and sugary drinks. Replace these foods with lean proteins, nutrient-dense complex carbohydrates, and of course, plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Two easy ways to do this are:
- Perimeter Grocery Shopping – on your shopping trips focus on the outer perimeter of the grocery store to avoid highly processed foods typically found on the innermost aisles. The outer perimeter of the grocery store is filled with fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meat, fish, and poultry(all nutrient-dense foods).
- Cook At Home – Yes, we all love to treat ourselves to a restaurant meal here and there, but when you eat out more than once a week it’s hard to keep your diet under control. This is because it’s difficult to know how much salt, sugar, and fat are going into your meals when aren’t cooking your own food. Plus, restaurants tend to serve large portions which are often two to three times larger than recommended dietary guidelines.
Practice Mindful Eating
This is one diet tip that you might not hear very often, but it’s extremely helpful in improving your relationship with food. Mindful eating improves your overall eating experience by using your physical senses to better experience and appreciate the food that you eat. How many of us eat in a hurry – whether it’s in front of the tv or standing up and not truly enjoying the act of eating?
Distracted eating has been associated with weight gain, stress, and an unhealthy relationship with food. When you slow down and eat more mindfully, you have more control over your eating and feelings of fullness. When paired with a healthy diet, this strategy can help control food cravings, overeating, and maintenance of fasting blood glucose. Some mindful eating practices to consider:
- Listen to your body – many people tend to eat out of boredom or habit which can contribute to overeating. Listen to your body’s signals and eat only when hungry. Alternatively, you want to make sure to eat when you are hungry and don’t wait too long in between meals. This reduces the chance of binging on unhealthy foods later on.
- Limit distractions when eating – this is the cornerstone of the mindful eating practice. Turn off all electronics when eating and make sure to sit down to enjoy your meal. Pay attention to the colors, textures and smells of your food. This allows your brain to process what’s going into your body turning on appetite signals that tell your body when it’s full.
- Take smaller bites – when you practice mindful eating you slow down and acknowledge the practice of eating. To slow down your eating make sure to take smaller bites and chew food thoroughly before swallowing.
- Appreciate your food – last but not least, make sure to express gratitude for your meal. Take time to think about all the people involved in making your meal possible. This could be the farmers that harvested your food, the truck drivers who transported it, or the person who cooked the meal. Taking time to appreciate and acknowledge the meal and those with who you are sharing it makes your relationship with food something special to not be taken for granted.
Try a Fast Mimicking Diet
Different from intermittent fasting, a fast mimicking diet that allows you to eat some food but tricks your body into thinking that it’s fasting. This means that you can obtain the benefits of fasting without experiencing some of the challenging side effects such as hunger and fatigue.
So why fast in the first place- you might ask. Fasting has been scientifically studied and acknowledged for its many health benefits including:
- Stem cell regeneration
- Immune system strengthening and cellular resilience
- Preservation of lean body mass
- Improved brain function
- Reduction of body fat
- Controls blood sugar
- Delays aging
- Increased energy and revitalization
At OWM Integrative Wellness, we offer the Prolon fast mimicking diet program. Prolon is the first and only meal program that provides the body with optimal nourishment made up of natural, healthy ingredients.
The program is only 5 days, and the meal kit includes single-serve packaged portions per day of fasting. This takes all of the guesswork out of what to eat and not to eat during your fast mimicking week. All foods and supplements are high quality, plant-based and gluten-free!
Refresh, renew, renovate and restore! Spring is the perfect time to make upgrades in your life, and your diet is one of the best places to start! At OWM Integrative Wellness, we use a comprehensive approach to integrate traditional medicine with naturopathic and nutritional medicine.