Back to healthy habits for the New Year

Posted on: 18th January, 2016

Category: Health

Contributor: Hannah Dare

I know it’s a cliché but I feel there is still a good argument for making some new year’s resolutions. To help make them stick I think it is important to verbalise them.  Say them out loud to yourself to help internalise your commitment to change and also tell your loved ones what your resolution is. This will help you to positively define your goals and will also improve your chances of sticking to the plan!

Your goals may be fitness related, for example perhaps you want to get moving more this year — you know you feel good when you move more. Or perhaps you need to make friends, get into out of the house more, or improve your eating habits so you feel more healthy. Whatever your goal is, I would encourage you to both tell someone and write it down. Why not have lunch with a close friend and share goals? Even if one other person has heard you speak aloud it can make your plans more concrete.

I also want to get back to a healthy balance regarding how much chocolate I’m eating; as usual over Christmas I was somehow convinced that I deserved lots of sweet treats and now I have an after-dinner sugar craving again! My mother used to say women’s weight is like the tides, it comes and goes, and if you learn to go with the flow and not give yourself too hard a time, but rather accept that it’s not set in stone, you will find it easier to love yourself regardless of your weight. I like that advice. She also used to say stop complaining, move more and eat less.

In that light, it can be useful to refocus on blood sugar balancing, and learn what tools you need to create healthy habits again. What you want is to be able to have breakfast and not to feel hungry again until lunchtime, not eat anything else until dinner, and eat your dinner and not crave an after dinner snack. If you do need a mid-afternoon snack try a handful of cashew nuts and an apple. Or you might benefit from making a green smoothie with a high fat and high protein content in the mornings.

I like to start the day with lemon and water, as it always makes me feel fresh and seems to be good for my stomach. Drinking a large glass or two of warm water in the morning certainly is a good way to get your digestive system working well, and drinking the right amount of water in the day has been shown to help you maintain a healthy weight. To start the day with a large glass of lemon water, use a quarter of an organic unwaxed lemon and add hot water; leave for five to 10 minutes and drink before you have breakfast or tea.

Another habit I need to start up again is making a smoothie before work — I find a green smoothie can be an excellent breakfast, as it keeps me full all morning. To make a large smoothie for two people, I use a few large handfuls of spinach, a handful of kale, a banana and an orange, some protein powder, some hemp oil and half a tin of coconut milk (the cooking type). Or an avocado and leave out the coconut milk. I find the high fat and high protein content keeps me more satisfied for longer than if I just use fruit and veg. My preferred protein powder is called Life Powder by Terranova, which is practically a meal in itself — which also means I don’t need a daily multivitamin or a probiotic as it is all included. Nice and easy!

Other helpful supplements for getting back to healthy eating habits post-Christmas are cinnamon and chromium which is excellent for balancing blood sugars; our favourite one in Organico is Cinnachrome by Patrick Holford, which contains chromium and cinnamon in one capsule.

If your stomach was upset over Christmas you might benefit from some digestive enzymes — Udo’s makes an excellent Digestive Enzyme which is a capsule you take with every meal and it helps your stomach break the food down which can be very helpful if you feel full and uncomfortable after eating. If you have pain, for example cramping or aching in your stomach. then you might need a supplement containing soothing Glutamine, which calms inflammation and supports the lining of the stomach. We find great results from Nature’s Plus GI Natural — it contains enzymes, Glutamine, and probiotics, which all work together to calm down the stomach and held improve digestion.

Finally, I think we could all benefit from some extra fibre to provide a good Spring Clean for our digestive system after the indulgent Christmas period. I particularly like Pukka’s Daily Fibre Plus, which is an organic natural blend of fibre including Psyllium Husk, Slippery Elm, Linseed and aloe Vera Juice – you mix it with water and drink every evening for a very thorough internal cleanse. Lepicol is another good option and does come in capsules if you prefer, and plain psyllium husk is also excellent also and is very kind to your wallet. Make sure you remember to drink a lot of water with any of these fibre supplements, as you will become very dehydrated otherwise.

Apparently habits take 21 days to make, though I have to say it seems to take me far less time than that to break them, but I enjoyed my little holiday from worrying about such things and am now ready to feel fresh and healthy again! If you need some help changing your post-Christmas habits why not call into your local Health Food shop and see what advice they have. There are also a lot of activities starting up around the place this January — for example in Glengarriff there is a Park Run happening at every Saturday morning which is a great way of getting moving, being outside more and also making some new friends — so see you there!

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