Who doesn't have the resolution to drink less, give up sugar, eat more veggies, and overall live more healthfully when the new year rolls around. I am not immune to this fever, and after the holidays I was feeling really committed to starting the year off well, which I overall have. When I started thinking about what I want to put in my body this year, instead of approaching it from the point of view of restriction or "should," I am noticing the things that actually make my body feel good, and avoiding the things that don't. Simple as that.
Here's My 2018 Nourishment Plan:
- I actually don't think coffee is bad. I think it has lots of antioxidants, fights depression, and hey, who doesn't love the productivity that comes along with a big caffeine boost. The reason I stopped drinking coffee was that I didn't like the dependency. Even after sleeping for 10 hours when I should have felt completely rested, I could not feel alert until I had coffee. I didn't like not being able to naturally wake up, so I gave it up about 2 years ago. Now when I occasionally have a coffee drink, it leaves me feeling so dehydrated and gives me the big jolt followed by the afternoon crash. For these reasons, I will be avoiding even the occasional cup. Now I only drink one cup of caffeinated tea in the morning, such as chai or mate, and then I switch to herbal tea and water for the rest of the day.
- I like to have a drink, and have no plans of giving up alcohol entirely. I love to enjoy a glass of red wine with a nice dinner, and a local, hoppy IPA at a Denver brewery. Although I plan to still drink socially, I am looking to be more mindful about what I drink and how much. I am cutting out sugary mixed drinks like margaritas and fancy cocktails. They never make me feel very good and often leave me hurting the next day, not to mention they often are more expensive than a glass of wine or a beer. I am also reducing the frequency of my drink consumption. If I have a couple of beers on Friday night out with friends, then Saturday night I'll cook at home and enjoy tea or sparkling water with dinner. I am only having a drink about 2 nights per week. It's really quite simple, I'm just going to drink a little less and less often, and when I do I will savor a favorite craft beer, red wine, or an occasional whiskey.
Little to No Cane Sugar
- I was food allergy tested a while back, and cane sugar came back as an allergy for me, so I really should have cut it out right then and there. Luckily I've never had much of a sweet tooth, but sugar is in so many things that we often don't realize. My goal for 2018 is to read labels, so at least I am avoiding unknown sugar in things like bread and salad dressing, and then to virtually eliminate treats with cane sugar. There are lots of other ways to bake with other sweeteners like coconut sugar and agave, and I'm going to try new recipes with those (for special occasions only). Again, the way I am eating this year is to make me feel good, not to to make me feel too restricted, so when I made an apple pie from scratch this week for dinner guests, you better believe I tried a piece. When treats like that are occasional though, they feel special and you enjoy them more, but you also crave them less. Win-win.
- Eating organic is something that I have gone back and forth on in my life, mostly due to the higher cost of organic food. When I was in Asia for the last two months of 2017, the thing I missed most was being able to cook for myself in my own kitchen with the ingredients I wanted to have and could control. I realized then that it is a value of mine to put the best ingredients possible into my body. Therefore, I am only buying organic meat, veggies, nuts and nut butters this year. Occasionally I will buy conventional fruit or snack items, because of cost and availability, but I am overall shifting toward an organic kitchen.
- Last year we tried Hello Fresh, and with that we typically had one night of chicken, one night of beef and one night of pork each week. I noticed that this was more meat than I wanted to be eating, particularly red meat. We are not doing Hello Fresh anymore because it is not organic, because I want to cook my own recipes more, and because it was too much meat. I like to eat meat for protein, and I think red meat has good iron, especially for menstruating women, but I am avoiding pork this year, and having red meat more like once or twice per month (I will always love a good burger), instead of weekly. Otherwise we'll just be making organic chicken or turkey, and having more meals per week that might not contain meat at all. I am also reducing the portion size of meat that I do eat, which I picked up on during my time in Asia. I feel lighter (but still plenty full) when I eat smaller portions of meat, and eat it less often.
So Many Veggies
- This is an easy one, but I am trying to plan most of my meals around vegetables, to add them to my diet even more. I am lucky that I love all vegetables, but one thing I have noticed helps me eat more of them is to mix them up. Instead of broccoli every night, I have been buying more variety of spinach, kale, chard, brussel sprouts, green beans and asparagus. It keeps the veggie part of the menu more exciting, especially if you mix up the ways you cook them as well.
Lots of Cooking at Home
- I love to cook, and although my boyfriend and I do cook a lot at home, we are making eating out the exception this year. I don't feel like this restricts us socially, because we can always eat dinner at home, and just grab a drink out with friends, instead of an entire meal. This is of course financially beneficial as well. Cooking at home is the easiest way to control what is going into our bodies, including adding the things that make us feel good and avoiding the ones that don't. This year, you'll find me in my own kitchen mostly, trying new recipes and making myself feel nourished.
How are you nourishing your body in 2018?