It is 2019, it is January and many of us promise ourselves to eat better and exercise.
Does this sound familiar? We look forward to feeling better as spring approaches. Yet, eating healthy can seem like a chore. It is easy to just fall back into routine and a promise to start again tomorrow, auto-piloting through time. Sound familiar?
Having a bad day is not the end of the world and is normal. Looking back and yearning has become a norm. Regret is commonplace. Failing to reward small victories and celebrate small steps catapults us toward another year of broken promises. I challenge you to make this year different. I challenge you to celebrate each small step and victory. What are some ideas for celebrating?
Did you know?! Just taking a series of breathes can focus our minds and feed our souls. Taking a series of breathes can help root us in the moment. Taking a series of breathes can help us be present. Taking a series of breathes can help us appreciate the food we are eating and the health our body applauds when we feed it nutrient rich foods.
Eating healthy isn’t as hard as it seems as long as it is a conscious choice. Just taking a moment to contemplate what you are eating and why …. can help change the daily habits of eating lots of fast, processed, nutrient-less food. So often (and I was guilty of this too) we are on autopilot without a lot of thought to what we are eating; or when we are eating we are focusing on the TV, standing up, talking on the phone, or working instead of savoring each morsel of food, enjoying the peace and splendor of eating nutrient rich, organic, real food.
This year is about changes and challenges, a game of sorts, to healthy eating.
I challenge you to take a moment to reflect before you make a food choice and to reflect again before eating – the reflection can be a simple breath or looking at and feeling the food you are about to eat (unless it is soup because that would be messy if you were feeling it – plus it might garner some eye stares/rolls 😉) or asking yourself a series of questions (what am I really hungry for, am I hungry or just bored/distracted) – just take a moment to be and as you take each moment, newfound awareness will surround you, along with a smile and happiness/joy; and as you experience each moment, time will take you on a journey where the moments get longer and before you know it you are feeling healthier, happier, loving food, and more in harmony with your body. I challenge you to give it a try and to share your experiences, good, bad, ugly, and indifferent – sharing helps us all.
Did you know?! Mindful eating may lead to weight loss. “Mindful eating is:
- Paying attention to the food that you eat, minimizing distractions
- Sitting down, slowing down and savoring your meals and snacks
- Paying attention to your senses: smell, taste and texture of food
- Slowing down your eating, chewing food thoroughly
- Tuning into your body signals of hunger and fullness
- Eating when hungry and stopping at a comfortable level of fullness.”
Food is wonderful and full of flavor. Food is therapy. Food provides us with moments to just be.
Food is a wonderful universal connector – to each other, to culture, to food, and to our health and well-being. Food slows us down and helps us enjoy a moment. I don’t always eat healthy but when I don’t I am conscious enough to recognize how my body responds. I wasn’t always this way – in fact, while I was dieting – I focused little on food and the connection to my health or the connection to flavor (not the processed kind) and more on fat and calories. As a result, I was always on this yoyo seeking health but not achieving it. Yet bit by bit, one decision at a time – with many failures – lots of Oreos, chocolate or processed dinners – I started to connect real organic food to my health, happiness and peace of mind. I found joy in eating (and cooking).
I challenge you to make this year about eating real food. I challenge you to let go of your new year’s resolutions and instead do mini sprints. Some suggest 90 days but I like starting with just 7 days. 7 days on being present when you eat. 7 days of eating nutrient rich foods, foods that come from the perimeter of the grocery store, not the middle aisles. 7 days of listening to your body when you eat, noting changes. At the end of 7 days reward yourself with that thing you craved and then start another 7-day challenge. And share each step with us.
DID YOU KNOW?! Apples are nutritious.
“One medium apple — 6.4 ounces or 182 grams — offers the following nutrients:
- Calories: 95
- Carbs: 25 grams
- Fiber: 4 grams
- Vitamin C: 14% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
- Potassium: 6% of the RDI
- Vitamin K: 5% of the RDI
What’s more, the same serving provides 2–4% of the RDI for manganese, copper, and the vitamins A, E, B1, B2, and B6.
Apples are also a rich source of polyphenols.
To get the most out of apples, leave the skin on — it contains half of the fiber and many of the polyphenols.”
DID YOU KNOW?! Apples can help with weight loss.
“Apples are high in fiber and water — two qualities that make them filling.”
DID YOU KNOW?! Apples can help with Periodontal Disease.
“We all know the sensation that follows eating an apple – that astringent property, where our gums feel squeaky clean. This is due, in part, to quercetin, which is found in apples, tea and onions, for example. It bears significant antimicrobial properties. Apple polyphenol also protects against periodontal ligament cell destruction associated with Porphyromonas gingivalis, a pathogenic anaerobic bacteria, infection.”
DID YOU KNOW?! Apples feed good gut bacteria.
“Apples contain pectin, a type of fiber that acts as a prebiotic. This means it feeds the good bacteria in your gut.
Your small intestine doesn’t absorb fiber during digestion. Instead, it goes to your colon, where it can promote the growth of good bacteria. It also turns into other helpful compounds that circulate back through your body.
New research suggests that this may be the reason behind some of the protective effects of apples against obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.”
DID YOU KNOW?! Apples contain compounds that can help fight asthma.
“Antioxidant-rich apples may help protect your lungs from oxidative damage.
A large study in more than 68,000 women found that those who ate the most apples had the lowest risk of asthma. Eating about 15% of a large apple per day was linked to a 10% lower risk of this condition.
Apple skin contains the flavonoid quercetin, which can help regulate the immune system and reduce inflammation. These are two ways in which it may affect asthma and allergic reactions.”
DID YOU KNOW?! “The crabapple is the only apple native to North America.
Apples come in all shades of reds, greens, and yellows.
Two pounds of apples make one 9-inch pie.
Apple blossom is the state flower of Michigan.
2,500 varieties of apples are grown in the United States.
7,500 varieties of apples are grown throughout the world.”
DID YOU KNOW?! “Apple trees are 4 or 5 years old before they actually have apples.
Apple are members of the rose family.
The first apple tree in the United States was planted by the pilgrims when they came to the United States from Europe.
It takes about 36 apples to make 1 gallon of apple cider.”
Who knew? I learn something new every day.
For recipes check out: https://www.allrecipes.com/recipes/1099/fruits-and-vegetables/fruits/apples/.
Until next time, happy eating and I look forward to hearing about your challenge results and your apple recipes.
3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2664987/ and https://www.besthealthmag.ca/best-eats/nutrition/health-benefits-apples/
5. Fn 2 and https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26016654
6. Fn2 and https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3183591/