With the start of the New Year, many of us vowed to lead healthier lifestyles. Now, a huge part of any healthy lifestyle, of course, is diet. The food that we consume has a huge determining factor in how our bodies function – it’s our fuel. So, if you’re looking for a few different ways to overhaul your previous diet and replace it with a new one, but aren’t entirely sure where to start, here are a few ideas that can help you to maintain your resolutions and achieve your goals!
Carry Out a Cleanse
Before you start making major changes to your usual diet, you might want to consider conducting a cleanse like those at nutritionalcleanse.com. A cleanse is also commonly referred to as a “detoxification diet” or, simply, a “detox”. It is a short term dietary intervention which has the purpose of cleansing your body of toxins and other negative substances – flushing everything bad out. A standard detox will generally involve elements of fasting, so make sure to consult your doctor before setting out on any detox process. They will be able to let you know whether it suits you and whether your body will benefit from the given detox that you have chosen or not.
Cutting Out Sugar
When it comes to curating a healthy diet, we are generally advised against cutting any particular food group out entirely. Even foods that we associate with negative health consequences have some sort of positive potential. Unsaturated, for example, provide our bodies with essential fatty acids that they can’t produce on their own. They help our bodies to absorb vitamins A, D, and E too – so, it’s worth eating some in moderation. However, when it comes to sugar, the same rules don’t necessarily apply. Sure, you can eat sugar every now and then for the sake of taste without expecting significant negative consequences on your overall health and well-being. But when it comes down to it, sugars don’t provide us with anything positive besides taste – they have no functional value. They are merely empty calories with the potential to damage our teeth. So, start cutting them out! If you want something that tastes sweet, replace cakes, chocolates, and sweets with naturally sweet fruit.
Avoiding Fast Food
Fast food is extremely convenient – we can have it at pretty much any time of the day or night and it’ll be generally ready within moments of ordering. It’s also extremely easily accessible. There’s a fast food outlet on pretty much every high street. But if you’re looking to implement a healthy diet into your life, it’s important to avoid indulging in fast food on a regular basis. Takeaway meals tend to have poor nutritional content and are generally packed with saturated fats, excessive levels of salt, and too much sugar. Instead, practice patience and make your own balanced meals at home instead.
Try Out Vegetarianism or Veganism
Chances are that you’ve heard the terms “vegetarian” and “vegan” flung around a whole lot more than usual over the past month. This is probably thanks to veganuary. This is a challenge that numerous individuals set for themselves every year – people make a vow to give up animal products for at least one month and eat purely plant-based matter. This means cutting out:
- Animal-derived ingredients such as gelatine
Now, in the past, this would have been relatively difficult. While it still will be a major change to your usual diet and you may struggle to turn down animal based products from time to time, companies are recognising increased demand for convenient vegan products and you can generally pick up a whole host of delicious meals from local supermarkets. Restaurants and cafes are also offering more vegetarian and vegan options. So, now that we’ve cleared up how you can carry out a successful veggie diet, let’s consider why you might want to switch to one. People tend to switch for one (or more) of three reasons. The first is for ethics reasons. Animals are, of course, significantly harmed for the sake of the meat industry, the dairy industry, and the egg industry. Even the most seemingly humane options have major flaws in regards to cruelty. For meat, an animal has to be killed and this is inevitably going to be painful for them – they will still feel pain from stun guns being used and they ultimately lose their life. In regards to dairy, cows only produce milk for their young – this means that cows are purposely impregnated and calves are taken away from their mothers in order for us to drink their share of milk. For eggs, only female laying hens are useful, male chicks are useless in terms of profit, so are killed en mass. A second reason to go vegetarian or vegan is for the environment. The livestock industry accounts for a huge amount of greenhouse gases. Land used for agricultural livestock could be used for growing people’s food and the crops grown to feed farmed livestock could also be used to feed people. However, the final reason to take on a plant based lifestyle is the one that we will focus on – overall health and well-being. When it comes down to it, eating a plant based diet is just generally healthier. You cut out a whole lot of saturated fat by cutting out red meats, which reduces your chances of developing heart disease. You are more likely to get your recommended daily amount of fruit and vegetables. But remember that going vegetarian or vegan doesn’t automatically mean you will be healthy. Make sure to get sufficient protein. This can be found in lentils, tofu, seitan, mycoprotein products (like Quorn) and a variety of nuts and seeds. If you are vegan, also make sure to take vitamin B12 supplements.
Now, making big changes to your diet can be difficult and we’re all likely to slip up at some point along the way. But don’t beat yourself up. Stick with it and your new dietary commitments will soon become habits!