Wow, we are moving right on through the “Spring Clean Your Life” series and for this post I’m going to talk about the dreaded dum dum dum….DIET.
Not so fast—don’t run away! I’m not here to preach to you about what you shouldn’t be eating, drinking, or doing. As a lover of food who comes from a whole family of foodies—including a father who is a restaurant critic—I LOVE food. I am of the “live to eat” ilk.
That said, I will never tell you that you shouldn’t eat something. I believe you can enjoy anything you want as long as you strive to keep your portions moderate and your diet mostly healthy. I personally aim for an 80/20 ratio – that’s healthy food 80% of the week and whatever I want the other 20%.
Here are a few suggestions for lightening up your diet for spring:
Incorporate Seasonal Produce into your Diet
After all these cold and heavy winter months, what a relief it is to see the first spring growth! Take advantage of the best time of year to enjoy delicious fruits and veggies. Stop by your local farmer’s market, grocery store, or co-op, and pick up some yummy fruits and veggies that are in season. Not sure exactly what’s in season? Think artichoke, asparagus, cherries, peas, radishes, and more. For a more exhaustive list of seasonal fruits and vegetables, take a look at the Oprah website, which also provides links to recipes to make with spring produce as well.
If you’re like me and never have a real clue how long different fruits and veggies stay fresh, the Oh My Veggies website has a colorful FREE downloadable printable that answers that very question. You can find it here.
Go Meatless Once or Twice a Week
No one is saying you need to quit meat altogether, but it makes a world of difference to swap out meat for a veggies-only or seafood meal. A lot of you are probably familiar with “Meatless Mondays”. Go meatless Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, any day, and reap the benefits of minimizing the intake of animal byproducts. Need some alternatives?
Browse these websites:
Swap your Bagel for a Smoothie
I’m a self-confessed carboholic, but I’ve been really trying to drop the muffin/croissant/bagel breakfast habit, and have opted instead for deliciously energizing smoothies. It’s so easy to throw a few ingredients into a blender and sip a smoothie on my long commute to work, and I swear it completely rejuvenates me so I feel peppy by the time I get to the office. Not to mention they’re also quite filling.
You can try 42 different healthy options from Whole Living Magazine’s website by clicking here.
Drink Lots and Lots of Water – with Flavor!
I love water—it’s actually my favorite beverage. But I know that there are a lot of people out there who don’t like it much at all. That doesn’t mean that you should drink coffee, soda, and juice instead. Like I said, any of those are fine from time to time, but coffee is a diuretic and will completely dehydrate you, ditto for soda which also contains loads of sugar, and juice is not as healthy as everyone believes. It’s got lots of sugar as well and the calories really add up if you drink lots of it.
Fruit is an excellent way to add a hint of flavor to your water in a healthy way. Think cucumber, mint, citrus (grapefruit, lemon, lime, oranges), berries (blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries)…there are a lot of tasty combos out there that are worth trying.
I found a few interesting recipes on the Food Network website that I’m excited to try: refreshing water, herb infused water (this one has rosemary in it, among other things!), berry spritzer, and barley water. Yes, barley water! Not something I would ever have thought of but I’m intrigued—I bet it’s tasty.
Take your Vitamins
Of course eating well is the most important way to take care of your body, and fruits and vegetables naturally contain many of the vitamins we need to function healthily. But don’t forget about your vitamin supplements as well—they can be a really beneficial addition to your diet. The Livestrong website is an excellent resource for all of your vitamin-related questions—after your doctor of course.
Consider a Detox
This is not a must and it’s not for everyone, but if you truly feel like you want to clean your dietary “slate”, you might try a detox–and what better time than now? Those of you who’ve been tuning in to my blog for awhile may know that I decided to do just that this past February. I chose to do the 21-day detox action plan from Whole Living Magazine. And I’ll speak about this because it’s the one that I have experience with. For 21 days I said no to sugar, processed foods, dairy, coffee, alcohol, gluten, and meat. Was it hard? For the first two days, yes. It got easier and easier from there until I truly didn’t even want most of those items I couldn’t have. During that time I ate a ton of fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, oil, gluten-free grains, and legumes. Slowly I was able to add back soy and eggs. By the end of the cleanse, I felt lighter–both physically and mentally. I had lost 9 pounds, but there were a ton of other benefits too. You see eating well isn’t just about losing weight, it effects your mood, your skin, your sleeping patterns, your energy level…everything. And I felt like a much better version of me after finishing the detox.
But do what’s right for you…there are lots of detox options out there of varying durations.
What are you doing to spring clean your diet? I would love to hear your tips!
Curious about the other steps in the “Spring Clean Your Life” series? Check them out here.