Written by Kathrin Brunner
The start of a new season can be a wonderful time to set positive intentions and to make healthier shifts for you and your family. We’ve all felt what a difference it can make in our bodies and our minds when we’re eating well.
If eating clean is something new for you, try to approach each new day as an opportunity to feel great and don’t dismay if you slip. Health is an evolving journey, not a rule book!
To help you on your journey, here’s my top 5 tips for eating clean this spring:
1) Start smart!
Begin each day with a glass of warm or room temperature water. You can add fresh lemon juice, a splash of apple cider vinegar or turn it into an herbal tea. Water is an essential part of your body and is crucial for the proper functioning of your muscles and your brain. On the flip side, dehydration can lead to constipation, headaches, joint pain, dull skin and poor concentration. Starting your day with good hydration is one the simplest, yet most profound changes you can make.
2) Emphasize whole foods.
Refined and processed foods contain only a fraction of the original goodness of the whole food and this can often lead to empty calories, blood sugar imbalances and added synthetic preservatives. Emphasize whole grains instead of refined flours. A great swap for processed cereals and breads in the morning would be porridges using quinoa, millet or amaranth. For rushed starts, overnight oats or chia puddings can be an easy grab-and-go. Instead of packing juice boxes, emphasize whole fruits. Instead of granola and energy bars, make your own trail mix.
3) Get Spicy!
One of the simplest way to add a powerful boost to nutrition is to use more herbs and spices. Full of antioxidants and phytonutrients that promote skin health, better digestion, mental clarity, detoxification and cancer prevention, herbs and spices really are the best example of using food as medicine. Try adding cinnamon, cardamom and ginger to breakfast porridges, smoothies or teas. Add fresh herbs, like mint, cilantro, parsley, oregano and dill, to salads and soups. Try out recipes that feature new flavours to slowly build up your palette and your spice cupboard.
4) Eat a variety of probiotic-rich foods.
The microbiome is a hot topic in the nutrition world and for good reason. With probiotic bacteria being linked to digestive, immune and mental health, adding more fermented foods into your diet can made a drastic change in health. To get the most benefit, aim to include a small serving daily and include a variety of fermented foods throughout the week. When buying, choose brands that include living cultures (avoid items that have been pasteurized, these items will be in the fridge section). Some easy foods to start will include kimchi, krauts, kombucha, kefir, lacto-fermented pickles and miso. If you’re ready to try making your own you can learn with me in one of fermenting workshops, or here’s a link to my video on how to brew kombucha at home.
5) Switch to natural personal care and cleaning products.
Just as important as what you put in your body is what you put on it. Your skin absorbs up to 60% of what you put on it into your bloodstream within 15 minutes, so really what you put on your body is just as important as what’s on your fork! From laundry soaps to eye shadow, our bodies are exposed to countless chemicals that can cause respiratory issues, headaches, skin outbreaks and even muck with our hormones. I love the Think Dirty app as a great tool for finding out what’s in your products and recommendations for cleaner and greener ones.