Oh the holidays. They have come and gone and we may have left ourselves with a wee bit of a dietary and health disaster.
We all know that the holidays are filled to the brim with sugary treats, heavy meals and perhaps a drink or a dozen. And don't we all know how lousy this leaves us feeling.
A post-holiday clean-up plan would involve the elimination of most of the foods that we indulged in. Out with the bad and in with lots of good in the form of fresh fruit, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds, quality protein, fibre and lots and lots and lots of water.
So then- here are five guidelines to get you started (or at least think about getting started)
- Avoid high glycemic foods: These are the refined flours found in fluffy breads, cakes, cookies, packaged cereals, crackers, pasta, and sweet treats. Replace these with whole or sprouted grain breads, and whole grains like brown rice and quinoa. High glycemic foods stress our adrenal glands and increase insulin output. This puts our bodies into a sluggish, fat storing mode.
- Avoid dairy products. Mucous forming little monsters! Dairy products cause mucous formation and are also high in the bad kinds of fat. We should work to avoid cow’s milk and instead replace it with almond milk, rice milk, or organic soymilk. Take a rest from cheeses and ice creams.
- Avoid (eliminate!) alcohol. We are working to build our health back up and alcohol generally serves to break it down. For every alcoholic drink consumed, we should increase water intake by two glasses. Those pitchers of beer are suddenly looking rather huge aren’t they?
- Increase raw and lightly steamed vegetables. Potatoes don’t count here! We want the dark leafy greens, the kale, spinach, chard, romaine, and mixed salad greens. Also add in some of the brassicus family of vegetables: broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and Brussel’s sprouts. These are all rich in phytonutrients; keys to increasing energy production in the cells and removing waste.
- Increase quality protein. Protein comprises the building blocks of our body. We therefore need the best quality in order to build and repair any damage that may have been caused by our holiday merriment. Choose lean, clean sources. Vegetable based proteins like lentils, legumes, beans, peas, nuts and seeds are good choices. They are rich in fibre; essential for removing excess waste. Avoid red meat as it can be taxing on the digestive system, liver and kidneys. Instead choose eggs, fish and lean poultry as the animal derived protein.
Just think of this way- everything we eat will either serve to build up our health or build up disease. Once we start to see and feel the positive results from our efforts, we may just find that what started our as a clean-up, may soon becomes a way of living. Check out this recipe for Whole Grain Porridge to get your day started off right!