EDITION: October - December 2013

Small changes for BIG results

Text: Ruth Osborn
 
Five habits that can improve our nutritional health
 
There are many small changes we can make in our lives that will have a big effect on our overall health and wellbeing, below are some suggestions. Slip them into your daily routine little by little, start with the suggestion that appeals to you most and implement it for a week. If it feels good, continue and before you know it will have become a part of your routine and you’ll do it without thinking about it, then you’re ready to pick another to work on. Taking small steps like this can help us develop good positive habits that become as second nature as brushing our teeth. 
 
1) Breathe before you eat
Take a few minutes before you’re about to eat (or drink) to just stop and breathe – take at least three long deep breaths. Breathing relaxes the body’s nervous system. If you’re stressed and rushing around stopping will help switch from the fight-or-flight system to rest-and-digest mode. It might also give you time to rethink what you’re about to consume. Slow down and then really enjoy whatever you’re eating.
 

 
2) Chew your food
Chewing food properly is directly linked to good health. Digestion starts in the mouth and the chewing action triggers the rest of the digestive system. By chewing our food properly we help our bodies to digest it more easily. We also get more satisfaction and time to taste our food if we chew it for longer rather than gulp it down a couple of bites. Take the time to savour the flavours of each mouthful, chewing until the food is completely broken down and you’re really tasted and enjoyed each mouthful. Slowing down like this also gives the body time to register when it is full meaning you’re less likely to overeat.  
 
3) Eat at least one of your daily meals without distraction
This is part of eating mindfully, fully focusing your attention on what you are eating, how you are eating and on enjoying your food. Eating without distraction means putting your laptop or television off, leaving your mobile, magazine or book to one side for half an hour while your attention is wholly on the task at hand – eating. By doing this you will get more satisfaction from your meal and you’ll be less likely to overeat. 
 
4) Drink only water, green and herbal teas
We all know that water is essential for our good health, sodas and sugary drinks are not! We can really improve our health by eliminating drinks with calories in them and if weight loss is your goal doing this can really help. If you need a morning hit of caffeine try green tea – it has a whole host of other beneficial health properties. If you don’t like the taste of plain water be creative and put slices of orange, lemon, lime, ginger or mint in to add flavour. On a hot day a chilled sparkling mineral water with fresh lemon juice squeezed in is deliciously refreshing. And remember that carbonated drinks, fruit juices and alcohol are not an option – water, herbal or green tea only even if just for a week!
 

 
5) Fill half your lunch or dinner plate with fresh multi coloured vegetables
Getting more fresh vegetables in your daily diet will give your body many of the essential vitamins, minerals, phyto and micro-nutrients it needs each day. A big rainbow coloured, leafy green salad is a nutritional powerhouse or, if you prefer vegetables cooked, lightly steam a multi coloured selection of your favourites. Be creative and sprinkle a tablespoon of seeds or nuts to add crunch, dress with a little olive or nut oil and season with spices to bring out the flavours. Your body will thank you for it!
 
I hope this inspires some positive change in eating habits and that you reap the benefits to feel more vibrantly you! •