Every year we set out with the best intentions to become new and improved! Despite our best efforts, after about six weeks, we have long forgotten those resolutions. Well, the good news is that you are not alone.
Did you know that only 23% of people who make New Year’s resolutions end up keeping them? According to a recent Ipsos poll, 3 out 10 Canadians make a resolution and from that number, 77% of people do not achieve their goal. Of those who were polled, the biggest obstacle to keeping the resolutions was lack of willpower, motivation or drive, followed by lack of money and lack of time. Way down at the bottom of the list was the lack of willingness to try something new. Sure, it is difficult to find the energy for the gym with a busy schedule. Of course we lose track of time and forget to make our lunch for work, so we end up grabbing something on the go that we know is not good for us. But the statistics reveal that most of you are willing to try something new, so here are 5 resolutions that you can easily implement and reap noticeable health benefits.
Shop local & seasonal The closer to home your food is, the less nutrients it will lose in transit. I know what you are thinking, how can we do this in winter? Well, you would be surprised what you can find grown right here in Canada during the winter months. An abundance of lentils, sweet potatoes, turnips, and other root vegetables, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, mushrooms, wild rice and whole grains, just to name a few. Even leafy greens, especially Kale, which is super hearty. Just brush away the snow and there it is. Frozen foods, such as dried cranberries or frozen wild blueberries, are a good alternative to fresh in the winter months. Picked ripe and quickly frozen, these foods maintain most of their nutrients. Local also mean less of a carbon footprint, which means we are doing our part for the environment.
Try something new All too often, we get stuck in a rut and eat the same foods over and over. You all know the weekly menu at home —Taco Tuesday, anyone? Each time you hit the grocery store, I challenge you to add one item to your cart that you have never tried before, or even something you didn’t like as a child. As we age, our taste buds change and you never know, you may just love it now! Don’t be afraid if you don’t know how to cook it. Simply search for recipes online, give one a try and see what happens. By experimenting with different foods, you expand your culinary expertise and nutritional scope at the same time.
Eat the rainbow To ensure proper nutrition and intake of vitamins and minerals, it is essential to consume a variety of fruits and vegetables. So, think of the rainbow, did you eat one today?
Green: calcium, iron, dietary fibre, folate, vitamin K, B-vitamins, potassium, anti-oxidants. Examples: broccoli, asparagus, avocados, dark leafy greens, cucumbers
Yellow/Orange: vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin B6, potassium,
beta-carotene, lutein, folate. Examples: carrots, bell peppers, sweet potatoes, peaches, squash
Red: lycopene, quercetin, vitamin A, vitamin C, manganese. Examples: tomatoes, cherries, strawberries, watermelon, bell peppers
Purple/Blue: B-vitamins, resveratrol, flavonoids, anthocyanin. Examples: cabbage, beets, blueberries, plums, eggplant
White: vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, potassium, antioxidants. Examples: cauliflower, garlic, mushrooms, parsnips, potatoes, onions
Skip the exotic No need to go out and spend your hard-earned money on expensive supplements and superfoods from around the world. Canada has many homegrown superfoods, such as hemp seeds that are packed with protein, calcium and omega-3s. Try them on salads, in smoothies or in yogurt bowls. There’s also flaxseeds that boast a significant amount of fibre, magnesium, iron and essential fatty acids. Make sure to use ground or milled flaxseed to get the nutritional advantages. With a subtle flavor, they mix well into casseroles, oatmeal or baked goods. Or how about you pick up some dulse (seaweed from the east coast) for minerals like iron and potassium along with vitamin B12. Dulse can be added to the water when cooking vegetables, or boost a stir-fry or soup with this healthy substitute for salt. Native to South America, but now grown in Canada, Quinoa is a complete protein, a wheat alternative, and an excellent source of calcium and magnesium. No need for fancy protein powders or bars that are filled with extra sugar, flavourings and preservatives. Instead, prepare a batch of quinoa salad and have it for lunches, a quick snack or a side to your dinner.
Get Outside We already talked about how difficult it is to get to the gym, but we still need to move — our immune system absolutely depends on it! Did you know that the only way to move lymphatic fluids in your body is via muscle contraction? So you don’t want to go to the gym, but you can certainly add a little more walking easily enough. I know you’ve heard this advice before but I’ll say it again: take the stairs or park your car farther from the entrance. You’ll notice results by adding just 30 minutes per day of brisk walking. The next step to this resolution is to get outside, especially during the winter months. Fresh air and deep breathing are important to the oxygenation of every cell in our body and that equals good health.
I have my dog to thank for dragging me outside, and while it’s a struggle getting out there, I always feel rejuvenated after. Not only is the outdoors necessary for our bodies but it also helps to combat those winter blues. Studies show that mood emphatically improves when you spend 30 minutes or more per day outdoors and more so when spent in nature. So, if you happen to have some beautiful trails nearby, make it a family thing, a friend thing, a pet thing, whatever you prefer, take a walk outside!
Written by Lucia Di Cesare
Registered Holistic Nutritionist