It finally feels like spring here on the East Coast. Flowers are blooming, the elusive ramp is starting to make its appearance at the greenmarkets, and overzealous sandal wearers have already been spotted. Bathing suit and, beachwear season is a mere few weeks away, but don't you worry. Here are a few simple tips to help you clean up your diet and lifestyle and ensure you stay on track this spring.
17 ways to clean up your diet and stay on track for spring
- Begin your day with a full glass of water. You can get fancy with some lemon or lime for vitamin C. Ideally, you have slept at least 7 hours, which means 7+ hours without any fluids. Get your day started right by rehydrating and replenishing your body.
- Keep it green and clean. Challenge yourself to included nutrient-rich seasonal greens and vegetables at every meal - yes that means breakfast too. Vegetables have tons of fiber and water that will fill you up and nourish you with anti-inflammatory immune boosters, essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Start your day with a smoothie loaded with at least one handful of dark leafy greens. You can get extra adventurous and throw in some spirulina or chlorophyll for an extra nutritional green boost.
- Cut the caffeine after 3pm. Caffeine has the ability to stay in your system an average of 6 hours, affecting your ability to unwind and slip into restful sleep. Cure your slump with a green juice, decaf tea, or a smoothie.
- Skip the bottle and make your own salad dressing. Don't ruin your conscious crunch fest by pouring on sugar-laden and preservative-rich bottled dressing. Trade up the bottle for a simple combo of white balsamic vinegar, dijon mustard, and extra virgin olive oil or get fancy with a carrot ginger dressing.
- Curb your sweet tooth. Eat some fresh fruit with a little nut butter or make some dried fruit and nut energy bites. Make sure to drink plenty of water. Thirst is sometimes masked by hunger or sugar cravings.
- Trade up your salt shaker . Switch out salt for a variety of flavorful spices like cumin, cinnamon, paprika, coriander, or za'atar. Salt can lead to bloating, inflammation, and increased blood pressure.
- Practice mindful eating. Pace yourself when you eat. Sit down, take a deep breath, grab a big glass of water, and slowly enjoy your meal. Chew with a careful intention; do not mindlessly scarf down your food - no matter how hungry you are.
- Sleep cleanly. Create a ritual 30 minutes before your bedtime that prepares your body for relaxation. Take a bath, put on a mask, or indulge with some luxurious lavender-infused hand lotion. Have a bedtime and stick to it. Turn off all electronics 30 minutes before bedtime to help slip into a peaceful state of mind. Aim for 7 to 9 hours of restful sleep every night.
- Tame your anxiety. Does your anxiety keep you up at night? Write out a to-do list in the evening to help prevent your mind from racing all night long. Start integrating yoga and mediation into your weekly rituals to assist in calming your mind. Make sure to optimize magnesium in your diet, which assists with mood balance. Nibble on raw cacao nibs or sip on natural calm before bed.
- Have a meatless main at least once a day. Focus on eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and real, unprocessed foods in your daily diet- breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Remove the white stuff - white flour, white sugar, white rice.
- Take care of your gut. Many seemingly unrelated health problems such as autoimmune disease, mental health disorders, and immune function are being linked to underlying issues in the gut. Integrate probiotic rich foods into your daily diet such as fermented foods, kombucha, kerfir, and yogurt.
- Cut the bloat. Now that hibernation and hygge season is over, shed the layers and tune into your body. Are you gassy and bloated frequently? Start a food diary and try and pick up trends that may be leading to abdominal discomfort. Overeating, eating rapidly, and eating in a stressful environment are all factors that can lead to bloating. Integrate ginger, fennel, apple cider vinegar, dandelion greens, asparagus, and cucumbers into your diet to help ease off inflammation and bloating.
- Shop local. The greenmarket is just starting to get revitalized this time of year. If possible, purchase your fruit and vegetables from local organic farmers, not only to support sustainable farming, but to become more in tune with nature, and consume the most nutrient-rich foods with the smallest carbon footprint.
- Move more. Try a new workout or simply get into the park. Find ways to move that make you happy. Try a new workout to keep it fresh and interesting. Make sure you have a moderate to high intensity workout at least four days a week. Aim to never have two days off in a row.
- Limit the alcohol. If you do drink, hello rosé season, keep it to four drinks a week. Stick to the basics - wine and clear spirits mixed with sparkling water and citrus.
- Mindful Meat. If you eat animal protein, pare back portions and frequency. Focus on the quality of what you are eating - pasture raised eggs and chicken and grass-fed, hormone-free meat. For seafood the Montery Seafood Watch site provides an excellent resource for sustainable and safe fish and seafood.
Thinking of doing a cleanse? Check out my clean up plan here
Photos by Sophie Mathewson Photography