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Simple food resolutions for the whole year

vegetables and fruitsAs I’ve mentioned in my previous New Year’s resolutions blogs, resolutions are successful when they are specific in nature, measurable and realistic. Continued success is enhanced when a plan or steps detailing how the goal will be achieved exists. There are many food related resolutions one can make: reduce portion sizes, minimize late night snacking, always have breakfast, limit sugary beverages, etc. This blog focuses on one particular food related resolution that will have an impact on your health and on Mother Earth.

More plants please!
Americans consume almost double the protein their bodies need. Most of this protein is animal protein, which tends to be high in fat and saturated fat. The Western diet is heavily based on meat and research shows that it might not be the best for us.

A plant-based diet has its benefits; including an increased intake in fiber and reduced consumption of fat. Because of this, and concerns about the earth’s resources (it takes more resources to sustain cattle than to grow plants) vegetarianism continues to grow all around the globe.

One way to start reaping the benefits of plant-based foods is to make a concerted effort to include them in our diet. A simple way to do this is to elevate the importance of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and other plant based foods in our meals. With the Oscars coming up, I thought of a great analogy. Instead of meat being the best actor, make it the supporting actor. Point the cameras and shine the light on non-meat foods!

Another strategy is to designate one day a week as a meatless day. Meatless Monday not only has a ring to it but it is also the name of a nationwide evidence based initiative that promotes eating more plant-based foods. This initiative based out of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has a goal to reduce meat consumption by 15 percent “for personal health and the health of the planet.”  The site, www.meatlessmonday.com has more information about this initiative, provides recipes, promotions and more.

Many people are concerned that following a meatless diet will not provide enough protein. There are plenty of meatless sources of protein such as: beans and other legumes, eggs, dairy (yogurt, milk, etc.), soy products (tofu, tempeh, etc.), and nuts and seeds.  There are other sources as well, which will be discussed in future articles.

So, make yourself a promise to include more plants in your life, and not just houseplants to beautify your home. Make half of your plate fruits and vegetables and designate the Mondays in your schedule as Meatless Mondays!



Resolution tips to keep you on track

shutterstock_169613255We’re about a week into 2014, so I thought it would be a good idea to see how everyone’s resolutions have been going. Good, I hope!? I’ve noticed that a lot of resolutions people make revolve around wellness. Losing weight tops the list of the ten most popular resolutions along with staying fit, quitting smoking, spending less, getting more organized and spending more time with the family.

About 45 percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, but less than 10 percent actually succeed in achieving their resolution or goal. Unfortunately, resolutions tend to be abandoned quickly. Why is that?

  1. Too vague. More specific goals tend to result in more successful outcomes. General goals are hard to grasp and usually result in loss of interest. Analyze what you are really trying to accomplish and break it down into more specific goals. Instead of “I will drink more water,” try, “I will keep a water bottle on my office desk, in my car, on my nigh stand and drink at least eight cups of water a throughout the day.”
  2. It can be lonely sometimes. While personal goals are… personal, but the effort to reach that goal does not have to be. Studies show that the more you share what you are trying to accomplish with others, a support network, family, friends, etc. the more successful you will be. Friends and family can support your efforts to achieve your resolution. Workout with a buddy, go running with your neighbor find a “team” that will motivate you.
  3. You lose track. As tedious as it sounds, keeping track of your efforts does help.  Whether they are food journals, or fitness trackers; pedometers that track how  many steps you’ve taken in a day or an app that lets you know how many hours of sleep you’ve gotten, can help hone in on areas you want to work on. In addition, it keeps you accountable and well… on track!
  4. Forgetfulness. People who are reminded of their goal on a consistent basis tend to be more successful in achieving those goals. The best thing to avoid losing focus of your goal is to write it down. Make yourself several notes with your goal written on it and post these all over your house; on the bathroom mirror, on the refrigerator and pantry door; in your car, etc. Make yourself a bookmark and keep it in your favorite book; write it as a screen saver for your computer, tablet or phone. Tell your friends and family. If your goal is to drink more water for example, you can easily program your phone, computer or table to make a sound every hour as a reminder to drink water. If your goal is to get more physically active, carve out time in your calendar (write it in) to do just that. 
  5. No reward system. Good deeds should be rewarded. If you reach a milestone along the way to your final goal, do something good for yourself (do not reward yourself with food). Buy a book, enjoy a massage, take a day off work, etc. Do something that will create a positive feeling. It’ll keep you  motivated. 

Above all, when making resolutions try to focus on ONE behavior change. Trying to change too many things at once is NOT a strategy that will lead to success. Good luck to you and a happy 2014 to all!

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