It’s that time of year when our New Year’s Resolutions have either fizzled out or are full blown habits right? And with that it mind, it’s a fantastic time to pause and reassess.
Making heathy lifestyle choices seemed to be on everyone’s agenda that I know at the start of 2020, and I’m no different.~ Tera Langland, No Qualms Mom Contributor
After a holiday season of overindulgence, I was on the lookout for healthful diet and lifestyle trends that make me look and feel my best. Rather than focusing on a specific diet (Keto/Paleo/South Beach, etc.), which I often find unsustainable long-term, I like to explore simple changes I can make to my routine.
Here’s a list of four food trends I’ve come across recently that I’m trying:
- Souping. I love making soups this time of year. They are warming, great for leftovers, and my husband’s favorite. I also have an abundance of kale in my garden that never seems to quit, and find that it’s nearly always a bright and healthy addition to a warm soup. And while I love veggie-filled salads, the cooked vegetables found in soups are way easier on sensitive tummies like mine. While pondering ways to clean up my diet this January, I thought back on this post I had read last year by one of my favorite bloggers, designer/stylist Emily Henderson. Henderson writes about how she essentially changed her body for the better, inside and out, when she spent a month eating only soup. Mind you her soups were void of starch, dairy, and gluten, and packed with veggies and lean protein. Her glowing reviews of this cleansing diet has inspired me to give it a shot, or at a minimum incorporate way more broth-based, veggie-forward soups into our lunch and dinner rotation.
- Tisanes. Tisanes first flew on my radar this Fall. I was making what felt like my hundredth batch of apple sauce (we’ve got small orchard) and Food Network star Bobby Flay was serendipitously on the television making a tisane out of something I had an abundance of, apple peals. Rather than dumping them in the compost bin, I boiled, then strained the peels with some honey and cinnamon sticks, enjoying this warming and healthy drink all day long. A play on herbal teas (which I’m constantly drinking in the winter), tisanes are typically infusions of whole herbs, spices, flowers, roots, or really any plant-based ingredient in hot water.Now seen popping up on menus across the country, I am clearly not the only one embracing the warming and restorative effects of tisanes. And during my month of “dry” January, where I take a break from alcohol, I’ll be imbibing in the vibrant and naturally caffeine-free tisanes come nightfall.
- Vegan ‘til Dinner. I recently scrolled through Giada DeLaurentis cookbook Happy Eating, which primarily focuses on healthful eating and living, looking for inspiration to get nutritious meals back on rotation after the holidays. Within the book’s pages is an interview with Mark Bittman, author of VB6 (Eat Vegan Before 6:00). This food philosophy really struck a chord with me for several reasons. First, I tend to have a decent amount of will power when it comes to food, that is until dinnertime hits, then all bets are off. I also find cooking separate meals for myself and my family a total headache. And I promise you, my husband will never sign on for vegan dinners! Second, during the daytimes, cheese is totally my snacking weakness, yet something that is not a heavy hitter in most my dinner-time recipes. Cutting dairy out of my daytime repertoire could likely gets positive results in how I feel (dairy can be inflammatory, hard to digest, and high in sugar), as well as help shed a few stubborn pounds. Lastly, lowering my intake of animal proteins has been something I’ve wanted to do for environmental purposes for some time now. Plant-based produce is not only compostable (meat and cheese area no-no’s), eating a vegan diet is thought to be one of the top ways to lower one’s carbon footprint. I spent last week doing VB6 and found it fairly simple to stick with. I swapped coconut milk for my creamer in the morning, then for lunchtime I ate lots of veggie-based wraps, sushi, and soups, as well as salads, where I added-in chickpeas in lieu of chicken breasts as my main protein.
- Carb-Free Dinners. It will come as news to no one that cutting one’s carbohydrate intake is a reliable way to shed some weight.Because I run several days a week, and also tend to have bouts of low-blood sugar, eliminating carbs from my diet is challenging, and also, not a feasible long-term lifestyle choice. Limiting my carb intake at dinner however, when the benefits of the quick energy they provide is much less advantageous, is a much more feasible goal. I like this strategy not only because, like VB6, it doesn’t completely eliminate a food group from my diet or require tracking calories, and also because dinnertime is when I tend to overindulge. I’d rather overindulge on veggies and lean proteins than bread, potatoes, or pasta.
Food and drinks we consume have such a huge impact on how we look and feel! So I’m here to challenge you to use the last weeks of our quiet, restorative winter months to try some tweaks to your diet, discovering what works best for your lifestyle and body. It’s the perfect time to reset habits right? Here’s to 2020 being the year we focus on health in order to start this decade off on a happy and healthy path!