10 Simple Diet Upgrades you can do Right Now to Change up Your Routine.
With the overwhelming amount of wellness advice out there, it’s all too easy to want to give up and forget doing any of it. In my experience, it’s never about what you should be doing instead, and everything about the practical, everyday swaps and additions you can make to increase your ability to feel amazing & love what you eat.
1) Read the Label- there is nothing better than being empowered, one of the very first thing I did was start reading labels. It’s unrealistic to assume that you will stop buying convenience foods, or pre-packaged items. That makes life easier! And you don’t need to stop doing it all together. I started by looking at the ingredient list for my favorite things to buy pre-made; like pasta sauce, coconut yogurt, almond milk, salad dressing, chips, and cookies. Ingredients are listed by volume, if the first ingredient is sugar, salt, or oil- you might want to question it. Those ingredients are not inherently bad, but you do want to make sure you are in control of how much extra gets added. If you cant pronounce the ingredients, or it contains modified ingredients of any kind, it’s better not to. I noticed that the organic section was easier to navigate, the ingredients a lot more familiar. But just because it’s organic doesn’t mean its good either. Even if you decide to get it, at least you know what you are getting and that made me feel in control and confident with my diet.
2) Variety is the spice of life- start incorporating more veggies and fruits into your diet. Choose your favorites and have more of them. Then start trying some you don't have often, or maybe even ones never tried. I can’t count how many times I’ve done this and find I actually did like mushrooms. The Farmer’s market is my favorite place to shop, so many options, and the farmer can usually tell you what to make with it! It can be as easy as just boosting something you get all the time. Add a bunch of finely chopped mushrooms, carrots, zucchini to your pasta sauce. If I’m making a soup, I almost add a handful of chopped spinach at the end, or I put fresh basil, cilantro, green onion, or parsley to garnish my dish (bonus points, it looks pretty!). Salad dressings are surprisingly easy to make too.
3) Try Smoothies and Juices- have a fruit smoothie and add some greens, add in a Juice as your afternoon snack. You can make these in the morning pretty efficiently and pack them to go. It really helps when you are hungry for a filling snack, and is an easy way to get more greens into your body. More greens= glowing skin, healthy nails, unlimited energy.
4) Buy Based on Quality- I like to buy organic, but I always shop based on quality. Buy what looks good and what is in season at your local store. Organic produce isn’t treated the same as conventional, and it goes bad quicker, so it’s always extra incentive for me to use it right away. Shop Local this is even better if you can. The shorter transit time, the better it is for you, and it is more suited to your body in this environment. I always shop by this list, as a general rule "Environmental Working Group: Dirty dozen and Clean 15 list"
5) Do Meatless Monday- you can find tons of vegan recipes online. One thing that helped me a lot when I started was the limitless options out there. Seriously, so many recipes! Before I went vegan, I had a falafel at a Lebanese restaurant and I remember being blown away that you could make something taste so good with just beans, and that you could live on legumes and vegetables! . Change is gradual, lean into it, play, experiment, have fun, get comfortable, see what feels right for you.
6) Hydrate- when you are hungry, you are usually thirsty. I never liked drinking 8 glasses of water a day, so I don’t try to. I have 1 L of warm lemon water first thing in the morning, and sometimes that’s all I’ll have. You will get a lot of natural water from increased fruit and vegetables too! Try to up that amount if you enjoy coffee.
7) Exercise- who doesn’t love to move their body? I’m personally not a fan of the gym, but I love hiking, running outside, and yoga. I believe that taking care of my body, led to me wanting to feed it better, and I stopped eating junk food and starting having more fruit and salads. Naturally!
8) Build up Your Staples- meal prepping is a big help in this department. Especially when you are hungry. If you can, have some different canned beans like chickpeas, lentils, black beans on hand to add into a salad, pasta, or chili. I always like to have hummus and tahini spread in the fridge, for easy salad dressings and to dip crackers in when I’m really hangry! Chickpeas are amazing and so so filling. Quinoa is another high protein friend. It cooks in 12 minutes and has relatively no flavor, which gives you the perfect blank canvas and lots of options.
9) Be Mindful of Your Portions- up the vegetables on your plate (at least half), and minimize the amount of meat (about the size of your palm). Thanks to vegetables heavy water content, they actually make you full quite easily, while containing less calories.
10) Don’t Fear the Fat – in my dieting days, I thought fat was the devil. When I started having less meat, I changed my mind. I switched my no fat yogurt to full fat yogurt. Which allowed me to have less, and feel more full. A handful of almonds, using almond butter, and smearing my toast with avocado have become daily rituals. And it didn’t make me fatter.
Is the creator behind "Beautifully Wild" an online platform designed to inspire women to reconnect back to their true nature and live life on purpose. She is plant-passionate and a big believer in eating intuitively, seasonally, and locally and following what feels right, versus what is suggested. She is a Nutritionist, and the curator behind the former "Pure Raw Nature" Smoothie and Juice bar, in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
When she is not in the kitchen creating, she is seeking inspiration outside, in the abundant forest behind her home. Writing for her blog Beautifully Wild, and using her unique nutritionist background combined with intuition to help clients from all over the world awaken to their radiance by cultivating practices in self-love, natural beauty, and eating from a place of connectedness.