Many of us will consider spring cleaning our houses and even our cars, but we can sometimes forget about giving our bodies that extra TLC it needs. Here are 5 ways you can spring clean your diet:
- Clean out your pantry, fridge and freezer
Yes, I know this can be scary, what really is lurking at the back? But don’t be scared, it’s time to take a deep breath, be brave, get that garbage bag ready and dive in and throw out all those expired foods. You may also find some really cool things you had forgotten about about like that bag of dried lentils or those 10 cans of diced tomatoes.
2. Eat a rainbow
All fruits and vegetables are made up of different phytochemicals and it’s these that determine what colour they are. The best health is going to come from eating a combination of all the colours. Rotate the foods in each colour group so you’re not always eating the same red food or the same yellow food. I always try to combine different colours on my plate so I have some in every meal.
Here are some examples:
- Red (lycopene) – tomatoes, red peppers, strawberries, cherries
- Yellow & orange (carotenoids) – carrots, squash, oranges, peppers, lemons, corn
- Green (chlorophyll) – kale, spinach, romaine, Brussel sprouts, broccoli
- Purple, blue & black (anthocyanin) – blueberries, eggplant, black beans
3. Portion control
Part of the health issues and obesity epidemic these days is linked to an increase in portion sizes. With a gradual increase in the amount of food being bought and served, people have lost touch with what a healthy amount to eat actually is. Over the past 50 years, North American portion sizes have increased dramatically without consumers even being aware.
Unfortunately, when most of us are served more, we tend to eat more –hungry or not. Research by the American Institute for Cancer Research has revealed that 69% of people will finish their meals, even when the portions are huge.
If you don’t have a measuring cup, here are some other tips to help you properly estimate your portions:
- Tennis ball = 1 fruit or vegetable serving
- Deck of cards = 1 meat, poultry or fish serving
- 9 volt battery = 1 hard cheese serving
- Palm of your hand = 1 grain serving
- The tip of your thumb = 1 fat serving
- Eat more home cooking
Not only does home cooking taste better and cost less but many companies load their products with preservatives to make them shelf stable and colouring to make them look more appealing. Thanks, but I don’t need yellow #5 in my salad dressing.
When making food at home, you control the ingredients. Instead of putting canola or soybean oil into a dressing, dip or sauce, you can put olive, flaxseed or hemp oil. That simple switch will do wonders for your health and it’s a great way to get your kids and family involved. Maybe you’ll even take on a recipe that’s been in the family for generations but you’ve shied away from because it seems too complicated.
Years ago, doctors rarely told people with chronic ailments to exercise because they were unsure of how much physical activity these people could handle. In the last decade, exercise has proved to be effective in helping people manage – and prevent – everything from heart disease to osteoporosis, diabetes and even cancer.
Being physical active is a wonderful lifestyle choice, but it is not the same as being an exerciser. Physical activity is any body movement that leads to increased energy expenditure, while exercise is planned, structured and repetitive body movement.
For instance, activities of daily living – stuff you have to do, like carrying the groceries – count as physical activity. To say you exercise means you might go for a brisk walk every day during lunch, attend a weekly yoga class or enjoy a competitive game of ball every Friday.
How much exercise do you do each week? You should be aiming for at least 30 minutes three times a week.
For this weeks recipe i wanted to include my new favourite soup. I took some into the clinic last week and all my colleagues were trying to steal it as it smelt so great and so i have promised to make extra for them next time i make a batch. I hope you enjoy it too.
Curried Vegetable Lentil Soup
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 ½ cups chopped onions
1 cup chopped celery
2 tsp minced garlic
2 cups small cauliflower florets
1 cup diced carrots
1 Tbsp grated gingerroot
2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp each ground cumin, ground coriander and chili powder
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
3 cups reduced sodium vegetable broth
1 can (19oz) no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
1 Tbsp brown sugar
¼ tsp salt
1 can (19oz) no-salt-added lentils, drained and rinsed
½ cup light coconut milk
2 Tbsp minced fresh cilantro
- Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions, celery and garlic. Cook and stir until vegetables begin to soften, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add cauliflower, carrots, ginger, curry powder, cumin, coriander, chili powder and cinnamon. Stir until vegetables are coated with spices and cook 1 more minute.
- Add broth, tomatoes with liquid, sugar and salt. Bring soup to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered for 15 minutes. Add lentils and simmer for 5 more minutes.
- Remove from heat.
- Carefully transfer half the soup to a blender and puree until smooth. Return pureed soup to pot with remaining soup. Add coconut milk and cilantro and mix well. Taste soup and season with salt and pepper, if desired. Serve hot.
Melanie Grime is a holistic nutritionist serving the Orangeville, Dufferin, Wellington and Caledon areas. Melanie Grime RHN treats everyone as an individual with their own specific needs and helps clients suffering from health issues by looking for the root cause of symptoms and working with them to reach their health and nutrition goals. She specializes in family nutrition, weight loss and detox.