Right about now, a lot of us start focusing on things we want to eliminate from our diets, workout routines we must adhere to on a daily basis, and anything else we think might work to help us lose weight. And how can we not when the diet mentality is just about everywhere this time of year. I couldn’t watch any of the morning shows this week without seeing something about how some new fad or diet regimen will finally make this your year. As an RD who has struggled with my body image in the past (and still do sometimes) I found the pressure of this first week of the year to eliminate something from my diet, drastically change the way I eat or my daily routine pretty hard to resist, so I can only imagine how it’s affecting the many out there who struggle with their body image or eating habits because of what they’ve seen and heard in the media.
With so much out there about elimination, cutting back, taking out, replacing and swearing off some food until it’s warm out again, I say why not focus on a couple of things we can ADD into our diets and daily routines, that will really help to refresh your routine in 2018?! (Yes, I know that rhymes, and I’m darn proud I thought of it! :)) And just as much as these have physical benefits, this approach of focusing on all the positives you can actually add to your diet and routine this month I hope will bring you some positive mental clarity amongst the diet culture clutter that is currently working in overdrive.
I eat and drink all of these things on a nearly daily basis to help me feel more energized, improve my hair, skin and nails, get in a few more nutrients, and to keep things moving along if you know what I mean!
MATCHA–I’m sure you’ve heard of this uber popular green tea powder and seen it’s claim to fame in everything from lattes to ice cream in the past couple of years. Cha cha matcha anyone? That’s actually the name of a New York City shop that only sells match everything! Yes, I went there during my time in NYC, and yes it was oh so Instagram worthy! But back to matcha itself. Sure, Instagramers love it, but dietitians do too for it’s many health benefits. With more antioxidants than coffee, and the alert calmness it provides from the L-theanine in it’s a great alternative to your 2nd or 3rd cup of coffee. I’m a one cup of joe a day kind of girl, and that’s always in the morning, but on days when I need something in the afternoon! Sip it straight or add it to recipes like I did here in these matcha coconut balls. p.s. did you know there’s a pumpkin spice matcha?! Check out what I thought of it when I tried it this fall!
COLLAGEN–Collagen is actually a building block of protein in your hair, skin, nails, joints, tendons and muscles. So yes, your body already makes it, but after age 25 (raises hand!) your body’s production of it starts to slow down. Enter Vital Proteins collagen peptides. Add them to your coffee, blend them in your smoothies, and I promise you won’t even know it’s in their (it’s tasteless)and you’ll be reaping the benefits from the inside out. Better yet, collagen supports healthy digestion and is restorative to the GI tract. One of the many reasons I incorporate it into my food every day. Starting a new workout routine this month? Adding collagen to your post-workout smoothie will help protect your muscles and joints!
Vital proteins took collagen one step further and created the ultimate matcha from heaven…haha get it? Their matcha collagen is raising the bar, being the first of it’s kind to combine the health benefits of the two into one easy to use, scoop-able powder. Catch me making them on the regular with a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice on top on my Instagram stories nearly every day. I’ll also be sharing more about my personal reason for using collagen in a blog post to come, and what it’s done for me physically since I started incorporating it into my diet last January.
PROBIOTICS–Remember when fat got a makeover with it’s healthy version in avocados? Well bacteria has the same thing going on, aka you need the good ones are found in probiotics. Tons of strands of them, and you need them live to get into gut for optimal digestion! Also, DYK 80% of your immune system is in your gut?! Yes way. Drink and eat your way to fewer colds and tummy troubles with fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, sourdough bread, and one my personal favorites kombucha, a bubbly fermented tea. Weary about the taste? Don’t be! These from Suja have become a new staple in my house because not only are they made with cold-pressed juice, so they taste great by they also contain adaptogens, which are highly functional herbs that help to reduce inflammation, lower stress and further boost the immune system. Suja’s new line available at Target comes in four flavors, peach, green, ginger and berry all with their own unique adaptogen. I think it’s safe to say everyone’s immune system could use a little TLC this time of year so sip on any one of these refreshing flavors post-work out or at the first sign of stomach woes.
BUILD A BETTER BASE–Here again, instead of eliminating something from your diet, simply upgrade it to it’s more nutritious counterpart! Maybe you won’t like it, but why not try one of these out the next time you’re cooking up the same old dish you’ve been having for weeks.
Spaghetti Squash— More vitamin A & fiber per bite than pasta, I like to think of spaghetti squash as angel hair pasta’s more nutritious cousin. Top it will some marinara sauce, pesto, or eat it on top of a salad like I do, I promise you won’t even know it’s a veggie! Not sure how to make it? I’ve got you covered! Check out my recipe here for spaghetti squash pad thai!
Cauliflower Rice–Stir up your stir-fry! Literally mix cauliflower rice into it next time instead of regular rice for less carbs, more vitamin C, and fiber. If you’re really adventurous you can even try adding frozen cauliflower to your smoothies for an extremely thick and creamy texture.
Quinoa For Breakfast–You’ve had it in a salad, or a power bowl, but have you ever had it for breakfast? If you’re shaking your head no, it’s time to take your meal prepped quinoa and turn it into a protein packed breakfast bowl! Quinoa is a complete source of plant-based protein, so you can feel good knowing your starting your day off with a breakfast that is not going to make you hungry 5 minutes later.
Watch my segment** featuring all the foods I described above here! I jammed out on The Jam- WCIU in Chicago to talk all about them!
This segment was sponsored by Vital Proteins and Suja Juice. As always all opinions are my own, and like I said I use this stuff every day on my own!