I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and are settling into a bright and inspiring New Year! It can be very difficult at this time of year, with the anti climax after the party season, the weather being cold, windy and dismal. Not to mention the pressure of feeling like we must adhere to harsh and restrictive New Year Resolutions.
Personally I am not a big fan of New Year and like to start afresh as soon as possible on Jan 1st (I can't wait to take down the tired and sad decorations, why is it they always look so terrible after the festive season!) with vitality and positivity for the year ahead. Firstly, I plan something fun 3 weeks into the New Year so I can motivate myself when I get pulled in by the bleakness of the dark days. I also plan to eat some yummy foods - not viewing it all as a cleanse or a detox - but keeping the same principles of eating joyfully with more attention on what to include, less on what I need to avoid. I developed my Joyful Eating Programme to address the whole notion of dieting as I could see that it is a method that people use specifically for weightloss, however the whole idea of a diet is that it will be followed for a short period and then we STOP. Then it's back to square one, so any benefits of the 'diet' are shortlived, whether weightloss, energy, sleep etc. Much better to focus on improving our health and vitality and let weight take care of itself.
Anyone would think that the language we use around food was supposed to make eating a punishment! That can't be right. My philosophy is to bring the joy back into eating healthily. To encourage mindfulness around food choices and make sure that you are enjoying every bite!
So forget about New Year's Resolutions, get rid of all that stress and look on this moment as a time for joy, good health and happiness day by day. With a bit of careful planning you will eat joyfully all year round!
Here are some of my tips for 2018:
1. plan your food for 5 days at a time; choose a granola recipe, a couple of smoothies or juices, make a batch of flapjacks and protein balls (try this lovely date, walnut and cocoa bites recipe below, it's a great standby), have some lovely readily available (fruits, oatcakes, nut butter, hummus), and a a couple of delicious soups (butternut squash and leek and potato are two of my favourites)
2. start your day with water and lemon and keep hydrated throughout the day. Pour a jug of water and flavour with mint, or oranges or make up a pot of fresh herbal tea (I love T2 mint tea!)
3. order an organic fruit and vegetable box for weekly delivery - choose a couple of soups or juices and help make this a time saving activity; you can also order fish or chicken if you want to have them in for a quick and easy meal
4. slow down! Chew your food 30 times and really savour the flavours. Use herbs and spices and flavour your food naturally and tastily
5. give up on coffee, alcohol and sugar if you feel your health, liver and skin would benefit from it. However, if you find this too challenging for this time of year, then better to adopt the philosopy of 'the power of one' which means that you choose one of these (a cappucine, glass of wine, a hot chocolate, small bar of chocolate) all of the best quality you can afford! (as Prue Leith on the Bakeoff would say... it's not worth the calories!!). Relish every bite and sip! No need for regrets as you load up mostly on the good stuff and won't have cravings or blood sugar lows.
There are so many more ways to eat joyfully but I like to keep it simple first and then you can decide if you want to dig further into your health.
I am also a big fan of the following 3 lifestyle essentials to complement your joyful eating:
Find 10 minutes a day to sit still wrapped in your favourite blanket, light a candle and just 'BE' in your special space. Let all your troubles drift away and enjoy!
Adopt a lovely bedtime routine, starting around 10pm - whether it's a bath with lavender oil, reading a great novel or some light yoga stretches. Sleep is a time for body and mind rejuvenation so make sure you get plenty of this free resource!
Do something that brings you joy every day - is it a yoga class, meeting a friend, having a massage, dance to disco music, get outside in nature - make a list and rotate them so that you have this fun time.
These are some of my simple tips that will be easy to incorporate into your routine in January, they will become new habits for life, not just New Year.
I created my Joyful Eating Journal (in the picture above) so that people could write down some simple weekly goals to help them stay focused. research shows that if you commit pen to paper you are more likely to commit to making changes. If you'd like more information about my Joyful Eating Programmes for 2018, just click here. We can meet in person or online to suit your schedule and location. And please call me if you'd like to have a chat any time!
Date, walnut and cocoa bites recipe
(taken from The Sirt Food Diet book)
Makes 15-20 bites
30g dark chocolate (85% cocoa solids), broken into pieces
250g Medjool dates, pitted
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tbsp ground turmeric
1 tbsp extra virgin oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1-2 tbsp water
Place the walnuts and chocolate in a food processor and process until you have a fine powder.
Add all the other ingredients except the water and blend until the mixture forms a ball. You may or may have to add the water depending on the consistency – you don’t want it to be too sticky.
Using your hands, form the mixture into bite-sized balls and put in the fridge in an airtight container for at least 1 hour before eating them. You could roll the balls in some more cocoa powder or desiccated coconut to achieve a different finish. They will keep up to 4-5 days in the fridge.
A couple of tips: I found the dates made the mixture quite sticky so I didn’t need to add the water. On my second batch I used slightly less oil, again because the mixture was already pretty sticky. Add any finishes after the bites have been in the fridge, otherwise the cocoa powder soaks in to the mixture and the coconut doesn’t stick properly!