Most days we get exposed to foods that taste irresistibly delicious but offer us little to no health benefits. I'm talking about foods that are on the left side of the scale - pies, fries, and little gingerbread men. After all, it's almost time to celebrate the holidays which makes it that much more intensifying to want to chow down on all the high-sugar, highly-processed, nutrient-devoid goodies. Here's how you can improve the right side of the scale.
First of all, I suggest you don't set too strict of rules for yourself. Instead, live in the moment with your friends and family. Too many rules and restrictions are bound to backfire which can leave you feeling miserable, low-willed and uninspired. Step back a little and take a larger view of food in general and you'll notice that its not so black or white, but rather it's a spectrum of best-to-worst foods for your body and mind.
Second, instead of always restricting food items, do the opposite and add in delicious natural foods like fruits and your favourite veggies (oranges, grapes, pomegranate, bananas, grapefruit, tomatoes). The more you add versus restrict, you'll notice a feeling of satisfaction because you're eating the right stuff. Over the course of a single day, you'll see that you've actually snacked on more fruits and veggies than you would normally. Plus, you'll start to see that your sweet tooth cravings reduce and you won't reach for the milk chocolates and pastries as often.
Third, make sure you have a ton of healthy snacks lying around. When you have a fruit bowl that's full of juicy fruits, you'll be reaching for these more often than you think! This will help you with tip number two.
Fourth, add in the protein! High quality protein that's highly digestible and has all essential amino acids (essential amino acids are not produced in the body so you need to get these from food sources and they are the building blocks for making proteins) is key to feeling satisfied, reducing body fat and increasing muscle density, feeling energized, maintaining a stable insulin level and so on. You'll find excellent sources of protein from high quality and ethically sourced animal products and if you don't eat meat, you'll find that legumes combined with rice help bridge the gap. Many people do often experience unpleasant digestive issues with too many legumes so you'll want to minimize this by washing your beans to remove phytic acid and the galaco-ligosaccharide coating (a carbohydrate). In addition, you'll want to watch your carbohydrate-to-protein ratio if you're vegan or vegetarian so that overall, you don't overload on carbohydrates and start packing on the glycogen and fat. If you're somebody that really wants to target body fat and improve your muscular physique, you'll want to make sure you're getting the right amount for your age, your biological gender, and your current body mass composition (BMI).
Fifth and final tip: Exercise. Studies have shown time and again that frequent short bouts of intense exercise will have the most beneficial impact on your health. The idea is to stress your body's neuromuscular system so that it has to constantly re-adapt to your workout environment and forcing it to produce amazing biological results - increased mitochondria (the powerhouses of each cell) to improve your muscle stamina, thicker muscle fibres making you look more fit and trim, more neural connections to muscle fibres for improved strength and agility and an improved metabolic rate so that more of the food you eat gets used up as fuel rather than stored as energy.
Follow these general tips and watch your cravings for processed foods significantly reduce!
Happy Holidays from everyone at URBAN JUICE PRESS!