Here are the 5 tips that I hope will help you stay on track and continue down a road of health, happiness and straight up awesomeness. Because we all know you can't be awesome unless you eat kale...
Tip #1: Spice is the Spice of a Healthy Life
Another key is stocking up on tons of dried spices, they last a long time and can add a ton of flavor. Some essentials in our pantry include: garlic powder, onion powder, basil, oregano, parsley, cumin, tumeric, curry powder, paprika, ginger, tarragon, sage, thyme, rosemary, 5 spice, cayenne, and chili powder. I'm pretty heavy handed with these spices and herbs, most recipes out there get pretty shy with how much spice to add. My tip is to season, taste, then re-season!!!
Other flavor enhancers include fresh citrus and fresh herbs. We almost always have cilantro, lemon, and lime laying around. They are super cheap and will elevate the taste of a dish.
Tip #2: Don't Fear the Fat
Another reason to eat fat: it's ESSENTIAL to helping your body function. You may have heard of essential fatty acids. Those are fats that your body can't produce and they NEED to be consumed in the food you eat. The key one here is Omega 3 fatty acids, which are found in foods like salmon, sardines, shellfish, grass fed beef, walnuts, flax seed, and chia seeds. The goal would be to get your ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 fats below 4:1. The current American averages around 16:1. This means getting more of the Omega 3 rich foods and less of the processed oils that are found in nearly every packaged food item (soybean, canola, grapeseed, cottonseed, sunflower, corn).
Don't be afraid of saturated fat either, the science is now showing that saturated fat doesn't have the negative side effects once thought...as long as it is balanced with other healthy fats. The visual that people usually have is that if you eat butter, it will harden and coagulate in your arteries. Well by that same logic shouldn't bananas and carrots also harden when they enter your blood stream, I mean they were solid at one point too. Cooking with saturated fats is actually a lot healthier than using unsaturated fats due to the higher smoke point. The fat won't become oxidized and oxidation is the one of the leading causes of inflammation in the body.
Tip #3: Protein Doesn't Make you Big, it Makes You Lean
For the rest of you: protein will help you maintain muscle mass which boosts your metabolism and your awesomeness. If you want a flat stomach, work on getting strong legs. Healthy servings of protein will also help keep you full longer. It digests slower than carbs and therefore won't trigger hunger hormones as quickly, which means less running for the donuts that your coworker brought into the office.
Tip #4: Be Adventurous
Also step outside your comfort zone and try some NEW foods. Try some chia seeds, or kale, or tempeh. Don't rule anything out because of what you've heard or read somewhere. Once you've given something a fair shake and you still don't like it, then it can go on your food blacklist.
Tip #5: Learn a Little Bit
If you want to find some quality nutrition advice, talk to some of your "nutrition friends" and ask them who they trust and follow. Don't ask just one either, there are a lot of viewpoints out there and it's good to get some info from a few sources. If you don't have any "nutrition friends", you can just follow us, and we will provide everything you ever need to know...or at least we'll try! Honestly though if you need some help navigating the nutritional world, we would love to help you find some quality resources that are out there. Just hit us up with an email or comment below.
I hope some of this stuff is new advice for you if you're just getting started on your new healthy lifestyle. Or maybe if you've been at it for a while, these are just some good reminders! My hope for you would be that you continue to learn and grow and become an influence to the people that are closest to you.
If you have other thoughts on what has helped keep you on track, we would love to hear what has helped you!!