New Year eating

The more I learn about food and it’s affect on the body, the more I realise just how much we take ourselves and our health for granted. Our bodies are finely tuned machines, wonderful at adapting to different situations and assaults, developing incredible coping strategies and processes so complex it’s too mind boggling to comprehend. The appropriate fuel is needed to ensure this continues – the right vitamins, minerals, micro nutrients as well as a good dollop of carbohydrates, and moderate amount of protein and fat. It shouldn’t be too complicated.

To many, a car is an essential item. It needs to be looked after though, so it gets checks at the garage, cleaned, the oil and water gets topped up the right levels and of course we put in the right fuel – diesel in a petrol engine spells disaster and the engine just conks out. Looking at it this way, we care for our cars better than our own bodies. Why is that? Maybe we don’t make a direct financial investment in our bodies or we just take our bodies for granted, then when it goes wrong find ways to patch it up until eventually it conks out. Or maybe we just don’t really know what we should eat, or have been fed the wrong information. Or maybe, we just care for our cars more than we care for ourselves.

Traditionally at this time of year, thoughts turn to the new year and our aspirations for the future. New year, new you. Losing weight or being more healthy usually heads up the top 10 new year resolutions along with quitting smoking and doing more exercise. But as nearly 80% of new years resolutions fail to be achieved, are they really worth making? Personally, I think they are, but maybe not to start on 1st January. That has to be the worse day to start anything positive, as most people are feeling pretty rubbish from the night before, be it from lack of sleep or too much alcohol – or both!

To make a positive change, there needs to be a specific aim or reason, a real desire to achieve something. For me, my aim is to get rid of my food sensitivities and to feel well again – a short term and (so it seems) very long term project! People ask me how can I live without cheese, or wine. I’m no health food saint, but I honestly feel so much better without dairy or yeast, it’s not really a hardship any more. Making changes depends on your perspective – I gain, not lose (although I would really love to eat bread and drink wine again!!). Making a positive change in your life can be hard but also so good.

Eating a plant-based wholefood diet is one the best treats you can give your body and your health – a real new year spring clean. If you want to give it a go, try the PCRM’s vegan kickstart programme http://www.pcrm.org/health/diets/kickstart/kickstart-programs. They have food plans for Western and Indian tastes, and it’s pretty easy to follow. If you are a big meat and dairy lover, I would suggest you break yourself in gently – spend January reducing your meat and processed food intake and trying some of the menu ideas. Then try the kickstart in February when you’re ready for it and see what happens! Be prepared for lots of energy and feeling pretty good!

So don’t make a New Years resolution to go on a diet. Make a promise to be kind to yourself and make a positive change, to be in charge of what fuel you put in yourself not be a slave to an addiction to sugar, or fat. Have a tangible goal and above all respect yourself and your environment. And have a wonderful foodie New Year!

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