Nutrition

Spring Into Action With These 5 Power Foods

For those of you on the Northern hemisphere I would like to congratulate you on surviving what seemed to be one of the longest winters yet.  At last spring has finally sprung!  Over the last few months of winter you may have been feeling tired, had lower energy, or maybe life felt a bit more challenging.  The good news is that’s what naturally happens to our bodies and mood in the winter.  Our primitive self wants to hibernate, rest, and eat heavier fuller fat foods.  Now that spring is here it’s time to SPRING into action! get outside, enjoy the sun, and start moving.  Just like spring cleaning for your house, spring is a good time to renew, reset, set goals, be creative and plan for the future.  In this post I discuss Spring Power Foods that you can incorporate into your weekly meal plan to support you in this transition.  These foods will improve your energy, mood and help to shed that extra winter weight.  So Let’s get you on track to feeling good this spring!

“Let food be thy medicine and

medicine be thy food.” ~Hippocrates~

5  foods you can start consuming this spring to look and feel your best!
#1 Spinach

This nutrient packed dark leafy green is so versatile it can go in anything from smoothies, to soups, spring salads, omelettes, and even stir fry.  I’ve highlighted below the amazing vitamins and minerals that this nutrient packed veggie contains

Niacin, zinc, vitamins A, C, E and K, thiamin, vitamin B6, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, and much more.

Spinach also helps with mood, memory, brain function and clarity.  

A quick smoothie you could try that I make is:

1 large handful of Organic Girl Spinach
1 cup of frozen Organic Blueberries
½ a handful of Organic Girl Baby Kale
½ Organic Avocado
Broccoli Sprouts
Stevia
Water

For an Extra Boost try adding

1 Scoop of Natural Factors L-Glutamine Powder
1 Teaspoon of Organika Maca powder

L-Glutamine is an essential amino acid that promotes digestion, brain health, and supports your immune system, I use Maca for energy and balancing hormones. 

#2 Walnuts

Walnuts contain an amino acid called tryptophan and tryptophan is responsible for creating the neurotransmitter serotonin.  90% of serotonin is produced in our gut and is responsible for mood, sleep, digestion, memory, and appetite.  If you are feeling down you may be low in this feel good neurotransmitter. Walnuts are also a great source of plant based omega-3’s.  Our bodies need to obtain our omega’s from our food, and the western diet tends to be higher in Omega-6, causing an imbalance for many people. When we have too much omega-6 in ratio to omega-3 that causes inflammation.  So try keeping walnuts as a snack on hand as an easy way increase your omega-3’s.

#3 Blueberries

This is my favourite berry and I couldn’t imagine making a smoothie without it.  Blueberries are amazing because they are low on the glycemic index (so they won’t cause a spike in your blood sugar) AND they are also PACKED full of ANTIOXIDANTS.  Antioxidants protect our cells from being damaged by harmful free-radicals.  This means blueberries delay aging which keeps us looking and feeling young.  The antioxidant anthocyanin (which gives blueberries their bright blue colour) helps maintain brain function and memory and is also known to guard against alzheimer’s disease.  Finally just ONE CUP of this amazing berry provides 24% of your daily recommended intake of Vitamin C.

#4 Artichokes

Artichokes improve liver function and promote the flow of bile.  They are anti-inflammatory because they are loaded with antioxidants and are packed full of magnesium.  Magnesium is responsible for over 300 biochemical reactions in the human body, including energy production, fat and protein synthesis, and regulating muscle tone.  Magnesium is easily flushed out of our bodies with coffee, alcohol, and even too much water, so it’s important you are getting enough of it from your diet.  I know what your thinking what can I make with artichokes? I’ve attached a great recipe you can try.

#5 Wild Salmon

Wild salmon is another good way to get those omega-3’s.  Salmon is high in  eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) which is a form of Omega-3.  EPA protects our skin from UV damage, which keeps it hydrated, helps it have more elasticity and less wrinkles.  If that wasn’t benefit enough wild salmon is packed full of nutrients that help with joint and bone health, brain health, heart health, skin health, and has even shown to help reduce ADHD in children.

Well that’s it 5 simple foods to incorporate into your menu this Spring!  Remember it’s not ‘all or none’ and eating right doesn’t have to be complicated.  Have fun adding these foods into your meal plan and enjoy feeling more energized as well as look and feel younger.

Bonus #6 Sprouts

These amazing little guys are packed full of nutrients. Check out a previous article here

 

 

3 Things you can start doing now to improve y
Mindfulness, Nutrition

It doesn’t have to be Complicated

Getting healthy doesn’t have to be complicated, you don’t have to drastically change everything you are doing right now, and it’s not “All or None”  Here are 3 suggestions of what you can change today to start feeling better tomorrow

1.  Start your morning with gratitude

2.  Drink your water

3.  Increase intake of dark leafy green vegetables

In the morning practice gratitude. When you wake up and step out of bed, start the day with a thought of one thing that you are grateful for.  Make sure to really feel that gratitude.  There is no wrong answer here it could be “I am grateful for my health” or it could be “I am grateful for coffee” whatever it is, starting the day with gratitude will set you up to have an amazing day.  When we show we are grateful, more things to be grateful for happen.  Having gratitude changes your emotional state; you can’t be grateful and in a negative head space at the same time.

Start drinking your water!  Our bodies are made up of 75% water (remember learning that in school as a child?) and yet people tend to not prioritize getting enough of it.  Our bodies depend on water for over 10billion biochemical reactions per second; that’s a lot. So in between meals we should be drinking good quality water.  You will always see me carrying my water bottle around because I found once you start increasing your water intake you feel better and keep wanting more.  To find out how much water you should be drinking per day, they say to take your body weight in kg and multiply it by .033 (Kg x 0.033=Litres of water intake per day) If you are active you should drink more to make sure you stay hydrated.  Research has shown if you are even 1% dehydrated that can cause anxiety, sluggish digestion, change in mood and many other health issues.  If you are currently trying to lose weight, or detox, or if you want glowing skin, you should make drinking enough water your top priority.  If when you increase your intake of water you find yourself visiting the washroom too often, try adding a pinch of himalayan pink salt to each litre of water.  This salt has many different minerals and helps your body absorb the water easier leading to less washroom visits and better hydration!

Increase intake of dark leafy green vegetables! I buy a large tub of spinach and find creative ways to make sure I use it up during the week.  Whether it’s throwing a handful into a green smoothie, or blanch it to go with my eggs, or in my favourite beet salad.  I try and find ways to use it up because I love the health benefits, and honestly I do not like wasting food.  I also make sure I have a head of fresh broccoli, and I always have frozen organic greens in the freezer.  Here is a highlight of a few benefits of increasing your intake of dark leafy greens.

Dark leafy greens are:

  • A good source of fibre
  • High in minerals calcium, iron, potassium, and magnesium
  • Help protect against heart disease
  • Can help improve memory
  • Are high in antioxidants
  • A good source of vitamins A, C, K, and folate
  • Have been shown to help with the precursor to diabetes “insulin resistance”

As you can see healthy living starts with simple habit changes that you make over time.  It’s not “All or none” and we should have fun with it.  Making healthful choices just keeps improving with time, once you start feeling better you add in another healthy habit.  Eventually I promise you wont even want that cookie in the break room at work, or that mid day coffee or sugar rush, and the day that you do want it, that’s ok.  It’s simple!