The Best 7 Ways to Reboot Your Diet to Stay Healthy and Feel Better Right Now
Editor's Note: Here at The Beet, we're looking at two weeks of working from home and waiting out the next phase of the new Coronavirus outbreak, when we are all being asked to practice social distancing and we're trying to keep calm in the face of uncertain events.
So we decided to share this "reboot" diet, just in time to eat healthier, feel stronger and stay well. We are launching Your Two Weeks of Clean Eating to help you be your healthiest now. We don't want you to think of this time frame (during the weeks when everyone is working from home) as a chance to go off the rails, eat chips for breakfast, and leftover pizza all day long.
Just because the world is upside down, don't throw caution to the wind. It's not a moment for "anything goes" but a time to "hit refresh" on your habits, and come out of this hopefully feeling healthier and stronger and having more energy and a fitter body, clearer skin, perhaps event having lost some weight... in other words, feeling better than you went in. Eating an orange for a snack (nature's fast food) and green tea for a beverage is always a good idea. Do it now and you feel like you've taken control of your health!
One note about the word "clean" or "cleanse" that we need to clarify. Here at The Beet, we’re staunchly anti extreme detox or juice fasting, since your body can detox of its own accord (thank you liver, kidneys, and other amazing organs that make this an organic and natural process). But there are some gentle tips and techniques you can boost your normal digestion and healthy metabolism after a slow and stressed-out winter.
This is where the foods you eat and the liquids your drink matter. Choose wisely and you will feel amazing. Choose poorly and you'll feel as fried as the bad guy in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
Energetically speaking, Spring is a time for rebirth and new growth, so take this moment to start swapping out winter’s starchy squashes, roasted root vegetables and heavier oils (which are good for rooted, grounded wintertime energy) in favor of lighter, fresher ingredients and preparations (think: steaming and lightly sautéeing, adding baby greens and fresh fruit). You’ll feel as if you’ve "Spring-cleaned" your body, no juice fast required.
1. Have a Mug of Lemon Water First Thing in the Morning
Proper hydration is a year-round requirement for a healthy body, but starting your day with warm lemon water in the morning this week can help rehydrate and energize you after a long night’s sleep. Even better, lemon water can kickstart sluggish digestion first thing in the morning—without the help of coffee.
Before you have your first cup of joe, fill a mug with 8-12 ounces of hot water (near-boiling but not quite) and squeeze in the juice from half a lemon. Sip slowly. Warm water stimulates the gut and intestines, and lemon juice increases your natural stomach acid production, which helps you absorb more vitamins and minerals from food.
2. Try Intuitive Eating, and Walk Away from the Co-Working Snacking on Chips
Intuitive eating is essentially all about tuning into your body’s needs. Practice mindfulness at every meal to learn to recognize the signs of hunger, fullness, and satiety. Setting aside proper time and space for your next meal without distraction (meaning no phones, computers, TV or eating on-the-go) can help you take note of how you’re feeling in the moment. Think about the meal bite by bite, and savor the taste, texture, and increased feeling of fullness as you go.
Be sure to honor your hunger cues, and eat when you’re truly hungry, but also recognize when you’re eating simply because you’re bored, angry, stressed or tired (we all do it!) or just because someone else opened a bag of chips (we are guilty of this too!). In those cases, remove yourself from the food source (either your kitchen, the work pantry, or your friend with the bag of chips) by taking a walk, whether it's around the block or a real hike in nature, or spend a couple of minutes journaling or doing gentle yoga and breathing, which can heal you more than junk food when you don't need it can do.
3. Incorporate Raw Foods, and Get Yourself a Spiralizer
Now that the weather’s warming up, raw foods can have more of a place on your plate than in the dead of winter. In colder months, raw foods take longer to move through the digestive tract, requiring more energy to break down, which can actually leave you feeling fatigued rather than energized. In Spring and Summer, raw foods provide a cooling effect on the body, which is refreshing when the mercury rises, and they leave you feeling lighter and more energized. If you don't have one already, pick up a spiralizer or buy pre-spiralized zucchini, carrots, and squash, try your hand at pressed salads, or simply add more raw fruits and veggies to your snack rotation.
4. Fall in Love with Steaming, and Lightly Steam Your Veggies
Don’t get us wrong: We love the intense flavor and sweetness brought about by roasting a tray of veggies in the oven. But the beauty of steaming is that the vegetable or legume retains most of its nutrient content and stays super hydrated, which means more benefits for your body. Break out that bamboo steamer basket or the under-appreciated stainless steel steamer basket and start steaming your broccoli before topping it off with a little furikake. You’ll never look back.
5. Try Beet Kvass, Yes, Just Like Your Grandmother Said It.
Kvass is like kombucha’s sassy older sister—a bit earthier and saltier, but still bubbly and bright. Beet kvass is a traditional Lacto-fermented beverage with major probiotic benefits, and you can make it right on your countertop. Beets are incredibly liver-supportive, and fermenting them provides the "good" form of probiotic bacteria that can help your gut be its healthiest, not only aiding digestion, but also overall heart health and mental health as well. Beet Kvass is a great springtime sip to mix with a little sparkling water whenever you need a pick-me-up, and thanks to its lack of sugar and caffeine, it is actually a bit higher on the health spectrum than most bottled kombuchas.
6. Get on the Smoothie Train, and add Greens, Seeds, And Every Type of Fruit
The ultimate fast food or easy on-the-go breakfast, smoothies are packed full of fiber, healthy fats, antioxidants, and plant protein—if you make them properly. To use a smoothie as a meal replacement, make sure to check all the boxes: Aim for one to two ½ cup servings of fruit, toss in some seeds (hemp, chia, flax are all packed with immunity-boosting compounds), pick a vegetable (mix it up: try frozen cauliflower or zucchini for adding thickness, or kale, spinach, swiss chard or other dark leafy greens for fiber and carotenoids), and choose an alternative plant-based milk (oat, almond, hemp). Add a plant-based protein powder of your choosing, and drizzle in vanilla, maple or agave if you want an extra jolt of sweetness. Find a formula you love, then make it for breakfast—it’ll hold you over till lunch, and prevent that 11 am snack craving or hunger pang that can send you to the snack cupboard.
7. Drink Dandelion Tea
We could wax on about the myriad benefits of drinking dandelion root tea, which includes everything from protecting your liver to balancing blood sugar by helping your body break down the fats that you eat. It's easy to find, delicious to taste and should go into rotation with your green tea, lemon water, and coffee or latte habit.
Best time to drink it: Try a cup of dandelion tea after dinner—or even in place of your morning beverage after you've had your breakfast. The digestive compounds in dandelion tea are beneficial after any meal. There are several great herbal coffee alternatives out there—we love Rasa, which combines dandelion with other herbs and spices for a warming and health-supporting morning drink without the jitters.
Remember this is a two-week reboot. Needless to say, you want to avoid added sugar and stay away from processed or packaged foods. If you can't grow it, skip it!