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New Year Routines for a Nourished Body & Mind

It’s that time of year again where we reflect and set our intentions of what we would like to change for our better health in the New Year. Let’s face it, there’s a lot I’m sure we would all like to change like getting rid of Covid, getting back to our normal lives and hugging our loved ones. We have to wait just a little bit longer for all of these things but in the meantime, there’s plenty of simple and positive actions we can make to ensure that we are the best versions of ourselves in 202I.

We encourage you all to get a little more ‘me’ time during lockdown 3… spend time making a new recipe, taking a bath, rediscover your inner creativity, find other entertainment away from screens like reading a book or doing a puzzle, implement calming bedtime routines, enjoy a face mask or recharge your batteries by connecting with people in different ways. Equally, giving is a great way to feel good and whilst we would all like to donate time and energy to a charity, we encourage you to think closer to home… simple gestures that mean the world such as the thought and time it takes to send a smile in the form of a card and a few words through the post to someone you miss. Give out great energy and get the feel good factor back!

Self-care is popular term at the moment, and for good reason. As a society we are beginning to feel the effects of stress, illness, being over-burdened and needing to be available all the time. We live in a culture that shares photographs daily of ‘perfect’ lives, leaving the viewers to feel unfulfilled and dissatisfied with their apparent lack of progress in contrast. We need to start turning that outward approach inward, and instead of scrolling on our phones at other people’s lives, use that time to nourish and nurture ourselves and our own progress, at our own pace.

As well as the lifestyle factors that it takes to re-energise and recharge us, we can also use the foods we eat to fuel our body well and to help provide us with the right ingredients for our happiness hormones. January is usually seen as the time for restrictive diets which are a shift away from our norm such as ‘dry’ January or ‘Veganary’. We all know that we will feel better by reducing alcohol and sugar and eating more plant based foods. However, when we fall off the wagon with these plans, the tendency is to go back to our norm.

We want to encourage you to think about creating positive daily habits that continue long past January so here are some top tips from our Nutritional Therapy team of simple tricks to help you looks and feel great!

Work towards 9 a day

We need to rethink our 5 a day message! In 2017, the World Health Organisation revisited this message with an analysis of the studies confirming that we need to look more towards double this amount for improved health and lack of illness. This includes both vegetables and fruits but an increased weighting towards vegetables is better. Think about the varieties of colours in the diet too, as these give us clues as to what the food is doing for our health… Yes, greens are great but cauliflower is also a rich source of compounds that support the health of the liver and hormonal balance. Don’t forget the little ones that all count and pack a nutritional punch too such as garlic which has amazing properties for our immunity and ginger that has super anti-inflammatory activity. Variety is the key here so keep a tally on how many different types of plant foods you consume in a day and work towards nine… By focusing on this positive inclusion of nutritious foods, it naturally reduces the nutrient poor choices we may otherwise make.

Apple cider vinegar with ‘The Mother’

This is essentially vinegar made from fermented apple juice. This super juice has received lots of attention due to its claimed health promoting properties such as blood sugar balancing, digestive support, weight loss, skin health and it also acts as an antimicrobial against pathogenic strains such as candida albicans, escherichia coli and staphylococcus aureus. It is also a rich source of malic acid which is great to support our energy levels and lots of people find it extremely helpful for any painful joint conditions.

Mix 1 dessert spoon in some cold or lukewarm water every day to reap the benefits. We recommend it either first thing in the morning or just as you are about to eat your biggest meal of the day.

Stewed apples

As we all know, good health starts in the gut. Stewed apples contain a flavonoid called Quercetin, which works with our immune system to reduce inflammation and protect against illness. Quercetin is also involved in maintaining and healing the gut integrity, a very important element of good digestive health. This anti-aging antioxidant had gained publicity recently with research around antiviral activity relating to severe acute respiratory conditions.

As well as quercetin, stewed apples also contain a lot of fiber, which assists with eliminating toxins from the body. This fibre also acts as a prebiotic, which our good gut bacteria love to guzzle up! Chop 6 normal apples (not cooking apples) into chunks and cook in a pan with 1 cup of water. Stew for 20 minutes or so then leave in the fridge. Have a small ramekin sized portion each morning with your breakfast (each batch usually lasts about 5 days).

Lemon and Ginger

This age-old drink has remained a popular choice by many over the years and that’s because it is so simple and so good! The vitamin C from the lemon and the antimicrobial effects of the ginger work together to give your immune system a real boost. It also helps to fuel the liver, kick-starting it to get the gastric juices flowing, which are essential for good digestion.

Keeping on top of vitamin C intake is also important for our stress response and adrenal health as we only store a little in our adrenals so we need a consistent supply to help keep calm and carry on. Adding a little to our daily routine can help reduce the stress response to stay focused and reduce any feelings of anxiety. Add a slice of lemon and a thumb sized piece of ginger (peeled) to a mug of hot water and sip away! Have this refreshing drink first thing in the morning to help awaken your senses.

Essential fats

Good fats are essential for our cellular health, not to mention our brain health which is made up of a huge proportion of fats. In the current climate, awareness of mental health is at the forefront of the media and at times of higher anxiety and emotionally challenging times, essential fats are so important to include in our diet. Fats have been previously given bad press but not all fats are equal. The good fats, especially the omega 3 type, fuel our bodies well to help balance our blood sugar, energising our body and supporting healthy weight loss. They also induce anti-inflammatory activity and keep our cells supple and flexible, providing visible external results with radiant healthy skin.

If you don’t think you get enough of the good guys in your diet, we recommend you start by taking a dessert spoon of cold pressed flax oil daily and see the results for yourself.

Liver foods

January tends to be a time where we want to detox and reduce the amount of toxins that we slowly increased in our diets in the build up to Christmas. Christmas is such a lovely festive season with lots of celebrate. However, celebrations tend to come with a few too many glasses of prosecco… (and mince pies!). January is a great time to re-set our system, reduce our toxic load and introduce some liver loving foods so we can support this exceptional organ to function at its best.

Fennel in the diet, barley grass powder added to your smoothie or simply taking dandelion tea are simple and effective ways of adding liver supportive foods into your diet. Also don’t underestimate the simple power of water and keeping nicely hydrated with 2 litres a day. For those of you who would like a little extra liver support this January, here is our top pick of liver supportive supplements that you can include:

Fresh air

Walks in nature are proven time and time again to restore our nervous systems by reducing the feeling of stress and anxiety. Even more, the bacteria from the soil can travel in the air and land in our digestive tracts, giving us some good gut bacteria without us even realising! Diversifying the different strains of bacteria in our digestive tracts is one of the best things we can do for our health and energy levels, so is reducing our stress levels. So, get started with a daily walk, even just 20 minutes, and get double the rewards!

The new year tends to trigger people to look into weight loss plans, they want to feel better and look better. We certainly don’t encourage dramatic weight loss too quickly as this tends to last a short period of time until the weight creeps back on again and also puts our liver under strain. However, with slow weight loss comes sustainable and long term change, better energy and a feeling of vitality. If you struggle with weight loss or simply would like a guided plan with specific daily suggestions for your health, then our Nutritional Therapy team are still offering consultations both in person at the clinic and also online or by phone. Contact us to discuss your health requirements and find out how Nutritional Therapy can support your future health and wellbeing.

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About the Author

Sarah-Lou is a Nutritional Therapist at Therapy Organics, providing expert qualified advice in one-to-one consultations, and offering advice in the shop.

See more Articles by Sarah-Lou

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