Hopefully, you took the time this holiday season to enjoy time with your family and friends, eating lots of yummy, happy food without worrying too much about calories, carbs, or fat grams. Though stuffing yourself during the seasonal festivities isn’t too smart, enjoying good food with family and friends is something to be cherished. But now you might want to kick back into a healthy routine, and there are some simple ways you can do just that.
Forget counting or measuring anything – diets may work for some people, but a clean lifestyle will work for everyone. So we’d like to show you some simple ways to clean up your diet after the holidays so you can gear up for the new year with energy, zest, and a happy body at the same time!
Attempt these five steps daily to feel fabulous in no time:
1. Hydrate Your Body
Did you know that most people believe they’re hungry or tired when really, they’re just dehydrated and thirsty? Forget drinking eight glasses of water a day. Everyone needs different amounts depending on their body size, sodium intake, energy levels, and activity levels. So start your day with a huge glass of water and drink some every hour if you can, even if it’s not a full glass. Also, aim to eat vegetables, fruits, and water-rich foods like smoothies, soups, and even salads to keep your body hydrated when you’re not drinking water. See some other scary health effects that can happen aside from hunger and fatigue when you don’t get enough water.
Oh, and if you hate plain water, just add a squeeze of lemon or even lime to improve the taste and add extra Vitamin C and enzymes.
2. Go for a Plant-Based Breakfast
If you’re a full plant-based eater, great! If not, start your new year out by just swapping your meat-based or egg-based meal out with a plant-based option. Breakfast is one of the easiest meals to eat plant-based because there are so many options available. By choosing plant-based at breakfast, you’ll be eating a diet that’s full of living foods, which gives you more energy. Why eat a formerly living creature as the way you start your day or even an animal derivative product? Choosing plant-based means putting in more vitamins, minerals, and nutrients into your body that your cells can process into energy more quickly and keep you feeling more energetic throughout the day.
Great options include oatmeal, chia pudding, quinoa cereal, homemade granola with some plant-based yogurt, a green smoothie, fruit, and nuts with seeds, soaked overnight oatmeal with coconut yogurt, and even some delicious coffee, tea, or even a fresh veggie juice if you choose to have it.
3. Lower Your SOS
Next, lower three things in your diet that all steal your energy, and health, and even disrupt your weight management goals: sugar, oil, and salt. Now, don’t hear us wrong: natural sugars from plant-based foods such as fruit, beans, legumes, vegetables, grains, nuts, and seeds are not what we’re talking about here. Added sugars (healthy or not), along with refined sugars such as white and brown sugar, and corn syrup, dextrose, or other scary names for sugars are what we’re referring to here. Sugar ages you, changes your food cravings, promotes weight gain and disrupts your blood sugar. Why waste your energy and appetite on added, incomplete whole food sources of sugar when you could just eat whole foods? Try a Raw Sugar-Free Vegan Chocolate Mousse instead of sugary ice cream, you’ll be hooked in no time!
Keep your fats to whole food sources, such as avocados, olives, coconut, nuts, and seeds instead of taking in oils that have been refined, processed, and overall lack the nutrition of the whole food oils came from. (They also usually pack on pounds quickly.)
Sodium is also something you’ll want to avoid in excess to avoid high blood pressure, food cravings, and possibly water weight gain. Sodium naturally occurs in all foods for the most part, and adding salt to your food isn’t necessary with herbs and natural flavoring options. Plus, many essential options such as almond milk, condiments like mustard and tamari, along with salsa and sauerkraut all have varying levels of sodium, so there’s no need to add more from your salt shaker. Trust us, ditch the salt shaker, and you’ll feel lighter, cleaner, and overall more balanced in no time!
4. Clean Up The Kitchen
One of the worst things to deal with after the holidays is all the food that’s left lying around! It just sits there, tempting you as you try harder and harder to eat well. If you can’t seem to throw it out, then donate it to a neighbor, family member, or friend who might use it. Unopened packaged items can be given to a local food pantry. Set your kitchen up for success, which means not keeping all those chocolate-covered yummies and meat or cheese-laced dishes around to set you back. A clean kitchen leads to a clean lifestyle!
5. Go Shopping!
Now that your kitchen is clean and empty, it’s time to go shopping for some healthy, life-giving foods! Stock your kitchen up with fresh produce (organic if you can), frozen vegetables for easy, quick meals, whole grains like oats and quinoa, chickpeas, lentils, and other beans and legumes that are easy to prepare and taste great in soups and entrees, raw nuts like almonds and cashews, for quick snacks like trail mix, and a variety of plant-based, unsweetened milk or yogurts to round out your meals. Here’s a great list of things to stock your pantry with to also help get you started.
For extra power, consider adding some plant-based protein to make smoothies with, along with low-sugar frozen fruits like berries, superfood powders, and healthy fats from flax, hemp, pumpkin, and chia seeds for easy omega-3 and fiber sources.
If you can swing it this year, consider buying yourself a high-speed blender such as a Blendtec, Nutribullet, or Vitamix. These blenders can prepare smoothies, soups, salad dressings, breakfast porridges, stocks, raw vegan treats, vegan ice cream, and just about anything else you can think of. They also act as a double food processor and are easy to take during travel with you as a bonus. A high-speed blender will change your life in the kitchen, which might excite you a bit more in your choice to clean up your lifestyle.
Also, consider getting some fresh air and daily exercise (such as walking, yoga, or a light jog) which will help improve your mood, and focus, and gives you some time out in nature to clear your head. And, of course, don’t forget to get a good night’s sleep. Your hormones, body clock, and overall wellness depend on it!
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Learn How to Cook Plant-Based Meals at Home
Reducing your meat intake and eating more plant-based foods is known to help with chronic inflammation, heart health, mental well-being, fitness goals, nutritional needs, allergies, gut health, and more! Unfortunately, dairy consumption also has been linked to many health problems, including acne, hormonal imbalance, cancer, and prostate cancer, and has many side effects.
For those interested in eating more plant-based, we highly recommend purchasing one of our many plant-based cookbooks or downloading the Food Monster App which has thousands of delicious recipes making it the largest vegan recipe resource to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy! And, while you are at it, we encourage you to also learn about the environmental and health benefits of a plant-based diet.
Here are some resources to get you started:
- Weekly Vegan Meal Plans
- Plant-Based Health Resources
- Plant-Based Food & Recipes
- The Ultimate Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition
- Plant-Based Nutrition Resources
- Budget-Friendly Plant-Based Recipes
- High Protein Plant-Based Recipes
- Plant-Based Meal Prep
Easy Ways to Help the Planet:
- Eat Less Meat: Download Food Monster, the largest plant-based recipe app on the App Store to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy. You can also buy a hard or soft copy of our favorite vegan cookbooks.
- Reduce Your Fast Fashion Footprint: Take the initiative by standing up against fast fashion pollution and supporting sustainable and circular brands like Tiny Rescue that are raising awareness around important issues through recycled zero-waste clothing designed to be returned and remade over and over again.
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- Sign a Petition: Your voice matters! Help turn petitions into victories by signing the latest list of must-sign petitions to help people, animals, and the planet.
- Stay Informed: Keep up with the latest news and important stories involving animals, the environment, sustainable living, food, health, and human interest topics by subscribing to our newsletter!
- Do What You Can: Reduce waste, plant trees, eat local, travel responsibly, reuse stuff, say no to single-use plastics, recycle, vote smart, switch to cold water laundry, divest from fossil fuels, save water, shop wisely, donate if you can, grow your own food, volunteer, conserve energy, compost, and don’t forget about the microplastics and microbeads lurking in common household and personal care products!