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Five Habits to a Joyous New You

Change Your Patterns for the Better

The New Year is a superbly wonderful time of renewal and release of old habits that do not serve you well. However, research shows us the unfortunate reality that most people do not actually follow through with their resolutions and generally fall back into old patterns by the springtime, if not sooner. Part of this is because we set unrealistic goals that are simply not sustainable. Also, we tend to focus too much on restriction and deprivation – not a very joyous thing to do to yourself!

How about we change things up and focus on all the positive habits to begin rather than focusing on the bad habits to give up? When you fill your life with more good habits there is simply less room for bad habits. 

Here are 5 habits to a joyous new you and fabulous New Year!

1. Start every day with a large glass of water.

While this may seem totally obvious, the truth is very few people are doing this simple and essential habit for joyous health. While you’ve been sleeping your liver is working hard to cleanse your body of unwanted waste products and those detoxification engines are churning. This means there are a lot of acidic waste products ready for elimination when you wake up. Drinking a large glass of water upon waking is an absolutely fantastic way to start your day and aid your body in detoxification!

Kick it up a notch and add some freshly squeezed lemon juice or 1 tsp of apple cider vinegar to your water. Both of these liquids help to alkalinize your system, and give your liver a little extra love as they help to stimulate bile, which is a carrier of toxins and may help promote a healthy bowel movement.

2. Aim for 8 hours of shut-eye to clear out your neurological cache.

A recent study by the Journal of Science shows that a good night’s sleep is like clearing your neurological cache. While sleeping,  the brain has a chance to clear our neurotoxic waste products that accumulate in the central nervous system; in other words, sleep clears out the clutter. Neuroscientists believe this information may lead to clues on how to treat Alzheimer’s.

If getting eight hours is difficult for you because you go to bed too late, aim to get to bed 15 minutes earlier each week for the next four weeks and before you know it you will be getting an extra hour after just a month!


3. Practice mindful eating.

At least one meal per day, make a point of truly enjoying every delicious morsel. How do you do this? Eat in a peaceful environment and set aside time to eat, at least 20 to 30 minutes. This will allow you time to indulge all your senses in each delicious morsel. Notice the smell, taste and texture of every bite. You’ll be amazed at all the unique flavours you never noticed before.

The benefit of mindful eating is improved digestion because when you eat more slowly and chew your food longer,  you ease the burden of digestion on your stomach and intestines. You also become far more aware of what you are eating which naturally makes you want to eat healthier.

4. Try one new recipe each week.

This will help keep you motivated to make healthier choices and keep things interesting. Choose a weekend afternoon or an evening where you can carve out a little extra time to try a new recipe so you do not feel rushed.

Need some inspiration? You can find many awesome nutritious recipes in my new book JOYOUS HEALTH: Eat & Live Well Without Dieting or try the recipe following this article.

5. Think veggie-centric.

Aim to fill half your plate at lunch and dinner with vegetables. You will find you get fuller faster and have less cravings because you will be eating more nutrient-dense food. In fact, some experts believe that food cravings are merely a lack of nourishing foods, which makes the body constantly starved for nutrition.

When choosing vegetables, be sure to go for colour and variety. People often get stuck in a rut of eating the same vegetables week after week. While you grocery shop, be sure to fill your cart with a variety of brightly coloured vegetables for a maximum number of phytonutrients.


 

Joy McCarthy, is a Holistic Nutritionist, food lover and owner of joyoushealth.ca  She is the author of JOYOUS HEALTH: Eat & Live Well Without Dieting

 

 

RECIPE: 

Chickpea Detox Salad


This recipe is from my book JOYOUS HEALTH: Eat & Live Well Without Dieting. It is crunchy and flavourful; in fact, no one in your family will have a clue how healthy it is! It is full of fibre, vitamins such as folate, vitamin A, C, E, K and minerals such as iron, magnesium, potassium and protein.

Serves 2.

1 can (15 oz/425 g) garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
5 stalks celery, cut in bite-size pieces
1 sweet red pepper, cut in bite-size pieces
1/4 cup (60 mL) cilantro, chopped
1 or 2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup (60 mL) freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup (60 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp (2 mL) sea salt
1/2 tsp (2 mL) cayenne pepper

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl; toss well. Let sit for an hour so the flavours can mingle.