Welcome to the last post of 2016.
I don't know about you, but it's been a banner of a year here at goodfood headquarters. Back in that first week of January, with a year of possibilities ahead, I set out for myself the task of coming up with 52 simple and effective changes you could make in order to help you achieve optimal health. The idea was to post one new concept every Monday, in order to build content on my website and explain my approach, but also to connect with food- and health-loving people out there. What I got in the end was this gift of developing ideas, jumping off points for classes and class material, and extra support I could offer to my one-on-one clients. This blog series is the gift that keeps giving.
There were simple ideas, and there were more complicated ones. Most ideas revolved around food (I am a Holistic Nutrition Practitioner, after all...), but there were some concepts that were aimed at lifestyle kind of things too. All in all, these were meant to be suggestions to up the ante for you to improve not only your quantity of life, but also your quality of life.
Today's post is the wrap up. Consider this me, setting the lay of the land, in order for you to implement these concepts or steps one at a time for yourself. Whether you are looking for improved health, or support with an existing condition, or just aiming for a better quality of life, these ideas are for you.
Thank you for coming on this #mondayhealthbasics journey with me this year. I am forever grateful for your stories, your struggles and your involvement. May 2017 be a year of discoveries for you, a year of joy with plenty of health.
I have broken down the 51 ideas into six categories in this compendium, if you will. Peruse at your liking, click on the ideas that interest you. Hit the 'share' button at the bottom of this article to share with someone you really dig! Bookmark this page, and make a plan to implement one idea a week for the year ahead, in order to help support you through any current health concerns be they chronic degenerative diseases, raising a young family and fuelling your days or the desire to ensure health and vitality as we age!
FIRST THINGS FIRST
These go over the rules of the game, as it were. Or the rules of engagement.
PRACTICE MINDFULNESS: In order to help support your body's ability to digest, I recommend you start carving time out for meals and practice mindfulness at these times. We are working on improving your body's ability to digest, and so it is imperative we don't just talk the talk, we also walk the walk! (originally week 3)
EAT TOGETHER: We have a golden rule in our house, and it's one that I will insist upon until the day I die. Dinner is a meal meant to be shared, a meal that requires we are all around the dinner table, together. Let's talk about the power of connection when it comes to mealtimes. (originally week 45)
WHOLE FOODS PRINCIPLES a la Weston A. Price
This section focuses on the major tenets of what it means to eat whole foods, the reasons you want to reach for whole foods. This means a traditional way of food preparation which encompasses the words live, natural and good quality: full of nutrients, low in pesticides, additives and other toxins, minimally processed, nourishing foods and from good sources. Read on to grasp some of these major ideas.
*2017 for me is a year of developing a six-class course on the importance of these good foods. Class number one will be January 14th at the Light Cellar. There will be one class a month. I'd love to see you there! More information here.
J.E.R.F.: One of the biggest changes you can make in how you approach foods. I realize I'm probably preaching to the converted here, but bears repeating. Just Eat Real Food. JERF. (originally week 17)
EAT BUTTER: I invite you to read a bit more on the importance of including butter in your daily routine. There are more ideas too that make it easy to do so, so get playing with your food. Butter is the newest superfood! (originally week 33)
EAT GOOD FATS: I have a good write up with some good tips on how to incorporate some good fats in to your every day, speaking to the importance of this macro-nutrient in our diet. This is a controversial topic at times: read this article to understand which fats to eat, which fats to ditch and why you would want to. Plan to attend the class in February at the Light Cellar to get the full story on the importance of this macro-nutrient. (originally week 6)
GO FULL FAT (one of my favourite topics): This article is on the importance of switching your dairy products, salad dressings, mayo and other foods to the full fat version. Look here for good tips and easy swaps in order to bring down inflammation and provide your body with those all important fat soluble vitamins. (originally week 39)
EAT EGGS: I did a wee write up on the importance of including eggs in your diet, if you can tolerate them. They are a cornerstone of the full GAPS diet, a big influence on my practice as a Holistic Nutrition Practitioner. (originally week 23)
CHOOSE GRASS-FED: This article is one that can be a bit of a hot button topic for some, and while I love a good debate, I will be talking simpler here. The impetus behind these blog posts was to get the discussion going on how to choose our foods and make those lifestyle choices that are in support of optimal health, not to stir the pot. So this piece is about choosing meats and all animal products like dairy and fats, and reaching for grass-fed or pastured options when you're able to. (originally week 12)
MEAT STOCK: I wrote an article that goes into explaining the difference between meat stock and bone broth. I invite you to do a little light reading, in order to understand the power of these foods, and the difference between the two. Meat stock is one of the most nourishing foods you can eat; prioritizing this in your weekly menus will go far in supporting a reduction in inflammation and improving gut health. This radiates outwards to all other body systems and is one of the big tenets of the WAPF way of things. (originally week 37)
FERMENTED FOODS: I want to point you to a post that focuses on good ways to think about consuming fermented foods. It runs through all of the benefits and helps you figure out if something is fermented. It is a basic pillar of the WAPF way of things, and also a big player in the GAPS protocol, a gut-loving protocol that deeply influences my practice. (originally week 4)
PICK SPROUTED OR FERMENTED GRAINS: May I propose we take a gander at how to make grains more easily digestible. There are no caveats here, no judgments, no moral high roads or anything. I just want to explore the science behind ancient grain preparation methods, and why they may be a way for you to be able to include grains in yours and your family's diet. This post is not for everyone; but the information found within may help explain a bit behind the idea of traditional food preparation methods, and the wisdom found within. May there be a light at the end of this blog post for you, dear reader. Let's talk about the wisdom of sprouted and/or fermented grains. (originally week 44)
USING REAL SWEETENERS: I have an article on the importance of using real sweeteners, and reducing our intake of refined sugars and artificial sweeteners, and the ills they present. Let's do it. Let's talk all things sweeten, and talk about ways to figure this thing out. Let's sweeten naturally. (originally week 40)
GOODFOOD BASICS + EASY TRICKS
These are practical ideas and recipes or tricks I have come up with in order to help you play with your food more confidently. They are usually easy one-offs to work on, where I walk you through how to prepare these foods or incorporate them in to your everyday. There are recipes in this section: this is fun and delicious work, my friend.
SWAP YOUR TABLE SALT FOR REAL SEA SALT: This idea is one that is a pretty basic change that is fairly easy to implement, but is one topic that also raises many questions and controversy. We're talking SALT. (originally week 2)
SWITCH TO FILTERED: We're talking water, of course. We're talking nix the straight up tap water, instead filtering it so it's of gentler support to your body. There are lots of reasons, first and foremost because of chlorine. But all of this disinfecting comes with a price. (originally week 7)
WATER: This article goes in to the benefits of water consumption and why we need it, but the most important part is around the idea of when and how to consume it. Timing and temperature is of the essence, here. (originally week 1)
LEMON WATER TO START YOUR DAY: It takes all of 3 minutes of prep once every two weeks, and a little forethought every night before hitting the hay. We're talking the pros of starting your day with a glass of lemon water. (originally week 9)
HOW TO THINK COFFEE: I love coffee. It can contribute to inflammatory things and blood sugar balancing things though, taking a toll on our adrenals. Here's a good way to think about that delicious elixir: there are good pro-coffee points here, and ways to mitigate the negative effects they can have on the work we have at hand. (originally week 19)
REDUCE PACKAGED FOODS: In order to help your body reduce overall inflammation, with the intention to support gut health; loving your guts has a tendency to reverberate outwards, to all other systems in the body. This article is one more step towards reducing inflammation and supporting the gut lining. We're exploring why you may want to work on reducing the packaged goods in your pantry, and how to go about it. (originally week 47)
MAKE YOUR OWN GREEK YOGURT: This article talks about two of my favourite things: dairy and fermentation. This blog post is for you if you like dairy. This blog post may also be for you if you are saying to yourself right now “Well Luka, I can't do dairy because I'm lactose intolerant”. It may also be something you want to check out if you find yourself reaching for that greek yogurt at the grocery store. Yep, I'm a DIY kinda gal. Yep, I'm a good food kinda kid. Today's post is about how to maximize that probiotic hit, lowering the lactose and making sure that greek yogurt in your breakfast bowl is best going to support you through the day ahead. (originally week 20)
SOAK SEEDS FOR SMOOTHIES: This post is for those early birds who are regular consumers of smoothies come morning time. This article goes over some basic easy steps you can take in order to make that smoothie really count and nourish you from head to toe. Today's tip will ensure you are better able to digest your morning elixir, and what kinds of things to add in order to make that breakfast smoothie sustain you for longer periods. This is the one about the fox. (originally week 14)
FLAVOUR YOUR WATER: As another option to help you increase your water intake (and reduce consumption of juice or sodas), may I recommend you infuse your own water with some tasty flavours. I have a good article and how-to with ideas here. (originally week 26)
SALAD DRESSINGS: Let's talk about making your own salad dressings, and why this is a good idea. It's a good first step in embarking on this good fats journey. We'll talk about how to manage this at home, and how to manoeuvre this idea whilst on the road. Today's article is about how to DIY your own salad dressing, and why you might want to. (originally week 27)
MAKE YOUR OWN SEASONING MIXES: This easy tweak is a fairly simple thing you can do in your kitchen, in order to bring down the list of additives and other nefarious ingredients in your meals. We're looking to simplify here, friends. We're looking to eliminate food additives. We're looking to eliminate hidden sugars and genetically modified trickster ingredients. We're looking to keeping it real food, mes ami(e)s. In the spirit of the DIY, I present to you the idea of making your own seasoning mixes. (originally week 24)
BLITZED PULSE PASTE: I just like the sound of this. This article presents the idea of making a big batch of pureed pulses (lentils or beans) and freezing in small portions in order to use for easy protein and fibre additions to meals down the road. (originally week 30)
A BAKER'S DOZEN OF BIG CHANGES
This section encompasses thirteen pretty big ideas and changes. This section is the heavy lifting, if you will. It's the section where you will find more complicated recommendations, or multi-faceted ways of supporting your body. You'll also find recipe round-ups in this section. Read on to find a topic that really resonates with you!
BREAK FOR 12: This one is about liver support. Let's go over the idea of a 12 hour break, in order to give your body that rest it needs to recoup from the day and prepare for tomorrow. This is about reducing inflammation and supporting your body's detox work. (originally week 36)
LIVER LOVING BREWS: What a great way to augment your intake of water. I have a write up on liver-supportive teas with a recipe for a homemade brew of medicinal mushrooms, incredibly supportive to reduce inflammation in the body, and supporting the Glandular/Endocrine system. (originally week 22)
GOOD FATS via EFAs (Essential Fatty Acids): I have a good article that explains the benefits of these all-important fats in your life. It is one that I think about every live long day, and it involves choosing foods that will support just about everything going on in your body. (originally week 5)
EAT YOUR GREENS: I am sending along a wee bit of info on how to up the greens in your life, giving you good ways to think about those greens. They are supportive to every inch of your body. SO GOOD! Make it delicious. (originally week 25)
ADD NETTLE: I am a big lover of all things nettle. Further to the post just above, it's a fabulous green that is easy to add to your daily cooking. It is a fantastic anti histamine herb, works hard at bringing down inflammation, and rich in minerals. (Originally week 11)
ADD SEAWEED: Further in to this discussion on consuming your greens, I wanted to highlight an article on my website that may help you figure out how to incorporate mineral-rich seaweed in to your kitchen creations. The benefits are manyfold on this super green. (originally week 18)
LOVE YOUR HEART: This is a post that originally came about as summer was making its first appearance. Through the Traditional Chinese Medicine lens, summer is the season of the heart. In this blog post, we look at how Holistic Nutrition can best support your ever-lovin heart. No reason to only look to loving your heart up in summer! This one is a good one at any time of the year. (originally week 29)
LOVE YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM: This post came about as Old King Winter was making his first apperance. And with the temperature dropping, we often start talking about taking care of the ole immune system. We cover some basics here, and talk those easy things we can do to love up our immune system. (originally week 46)
PUT UP THE HARVEST: This post came about at harvest time. The time where the apples start to fall from the tree, where the abundance in the garden is gaining speed and you just can't keep up. It's the time when the price of produce is at its best, and local or BC-grown produce is within reach. This blog post is meant to inspire you to take full advantage of Mother Nature's bounty and gifts, and to celebrate this most wonderful time of the year. Friends, it's time to put up the harvest. (In small batches. Do-able things. Easy things. Delicious things. One good thing at a time. Your future-winter-self will thank you.) (originally week 31)
SMOOTHIES: I built a template explaining how to think about building smoothies. These nutrient dense offerings are a great way to boost certain nutrients, and are perfect vehicles to get some of those all important nutrients that will support your current health concerns. *look for a smoothie prep kit for sale sometime in early 2016! (originally week 41)
SNACK WELL: This one focuses on good ideas for snack foods. These are nourishing and nutrient dense ideas high in fats and proteins, and low on carbs that will best fuel you for your busy days. I like to think of this list as a possibility for snacks, or maybe piece a few of these together to make for easy take-to-work lunches. Go play with your food! (originally week 28)
LUNCH BOX PLANNING: I wrote an article with ideas on how to think about packing lunches, be it for the littles or the bigs in your life (and that includes you.) There are nutrient-dense ideas that are fairly easy to pull together, making lunch time a delicious and nourishing thing. (originally week 35)
THE PRACTICAL IDEAS
This section zeroes in on the practical tools to help you make these changes do-able tasks, and ones that will carry you forward. Tools to your toolkit, you could say.
DIRTY DOZEN/CLEAN FIFTEEN LIST: This is the latest list of Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen that is put out every year by the folks at the Environmental Working Group. EWG is a non-profit organization that relies on foundations and individuals and a bit of consulting for their income, a group that has been around now for over 23 years. Every year, they put out their latest list of produce that registers the highest pesticide residues (that would be the Dirty Dozen) recommending the reader reach for organic versions of these items when shopping at the grocery store. Simultaneously, the organization puts out the Clean Fifteen list in order to best inform the consumers which produce items register the least amount of pesticides, in order that they may feel confident in purchasing the conventionally-raised items instead. In the interest of reducing toxins in your every day life, use this list to help make trips to the grocery store a bit more manageable. (originally week 16)
TAKE NOTES: This is a good place to start, in terms of the practical. Let's talk about writing down where you're at, noticing how you're feeling and really taking stock of where you begin this journey. This one's called Write This Down. (originally week 32)
MEAL PLANNING TIPS: I wrote an article on meal planning, and tips on how to approach it. I find it helps to make mealtime easier during a busy family week night. I hope you find it useful! (originally week 38)
BATCH COOK: This write up focuses on good ways to think about batch prep work. Batch prepping is meant to be one task you undertake once a week in order to supply easy to incorporate things for the meals in the week ahead. It's all meant to make meal prep during the weeks a bit of an easier task. It's also meant to help ease in to this whole-foods preparation with a bit of an easier time. (originally week 8)
CRITICAL LIFESTYLE SUPPORT
These ideas are integral and critical to supporting good health, and keeping inflammation at bay. Remember, this is all about manageable things to make this a good life. And implementing these components? Perhaps the funnest and easiest ways to ensure vitality and health. And feeling good, top to bottom.
SLEEP LIKE A CHAMP: This idea is one that can get overlooked, one that can often fall to the back burner, and one that I am certainly extra guilty on not putting first on my list. Or on top of the list. Or on my list at all some days. Tsk tsk tsk. Good quality sleep is critical to supporting health, allowing for the important rebuilding and repair work to take place. And rejuvenating. Start counting sheep! (originally week 15)
TAKE A WALK: It's time to get practical, kids. Getting outside for a walk a day, even if it's a short walk, will do wonders to help support your body through the work it wants to do. The benefits are manyfold – I mean name a system in the body, and you are sure to find that walking would support that system's function, nay I'd go so far as to say improve that system's work. (originally week 21)
GO GREEN: This one is about lessening that toxin load on your body, bringing down the number of nefarious substances your body has to filter or move out. It's about supporting the liver, in turn helping reduce inflammation. It's about going green when it comes to your cleaners. (originally week 42)
DITCH THE DRYER SHEETS: This week's #mondayhealthbasics article is a practical in-house thing you can easily swap out or eradicate from your home. It's something we don't usually think too much about, as it isn't something we eat. See, when it comes to household cleaners and cleaning products, there is no need to list the ingredients that go into the making of your product. It isn't something that will be ingested! Well, not in a 'let's put it in the soup and salad' kind of way. Not intentionally. We're talking dryer sheets my friends. What they are, why you want to get rid of them, and some simple swaps you can add to your cupboard this weekend and know you've reduced the toxin load in your home already. (And yes, you will ingest some of the stuff from your dryer sheets or fabric softeners. Read on for more info.) (originally week 10)
BREATHE DEEPLY: This is the perfect time to add this tool to your arsenal: this write up touches on the importance of reducing stress via grounded breath. It leads you through the how-to, and the benefits behind this easy (and free!) practice. Breathe deeply. (originally week 34)
CULTIVATE JOY: In the interest of having fun and bringing down inflammation, supporting blood sugar regulation, it is imperative that you play. Every day. Here is a wee write up and explanation, with a long list of inspiration or ideas to get you started. (originally week 49)
THE COLES NOTES VERSION
For those who'd rather just get the basics of what to aim for:
- Eat real food. From good sources.
- Reduce toxins everywhere, from your foods, your cleaners, your clothes, your household purchases. This could also speak to reducing the negativity in your life.
- Sleep like a champ.
- Play. Cultivate the joy in your life. Seek it out in the every day.
- Connect with people.
Sorry to say it, but no one is getting out of here alive. So let's make it a good day, shall we?