As we approach the new year, resolutions are typically on everyone’s minds. Especially after a particularly challenging 2020, we are looking for ways to ensure that 2021 will be different. The clean slate of a new year is often a springboard to create new goals and inspire change.
My invitation to you is this – rather than make complicated, lofty resolutions, why not bring everything back to basics? Movement, breath, sleep, getting outdoors, hydration and mindful eating are the foundations of health for all of us. Of these things, which one could you start with? What feels like it would have the biggest impact? Which would be easiest to achieve each day? (Yep, start with the low-hanging fruit to build momentum to make bigger changes in the future.)
When it comes to food, many of us have developed complex, intricate relationships with what and how we eat. These patterns have been established over many years and are born out of social, emotional and mental experiences. We can honor that however we eat today, we have come by it honestly. With the shorter, colder days it is a great time to reflect on why we do the things we do and decide, actively, if we want to continue in the same direction or choose a different path.
Thinking about nutrition can be overwhelming. There’s so many opinions and pathways available to us, it can be hard to know what’s right for us. Diets have shifted a lot during COVID for many folks as we look to food to stave off boredom, depression or stress. Going back to basics can be an easy way out of habits that no longer serve. The following are just some examples – feel free to create your own resolutions!
- Eat something for breakfast, especially if you drink coffee. It can be something small (like apple with almond butter, cup of soup, or a hard-boiled egg). Try to do this within 2 hours of waking.
- Reconsider your relationship with caffeine. Does it serve you? What other options are available? Why are you really tired?
- Start your day with a pint glass of warm water with lemon.
- Look at your plate. At every meal, do you have some protein, fat and fiber? Your protein serving should be about half of the plate with fruit or veg taking up at least a quarter of what you’re eating.
- Buy ingredients in their whole-food, non-packaged form. Dried beans instead of canned. Tomatoes instead of sauce. Veggies that you have to chop rather than bagged. Make granola instead of buying it.
- Create rituals or celebrations that don’t involve alcohol.
- Notice your bowel habits. Physiologic normal is “one in, one out” so we are pooping (ideally) 3 times a day and stools should be well-formed without food or mucous visible.
- Reduce snacking. Allow your gut to rest and digest in between food intake for at least 2-3 hours. This will enhance your digestive capacity.
When we have a strategy that is simple, we are more likely to follow through with it. We are setting ourselves up for success rather than failure because the goal was too big. We can always do more – but if we are hitting the basic tenet, we can celebrate ourselves daily. This will ensure success all year long!
Nicola Dehlinger, ND, graduated from SCNM in 2004. Dr Nicola sees clients from around the world in her naturopathic medical practice, Pura Vida Natural Healthcare, in Durango, CO. She is an expert in the treatment of anxiety, depression, and insomnia. She is able to minimize supplements and medications as her patients become empowered to heal themselves. In addition to seeing clients, Dr Nicola leads group and private retreats. She also teaches a variety of online and in-person classes. In her free time, you can find Dr Nicola in the mountains or the kitchen, enjoying time with her husband, son, and their dogs. Website: www.puravidahealthcare.com