As we enter March I start to think of the Spring coming and the idea of Spring Cleaning comes to mind. Not only do we get to Spring clean our homes, I think of Spring cleaning my holistic self, that is body, mind, spirit and emotions. One way I do this is by improving my mood all round by taking a healthy look at my diet. In particular, it’s time to look at my blood sugar levels as like most of us, I have a tendency to crave more carbohydrates and therefore more sugar when the weather is cold. (Check out last month’s article for more information.)
So this month I am sharing with you some of my suggestions to help you improve the stability of your blood sugar levels and thereby improve your energy, mental alertness, emotional stability and nurture your whole self:
1. Start by replacing refined sugar products with fresh fruit. Fresh fruit contains naturally occurring sugars. They are carbohydrates. Unlike refined sugar, naturally occurring sugars in food are processed more slowly and without the extreme rise and dips of energy. Whenever you crave something sweet try eating an apple. Apples are nature’s fast food. They are easy to carry with you and easy to eat. You may feel a little deprived at first, but you will adapt and eventually find those sugary snacks too sweet! If you don’t like apples or have a food sensitivity to them, try other types of fresh fruit.
2. Next step is kicking the coffee habit. A good way to start is by using good quality decaffeinated coffee. You will need to do this gradually or you may find the withdrawal process produces headaches and other side effects that may give you an excuse to give up. Withdrawal symptoms may possibly include headache, irritability, and inability to concentrate and stomach aches. Go slowly, for example if you drink 5 cups of caffeinated coffee or sodas daily, cut to 2 or 3 each day for a week, replacing the other 2 or 3 with decaffeinated coffee and/or all natural sodas (available in health food stores and green sections in supermarkets) or better still just drink water. The following week change to one or two cups of coffee or sodas daily, and gradually bring yourself to using none or just keep it at one a day. Try herbal teas. Most herbal teas contain no caffeine. If in doubt, read the label. Green and black teas contain caffeine based on steeping time , but on average contain around half the amount of caffeine present in coffee. There are hundreds of herbal teas on the market nowadays. Start by buying sample packs and find your favourites. Try coffee substitutes, you may find you like them. Limit your caffeine to one coffee or soda a day and feel the difference in your energy levels.
3. Third step is to drink water. I know I’m always going on about drinking your water, but it really does make a difference. Try it and see! Drink between 6 and ten 8oz glasses of water daily. Water helps us to flush out the adverse chemicals that may build up in our body by increased anxiety. So drink your water and flush the system. In addition we need the water to keep the digestive tract working. As you are increasing the amount of dietary fiber you are eating (remember we looked at that last month) you need to increase the water to allow the fiber to bulk and move along the digestive tract. Don’t like water? Try fizzy spring water with ice and a slice of lemon and drink it from a beautiful glass. Keep a jug of water in the fridge and add fresh peppermint or lemon or oranges to give the water some taste. Carry a 1.5 liter bottle with you in the morning and promise yourself you’ll finish it by bedtime, then finish it by noon and feel pleased with yourself!
4. Next step is to make sure you add protein to your diet. Protein helps to keep sugar levels stable by being slow-burning fuel in the body. It is found in nuts, yogurt, beans, fish, meat, poultry, tofu and lentils. Find out which proteins work for you and include them in your diet. Often we think of protein as meat, however not everybody metabolizes meat protein well. Include the vegetable based proteins in your diet and see how you feel. The American FDA in conjunction with the World Health Organization has concluded that animal complete proteins that contain all the essential amino acids such as milk, eggs, meat and the complete vegetable protein soy are of most value to the body. You will feel more energy and a sense of well-being and any physical sensations of stress will lessen when your body has the right fuel. Start by ensuring you have a variety of sources of protein.
5. And step five is to make sure you have some good healthy carbohydrates in your diet. Carbohydrates, like proteins are also slow burning energy and contribute to a sense of fullness when part of a balanced meal. They provide energy. In addition it is believed that carbohydrates increase the seratonin levels in the brain, which then promote a calming effect.
If this seems a little confusing to start on your own and you would like some help to get started on a personalized wellnessProgramcontact me. Consultations available in person or by phone. Begin Spring as you mean to carry on and start taking care of yourself now! Email me firstname.lastname@example.org for an appointment.