If you’re feeling a little stuffed with cookies and wine post-holiday, you’re not alone. And while we’re all about that kind of indulgence—hopefully you made some amazing memories with your loved ones!—we’re also about getting back to feeling like our best selves. For the next few weeks, we’ll be unrolling some of our best advice, recipes, meal plans, and more—all designed to help solve every problem that’s gotten in the way of you eating your best.
Today, though, we’re sharing the basic rules of the plan. These aren’t designed to limit you but rather to help you think consciously about the choices you’re making. To be honest, these are the rules we always follow in our food section at mindbodygreen—every recipe we post adheres to them, so feel free to search through the site for some inspo! But even we are human. We can drift away from the way we know we want to eat and live and need a little nudge to come back.
That’s when we return to these seven pillars. Use them as the base for your New Year’s Reboot, but know that they’re specifically designed to be flexible, and to fit your life. At mbg, we’re not about restrictive diets–we’re about creating a sustainable, long-term lifestyle that you’ll be excited to lead. Eat what you love! But when you do, consider these parameters:
1. Pack your diet with as many vegetables as possible.
It’s so, so much easier to add food in than take food out, and vegetables are one of the few foods that almost all of our doctors agree are amazing for you. Add them into every meal that you can (sautéed spinach in your morning scramble; a side of Brussels with your lunch; a quick salad with your dinner), and watch yourself naturally eat less as a result of all of that extra fiber you’re consuming.
- Cook with oils that offer extra benefits.
We use primarily avocado, olive, coconut, and ghee in our cooking, each of which offers its own health benefits. Avocado (we love Chosen Foods and Primal Kitchen) is the most neutral tasting, making it a great swap for vegetable oil. Ghee tastes buttery (as it is, after all, made from butter), so it’s delicious for anything you want to impart with that buttery flavor—try Fourth & Heart for a good grass-fed version. Coconut adds a super-subtle sweetness to stir-fries, and you’ll love the grassiness and flavor-melding magic powers of olive oil to finish soups, salads, and pastas. With that in mind…
- Don’t fear fat.
Fat is one of the healthiest things you can eat, and it’s crucial for nourishing your brain and absorbing all of the fat-soluble vitamins in your food. Fats are also satiating, so you won’t find yourself in a fit of hanger, reaching for the next sugar-laden snack you can get your hands on. We’ll be exploring the science of fat for weight loss and health benefits throughout the next few weeks, so stay tuned, but in the meantime, try to include a few types of healthy fats, like avocados, nuts and seeds, or eggs, daily.
- Opt for the whole version.
In general, the more intact any food is, the better it will be for your body. There are thousands of tiny chemical interactions taking place in any food, many of which we’re just beginning to discover (remember when people didn’t know anything about probiotics?). The best way to make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck is to go for the whole food form of anything you eat. This is a particularly good rule of thumb when baking or using flours—we recommend reaching for ones that are simply a finely ground version of a whole food, like coconut flour, almond flour, buckwheat flour, and oat flour. Bob’s Red Mill makes great, widely available options.
- If you choose to eat meat, make sure it’s sustainably raised.
Different diets work for different people—some people thrive on a plant-based diet while others need some eggs or beef to feel sane. Our one rule at mindbodygreen? All meat needs to be raised in a way that’s good for the environment and our bodies. For chicken and eggs, look for pastured options (we love Vital Farms). For beef and lamb, go for grass-fed (Butcher Box is a great source of grass-fed beef, and EPIC is making wonderful sustainable animal-based products). For seafood, it’s more nuanced (sometimes wild-caught is better; sometimes farmed is), but you can educate yourself here and use sites like Seafood Watch to make the best choices for your circumstances.
- Be mindful about sugar consumption.
You don’t need us to tell you that you shouldn’t be eating a ton of sugar—but you also don’t need us to tell you how hard it is to quit the sweet stuff. Depriving yourself of anything is the quickest way to boomerang hard, so instead of getting rid of it completely, try to be mindful about your consumption. Reach for less processed sugars that offer extra benefits like coconut, maple syrup, and honey, and check your condiments and other packaged foods for hidden sugars you’re not really getting any pleasure out of. If you want a treat, make it at home instead of buying it—that way, you’ll know exactly what’s going into it and even eat less (eating homemade generally is one of the best ways to feel instantly healthier, and we recommend doing it as much as possible for your body and budget during the next few weeks).
- Make your food functional.
We believe food should be functional, or, as Hippocrates said, “Let food be thy medicine, and thy medicine be food.” It should fight inflammation, make skin glow, balance hormones, heal the gut, and more. We’ll be sharing more about this in the coming weeks, but in the meantime, consider your symptoms (do you have digestive issues? Breakouts that signal underlying inflammation?), then fill your plate with the appropriate corresponding foods to give you the extra boost you need to heal.
Need some recipe inspo to get you started? Here are a few of our favorites. And remember to check in every day for the next two weeks for more content designed to help you on your health journey!
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