How many people really set new year’s resolutions? More importantly, how many people really carry out, live up to or reach their new year’s resolutions? To set a resolution or goal to lose 10 pounds or to go to the gym and exercise 4 to 5 days per week is not productive for anyone’s success. It essentially is setting yourself up for failure because there is no definitive plan. Just wanting something to happen and setting a goal is not going to lead to success. What does lead to success is going through the process of contemplating a step by step plan to help yourself make small incremental changes in your lifestyle and habits that become permanent and eventually lead to ongoing improvements in your lifestyle and your health.
You see, the path to good health is a journey and not a destination. You have to be living, breathing, and walking the path every day. You have to set goals to learn new ways of eating, exercising, playing, and relaxing over time; and, implement new things into your life one thing at a time. On this journey there should not be big changes overnight, but instead one small change that becomes permanent which leads to another. Before you know it you will be feeling better and wonder how you ever lived the way you did in the past.
For example, I have a breakfast smoothie most mornings and have been doing this for a number of years. I started out with just fruit, protein powder and a nut milk; but as I got used to that and it became my go to breakfast, I started to add vegetable greens which I realized was a great way to quickly and easily get one or two servings of green veggies in without even trying that I don’t really even taste. I did this for many months and then learned/thought of putting a scoop of a nut butter into my smoothies for good fats to sustain me longer. This added a thickness and a new flavor that I really love and now have trouble living without if I forget to put it in. Jump ahead a few months and I learned about healthy spices to add like cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, and cumin. Along the path of learning I started putting some seaweed (dulse flakes) in because of the level of iodine it has for my overall thyroid health. Each day now my smoothie is an exciting and creative process with whatever mix of different fruits, veggies, spices and vitamins I feel like and it is so delicious that I cannot remember or imagine my day without it. This is a journey of change toward better health that is incremental, consistent and fun.
I was even given a new blender for Christmas and it came with a recipe book. Looking through the book there are recipes for vegetable soups that can be made using the blender. Recently, I made both a beet soup and a carrot curry soup that are both to die for! The color, taste and goodness of these soups is amazing and will definitely be a new consistent addition to my diet and they are simple, simple, simple to make. Cooking delicious and healthy food does not have to be complicated or hard to do. You just need to start with a basic concept and be consistent. Once it becomes a permanent part of your life, then start adding new tangents and avenues on the same theme.
Along the journey my family and I have learned that after drinking or eating colorful and healthy meals we feel satisfied, energized and vibrant; instead of exhausted, nauseous and needing a nap like we used to feel after eating processed or packaged grain filled foods. And as I have made all of these improvements for me, my family has benefitted as well. I can remember a number of years ago putting some beets in a mixture of sautéed vegetables and ground turkey for dinner one night and my step son asked why there were strawberries in the dinner. He was not familiar with beets and so he thought the red stuff were strawberries. I educated him about this vegetable and kept on adding different vegetables to our meals slowly and intermittently over time and now my son eats anything and everything put in front of him because he has come to love it and comments how good he feels after eating. The journey has come so far that my son and I also just made our first homemade hummus this weekend together (in the new blender of course). We blended olive oil, chick peas, garlic, salt and pepper all together; but did not include tahini because we did not have any and did not remember what it was. The first batch was good, but missing something, so we looked up tahini and realized that it is a sesame seed paste that adds an excellent fat (unsaturated fat) and flavor to the hummus. So, we got some and made three different flavors of hummus: garlic, red pepper and red curry. From this experience both my son and I now have learned a new food we can make, have had a special bonding time together, and have feasted on fantastic, energizing, healthy food.
So, stop contemplating any big new year’s resolution and instead take inventory of your lifestyle and ask yourself what is one area you would like to see change in 2017? Once you identify it, ask yourself how you would like to see it change and what small step you are willing to implement and exactly how you are going to implement it. Make your plan and take steps to carry it out. Over the next weeks to a month make this one small change happen and stick to it. Before you know it you will be adding other changes and learning more ways to improve. Look at the change as a journey and focusing on only one step at a time will bring you much success and before you know it you will be looking back and wondering why you never made these changes before?
As another example, I just looked up tahini on the internet to learn more about its benefits and here are the top reasons for eating it:
- Rich in minerals: phosphorus, magnesium, potassium and iron.
- Methionine, which aids in liver detoxification.
- Excellent source of calcium
- High in vitamin E and a number of B vitamins.
- Promotes healthy cell growth.
- Maintains healthy skin and muscle tone.
- Contains healthy fats that are unsaturated.
Wow, I am psyched to know this and not only will I keep making homemade hummus, but will also add tahini to my rotation of different nut butters in my smoothies. Delicious! You see, one day at a time, one small change at a time, one new learning adventure at a time on the journey toward optimal health.