From self-care to getting enough kip, overhauling your health isn’t just about food and drink, says Laurann O’Reilly of Nutrition by Laurann. Follow her top 10 tips to get 2023 off to a healthy start
So step away from the biscuits and old selection boxes and use these totally doable tips to ease yourself into a healthier routine for 2023.
1. Remove temptation
After our well-deserved celebrations, we may have some leftover treats hiding in the cupboards. However, if we want to get our new year off to a healthy start, it may be worth doing what I call the ‘cupboard audit’. This may include removing chocolate, sweets, crisps and fizzy drinks. If it’s not there, you won’t be tempted by it — and your body will thank you. As they say, ‘Out with the old and in with the new.’
tip:If it’s not there, you can’t have it, but the secret is to have healthy snacks prepared as an alternative.
2. Start your detox
The effects of a demanding year and an indulgent Christmas of delicious food, drinks and treats can take its toll on us through the build-up of toxins in our bodies.
Although your body has sophisticated ways of clearing out waste through organs such as the liver, kidneys, skin and lungs, they too need to be cleansed occasionally. Remember, just like we regularly get our cars serviced, it’s important to also do the same with our bodies.
We can achieve this through eliminating certain products such as processed foods, refined sugar and alcohol, while introducing foods and nutrients that can help to cleanse and nourish your body, such as fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds.
Signs you may need a detox include: feeling fatigued or run-down, low mood/irritability, low immune system, bloated tummy or digestive issues, and increased skin breakouts, to name but a few.
There are numerous benefits of detoxing, as it cleanses the liver, which is responsible for filtering waste and toxins from our bodies, enhances our energy levels, improves our digestion, can assist with weight loss, gives us clearer skin and a better complexion, improves mental clarity and memory, and improves sleep.
Tip: Download your free online detox pack at nutritionbylaurann.ie.
3. Up your protein
Protein has numerous functions in our bodies, such as hormone balance, boosting metabolism and maintaining our immune systems. However, it also plays an essential role in making new cells in our body.
Protein itself is composed of building blocks called amino acids, and through eating a wide spectrum of different types of good-quality protein (both plant and animal-based), we can get access to a range of these building blocks and enhance the repair of our bodies.tip:Good-quality animal-based protein includes lean meats such as chicken, turkey and fish; while for vegetarians and vegans, some of the highest plant-based sources of protein include chia seeds, flaxseed, sunflower seeds, almonds, hazelnuts, rice, oats, soy beans/products and kidney beans.
4. Stock up on healthy snacks
Having some healthy snacks prepared can really help us get through our busy working days. Remember, convenience is key as we tend to reach for that which is quickest and easiest when we’re on the go.
Tip:It can help to get organised with pre-chopped vegetables and hummus, hard-boiled eggs, fruit, a nut and seed mix and yogurts.
5. Up your water intake
Did you know that if you’re thirsty, you are already dehydrated? We must not underestimate the importance of drinking enough water, as it makes up almost 60pc of our body as well as having some essential functions for our health.
For instance, water plays a role in flushing toxins from our bodies. It also helps to improve our digestion, control body temperature and regulates blood pressure.
Tip: Aim for a minimum of one-and-a-half to two litres of water per day. To help, I recommend purchasing a reusable bottle, which you can keep topped up and with you at all times.
6. Begin a wellness diary
This can help to capture a picture of your current health status and starting point.
Within this, I recommend recording: your food, your energy, your mood, your sleep, and any symptoms you may have, such as headaches, digestive issues or sugar cravings. It can also be extremely helpful to continue to keep note of these along your wellness journey as it can help you to monitor your progress and areas of your diet and lifestyle that you may need to focus on.
Tip: It helps to keep your wellness diary beside your bed and fill it out at the end of each day.
7. Learn to enjoy food
With our busy lives, many of us end up eating on the go, eating too quickly and no longer appreciating our foods. Make this a year where you begin to explore new foods, savour the flavours and experiment with new recipes. Remember, clean eating doesn’t have to be boring as it’s possible to have nutritious and delicious foods.
Tip: This year, try to explore new recipes and flavours — you may surprise yourself!
8. Be kinder to yourself
You can do this by creating a healthier relationship with food, replacing high-fat and high-sugar foods with nourishing fruits, vegetables and lean protein.
It also involves taking time for self-care through exercise and relaxation techniques. Taking better care of your body and mind can drastically improve your overall health.
Tip: Try to schedule time into each day for self-care, even if it’s a 20-minute brisk walk to get a little exercise and clear your head.
9. Aim for more sleep
We mustn’t underestimate the power and importance of sleep as it plays a vital role in recharging and repairing our bodies.
It’s also important to avoid having complex meals too close to bedtime, as we are meant to go into a state of starvation while we sleep — that’s why breakfast is called ‘break-fast’.
Tip: Try to aim for a minimum of seven to nine hours of sleep per night, and remember, the body loves routine, so try keeping to a sleep schedule with a set bedtime, and wake up at a similar time each morning — this allows you to function like clockwork.
10. Set your health goal
Whether you want to eat healthier, lose weight, perform better or gain more energy, set your health goal, believe you can achieve it and let your new year health journey begin.
Tip: It helps to write down your goal, why you want it and how achieving it will have a positive effect on your life. Doing this along with your wellness journal can be extremely powerful.
INGREDIENTS (serves 2): ■ 10-12 ice cubes ■ 1½ cups frozen pineapple ■ 1½ cups frozen mango ■ 2 cups fresh spinach ■ 20 fresh mint leaves ■ 3 cups freshly squeezed orange juice ■ ½ cup porridge oats ■ 2 tbsp fresh ginger, coarsely chopped
METHOD: 1 Layer all of the ingredients in order in a high-powered blender. 2 Blend until completely smooth, adding more orange juice if needed. 3 Divide between two large glasses and serve immediately. Top tip:The oats help to slow the release of sugar and help to prevent cravings. The ginger is not only super-healing but gives it a zingy flavour too.