With the season changing, I thought it would be the perfect time to embrace how our eating habits “switch over.” I connected with lifestyle coach, Phil Randazzo on the subject. We co-authored this week’s blog, applying the mindfulness so often professed in a Pilates practice to our tummies.
As a coach who became specialized in nutrition, I’ve witnessed clients experience the greatest success when addressing change through holistic health. You might think of your health as simply the physical conditioning of your body. But holistic health encompasses the mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual aspects – and how they relate to one another in your life. One of the strongest relationships we have is with food, and winter is a season when we certainly love to focus on holiday feasting.
As winter approaches, there are more changes to be made than just how you dress. Let’s take a trip back to 10,000 BC, when man didn’t have access to drive thru’s, microwaves, etc. What did they eat? How did they stay hydrated? Counter to what you might think when comparing summer and winter – it’s the cold season when you need to pay closer attention to dehydration.
When the colder weather hits, there’s less humidity. Plus, we’re indoors a lot more, in a drier heated environment. Perspiration can evaporate a lot more quickly in this setting. Both these factors can diminish the perception that we are losing overall body hydration.
As a general rule of thumb, you should consume half your body weight of water in ounces per day. For example, if you weigh 140 pounds, you should drink 70 ounces of water daily. This average varies, depending on your activity level. Whether or not you are getting enough water from the foods you eat can influence that daily goal. Vegetables as a healthy portion on your plate gives your diet variety, while doubling as a great source of hydration.
Being mindful and listening to your body when the seasonal foods change can be an adjustment. You know that as summer fades away, so do the fresh juicy foods that we all love –mostly fruits and vegetables, which grow above ground. Even when you do buy those fruits in the store off-season – they’re just not quite as good, are they? As the time of year changes, it’s out with the old, and in with the new. Foods that grow below ground, such as: potatoes, onions, cabbage, beetroots, carrots, and the like, become the staple for your side dishes and soups.
During the summer months, our bodies are used to taking in a lot of vegetables and not as much proteins and fats. However, with winter taking away most all of our vegetation, protein and fat become a more central focus in our meals.
What else can we look to when the ground is frozen? One answer is animal byproducts. When our ancestors needed warmth in the winter, they went out for a hunt and used the meats to feed themselves and the skins to warm themselves. Knowing this is important because although we no longer live in caves, we do get our genetic code from these ancestors. If your diet allows, try eating more meats and healthy fats this winter. More specifically, look for animal products that are of the highest quality. Search your local store for grass fed beef. Look for organic, all natural foods that are free of added hormones, pesticides, and things that are unnatural to the body.
Another healthy protein option during the cold winter months would be beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Beans and lentils are a very inexpensive source of protein, and go great in soups and stews on a cold night. Nuts and seeds are also high in protein, and a great option for those of you who are vegetarian or vegan. Use them as a great go-to snack during this winter season.
When it comes to healthy fats, like avocados, coconut oil is also a very healthy fat. Coconut oil is comprised of medium chain fatty acids (MCFA), which are immediately converted in the liver to energy rather than being stored as fat. Plus, coconut oil oxidizes at a very high temperature. So, when you use it in cooking, it maintains its nutrients instead of altering or burning away in the process. Consider this an excellent substitute in baking as well, helping to give festive goodies a healthy angle.
The 3 Tips to stay on top of your health, and your hydration during this winter season:
- Drink half your body weight in ounces of water daily. I don’t care how hydrated you feel, doing this is a must!
- Consume foods that are in season. Find high quality, natural foods to add to your favorite family recipes this holiday.
- Choose healthy fat options to sustain your health this winter. Use coconut oil, from eating to cooking with, for a healthy energy boost and plenty of other benefits!
If there is one key takeaway that I would like you to get from reading this blog post, it would be this: Be mindful of your health. Pretending that your health is fine and will get better without changing anything will get you nowhere. You are responsible for your health choices, so it is up to you to take informed action.
Remember, knowledge isn’t power; APPLIED knowledge is power.
Phil Randazzo is a certified Holistic Lifestyle Coach and Exercise Coach through the CHEK Institute. Phil is the author of Beating the Freshman 15: 15 Steps to Beat the Freshman 15, which is available through the Amazon store. Phil’s main goal in life is to re-teach people the true meaning of vitality, and empower them with the tools to make mindful choices. Check out his Facebook page at www.facebook.com/beatingthefreshman15.