This is it, the year you’re going to shed those unhealthy habits and emerge fitter, stronger and feeling so much better. We’re going to help you get started with advice from three local wellness experts. Through education and experience, Angie Bartness, owner of Physical Culture (v), Dr. Casey Moore from Moore Chiropractic and Aaron Switz, owner of Agra Culture Kitchen & Press, have discovered successful strategies for eating better–even in winter when you’re more likely to crave carbs and couch cushions. The time is now. Clean out those cupboards and cleanse your kitchen of foods that may be weighing you down. Here’s a guide to get you started.
Angie Bartness, owner Physical Culture (v)
Bartness is a personal trainer with certification from the National Personal Training Institute and the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.
Eliminate foods that may cause inflammation.
Most common inflammatory foods include refined sugars, processed foods, artificial sweeteners, foods labeled “low-fat” or “diet” as well as gluten, soy, corn and dairy. Side effects of inflammation can be fatigue, headache, digestive issues, joint pain, poor sleep, weight gain and skin issues.
+ Eat lots of vegetables in order to crowd out less healthy foods from your diet.
+ Whenever possible, purchase organic meats, dairy and produce.
Possible gluten replacements:
+ Gluten-free sprouted bread and tortillas
+ Gluten-free oats
+ Chick pea pasta, quinoa pasta, brown rice pasta, spaghetti squash pasta, zucchini noodles. “Everyone should try Miracle Noodles! They are gluten free, soy free and only 15 calories per serving so you can really indulge.” Miracle Noodles are made from a Japanese plant called konnyaku shirataki. “They’re so amazing and they even donate a portion of their profits to charity,” says Bartness.
Possible dairy replacements:
+ Almond milk, cashew milk, coconut milk
+ Instead of butter try coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil and ghee. “The milk solids casein and lactose are removed from ghee so most people with dairy sensitivities can tolerate it. It also has many health benefits.”
Healthy winter comfort foods:
+ Sweet potatoes
+ Cauliflower mashed potatoes
+ Spices, especially cinnamon
+ Spaghetti made with spaghetti squash
+ Warm apple slices
+ Healthy chicken parmesan
+ Green or black tea
Pre-workout snack ideas:
+ Banana + a Tbsp. of almond butter
+ Oatmeal + nut butter + berries
+ Greek yogurt with nuts + a drizzle of honey
Post-workout snack ideas:
+ Chicken breast + brown rice
+ Clean whey protein shake
+ Hard boiled eggs
+ Crackers + tuna
Physical Culture (v) will sponsor a 21 day cleanse in mid-January. The cleanse will include an introductory meeting about what foods to eliminate and how, daily emails, a private Facebook support group, optional kitchen cleanup and/or grocery store visit as well as private coaching and a closing meeting. Any interested non-members will be able to take fitness classes at Physical Culture (v) for free during the cleanse period.
Dr. Casey Moore, owner of Moore Chiropractic
Moore is a board certified chiropractor who believes wellness is the degree to which an individual experiences health and vitality in any dimension of life. Wellness is about being able to do what you enjoy most in life for the rest of your life.
Get adequate vitamin D into your diet.
Vitamin D is essential to ensure calcium absorption. In addition to bone health, current research finds that vitamin D deficiency may be a major factor in the pathology of at least 17 varieties of cancer as well as heart disease, stroke, hypertension, autoimmune diseases, diabetes, depression, chronic pain, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, muscle weakness, muscle wasting, birth defects, periodontal disease and more.
Also, during cold and flu season, adequate vitamin D can help the body’s immune response to fight the flu.
Best food sources for vitamin D:
+ Cod liver oil
+ Mushrooms enriched with vitamin D
+ Orange juice fortified with vitamin D
+ Milk fortified with vitamin D
+ Yogurt fortified with vitamin D
+ Ready to eat cereal fortified with vitamin D
+ Liver or beef
Regular and diet soda. Regular soda spikes blood sugars and artificial sweeteners in diet sodas have been linked to cancers.
“Real food. No boxes or mixes. Not too much. Mostly plants.”
Organic free-range hard-boiled eggs. “They’re an easy snack packed with healthy vitamins, fats and protein. Don’t be afraid of eggs because of fat and cholesterol. Fats are good for you and your body needs them.”
Make your lunches for the week rather than picking up on the go. Adapt meals to reflect fruits and vegetables that are in season and readily available.
Aaron Switz, owner of Agra Culture Kitchen & Press
Switz once had a personal chef to prepare healthy meals for his busy family. When another opportunity lured their chef away, Switz was inspired to launch a restaurant that served healthy, wholesome and nutritious food.
The corporate chefs and nutritionists at Agra Culture identify healthy food trends and try to incorporate a combination of unique and recognizable items on the menu. In order to avoid things like dairy, gluten and sugar, Agra Culture uses plant based dressings instead of regular mayonnaise or butter. Try to reduce carbs or gluten simply by tweaking a recipe.
Unless you really enjoy cooking and the planning, shopping and chopping that go with it, you may end up over-buying. This results in wasted food and unnecessary expense. From a cost standpoint, buying healthy meals from places like Agra Culture may not be as unaffordable as you think. Services like Bite Squad and Amazon are making nutritious food more available to health-conscious consumers. Agra Culture essentially becomes an extension of your own kitchen. But when you do cook at home, start by choosing better oils like sunflower or coconut oil.
MEAL OF THE MOMENT:
The Agra-bowl is the number one seller at Agra Culture and it’s a dish that can be easily replicated at home. Combining items like rice, vegetables and chicken provides an all-in-one meal that is both nutritious and satisfying.
Angie’s Healthy Sweet Potato Veggie Chili
1 medium white onion chopped
3 medium sweet potatoes cubed
1 15 ounce can unsalted black beans
1 16 ounce jar of salsa
2 cups veggie stock
2 cups water
Sauté chopped onion over medium heat in 1 Tbsp coconut oil. Stir while cooking until translucent and soft. Add sweet potatoes (“I like to add cinnamon because my kids don’t do spicy but you can add any spices you’d like.”) Cook for 3 minutes, then add salsa, water and vegetable stock. Stir. Bring mixture to a low boil over medium high heat, lower heat to medium-low and simmer. Add black beans, cover and cook for at least 25 more minutes. The sweet potatoes should be soft and the broth should be thick. Allow your chili to sit for a while to maximize flavor. Serve with chopped avocado and enjoy!