Food for Thought in 2017

Lose Weight!
Get Healthy! Exercise!
Eat Less! Detox!

Each new year, as I get back into my post-holiday routine, I am keenly aware of the exclamations that have popped up at every turn. They confront me at my go to lunch spot, the gym, and the supermarket.  I hear the mantras on the radio while driving the children to school, see them on television, read about them in the newspaper, and inevitably spot them flashing on my computer screen when searching the internet.  They are some subtle, and mostly not so subtle, reminders of the “NEW” and “IMPROVED” version of ourselves,  that we are compelled to strive for once again.

Admittedly, as a nutritionist, the mother of three impressionable young boys, and the daughter of a man who suffered physically from poor lifestyle choices, I have already embraced the long and winding journey of a healthful life.  I too find the changing calendar a cue to be more mindful of how I nourish my body and those of my family day to day.  I think profoundly about how best to help friends, family and clients with their own personal nutrition enlightenment.  There is always the latest science, fad diet, trendy ingredient and scary new revelation about our food supply to consider.

Yet, I remain confident that despite the overload of information, and constant pressure to achieve perfection, it doesn’t take extreme measures to improve our well being.  In fact, for most of us, it takes small steps.  As far as diet is concerned, it means getting used to  a new food, or eating routine, before moving onto the next.  Maybe, its switching from diet soda with lunch to plain sparkling water.  After a month, if you feel less indigestion and bloating, and surprisingly less cravings for sweets, water becomes the beverage of choice.

Perhaps it is as simple as trading pre-packaged instant flavored oatmeal for creamy steel cut oats at breakfast.  Mix with dairy or nut milk of your choice, top with a handful of roasted pumpkin seeds, blueberries, and a drizzle of dark amber maple syrup.  Notice how much longer you feel satiated and energized with your new balanced breakfast. (Stay tuned for some truly delicious breakfast recipes in my next post).

Roasted Carrots

It could be upping your antioxidant intake by eating two or more different vegetables with dinner each week.

Week 1;
broccoli, spinach and carrots.
Week 2; Sweet potatoes, chard and fennel.
Week 3; kale, butternut squash and string beans, etc.

When seeking out different ways to prepare and cook the vegetables, you will become more familiar with how you and your family enjoy them most (or not).  One of my favorite combinations is a shredded kale salad with roasted butternut squash and shaved parmesan.  Toss with freshly squeezed lemon, olive oil, sea salt and pepper.  Top with a piece of grilled fish, chicken or chickpeas for added protein.

Cleansing with detox diets, and weight loss plans deliver amazing benefits, and may be the preferred approach to meet certain aspirations or medical needs.  Yet, we’d be remiss to lose sight of the tried and true strategies that lead to meaningful transformations.  Despite the mantra that January is the month of deprivation, I invite you to focus on “MORE” this new year, and not less!

Kale Butternut Squash

MORE vegetables and fruits

MORE colors on your plate

MORE whole grains

MORE water

MORE herbal teas

MORE unprocessed foods

MORE flavoring with fresh spices and herbs

MORE time for preparing and enjoying the bountiful fresh foods available to us with family and friends

Here’s to a happy and healthy 2017

Melissa Wetzstein


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