So how are you going sticking to your new years resolutions? It can be a bit of a challenge sometimes yes? I want to remind you but mostly remind me, it doesn't have to be so overwhleming. We can make progress by doing this one easy thing.
Everyone has seen the ad on TV right? About swapping healthy & not so healthy choices. Well it makes total sense and is absolutely sensible. To live healthier, we don't need to chuck our entire routines, pantries and usual family recipes in the bin and start fresh. We can gently swap in healthier & more nutritious foods and ingredients into our recipes over time to improve the overall health of our pantries and meal plans for the long term.
That is what this year for me is about.
I've made many changes over the years to improve things in relation to my own nutrition and I've always made huge efforts where my children are concerned. Sadly I have had periods of neglecting myself & letting poor choices creep in, especially when I'm tired, extra busy or really feeling the isolation & uncomfortableness of some feelings, ok many feelings. This year I'm setting about fixing that in particular and I'm committed.
Its a little bit about the food, but probably more so the mindset. Not wanting to add pressure, not wanting to get all stressed out about it, not kicking myself when I'm already down about how I could have done it better, or how I should fit in more etc. Just putting into practice those same principles that were my natural working instincts in my pre-children working career - continuous improvement, transparency, best practice, variety & contingency plans.
Keeping equilibrium - but letting some habits/ingredients go & replacing them with new fresh ideas, over time. Making those swaps here & there to help you on your way is what I want to focus on this week. And I'll use it as a bit of a self check-in & a recap week too. Read on, maybe something will click with you here too or you might have great swap ideas to share.
For me, right now, my swaps look like this....
I want to avoid drinking calories [except nutritious smoothies of course!]:
So I want to give up V energy drink. I'm well aware its one of the worst things I could be putting into my body. I've never been a tea or coffee drinker. This drink is my caffeine boost. I also don't drink alcohol of any kind, so V is my poison when I need a pick me up. I've found it addictive & even harder to give up than chocolate. Chocolate I am able to have as a pleasureable treat or sometimes food.
I'm swapping out V for my water/soda water & buying lemons & limes instead. I haven't given up completely but I can see cold turkey is the best way forward to kick this horrible habit. So thats what I am aiming for.
We've never been big juice drinkers here. Maybe 4 bottles of unsweetened orange per year. The swap - I just won't buy it full stop, but if we really feel like a glass of juice on Christmas morning or other special occasion, we'll just swap the buying of unsweetened juice with juicing few fresh oranges at home on the rare occasion that we feel like it.
How do you go with drinking calories? Do you try to limit coffees or reduce sugars? Maybe have one or a few alcohol free days per week? Are you swapping it for anything else?
I want to reduce processed food & use good salts & oils:
Slowly swapping breakfast toast/muesli bar with nutritious breakfast smoothies. I'll be doing a post on smoothies soon!
As I'm using up processed seasonings, I'm swapping to more fresh & dried herbs to flavour our chicken & meats.
I've swapped sea salt for Murray River salt flakes, a less processed salt. I'm aware of even healthier salts & will investigate those in the future too.
I've swapped olive oil & rice bran oil for macadamia & coconut oil for high heat cooking. I'm using olive oil for low heat cooking.
Have you made some swaps like this? I'd love to hear about easy swaps.
I want to reduce sugar:
Reducing processed food takes care of a fair bit of sugar already. I certainly don't add sugar to anything. But I'm motivated to swap out sauces like tomato paste or chilli relishes etc that contain not only various additives, but sugar too, with a homemade sugarless version. I have some lovely recipes for tomato sauces which is the next bit of experimenting I want to do. I have just bought a stack of cooking tomatoes and I'm ready to tackle that now the kids are back at school & kindy.
Whether in the form of chocolate here & there or some other sweet treat, I definitely need to swap out sugary treats with other options. I'm doing better. And I have contingency plans!
I'm intrigued to hear whether anyone has tried quitting sugar? My friend Mardi will be guest posting for me in the coming weeks on her 'I Quit Sugar' journey. She has a great general approach to things I think. Can't wait to share!
I want to reduce wheat:
I've swapped white bread in the house to either rye, sourdough, artisan, wholegrain, wholemeal or gluten free [GF isn't necessarily much healthier but we are experimenting, testing, trying]. And the kids are on board. They understand that bleached white bread just isn't good for our bodies. They miss it but they are being good sports about trying other options. So far sourdough is one of their favourites. It has helped taking them to the supermarket and letting them pick out some good choices of their own.
I'm working on swapping out store bought bread with making my own. I mentioned a while back that I was testing out a new bread recipe. Well it was for sprouted grain bread with just a few ingredients. Great recipe. Total making failure. But I'm still on the hunt & have lots more breads I want to try. Luckily I have lots of recipes to work through & will share each successful one with you of course!
We are also not relying on bread a for a daily lunchtime sandwich. So I've reduced bread consumption to a few slices per week & swapping the padding out of meals with bread, for more protein instead. Salad & chicken. Lunch omelette/frittata in place of a sandwich a couple of times per week.
I had pretty much given up pasta, at least while I want to lose kilograms. Until last week. We make our own bolognese sauce here & had switched to GF rice pasta a while back, nobody seemed to notice too much. Actually Chelsea has definitely been less bloated - post pasta. She has a number of gastro sensitivities. Anyway, its been a month or more since I've had pasta and about a third of the way through, it was fork down. Full & bloated & couldn't continue. So I guess its not a swap so much, just not in a hurry to have another pasta anytime soon.
Rather than buying a processed pita or other bready options I've been experimenting with spelt to make my own pizza base for family pizza night. So last week I had a recipe win! I'm very happy to make the swap of bought pizza base for homemade! You can find my recipe HERE.
Anyone make their own bread?
I want to improve fitness:
In all honesty I've found moving my body the most challenging so far this year because of school holidays. It feels like I'm up & down and attending to kids all day long, because I am, but its not at an intensity that is helping. I am simply not moving enough.
I am swapping complete idleness with home projects. Taking the opportunity to move furniture, sort out systems, clear out old clothes etc. I'm even moving clothes from my clothes horse treadmill so I can get cracking in the evenings with running, hill climbing & walking.
On some days I've swapped nothing at all with stair climbing and rope skipping. Knees are holding up ok, just the odd twang here & there.
Now that school is back I've swapped out doing more gentle exercise with greater intensity gym work. I really want to get to where I was a year or so ago with fitness. I was doing between 4 and 6 classes per week plus some treadmill work. I don't want to be a fitness freak but I remember the spring in my step back then. I want to feel strong to the core again and I want to have more energy to tackle my busy days.
I read that it takes 30 days to find fitness and 2 weeks to lose it. Who is in with me to ramp exercise this week and feel great in 30 days? What kind of 'moving' have you been doing lately?
I want to feel mentally stronger:
I've always been a tough cookie. On the outside. Able to deal with whatever has been thrown at me. And there has been alot in recent years. Particularly with kidney disease & transplant, changing careers, building a house, an 8 year fertility journey, 2 house break-ins, handling the birth of 5 children in 5 years and my littlest twin going through risky heart surgery to save her little life. OMG, right I'm off to have a chocolate bar!
Yes, I would be lying if I said that I hadn't comforted myself with food when I've felt panicked, emotional, frightened, and ok, bored, tired & isolated. I want to not let the crazy day or others get to me. I am in control! I want to swap the panicked, emotional person with feelings of guilt & disappointment WITH a more calm, relaxed person & work on having more inner peace. I've now created a goodie basket for myself which I'll initially be using as distraction and I hope I will form a good habit of turning to the comforting fun basket of things to do rather than head to the fridge in the future. You can read more about the goodie basket idea here. I also want to learn how to do some yoga & simple meditation. I have someone special in mind to talk to more about those things. I will see if they are happy to write a little guest post for me too.
So there's some of my recent swaps, mostly improvements, a few areas I still struggle with. And of course as I take this year to sort out a few new things & try to ingrain other habits, my wants & swaps might change even more over time.
Do you have any good swaps you can share with me?