Now that the season for indulgence is over, it’s time to renew your focus on the important connections between mind, body, and spirit (and I’m not just talking about exercise!). The holidays can feel stressful and sometimes we’ll even crave the simplicity of getting back to a regular routine come January. The kids go back to school, we focus on our work and our philanthropy, and organize our resolutions in the first quarter of the new year. This year, I want you to forget about everything you’ve heard about dieting, and focus on your lifestyle. My ‘version’ of a healthy and active lifestyle includes cleansing your body, mind, and spirit, and it doesn’t include scary products or meal plans, just clean, pure food, and a little bit of intentional quiet time.
The foods that most of us eat, known as the “Standard American Diet” typically contain high levels of unhealthy fats, added sugars and refined grains. These rich foods can throw off the normal pH of our bodies, setting us off in a downward spiral of weight gain, stress, and fatigue. On the pH scale, a score of 7 is considered neutral. Anything measuring 6.9 or below is considered an acid, and anything over 7.1 is considered an alkali. In order to “alkalize” your body, it’s best to focus on eating whole, plant-based foods rather than packaged snacks and commercially prepared foods. A little fresh lemon juice squeezed into your water every day will even help promote immune system strength and increase your body’s ability to fight off illness.
Start out this year by ditching all the packaged and processed food in your pantry. Be intentional about shopping for the colors of the rainbow. Eating fruits, vegetables, and beans that have naturally beautiful color usually means they are also high in natural antioxidants. Some cold weather choices that can be easily found through the winter months include kale and cranberries. In this salad, I’m using pomegranate with oranges and arugula. Eating arugula is a great way to stimulate proper digestion as it is rich in phytochemicals. Additionally, the antioxidants found in plant-based foods such as arugula activate enzymes in your liver that can help your body get rid of everything it doesn’t need, and thus improve your energy level and help you feel well overall. The connections that exist between what you eat and your overall health really are astounding. If you become mindful of your food choices, the natural healing of your body can occur. Consider adding in some intentional time each day to quiet your mind, and you’ll be on your way toward a healthy lifestyle in 2016.
A little personal tid-bit…I did a practice run on my co-workers in December, and now I’m serving this arugula salad at a formal “grand opening” reception in January! I can’t wait to see what the guests think about it!
1 bunch of arugula
1 pomegranate – seeded
1 orange, peeled and sliced
top with a sprinkle of goat cheese and a good, aged, dark balsamic vinegar