If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that health and wellness are more important than ever. So, while getting fit, losing weight and eating better are already typical New Year resolutions for many, this January even more Australians will be making their health a priority by taking more care with what they put into their bodies.
Whether 2021 is the year you’re finally going to focus on your wellbeing, or you simply want to shed those ‘covid kilos’ you gained in lockdown, plant milk brand Califia Farms has teamed up with nutritionist Jennifer Murrant from Healthy Luxe to provide some simple tips for kick-starting your new year health journey.
“After the extraordinary year that was 2020, which impacted everyone in so many ways, our hope is that in 2021 there will be a new appreciation for the value of health and ways we can optimise our wellbeing, enhancing our immune systems and increasing vitality,” says Jennifer.
“The food we eat is a vital component. Most people do not eat enough plant-based foods and the challenge for those who do follow a vegan diet is ensuring sufficient nutrients.”
A new report indicates that nearly 2.5 million Australians (that’s 12.1 per cent of the population) have taken up a vegetarian diet, with around 500,000 going fully plant-based and embracing veganism. For those keen to find out how it can benefit their health, Jennifer recommends taking part in Veganuary.
“The Veganuary challenge encourages people to go plant-based for the month of January and has become an increasingly popular trend to kick-start the new year with healthier and more conscious dietary choices,” she says. “It’s also a great opportunity to get creative in the kitchen to support our health.”
According to Jennifer, there many other benefits of eating more plant-based foods at any time.
“One of the things Covid 19 has highlighted is the critical importance of maintaining our health, not only to prevent chronic disease but to strengthen our immune systems to fight acute infections,” she says.
“Plant-based foods contain a wide range of nutrients, including essential antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients that have an important role in nourishing the mind and body as well as reducing inflammation, one of the major factors in disease processes. Plant-based foods are also usually rich in dietary fibre which promotes gut health.”
Here are some of Jennifer’s other tips for boosting your plant food intake and improving your overall health and wellness this new year:
• Make simple swaps such as replacing dairy milk with plant-based milks in coffee, on cereals and in your favourite smoothies. Choosing Califia Farms calcium enriched almond milk means you won’t miss out on this important nutrient.
• Go fresh and seasonal. In January in Australia we have an abundant supply of colourful, fresh produce which is bursting with flavour and natural sweetness. Variety is key.
• Swap highly refined products for whole foods, for example white rice to organic brown rice.
• Reduce added sugars. Excess consumption of processed sugars has been implicated in many chronic illnesses, as well as weight gain. Check products to ensure they have low or no added sugars.
• Stay well hydrated with good quality water.
• Eat out wisely. It’s possible to get delicious and healthy plant-based meals in most establishments now, with many restaurants increasing their vegan choices. Just be careful of anything with too much oil, salt and sugar.
• Say no to soft drinks. A really important habit to break when committing to a healthier diet is to stop reaching for energy drinks and soft drinks. These sugary, nutrient devoid drinks provide an instant energy hit followed shortly by a crash, prompting a craving for more sugar and continuing the cycle. This plays havoc with our blood sugar regulation and health so it’s important to interrupt this pattern. Try replacing these drinks with a refreshing low sugar Califia Farms XX Espresso or Mocha Noir Cold Brew Coffee on ice. Cold brew coffee is much lower in acidity than regular coffee and gentle on the stomach. Califia’s Vanilla Almond Milk is another delicious alternative.
• Nutritious food and a holistic approach will bring the best results. This means:
o Find an exercise or movement you enjoy
o Schedule time for rest and self-care, focusing on reducing stress cycles
o Find time for fun activities and time with friends
o Establish good sleep hygiene practices such as going to bed and waking at a similar time and removing electronic devices from the bedroom.
o Spend time in nature.
o Unplug, schedule time away from social media, devices, etc.
o Slow down to help regulate your nervous system.
So, bring on a fresh start to 2021 with a healthier you! For nutritious plant-based recipes and inspiration head to califiafarms.com.au or @califiafarmsau.
The creators behind Healthy Luxe are Sydney-based mother and daughter duo Jennifer Murrant (nutritionist, naturopath and psychotherapist), and Hannah Singleton (food stylist/photographer and digital marketing specialist). Since 2014 they have worked with some of the leading brands in the health and wellness industry, as well as fitness, lifestyle and travel. For more visit their website healthyluxe.com.au or follow their Instagram here: @healthyluxe