Happy Monday! I hope you had a wonderful Easter weekend. Man, did we need those long, relaxing days. We were getting over a major flu & fever fest in our house, so we laid pretty low, but enjoyed the long weekend. Here in Finland (and in many parts of Europe), the arrival of Easter each year means the luxury of a 4-day weekend, starting on Good Friday and ending on the Monday after Easter. Typically, this also means four days of indulgence in the delicious treats created just for this Spring holiday.
Maybe you’ve had your fill of sugar from that loaded Easter basket of chocolates, peeps and jelly beans you received on Easter morning. Or maybe it was one slice of cake too many; a half-a-dozen hot cross buns; too much ham or lamb or potato-cheese gratin; multiple slices of luscious Kulich (who was counting?); or any number of enticing treats may have thrown you off of your nutrition game.
Not to worry. Life is all about balance, and the occasional treat, or even weekend of treats, is a minor divergence in the large scheme of things, but doesn’t mean you have to get completely off track. Here are 6 tips on how to eat this week to get your diet and your gut back to that happy place.
- Start every morning with a tall glass of lemon water. To make it, squeeze the juice from half a lemon into 12 ounces / 400 ml of cool water; stir; drink up! Lemon juice aids our bodies in cleansing and detoxification because it has an alkalizing effect – meaning it balances out highly acidic conditions in our bodies resulting from poor diets. All of those sweet goodies available everywhere during the holidays are loaded with sugar, which acts as an inflammatory and acidify our system. Sugar is toxin that can lead to disease and poor health and is best eaten in very limited quantities or avoided altogether. But if you’ve indulged, lemon water helps you reset and rebalance and primes your microbiome to get the most out of the nutritious food you’ll be filling up on this week, and hopefully in the weeks to come!
- Eat a healthy, micro-nutrient filled breakfast. You probably already know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and even though you may feel like you want to lighten the load and eat a lot less this week, make sure you still take time for breakfast. Here are a few suggestions:
- Plan for some healthy snacks during the day – once during mid-morning and once during that long stretch between lunch and dinner. Try some of these options to give you energy and staying power:
- Eat a big salad for lunch. Fill up a large plate full of dark greens and a rainbow of vegetables. Add some nuts or seeds for protein, some cooked beans, tofu or a boiled egg, and for the dressing, choose a low-sugar or no-sugar vinaigrette – or even better, drizzle a small amount of high-quality olive oil and a small splash of vinegar over the top. To keep things light this week, skip the cheese, bread, croutons, and the processed meats; and if choosing meat protein, make sure it’s lean and clean and not processed and keep your meat portion small. Don’t worry, you won’t be hungry! A large salad made from a variety of vegetables and good quality nuts and seeds will keep you full and satisfied until it’s time for your midday snack. Here are some salad ideas you might enjoy:
- Make soup for dinner along with a small, green salad. Soup is one of my favorite dinners if I have a busy week ahead and if I want to compensate for not eating well during previous days. You can make a huge batch and eat it all week, or stock up on the basics and make several soups really quickly on the week nights. Also, soup freezes really well, so you can even make extra and freeze it in single-portion servings for some day in the future when you don’t feel like cooking at all. If you feel like you need something extra, serve the soup with one or two slices of whole grain bread or Gluten-free Whole Grain Sandwich Bread. Here are some soup ideas to get you started:
- Make dinner your last meal of the day. If you can, introduce a 12-hour fast into your life this week. According to Dr. Alexander Junger, author of CLEAN, we finish processing our food about 8 hours after we consume it. Once the processing work is done, the signal to release accumulated toxins is triggered and the “house cleaning” begins. By consuming your last food at dinner time and then not eating again until breakfast, you’ll be supporting your body’s natural detox mechanisms and allow your body’s energies to focus on really cleaning out your system. If you feel hungry, brew up a cup of non-caffeinated tea an hour or so before bedtime.
Here’s to your good health! Eat simply, eat well.
What do you do when you want to clean up your diet? Share your tips and experiences in the comments below! If you liked this post, I’d really appreciate if you’d share it with your friends.