What’s Happening In January?

With a new year comes resolutions. For many of us, we decide January is the time to make changes to our lifestyles whether that be food, drink or other lifestyle factors. This January, there are two charity pledges looking to make us healthier and happier:

Veganuary

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Veganuary is a campaign that was launched in 2014 and encourages people to try going vegan for 31 days. By signing up to the pledge, you will be given tips on how to eat as a vegan without suffering from nutritional deficiencies. These are the reasons they give to try the vegan diet:

  • To prevent animal suffering
  • To help combat health problems
  • To help protect our planet

If you choose to take on the Veganuary pledge, here are my top tips:

  • Fill your plate with lots of colourful fruits and vegetables
  • Make sure you are getting protein. These can come from nuts, seeds, beans, pulses, legumes and lentils. Many vegetables also contain small amounts of protein
  • Ensure you’re getting your essential nutrients that you may be at risk of missing out on:
    • Vitamin B12 – Can be found in fortified products such as cereals, milk alternatives and nutritional yeast (marmite)
    • Vitamin D – Our main source is sunlight
    • Vitamin A – Found in carrots, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, spinach, cantaloupe and kale
    • Iodine – Found in seaweed
    • Iron – Found in leafy green veg, dark chocolate, sweet potatoes, peas, tofu, dried fruit, beans and pumpkin seeds
    • Omega 3 & 6 Fatty Acids – Found in flaxseeds, nuts, chia seeds and sunflower oil
    • Selenium – Found in Brazil nuts
    • Zinc – Found in legumes, nuts, seeds, oats and leafy green veg
  • You may need to supplement some nutrients but always get the advice of a dietician or nutritionist
  • Search for recipes to get some ideas

For more information and advice, go to veganuary.com

Dry January

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The Dry January campaign originated in 2012 and involves giving up alcohol for 31 days. The benefits according to Alcohol Concern include:

  • It enables you to take control of your relationship with alcohol
  • Makes you think about why you drink alcohol and how you can reduce it in the future
  • Helps you sleep better
  • Helps you lose weight
  • Help to improve your skin
  • Saves you money
  • Helps you feel a sense of achievement

If you sign up for the campaign, you will receive support and advice and you will have access to an app which will allow you to track the month.

For more information and advice, go to alcoholcondern.org.uk/dry-january

 

So, will you be taking on any of these campaigns or do you have a resolution of your own this January?

How to Lose Weight Healthily

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Now that Christmas is over, many people are looking to shed those post-Christmas pounds as soon as the new year begins. Many people even have weight loss as one of their New Year’s Resolutions. But what is the best way to lose weight? Here are my top tips for healthy weight loss:

  • Fill your plate with colourful fruits and vegetables. They are high in essential nutrients and low in calories so you would need to eat a lot in order to gain weight compared to a chocolate bar. Try to have more veg than fruit as fruit contains sugars (which are natural but too much is not ideal). If you’re not one for fruit and veg, try to hide it in food such as cottage pie or smoothies.
  • Think about what you’re drinking. Liquid calories count too. Many soft drinks contain large amounts of sugar which cause them to be very calorific. If you’re not keen on plain water, add some natural favourings such as lemon juice.
  • Include protein in all of your meals. Protein is slower digesting so will keep you feeling fuller for longer. That means we’ll be less likely to reach for the biscuit tin. Examples include white poultry (i.e. chicken), eggs, beans, lentils and nuts.
  • Choose unrefined carbohydrates (i.e. wholegrain breads and pasta or brown rice) over refined sugar carbohydrates (i.e. white breads and pasta, cakes and pastries).
  • Take a packed lunch to work with you so you won’t feel tempted by the unhealthy options in the canteen or local shops.
  • If you need to have a snack in between meals, don’t reach for the chocolate bar and opt for carrot sticks and hummus or a mix of dried fruit and nuts.
  • Get some exercise in. This could be walking, the gym, swimming, yoga, etc.
  • Don’t become obsessed with scales. Scales will measure your overall weight but will not take into account your level of body fat or muscle. Measure your body to be able to see inch loss.

Wishing everyone a happy and healthy New Year!