Updated: Jan 9
Blog written by Nik from Nirmala Wellbeing.
Photo by Ehud Neuhaus on Unsplash.
A 2010 study by health psychology researcher Philippa Lally from University College London, showed that it takes a minimum of 18 days to build a habit. The 12-week study showed a medium of 66 days and a maximum of 254 days was required to make life-changing habits.
Nik from @nirmalawellbeing a degree qualified naturopath wholeheartedly believes it is the small daily tasks which change our life – not the one-off fads. Our day is comprised of daily rituals and habits which create the foundation of our lifestyle & we completely agree!
Laying the foundations of health, for both preventive measures and for management of chronic conditions, can truly change our lives. So let's start with laying the foundations and preparing yourself for success for the New Year.
Healthy living is much simpler than you realise...
Are you ready to make healthier choices?
One of Niks best tips for moving away from processed foods and towards a wholefood diet is to make sure your pantry is stocked with nutrient-dense staples.
These are the foods that you can turn to over and over again, you can use in a variety of ways and are there to provide a base for your meals and baking.
When you have a pantry filled with delicious, nutritious ingredients that also happen to be super versatile, you’re much more likely to stick to your healthy eating habits and make something nutrient-dense for your family.
Where do I start?
This doesn’t have to be overwhelming, these steps might be something you do over the weekend or even something you take a bit slower over a few weeks.
1. Remove all junk food and sugar
Chances are if you have it in the cupboard, you are going to eat it. We want to eliminate the chances of you being exposed to packaged foods and processed sugars. You must remove ALL the junk! This includes any food and beverages which contain sugar, refined and processed flours and all processed foods. Any un-opened foods can be donated to charity.
2. Toss out the bad fats
Many cooking oils are very unstable, causing huge amounts of oxidative damage and stress on the body, upsetting hormones and storing themselves as fat in your own body. Not to mention the effect these fats have on your heart health. Toss out any highly refined cooking oils such as corn, canola, and soy, fried foods you may have stored in your freezer and margarine in your fridge.
3. Replace with whole, real food
Reclaim your kitchen by replacing anything that is questionable with REAL, FRESH, WHOLE FOODS without labels.
Having a well-stocked pantry can help you manage weight, lower stress levels, improve your energy and keep you fuller for longer! Slowly gathering your staples over a number of weeks allows for the changes you are making to your nutrition to be manageable and sustainable for you.
• Coconut oil (for cooking with high heat)
• NZ olive oil, flaxseed or hemp seed oil (for salads and garnishing)
• Grains such as brown or wild rice, quinoa and couscous
• Nuts such as almonds, walnuts, cashews
• Seeds such as pumpkin, sesame, sunflower, chia
• Pulses such as chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans
• Plant-based protein powder
• Designated coconut
• Peanut butter
• Cacao nibs and cacao powder (not cocoa)
• Buckwheat and wholemeal flour
• Dried herbs and spices
• Balsamic vinegar and apple cider vinegar for salad dressings
• Salt and pepper
From there you can build your weekly shopping list from:
• Seasonal fresh fruit and vegetables
• Sustainably caught fresh fish, including salmon
• Free-range lean meat
• Full-fat milk and dairy, including Greek yoghurt and cheese
Nik also likes to encourage all her clients to head to a local Farmers Market at least once a month to stock up on fresh seasonal produce - we are so lucky in New Zealand to have such a wonderful abundant offering of Farmers Markets! It is a great way to learn what is in season throughout the year and to support small spray-free and organic farmers.
Additionally, it encourages a spray-free or organic, wholefoods diet. Wholefoods or minimally processed foods are foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes left in as natural a state as possible. In their natural state, they are loaded with vitamins, minerals, fibre, and other essential nutrients!
Nutrient dense foods provide nutrients for your body such as fibre, vitamins and minerals with low added sugar and fat, while energy dense foods, or high calorie foods, provide many calories with little value to your body. Can you just imagine the energy increase you can get from this habit alone?
PLUS choosing foods that have not been sprayed with pesticides and herbicides means that you are reducing the load on your liver.
Start small and build on what you have over the coming weeks, by the New Year you should have your foundations laid and from there you can build healthy new habits for the year ahead.
Nik is a degree qualified naturopath, medical herbalist and yoga teacher inspiring you to live a holistic lifestyle through loving movement, mindfulness, natural medicine and wholefoods. She runs a homebased clinic in Mount Albert, Auckland where she supports people with natural alternatives to their health. She takes in person and video consultations. Check out her website and social pages below for more information.