New Year: let’s smash 2019

January 2, 2019 8:26 am Published by Leave your thoughts

How was 2018 for you? Did you, at times, feel like you were always stuck in second gear? Can you truly say that any of it was your day, your week, your month – or even your year?

Well, it’s all behind you now. It’s 2019! Feel like engaging first gear? We’ve got 12 top tips – one for each month – to make 2019 the year you finally move your diet plan into the fast lane.

It's New Year - let us take you on a journey through 2019

January: go plant-based

It’s January and you probably need someone to hold your hand as you navigate the horrors of the post-Christmas period. Instead of coming up with a diet plan all by yourself, we’re going to make a suggestion: simply sign up to the Veganuary website. For one month only, thousands of people ‘go vegan’ for Veganuary. Join them and the organisers will send you diet plans, shopping lists and top tips.

We’re not saying that veganism is a ‘must’ for a healthy diet – but there’s nothing wrong with giving it a go for a month. Work off the turkey/pigs-in-blankets meat-fest and general festive over-indulgence with bright, fresh tastes, brought to you (pretty much on a plate) by the Veganuary team.

February: go serious

Now take a step back: it’s time to put a few things behind you before you blast off into the distance. One of those things is the whole array of weird and wonderful diet ideas out there: we’ve seen our fair share. Yes, you’ll lose weight in the short term if you eat nothing but kale/salmon/courgette – but you’ll also lose out on a whole world of nutrition from other elements. There are a million ‘wonder’ diets out there: none of them, in our opinion, are any match for good old-fashioned sensible eating.

Spend this month carrying out some proper, serious, dull research into what your body really needs. Ignore advice from anyone who is too beautiful, enthusiastic or famous to be true – and from anyone who simply wants to sell you their book, promotional video or juicing machine.

March: go wholefoods

Naturally Good Food started as a wholefood selling business – and if there’s one thing we’re unapologetically evangelical about, it’s wholefoods. Wholefoods are the whole of the food, providing you with all of its vital elements: fibre, protein, good fats, vitamins and minerals. Wholefoods covers stuff like nuts, seeds and dried fruit, grains, pulses, oats, rice and oils. These are the building blocks of a proper, sensible diet. This March, base your diet around wholefoods, to give your body a solid foundation for the year ahead.

April: go nuts

Nuts, as we often say, are little powerhouses of nutrition, packed with an unbeatable array of vitamins and minerals. They’re tasty, energising and fill you up, preventing you from snacking on things that are clearly bad for you. You can eat nuts to fix a quick hunger pang, or can make them the basis of either sweet or savoury dishes.

We stock all kinds of nuts at Naturally Good Food (and all kinds of nut butters, too), from chunky brazils to fruity little hazelnuts. We’re specialists in organic varieties, which matters for nuts, as their thin skins are prone to retaining residues. This month, why not see how many nuts you can incorporate into your daily diet – and how many different kinds?

May: go to seed

Seeds too often get overlooked. They’re sometimes seen as the poorer cousin of nuts, and they’re certainly in the same ‘ball-park’, bringing fibre, protein, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and mono and polyunsaturated fats to your diet – but often for a lot less money than nuts.

There’s nothing easier, this May, than buying a small pack of seeds (or a larger pack of mixed seeds) and adding a few to your breakfast cereal or porridge, enjoying a handful for a snack, sprinkling a spoonful over a stir-fry, or adding a few to your baking. We’ve got seeds ranging from the miniscule (chia, poppy) to the biggies (pumpkin, sunflower). We’ve got seed butters, too.

June: go fruity

Whether or not the sun’s come out yet, celebrate its life-giving power by making dried fruit a bigger part of your diet this month. We’ve got organic and non-organic dried fruit of every kind at Naturally Good Food. The organic dried fruit is especially wonderful, bursting with flavour and juiciness. Try our organic currants, raisins and sultanas, or our rich, dark apricots, prunes and figs. For sweetness, our dates are unbeatable.

July: go outdoors

We’re advocates for a natural diet at Naturally Good Food, but also for a natural life in general. Don’t spend more of the summer indoors than you really have to. Get out and about, filling your lungs with fresh air and stretching your limbs. Problems such as constipation and gastro-intestinal difficulties, as well as all the problems attendant upon being overweight, can be treated successfully by altering your diet. But exercise is equally important – and now is the perfect time of year to emphasise that.

If you’re already a keen cyclist, climber or hiker, then you might be interested in our range of plant-based sports supplements. They’re an easy and natural way to add that necessary burst of protein and vitamins to your diet.

August: go natural

We’re fans of the natural world and of a natural way of growing, processing and eating food. We don’t like our food to be heavily processed, stuffed full of additives or messed around with in a hundred different ways. We like running our fingers through sacks of grain, admiring boxes full of ripe nuts and picking up handfuls of velvety oats. We know that you can make amazing things with our raw ingredients: you just need a good recipe! This month, think about giving heavily processed food a miss: what could you make from scratch instead?

September: go organic

An obvious extension to living naturally is to live organically. For us, organic food is the logical next step on a healthy eating journey. You might not be able to afford to go fully organic right now, but in September – the month the Soil Association celebrates organic food across the UK – you may well be able to make one or two organic changes to your diet. Or you may feel able to try out a couple of our organic products, to see why we make such a fuss about them. Browse our Organic section here: we’d recommend almonds and apricots for a first go at eating organic. They taste divine!

Visit the Soil Association’s website, too, for a full understanding of why organic matters: for health, for taste and for the environment.

October: go gluten-free

We’re not suggesting you go fully gluten-free this month – unless you have a serious intolerance or are coeliac. But we do think that for most of us it’s worth lessening our overall reliance on gluten-containing grains. Apart from anything else, it shakes our diets up a little, forcing us to try new ingredients and new ways of cooking and baking. There are amazing gluten-free options out there, making use of grains like rice, millet, quinoa and amaranth and flours such as coconut and teff. Eating gluten-free may, as some claim, make you feel less sluggish and more energized – or it may simply give you a greater appreciation of wheat when you return to it at the end of the month. Either way, eating gluten-free for a few weeks will have increased the nutritional reach of your diet.

November: go dairy-free

Again, we’re simply proposing an exploration of just what’s out there in the dairy-free world. Have you ever tried almond milk in your coffee? Cooked with coconut cream? Baked with oat milk? Enjoyed a soya dessert? Have you moved on to proper dark chocolate yet – which, of course, just happens to be dairy-free and contains much more of the good stuff than the heavily sugared milk variety?

There are thousands of innovative dairy-free products on the shelves. Like eating gluten-free, eating dairy-free obliges you to try out some new ingredients, combinations and techniques. It’s always good to shake things up a bit in your daily diet. You never know, some of the ideas might stick!

December: go crazy

Our final tip is this: enjoy your food to the max. Now’s the season to be merry – and the time to throw the budget out the window. Now’s the time to try out ingredients you never knew existed – ask for them for a present if they’re particularly pricey. So look out those crazy recipes you’ve cut out of Sunday newspapers over the years or stored in your favourites folder, and try one out: I bet we’ve got the stuff you need for it at Naturally Good Food!

What would we choose if we could simply fling things into our NGF trolley with abandon? Himalayan pink rock salt, perhaps – with extra-virgin coconut butter, safflower oil, real Lubecker marzipan, macadamia nut spread and Mr Bumble’s breakfast muesli – we’d give it all a shot!

And that’s it: your journey to good health all mapped out for 2019. You might not make all those changes – or make them in the order we’ve suggested. But if you’re interested in eating well and improving your diet this year, they’re all seriously worth a go.

Happy New Year!

Naturally Good Reads v2

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This post was written by Yzanne

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