The holiday season is officially over. The Christmas trees are tossed away, and champagne flutes tucked neatly into cubbies. What are left are the memories of joyful celebration and vacations that have settled cozily around our waist and hips. I love food. I love cooking, discovering new restaurants and munching on croissants and cappuccino in street cafes. I love exquisite cocktails in dark lit hotel lobbies or verandas of exotic cabanas. I love eating and drinking calories, yet I want to stay thin. Though I admire Kate Moss for saying “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels,” I disagree. It DOES taste good!
What a girl to do?
I believe there are no quick fixes and am strongly anti-diet. What works are the gradual changes and adjustments to your lifestyle if vacation or other lack of judgment has thrown you off track in your healthy eating routine. When I feel that I have been overindulging and can no longer control my cravings or portions, I turn to a detox. Before you shout “Hypocrisy! Detox is a diet!” please hear me out. I believe that detox is not as much a diet as a soft reboot for your body, a chance for your digestive system to rest and rid itself of toxins accumulated from the environment or any processed foods and beverages consumed. Detox’s aim is not specifically to make you lose weight but to remind you that you have to be in control of what you eat (choose clean, natural, organic) and how you eat it (skip sugary dressings, fried, greasy). I no longer believe in juicing – I tried it on various occasions and concluded that there is a high chance I will develop gastritis and, overall, it is unsustainable and leaves you feeling starved and light-headed. SLATE makes a good point about our status-symbol obsession with juice cleanses and how nutritionists are seriously questioning their benefits.
What I found works for me is a lifestyle change that combines healthy smoothies in the morning with leaner highly nutritious meals for lunch and dinner. You remove the products that are heavy on the body like processed food, alcohol, heavy meats and sweets, and try to eat as clean as possible by getting an added boost of fiber and vitamins to aid digestion. In the past, I was a fan of Ejuva Cleanse recommended to me by my NYC ob-gyn, Dr. Eden Fromberg, who had nutritional and holistic medicine training. She was a gem and I greatly miss her advice now that I live in California! Ejuva is a great cleanse that I find highly effective in curving down appetite and nourishing the intestinal system. Without further ado, here is my daily routine when I want to drop a few pounds and upgrade my lifestyle to a healthier state.
I start every morning with a green smoothie. I am not a big fan of salads and vegetable sides, so I find having a vitamin-heavy smoothie in the morning allows me to introduce vital nutrients early on in the day and not fret too much about adding greens later on. Since a smoothie can feel too light to get you through the first part of the day, I add protein via greek yogurt, raw peanut butter, and almond milk to keep my energy up till lunch. My favorite green smoothie recipe is the following:
- 2 cups kale
- 1 frozen banana
- 1 cup frozen mango
- 2 tablespoons low fat plain Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon raw peanut butter
- 1 teaspoon raw honey
- 1 cup almond milk
Since most of us are in a rush in the morning, I highly recommend precutting and storing all your greens and fruit in portion-sized Ziploc bags. It saves a lot of time! Just mix all the ingredients and enjoy. Despite being green in color, the shake tastes like a liquid dessert and puts a big smile on my face in the early hours of the morning. I recommend you browse Pinterest for inspiration as there are many other great ingredient combinations to spice things up a bit in a smoothie department.
When it comes to lunch, I like to keep things as simple as possible. My favorite quick meal to make at home is a smoked salmon avocado sandwich. I toast some high fiber bread (I prefer Mestemacher Fitness Bread) and then add avocado slices topped with smoked salmon. It is delicious, filling and quick. If I am out for lunch, I will order a salad with light protein (chicken/fish) or seasonal vegetable soup.
For dinner, again, I stick with protein and veggies on the side. I often grill steak, chicken, make lettuce wrapped turkey tacos or order in a poke bowl or sushi. As on my cleaner diet, I tend to avoid pasta, pastries or cheese; I allow myself some rice to compensate for mostly paleo diet. I used to avoid dairy and bread altogether, but as you can see above, I incorporate Greek yogurt and healthier toast now for more substance.
If I ever feel hungry or low on energy, I snack on nuts. I make my own snack-packs containing a mix of almonds, cashews, sunflower and pumpkin seeds. Hard-boiled eggs, seasonal fruit (right now I adore persimmons) and berries are also excellent in-between meals treats.
Water is key to a healthy lifestyle. I used to hate drinking a set number of H2O glasses a day, but now I embrace it and try to drink at least 1,5 liters daily.
Ok, loves, it is time for me to go for a run. Every detox and healthy lifestyle should be accompanied by a healthy dose of fitness. For me, I like to change things up all the time to keep me from getting bored. Right now my rotation is running, pilates and ballet. Stay tuned for my fitness post soon. It is January… and I intend to keep my resolutions 😉