Traditionally, this is the time of the year, when we say out with the old and in with the new. Our dark linens are traded out for lighter ones, refrigerators are cleaned out and freezers are defrosted, clothing piles are made for donation and lawns are spruced up.
This refreshing works for your diet as well.
According to nutrition expert and author, Keri Glassman, there are simple small steps you can take to help clean up your diet (and your home) while cleaning out your old habits.Ã‚Â
With temperatures rising, fresh produce is in full effect and you should take complete advantage of it and get your fruits and vegetables with each meal, but don’t count out frozen produce.
Frozen produce is picked at the peak of ripeness and often has more nutritional value than some fresh produce. Typically, frozen produce is more affordable than fresh and it is way more convenient. You have no excuses not to have it on hand when you need to throw some berries into a smoothie or put together a fast and easy dinner.
Buying local foods when they are in season insures that you are getting fresh vegetables and fruits that did not have to travel thousands of miles to get to your table. This supports your local economy by getting the money directly into the farmer’s hands, and eliminates the environmental damage caused by shipping foods across state lines, or even from other countries.
Your local farmer’s markets are a great source for seasonal produce, as well as going to visit local farms and picking your own produce. What a great way to introduce the kids to the process of how food is grown.
Whole Meat & Meaty Veggies
Up the nutritional value of your sandwich by choosing chicken, turkey, lean steak or pork tenderloin and slice on your own at home for reduced sodium and preservatives. Swap in a meaty vegetable (eggplant or portobello mushroom) at least once a week.
According to Glassmen, the only liquids we really need are water, tea, milk or coffee.
To make sure you get your eight glasses of water each day, flavor your water with lemon or cucumber slices, or pieces of fruit. Water increases your energy level and helps boost your metabolism.
If you’ve been drinking hot tea and/or coffee all winter, try them on ice for a change. Both have tons of antioxidants and tea can be flavored with fresh basil or mint.
When it comes to milk, use low fat or skim so that you still benefit from the calcium.
We have been told we should eat a colorful diet, but make sure it’s natural color. When purchasing packaged foods, read labels for natural color ingredients, such as: caramel color, grape skin extract, dehydrated beets andÃ‚Â annatto extract.
Spring Cleaning Your Home
Just like your diet, you can tidy up your home using all-natural, nontoxic ingredients you already own (or should).
White wine vinegar can be used to clean (and deodorize, believe it or not!) a slew of household surfaces, from sinks to floors.
Lemon is great for getting rid of odors on knives and in your garbage disposal, removing mildew from bathroom surfaces and cleaning wooden cutting boards and butcher block countertops.
Olive oil is not only super tasty and great for your skin, but it can be used as a furniture polish, too!
Baking soda is perfect for deodorizing (which is why you should keep an open box in your fridge), but its granular properties also make it great for scrubbing.
Photo credit: Martin Cartrae