A new decade- time for new habits

Did you make New Year’s resolutions yet again this year? Did you resolve to go low carb, keto, meatless or flexitarian? Unfortunately, many are intrigued by the latest magic promoted by some celebrity’s weight loss so that new regime may be part of your goal. But no matter what the choice of fare, you’re not alone if your resolutions have already been dropped by the wayside. It could be that what you have resolved to do is simply too tough to implement or something that feels more like a punishment and offers no pleasure.

Somehow here in North America, our food choices seem to be accompanied by a dose of morality. We focus on avoiding bad foods and making judgements about our choices – clean eating or being good. A decadent dessert is thought to be sinful and make us feel guilty. On days when we want to include these foods, we are cheating.

Enough is enough!

There is plenty of room for these choices but it’s a new decade and time for a change in thinking. It’s time to focus on adding delicious and nutritious eats to your daily plan. I’ve said it before – over and over again-it’s not about cutting out foods but instead putting a focus on what you should be including.

When you include a variety of nutritious eats, you’re not starving all the time. And when you allow yourself to enjoy it all without a host of restrictions, you also won’t crave the foods you have vowed to give up. Dietary restrictions due to medical reasons is one thing but restrictive eating for health’s sake is another and in the long term, it simply doesn’t work.

If you look at the regions around the world with the lowest disease rates due to diets, it’s all about what they eat, not what they don’t eat. Once again this year, the Mediterranean diet was named #1 out of 35 popular diets in US News and World Report’s 2020 ranking of best diets.

Last spring I wrote about research looking at death rates around the world and their link to diet.

Of the 11 million deaths looked at, one of every five was tied to poor diets. The major dietary problem, though, was not about an excess of various foods and nutrients but instead about a shortfall of key groups of nutrient-packed foods.

It’s time to focus on getting more vegetables, fruit, pulses (legumes), whole grains and nuts and seeds. In the study, there was whopping a ten-fold difference between the country with the highest rate of diet-related deaths (Uzbekistan) and the country with the lowest (Israel).

I’ve written about Israel before, as when I have visited, I’ve seen how these foods are part of their everyday menus. Israeli breakfasts are well known around the world. Israelis start off their days with salads – for many, a simple chopped cucumber and tomato salad dressed with olive oil.

The contrast between breakfasts in North America and Israel at hotel breakfast buffets is quite startling. Here the offerings focus on dishes such as bacon, hash browns and the like while in Israel, salads (including vegetables, fruit, whole grains, pulses and nuts and seeds) are the stars. The higher the hotel ranking, the greater and more creative the salads.

Check out this way to include your oatmeal at breakfast. It’s a mix of Swiss chard, assorted herbs, cranberries and granola with a date syrup, lemon and extra virgin olive oil dressing. (I will be posting my version soon).

For tips on increasing these nutrient-packed foods, check out websites such as halfyourplate.ca  and the Whole Grains Council.

Eating well is about habit – what comes naturally without a huge amount of thinking and effort. This year, instead of resolving to be good, make an effort to change your habits.

But that doesn’t happen quickly.

Start the decade off by modifying one meal at a time. Take a month to do it. Then move on to the next meal.

What’s the hurry?

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Categories: Food Trends

Author:Rosie Schwartz

Rosie Schwartz is a Toronto-based consulting dietitian and writer.

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One Comment on “A new decade- time for new habits”

  1. Linda
    January 21, 2020 at 4:38 pm #

    Looking forward to the recipe. When I began reading this post I was thinking about your posts from Israel and how amazing the breakfast food is there and in other Mediterranean countries. I much prefer a savoury veg or grain breakfast to the NAmerican obsession with French toast, overly salted hash browns and pancakes.

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