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Springtime is often seen as a time for new beginnings. It’s a time to let go of stale and tired emotions we’ve held onto throughout the winter season and embrace the regenerative powers of sunshine, warmer weather and outdoor time.
When we think of the spring, the term “spring cleaning” comes to mind. By definition, this means to deep clean your home, but many of us can relate this to other areas of our lives, including our nutrition habits. Winter is a time where many of us stay indoors more, eat heavier foods and exercise less. Now that spring is upon us, what are some ways you can “spring clean” your lifestyle?
When the weather warms up, people start wearing less and wanting to be more active, so there’s no better time than now to toss out that Costco-sized box of chips and holiday cookies. What should you refill the pantry with? Stock up on spices, canned ingredients, and grains you would use for cooking. Make sure you read expiration dates and try to move items towards the front so you’re more likely to know what you have and less likely to buy multiples that will sit there forever.
There should be less food in your pantry and more in your refrigerator. Fresh foods, which tend to be stored in the fridge, can help encourage you to eat less processed items. Toss heavy sauces and dips, and replace them with bowls of fruit, pre-cut veggies, and plain or non-dairy yogurts for smoothies, fresh dips, and lighter salad dressings.
Has it been a winter of hot chocolate, spiced lattes, and red wine? Time to cut back on those drinks. Reducing alcohol helps because it’s a diuretic that dehydrates the body. Cutting back on alcoholic beverages will help keep the liver healthy since it functions as a natural detoxification system for your body.
The same goes for caffeinated drinks as well as any cans of soda or sugary teas lining the refrigerator door. Replace any sugar-sweetened pop with a big pitcher of water and add slices of fresh fruits, like lemon, pineapple or oranges, to switch up the taste. Water keeps you hydrated and flushes toxins from the body, which helps increase your energy, control your appetite, and increase your metabolism.
Between Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and a variety of other platforms and phone apps, it can be very easy to waste your entire day online – and many of us do. Some statistics say that the average person spends close to five hours a day on social media. While social media is a great way to stay in touch with others, so is using the phone and meeting up in person, where you can practice your communication skills instead of wasting so much valuable time watching the lives of others.
Scrolling through social media can also have a negative impact on your mood and how you view your own life. Consider shutting down accounts you spend too much time on or at least put a time block on them so you can be more productive during points in the day when you find your mind wandering off to check them.
We live in a very fast-paced society. We spend every day rushing from one minute to the next, hurrying through emails, texts, and phone calls. We eat our food in minutes or scarf it down in our cars on the way to our next meeting or errand. On a larger scale, we work constantly and often rush through moments with friends and loved ones – then one day, everything has passed by and we wonder what we did with our lives.
Embrace the idea of slowing down into your spring cleaning of life habits. With a slow jog through life instead of constantly sprinting, we might be able to understand others more clearly, improve our listening abilities and enjoy things like meals, entertainment venues and conversations more optimally.
Spring cleaning doesn’t have to stop with just cleaning your home. By giving your kitchen a detox and your lifestyle habits a reboot, you can improve both your physical and mental health.
Carrie Gabriel studied nutrition at California State University-Los Angeles and got her RDN through the Coordinated Dietetics Program there. She works as a dietitian for different corporate wellness companies, creating recipes for cooking demos and content for nutrition seminars.
She created her company, Steps2Nutrition, in 2012 in hopes of working more one on one with busy professionals and their specific nutritional needs. She has an advanced certification in weight management and specializes in gluten and dairy free meal preparation for various clients.
You can find some of Carrie’s healthy and delicious recipes and meal tips on her website, www.steps2nutrition.com, and on her Instagram and Twitter account, @steps2nutrition.