A CLEAN START // 3 Simple PATHS to a Healthier YOU

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Happy New Year! Hooray, it’s January, we get a fresh start, and we all want to make the best of it. We want to be our best, feel our best, look our best and EAT OUR BEST.

There are a whole lot of programs set up to help you adhere to a healthier diet—many of them have numbers that I’m still trying to figure out (WHOLE 30, WHOLE 90). Most are thoughtful and well planned out (I love Bon Ap’s FEEL GOOD FOOD PLAN) but are also too much work for me. I’m a person who changes her mind a lot, so the louder I proclaim my devotion to a new way of life, the more likely I am to fail at it.

My approach is more subtle, understated. To Wit: when I figured out that a totally different arrangement for my (fairly small) bedroom would help me get way more sleep , I told my two dearest friends, brainstormed with them how to pull it off and then quietly executed. I’ve slept better ever since. Get healthy manifestos work same way for me. I might order myself a three day juice cleanse (three days are all I need to remember how much energy I have when I’m eating the right things)—and feel pretty good about it for a bit, but most of the changes that last are the truly much simpler ones.

Examples: Last year, I vowed to myself to never drive somewhere I could walk to—including either of my kids’ schools—no matter the weather. And with a few exceptions, I stuck to it. It was a simple attainable goal. This year, my manifesto is: MOVE EVERY DAY. I’m not committing to 40 minutes or 20 minutes of running, I haven’t joined a new gym or promised I will make it to yoga three times a week. If I did, I might not keep up. But MOVE EVERY DAY? I can do that—it’s a simple as walk my son to school, and keep walking after he’s all settled in. All I have to do is walk, say, until my head is clear or my legs ache or my lungs feel deeply full of air. Emails can wait 30 more minutes....

I take the same approach to HEALTHIER EATING. It has to be SIMPLE, ATTAINABLE, and SUSTAINABLE (something I can keep up with WAY beyond January!) I’ve boiled my past successes down to the THREE EASY avenues that I suspect could work for any of you.

  1. BOOK IT: Choose a favorite health-forward book, and keep it near (on the kitchen counter, on your desk top, or on the coffee table—wherever you’re most likely to see it daily). Reference it before you go to the store, or first thing every morning, —OR— take a cozy hour by the fire to earmark everything you think you and your family will eat, then choose three nights and one weekend morning you plan to cook from this book each week. My two favorite health-centric but still downright delicious books are AT HOME IN THE WHOLE FOODS KITCHEN and CLEAN SLATE. (For all my Healthyish cookbook favorites, visit this list).

  2. BUY IT: Ordering good health is a pricier option, but good for you if the thought of DIY meal-planning makes you feel overwhelmed. I’m totally into Sakara Life’s 10-Day Reset. If you have the budget for it, this is a no-brainer big-time health boost for your body + mind—almost like a little spa getaway, at home. I also love Blue Print cleanses—different (juices, not food, so be prepared to think that a celery stick is a MAJOR treat for three to five days), but it really helps me kick sugar out and reset when I do this once or twice a year. (I like the three-day-Holiday-Detox)

  3. ONE UP IT: Pick one food you KNOW is good for you that you didn’t eat enough of last year—or say, last month—(not rieshi mushrooms or CBD oil! nothing trendy) and vow to eat more of it this year, on a daily or weekly basis. Choose something simple and not expense to keep up with that you want to add into your life more often (raw nuts! fresh berries! leafy greens!). This approach helps you add in the good stuff to crowd out the things you want to eat far less of (sugar, caffeine, carbs, gluten). Make up a little mantra (think, ALMONDS FOR THE WIN—-to remind you to grab a handful or almonds instead of a packaged bar or a spoonful of peanut butter. Or, BLUEBERRIES BOOST MY BRAIN—and load up on fresh blueberries in your smoothies, yogurt bowls, hot cereal and by the handful as an after-dinner sweet). Mine is: MORE GREENS, MORE OFTEN. As it gets stuck in my internal dialogue loop, I’m more likely to buy it, cook it, and eat it more often.

Maybe to you this sounds like a marriage counselor saying that to “play together more often” is the secret to a happy marriage, or a financial guru saying something as basic as “spend less.” And maybe you’re thinking, it’s not that simple. But I don’t know, maybe it really is.

Your turn. What’s your path to a healthier you? Break out your new calendar or that fresh notebook and write it down. Tell one person (or the whole world of that’s more your style), leave it in a comment below and start when you wake up. I’ll be here cheering you on. xx

Sarah


**This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.**  images belong to New York Times, and should not be pinned or posted without attribution. **

  • Photo // HARRISON LUBIN

  • Food + Prop Styling // SARAH COPELAND

  • Plate // HENRY STREET STUDIO