With the festive season a distant memory and the routine of work, school and lunchboxes seemingly here to stay, it can be easy to feel bogged down by… well, just about anything.
It’s got us thinking: how can we bottle up that summer holiday energy and use it throughout the rest of the year? If there’s anyone who can tell us, it’s Cyndi O’Meara.
As a nutritionist and the founder of Changing Habits, a one-stop resource for those looking to better their health through food, Cyndi has years of experience educating people on the importance of good nutrition.
“Everyone can make simple steps to better their health,” says Cyndi. “Food is integral, and movement combined with the right nutrition will give your body the tools it needs to create good energy.”
With the National Health and Medical Research Council due to update the “Australian Dietary Guidelines” released in 2013, and many calling for an overhaul of the nationwide education about nutrition in light of the Australian Bureau of Statistics’s 2018 assessment that two-thirds of Australian’s were overweight, there’s no time like the present to take a closer look at the way we purchase, cook and eat our food.
“It all comes down to being aware of the food you’re eating,” says Cyndi. “Eliminating processed and packaged foods as much as possible, basing your meals around fresh ingredients, buying the bulk of your groceries at the local farmers markets or fresh grocer and butcher, and avoiding the middle isles of the supermarket really does work.”
And she knows – it’s easier said than done.
“I’m not suggesting you quit chocolate or sweets if that’s your treat,” says Cyndi. “But, and I cannot stress enough, choose foods that are as natural as can be. There is good chocolate available!”
Cyndi recommends choosing one ingredient items (whole foods) that you can turn into your own treats. Eating this way means less unnecessary work for your body, and the better it can work to nourish itself while separating from toxins.
“There will always be a reason to delay a new habit, but to make change, we need to change,” says Cyndi. “Start your day with ten minutes walking around your garden, stretching on the patio, or riding your bike around the block. Make that change, eat fresher and you will feel the difference – this is how you work towards enjoying the sensation of forming good habits.”
Cyndi’s seven simple steps to a better you:
- Get to bed early and stay away from any direct light (the TV, iPad, phone or other screens) at least an hour before bed. Light prevents melatonin – the sleeping and healing hormone – from being made while you sleep, and sleep and healing are very important functions for a strong immune system.
- Let your skin see the sun. Ten minutes of sunlight after a good night’s sleep is enough to make the vitamin D your body and immune system need to function, according to TS Wiley in her book ‘Lights Out’.
- Get back into your kitchen to feed and nourish your family. Find fresh locally grown produce, buy individual ingredients without labels and packaging and go back to the way we should eat. With individual, real foods like meat, eggs, fish, chicken, bone broth, vegetables, fruit, fresh herbs, spices, grains, legumes, nuts and seeds we can make thousands of different, healthy foods for ourselves and our families.
- Remove processed foods, ultra-processed foods, foods made from chemicals, fake meats, fake cheeses and refined foods from your diet. Your body will thank you.
- Invest in growing your own food – patio pots or fully fledged gardens are both so rewarding.
- Learn about the vitamins and minerals our bodies need for immunity and good health, and find these in natural foods.
- Move your body everyday whether you walk, run, swim or cycle. Daily movement of the lymphatic system through muscular action is essential for immune system health.
“When we know better, we eat better. When we eat better, we live better,” Cyndi says.