Mantras to live by to make 2017 your healthiest year yet

Wellness starts with a healthy diet.
Wellness starts with a healthy diet.  Photo: iStock

Kick start the new year with a healthier new you. These inspiring (and infamous!) quotes could be just the mantras you need to revamp your health, food, fitness and happiness for 2017.

"Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right." - Oprah Winfrey

Hello new year, and hello to another golden opportunity to be healthier. If you've made unsuccessful health attempts in the past, it's time to right those wrongs. Start by identifying any weak spots that may be limiting your health, eating, fitness and happiness progress. Then, find solutions.

Niggling aches getting worse? See your health provider – and make sure you get an annual health check. Hey, if it's good enough for your car, it's good enough for you.

Get serious about your fitness commitment and find ways to schedule it into your life, whether that's joining bootcamp with friends for motivation, early morning training or lounge room yoga while the kids are asleep. Make a weekly plan and stick to it and feel your energy increase – you will feel amazing.

Make time for happiness – you deserve it. Book in for those salsa lessons. Go for a bike ride along the water with your kids. Sketch the flowers in the garden. Fill 2017 with fun, happy experiences that make you smile and inspire you to overcome obstacles.

If food is your weakness, take control. Maybe you struggle finding time to shop for, prepare and cook healthy meals? Or you need to spice up your (six) recipes with a few new dishes? Again, find manageable solutions, such as writing up a weekly meal plan and shopping list, or adding one new recipe each week to gently increase your repertoire and culinary confidence. You could cook multiple meals and freeze some for later. Or, do what the busy healthy people do - enlist a delicious, convenient food service who deliver fresh, wholesome food, meals, cold-pressed juices and snacks right to your door. Those 'old weak spots' will not hold you back this time.

"There is no sincerer love than the love of food." - George Bernard Shaw

Ah food… the flavour, texture, succulence, aromas… It was little wonder 19th Century Irish playwright, George Bernard Shaw, best known for his hit musical My Fair Lady, was so in love with food!

But the foodie and prolific writer, known for his radical views, was also a vegetarian and reportedly abstained from alcohol and caffeine.

Today, detoxing from caffeine, alcohol, processed foods and other food weaknesses, or doing a juice cleanse in the new year, is a great motivation to kick those 'bad food habits' to the curb.

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Nutrition Australia recommends also limiting salt and added sugar, and choosing reduced fat options of foods in the milk, yoghurt, cheese and alternatives (soy, rice, cereal milks) to limit excess kilojoules from saturated fat.

Your new year, new you food list?

The Nutrition Australia healthy eating pyramid encourages us to eat a variety of foods from every food group, every day. Vegetables and legumes, fruits, and grains should make up around 70 per cent of what we eat. Plant foods contain a wide variety of nutrients like vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, as well as carbohydrates for energy, and fibre to keep those bowels regular.

Next on your list should be milk, yoghurt, cheese and alternatives, which primarily provide calcium and protein as well as other vitamins and minerals. Don't forget lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds and legumes. These food groups provide a unique mix of nutrients, including iodine, iron, zinc, B12 vitamins and healthy fats. Then, add a sprinkle of healthy fats such as extra virgin olive oil, nut and seed oils daily to support heart health and brain function.

"Don't waste time, for time is what life is made up of." - Bruce Lee

A healthier you isn't just about food and exercise, it's a lifestyle change - for the better. Score yourself more time to hang out with your inspiring friends, tone-up or whatever it is that makes your happy, Bruce Lee-style. The martial artist and Hollywood actor wasn't wasting a second of his experience-rich life.

What are the things you don't enjoy doing, and how can you do less of them? If grocery shopping, food preparation, cooking and cleaning are weighing heavily over your healthy eating plan, outsource it. You could save yourself 15 hours a week and have fresh, wholesome meals delivered to your door. It will help keep your new year health goals on track, with fresh, nourishing and clean meals at the ready. Take short cuts that will eliminate the ho-hum and enhance the yee-haw – shortcuts that are good for the mind, body and soul. Find them and seize them. Just think what you could do with all that extra time and energy.

"Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food." - Hippocrates

Hippocrates may have lived from around 460 BC to 370 BC, but the Greek physician absolutely revolutionised medicine and today he's still considered one of the most outstanding figures in medical history. So when the father of modern medicine said, "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food," people listened. And chewed on it.

Fruit and vegetables are rich in fibre, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals, not only providing the perfect fuel to energise your body, but also to heal and protect it against diseases.

For centuries people from every corner of the globe have used foods for not only daily nourishment, but for their medicinal qualities. Have the flu? Sip on a honey, lemon and vitamin C-rich citrus drink to ward it off. Aloe vera in your garden? You're in luck. Aloe vera's powerful antioxidant and antibacterial qualities inhibit the growth of certain bacteria that can cause infections in humans. It's used for everything from healing burns and mouth ulcers to reducing dental plaque, constipation and more. In China, many herbs, minerals, teas and tinctures are considered fundamental therapy for acute and chronic conditions.

According to Cancer Council NSW, "by eating the right amount of fruit, vegetables and fibre, up to four per cent of all cancers could be prevented".

There are two ways that fruit and vegetables are thought to help protect against cancer. "Both directly through specific anti-carcinogenic agents and indirectly by helping to maintain a healthy body weight," according to the council.

So which fruit and veg should you be chowing down for protection?

"They all contain varying amounts of fibre, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals, and therefore it is important to eat a variety. It is most likely the combination of these nutrients found in wholefoods that help to reduce the risk of certain cancers rather than one anti-cancer component."

So take the Hippocratic Oath today and eat cleaner, greener and fresher this year for a happier and healthier 2017.

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