A healthy diet is important for everyone, regardless of age or activity level. Eating a healthy diet has many benefits, such as reducing the likelihood of having chronic medical conditions like heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

Having a balanced, healthy diet can also help you:

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Have more energy
  • Reduce your stress levels
  • Improve your mood

We’ve listed five simple habits to help you start eating a healthy diet today.

5 Simple Habits For Healthy Eating

Healthy eating is more than just what you eat—it’s about developing healthy habits that will last a lifetime.

1.    Mind your eating habits

Mindful eating means being aware of what you are eating and why. Pay attention to your body’s signals, such as hunger and fullness. Likewise, slow down and appreciate the textures and flavours of your food. This will help you eat less and enjoy your food more.

2.    Cook more often

If you plan ahead, you are less likely to make unhealthy choices. You can also look for recipes that are nutritious and simple to make. Prepare meals or snacks in advance, bring a healthy lunch to work, and pack snacks for when you’re on the go.

In addition, consider involving others in planning, preparing, and eating meals. This will help make healthy eating more fun and social.

3.    Enjoy your food

Developing healthy eating habits is only sustainable if you enjoy the process. Try not to stress about food and weight. Instead, focus on fueling your body with healthy foods that you love. When you enjoy your food, you’re more likely to stick with healthy eating habits.

One tip: try embracing culture and diversity when it comes to food. This will help you discover new foods to enjoy and expand your healthy eating repertoire.

4.    Eat a variety of healthy foods each day

There are plenty of foods that have been shown to be beneficial for our health, so aim to include plenty of different types in your diet:

  • Fruits and vegetables: These should make up most of your diet, as they are packed with nutrients and antioxidants that can protect against disease. Try to include a variety of different colours in your meals to get the most benefit.
  • Whole grains: These contain fibre and other important nutrients which help keep us healthy. Choose whole-grain versions of bread, pasta, and rice whenever possible.
  • Proteins: Proteins are essential for building and maintaining muscle and can also help to keep us feeling full. Make sure to choose lean protein sources like fish or chicken and avoid processed meats.
  • Healthy fats: Compared to saturated fats, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats can help to improve our health. Healthy fats can be found in nuts, seeds, olive oil, and avocado.

As highly processed foods are hard to avoid, try to eat them less often and in small amounts. If given a choice, pick healthier food options when eating out.

In addition, instead of sugary drinks like iced teas and milk teas, make water your drink of choice. Drinking plenty of water can help keep us hydrated, boost our metabolism, and improve our skin health.

5.    Pay attention to portion sizes

Portion size is an important part of healthy eating. When you’re served a large portion, you may be more likely to overeat. Try to control your portion sizes by using smaller plates and bowls.

In addition, mind the portions of your different foods. For example, your grains and proteins should fill a quarter of your plate each. Likewise, make sure half your plate consists of fresh produce at every mealtime.

There is no one perfect way to eat healthily, but there are definitely some simple habits that can make a big difference. By applying some or all of these tips to your daily routine, you can start eating healthier without making too many changes or sacrifices.

To learn more about how to make healthy eating a part of your life, get in touch with Calgary Integrative Medicine today by calling 403-202-7272 or filling out our contact form to schedule your initial consultation.

From cute and spooky costumes to buckets of candy, Halloween can be one of the sweetest nights of the year for both kids and parents alike. Trick-or-treating and fond memories aside, however, it’s important that we limit both our and our kids’ sugar intake this Halloween to stay healthy and keep our immune system working at its best. To help you overcome the downsides of too much sugar while still having a great time, we’ve listed four easy ways to limit sugar this Halloween.

Control How Much Candy You and Your Kids Keep and Donate the Rest

One great way of limiting your and your kids’ sugar intake this Halloween is by letting your kids pick out their favorite pieces of candy and donating the rest. While some kids may be reluctant to just give away their hard-earned candy, giving them the option to turn in their sweet treats for things like new toys or fun activities can serve as a good incentive to get them to give away their candy.

To make things more interesting, you could start a “Switch Witch” tradition, where you buy a couple of toys and non-candy treats and let your kids know that the Switch Witch will visit during the night – swapping any candy left out for toys and other goodies, just like they’d leave milk and cookies out for Santa.

Swap Out the Candy for Healthy Themed Snacks

If like many you purchase all your Halloween candy before the big night, chances are you and your kids will be snacking on it in the days leading up to the holiday. Believe it or not, however, Halloween is a great time to encourage kids to try new, and healthier foods. Something as simple as a mixed tray of fruits, cheese, and other healthy snacks can turn into a fun activity where you and your kids can get creative and come up with new “spooky” snacks. Not only does this allow you to spend more time with your kids, but it also offers an opportunity to get them to try new foods they otherwise wouldn’t be willing to try.

Skip the Candy and Offer Non-food Halloween Treats

Halloween doesn’t have to be all about the candy. Healthy snacks and even non-food gifts can be a fun alternative gift for young trick-or-treaters. Temporary tattoos, stickers, crayons, themed rings, bubble blowers, and bouncy balls are all things kids would love and would go down a treat. Consider creating themed goody bags and pairing these non-food treats with healthier snack foods, such as popcorn, string cheese, pretzels, or the themed snacks mentioned earlier, and you’re bound to have a successful night.

Focus on the Fun, Not the Sugar

It’s easy to get caught up in all the candy and sweet treats when Halloween rolls by, but it’s equally as important to focus on the fun of the holiday. There are loads of things you can do on and around Halloween that don’t involve sugar, including face painting, pumpkin carving, treasure hunts, and putting up spooky decorations. Whatever you can do to keep yourself and the kids moving this Halloween without focusing on sugary snacks does wonders to limit sugar intake and have a healthier holiday.

Have a Happy and Healthy Halloween from Calgary Integrative Medicine

With Halloween occurring right on the onset of cold and flu season and excessive sugar intake leading to a compromised immune system, limiting sugar this Halloween is especially important. To learn more about how integrative medicine and proper nutrition can help support your and your child’s immune system during Halloween and the upcoming holiday season, get in touch with Calgary Integrative Medicine today to schedule your initial consultation.

Also known as the hunter-gatherer diet and the caveman diet, the paleo diet focuses on the idea that our genetics and anatomy have changed very little since the Paleolithic period. Therefore, eating a diet closer to what our primitive ancestors ate is more aligned with our genetics, and thus better for our health. Limiting food choices to what could be hunted or gathered in the Paleolithic period, mainly meats, fish, and certain fruits and vegetables, the paleo diet virtually eliminates foods that stem from the agricultural revolution, such as grains, dairy, and legumes.

In any case, going on a paleo diet encourages you to eat more healthily and pay more attention to where your food is sourced. In many cases, it could even help you lose weight and benefit your overall health! Let’s take a closer look at how the paleo diet works and why it’s one of our favorite diets. 

How the Paleo Diet Works

The way the paleo diet works is by helping us revert to a more primitive diet better suited for early humans. The main reasoning behind this is that our bodies are genetically mismatched to our modern-day diets. Most of what we eat nowadays is a result of the popularization of farming practices around 10,000 years ago, which introduced foods such as dairy products, grains, bread, and legumes as dietary staples. The introduction of these foods, in turn, came quicker than our ability to adapt to them and is believed to play a role in modern-day health concerns like obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

Instead of relying on farmed and processed foods, the paleo diet focuses on food that was once obtained by our ancestors through hunting and gathering. This includes lean meats and fish, as well as nuts, seeds, and low-glycemic fruits and vegetables.

What to Eat and What to Avoid on the Paleo Diet

The paleo diet is a high protein, moderate fat, low carbohydrate, high fiber, and low sodium and sugar diet. Fats in this diet consist mainly of unsaturated fats, such as those found in fish, avocadoes, nuts, and seeds, and carbohydrates are limited to low-glycemic index carbohydrates. For instance, despite potatoes being historically available during the Paleolithic period, they are typically avoided while on the paleo diet due to their high glycemic index. Non-starchy vegetables like broccoli, carrots, and cucumbers, however, are perfectly fine to eat on the paleo diet.

As far as proteins go, many tend to emphasize lean, grass-fed meat over conventional grain-fed meat, since it’s a good source of protein and lower in saturated fat. Grass-fed meat is also a good source of omega-3 fats. Pound for pound, however, oily fish like salmon offers a much higher concentration of omega-3 fats than beef and other lean meat, which is why some might recommend limiting red meat intake and opting for fish instead.

Naturally, processed foods are to be kept to a bare minimum due to the diet’s emphasis on fresh foods. Some exceptions can be made, however, for things like frozen fruits and vegetables. Other foods to avoid include grains like wheat and barley, dairy products, refined sugar, salt, and legumes like beans, lentils, peanuts, and peas.  

Can the Paleo Diet Really Help You Lose Weight?

When compared to other popular diets like the Mediterranean diet or the NNR diet, some studies have shown the paleo diet to be an effective way of losing weight, lowering blood pressure, and improving cholesterol levels. Overall, the majority of clinical trials so far suggest that a paleo diet may provide certain benefits, but this doesn’t mean that it’s for everyone. As with any diet, whether the paleo diet is suitable for you depends on a wide variety of factors and you’re better off following the advice of a nutrition specialist.

If you’re looking to help to lose weight and keep it off, get in touch with our Calgary weight loss clinic today. We offer personalized metabolic balance programs based on your blood work and tailored to your personal food preferences. Reach out to us today at 403-202-7272 or contact us online to book your initial consultation and find out more about how we can help you achieve your health and weight loss goals.

With all the temptation of baking and cooking, the holiday season can often tempt us to stray off the healthy path. After all, Christmas is the perfect time to indulge and enjoy yourself! Nevertheless, there’s a fine line between indulgence and overindulgence, and the holidays shouldn’t be seen as a free pass to the latter. While it may seem like a struggle to balance both the festivities and your health, it’s certainly possible and it doesn’t have to be hard. Here are a few simple tips to help you stay healthy over Christmas.   

Moderation is Key

Whether it’s the desserts, dinners or eggnog, everyone has something they love about Christmas. Although not necessarily the healthiest time, it’s important to remember that Christmas only comes once a year, and depriving yourself of your seasonal pleasures will only make you crave them more. Rather than completely lay off them, employ moderation and mindfully enjoy the things you love. For instance, enjoying one cookie or one glass of eggnog with a healthy meal instead of sipping and snacking on them all day.

Set Realistic Goals and Expectations

It’s not uncommon for people to enter the Christmas season with a game plan. If you’re determined to stay healthy over Christmas and the new year, be sure to set realistic health goals and expectations. Rather than trying to form new habits during one of the most tempting times of the year, focus on consistency and maintaining your existing habits. Leave yourself enough room to have fun without depriving yourself of those end-of-year treats. For example, focus on maintaining your current weight instead of setting weight loss goals throughout the festivities.

Keep an Active Mind

With Christmas comes time off work, and time off work brings about the temptation to do things like binge-watch your favorite TV shows. Mental health is just as important as physical health during the holiday season, and keeping an active mind is essential to maintaining your mental health over the holidays. Instead of idly browsing social media or lazing about in front of the TV, take the opportunity to engage in more mentally stimulating activities like board games or puzzles.  

Don’t Stress Over the Little Things

On the topic of mental health, we understand that Christmas can be one of the most stressful times of the year for some, especially in these trying times. With all the spending, cooking, cleaning, and visitors (or lack thereof) to worry about, things can sometimes feel a bit overwhelming but it’s important to remember that Christmas only comes once a year. Make a conscious effort to reduce stress and keep a sense of proportion about what really matters. No matter what happens, take everything with a grain of salt.  

Maintain a Healthy Immune System

Staying healthy over Christmas involves maintaining a healthy immune system. Eating healthy and exercising whenever possible, as well as getting plenty of rest and keeping an eye on your alcohol consumption, can all help you stay healthy over Christmas.  

Long-term, Sustainable Health Solutions in Calgary

Christmas and the holiday season can really take a toll on both your physical and mental health. Following these simple tips should help you maintain your wellness and stay healthy over the holidays. Reach out to Calgary Integrative Medicine if you’re in the Calgary area and looking for long-term, sustainable health solutions to keep you healthy over Christmas and the upcoming year.