The New Year is in full swing; and the prospect of a new beginning has filled me with so much motivation and joy. It’s wonderful to be able to expunge last year’s mistakes and start anew; and, on the other hand, it’s a beautiful ritual to take inventory of the lessons and blessings that 2011 brought and use them to move forward.
For many of us, we have resolved to slim down; and although I am not particularly fond of weight loss resolutions, I feel that after the indulgence month of December we could all use a little detoxification. Now I do not and will never advocate juice only methods of cleansing or detoxifying- I’ve done them, and it’s not pretty; what I do advocate is choosing foods that help us feel full and satisfy us with densely packed nutrients.
January is looked upon as a time of renewal- renewal of goals and commitments; but also renewing our bodies with power packed foods. This list of antioxidant rich goodies will help all of us drop our lingering holiday pounds!
Spicy chilies not only burn our mouths, but increase our bodies’ ability to burn calories; thanks to the antioxidant capsaicin. A recent study found that in the hours following a meal that contained capsaicin the amount of calories burned nearly doubled; and fat oxidation increased. Um, yes! And the study also found that meals flavored with capsaicin have the power to decrease appetite.
Pears have always played second fiddle to the apple; but nobody puts pears in the corner. Pears have especially high levels of a fiber called pectin; and pectin is known to help with weight loss. And because pears play so well others, they are easy to incorporate into any diet; whether roasted, poached or tossed into a salad, pears are perfectly placed.
Grapefruits claim to fame comes from a study years ago that found that those who ate half a grapefruit with each meal lost 3.6 lbs; and those who drank a serving of the juice three times a day lost 3 lbs. The power of citrus is amazing, and people focus heavily on the beauty of lemons; but don’t forget about the power cleansing properties of grapefruit. If the thought of a pucker inducing grapefruit daily is a bit too much for you, try drizzling a little bit of raw honey on it and broiling for three minutes- that is guaranteed to start the day off right!
We all have a tendency to grow tired of leafy green vegetables- they’re great and all, but it happens; and artichokes are a lovely alternative. They make for an ideal appetizer and one of these lovely emerald gems is only 60 calories; and packed with fiber that helps reduce our consumption during our meal. BPA free cans of artichokes should be a staple in your January slim down pantry; as they make a quick and delicious snack when blended with herbs, garlic and olive oil.
What’s not to love about tomatoes?! High in fiber and water makes them a dynamo at filling us up, without a hefty amount of calories. They’re chocked full of lycopene, which has been found to lower the risk of heart disease and chronic illness. And if biting into a raw tomato fills you with dread (this used to be me), lucky you; the nutritional prowess of tomatoes is increased when they are cooked. So go ahead and sauté them, make a delicious sauce or a wonderfully hearty soup!
Losing weight is by far my least favorite resolution; because we should endeavor to eat healthier and exercise in the name of health- not a number. With that said, I am fairly certain we are all carrying a little extra holiday pudgy; eating a diet rich in the aforementioned foods will help you slim down and tackle the new year.