January is done, the New Years Resolutions have largely been broken ... so now what? Nutritional Therapist Charlotte Griffin gives you 5 fantastic tips to get you back on track this year ...

This is a guest post by Charlotte Griffin, our resident (mighty fine) Nutritional Therapist from Something on a Plate (and her website has had a big revamp so do check it out!)

Happy 2017 readers! 
 
I'm not going to start with the old cliche ‘New Year, New You!' Two reason's - it's March and by now you'll probably want to ram that message down my throat you've heard it so many times throughout January & February. And second - what was so bad with the old you that you need to start all over again every year? Nothing. 
 
It's fair to accept though that the beginning of each year often brings a period of reflection, whether it's career direction, family dynamics, money challenges or the inevitable health MOT. The latter is something I have more experience in (I'll leave you to sort out the family/job situation) so to continue the momentum here are my top 5 tips to keep you ticking over during 2017. You can move on to the quinoa and kale later on… 
 

1. Water conquers all!


Yes, even love I sometimes think. There are over a zillion reasons as to why we need to keep our water levels up, but essentially without it we just don't function well. Our body is made up of 60% water and if we don't keep those levels topped up we quickly feel the consequences...headaches, dry sensitive skin, fatigue, increased appetite, smelly wee.

It's ironic that the one thing we can often get for free is the one thing we avoid drinking! Start to gradually increase water intake through plain water, herbal teas, and water with added slices of fruit aiming for around 8 cups per day. In parallel start to decrease the dehydrating coffee, tea, juice/squash, sugary drinks. Which leads naturally (or rather unnaturally to)... 
 

2.STEP AWAY FROM THE SUGARY DRINKS



And yes I mean you too with your fruit smoothie! It's easy to overlook drinks when we're thinking about what we put into our bodies. But drinks, especially caffeinated and sugary drinks are one of the biggest culprits when it comes to tackling chronic health conditions, especially obesity.

The average fizzy drink contains over 7 teaspoons of sugar(!!) - which is the maximum an adult should consume in a day! Then we have caffeinated energy drinks keeping us wired - and ultimately reliant on them as the comedown symptoms aren't pleasant either.

Then there's our over reliance on adrenal stimulating coffee. Take 5 minutes out of your day to record how many of these types of drinks you have per day and cut one out per day in the first week, two the following week and so on, but remember to replace with healthier options from No.1!  
 

3.Mix up the grains



This is the one of the changes that I see having the biggest impact on my clients. We're living in a world of intolerances and allergies - and rightly so when you consider the grains we eat are over processed, over farmed and hardly vary and as we know too much of the same thing is never a good thing!

One of the principle reasons why the Paleo diet sees such positive results quickly is because it restricts grain intake. This isn't realistic for everyone though - so before you reach for your weetabix for breakfast, sarnie for lunch and pasta for dinner have a think about mixing those grains up a bit. And always look for the ‘wholegrain' variety - these contain all the fibre and good enzymes that your body requires to process the grain in the first place. Unlike the refined type - cakes, biscuits, crackers, white rice, white bread etc. 

Jan says - from a Paleo perspective, if you can't get rid of grains 100%, try to limit grains to pseudo grains such as quinoa, amaranth and buckwheat - they are derived from plants, not grasses and as a result don't have the same impact on your body as more 'traditional' grains. There are producers out there making it easier than ever to use these grains, and seeds, to replace traditional wheat-based products, such as Nomad Health Supergrain Pasta.
 

4. Fruit & Veg. Simples.



An old one but a goody, this advice is never going to go away - so it's probably best to take heed! There's a reason why we need to eat more fruit and vegetables in it's natural form, i.e. nothing added, nothing taken away. Rich in vitamins, minerals, fibre, antioxidants, natural sweeteners and often so, so cheap too, they're nature's candy and we should be enjoying them in abundance.

I normally suggest two pieces of fruit and five vegetables p/d to clients - the easiest way of getting this in is through stews, soups, stir-frys and salads. If you're a smoothie fan, blend away - but make sure you don't overdo the fruit, it does contain fructose after all and whilst natural sugars they are still a rich form of sugar we don't need to eat in excess. 
 

5. Get your Zzzzzzzzz on!



This is one of the simplest, yet ultimately hardest changes to implement. Primarily because it's often out of our control. Work stresses, family demands, the wrong pillows...all can disrupt our attempts at sleeping 8 hours per day. This is really the minimum amount of sleep required for our body to repair at a cellular level - that's essentially why we need to sleep, to give both our body and our mind time to repair and rejuvenate for the next day.

There are a few simple steps to start with though once you actually make it upstairs; take your phone (or anything radiating a blue screen) out of your bedroom, or stop looking at it at least half an hour before attempting to sleep.

Make sure your bedroom is suitably dark - this will help to stimulate the melatonin (your sleep hormone) and use this half hour to wind down; a warm bath, book, meditation, and always a good one - write a list of anything that's worrying you, it'll still be there tomorrow so no point letting it preventing you sleeping too.  
 
So that's my top 5 tips, all doable and ready to implement into our everyday lives.

You can download the remaining 5 tips from my website ​www.somethingonaplate.com​ and I'll be back soon: happy drinking, eating and sleeping! 

You can find out more about Charlotte and the amazing work she does with her clients here. Follow here on Instagram and Twitter.