A brand new decade has just arrived. With the dawn of the 2020s, each one of us can say ‘it is going to be my decade and I am going to do incredible things.’ While there is no need to wait for any specific time to start something better, guess such new beginnings do give us the extra zeal and a push to make positive changes.
So why not tap into it and channel that new burst of enthusiasm towards one change that is bound to be a win-win all around - making healthier food choices.
A choice that is not only better for ourselves, but also touches our families and can even influence our friends and wider social circle.
It is now clearer than ever that good nutrition has proven health benefits for everyone. Healthy diet nourishes our body and mind, and enriches our lives. It plays a big role in keeping horrible diseases like cancers, heart diseases, diabetes, cognitive declines and many others at bay. Another critical factor gaining attention in the recent times is the relationship between nutrition and environment.
Making nutritionally smart food choices is also strongly tied to environment benefits.
We can either passively wait for things to improve around us or actively make our own little changes to set out on the good nutrition cum environment path. Seriously, there is no need to wait for policy changes and programme interventions. That is relying on others to do something better for us while precious time slips by and we ultimately miss out. Why wait for regulations to tighten when we can in fact gear up to regulate ourselves. And honestly, the concept of good nutrition is nothing that complex.
I have narrowed down 10 simple pointers to embrace nutrition this decade:
1. Eat more home-made foods: With a little exploration and innovation, amazing nutrilicious (nutritious + delicious) recipes and ideas are born. Home cooked food are healthy options to eat not only at home, but also for workplaces and schools.
2. Add more nutrition: Different varieties of wholesome grains, legumes, vegetables and fruits, nuts and seeds basically add more healthy colours to our diet and a zing to our well-being.
3. Go local: Many local indigenous grains, greens and fruits are the unsung heroes of good nutrition. With some efforts to recognize, use and promote them, we reap a lot of good nutrition. At the same time, we give a little boost to the local economy and more sustainable food production.
4. Embrace good tradition: Traditional food practices are full of nutrition wisdom that are increasingly backed by science. We ought to see them in the new light and uphold them with enthusiasm and pride.
5. Less is best: Intake of refined sugar and salt (along with unhealthy foods that contain them) have to be cut down. The same also goes for consumption of meat and alcohol. In return, this change will reduce the risk of a ton of health issues.
6. Limit packaged foods: We have to significantly curtail buying and consuming highly processed commercial foods. They are devoid of nutrients, original taste and flavours. Wholesome and minimally processed food lift our health and spirit whilst also being responsible to the planet.
7. Do NOT waste food: This is very serious. The moral underpinning is not just about someone else going hungry but it is also disrespecting the enormous amount of efforts and precious environmental resources that goes into producing food.
8. Try to grow food: We can take little steps at a time. Even if it is just one herb on a window sill, or couple of vegetables in flower pots on the balcony, or a small patch of vegetables in the yard or a beautiful nutrition garden laden with fruits and vegetables - whatever works for us! It is rewarding and also greening. Let us have some fun growing and sharing.
9. Move it: Physical activity is the ultimate partner of embracing good nutrition. Movement of any kind – walking, running, housework, gardening, playing, etc. - is essential for good health and vitality.
10. Champion for good nutrition: Anyone can be a nutrition champion. Why not promote these ideas among families, with friends and colleagues. Peer influences are powerful motivators. Changes in each family and group do add up towards a big difference. And remarkable ‘spill-over’ benefits can result as many others also get inspired along the way.
Let us encourage one another to make these changes and help stick to it. Collectively, we can spark this as a trendy new lifestyle.
We are bound to be healthier and happier at the end of the decade. And, will also get to bask in the warmth of self-satisfaction having done our tiny bits to protect and repair the mother earth.
Happy Nutritious Decade to everyone!