Welcome to the second week of our 30-day journey! We all know that fad diets come and go, but it’s helpful to remember that some fundamental truths and tricks never go out of style.
Carter Comstock, our Co-Founder and Chief Innovation Officer, had this to say: “Crash diets can give you rapid results, but you often feel miserably hungry and that feeling isn’t sustainable long-term. Try looking at your wellness journey as a lifestyle, and ignore the gimmicks.”
If you’re eating Freshly meals, you’re already getting whole, all-natural, nutrient-rich food, which is a big thing crossed off your list. Here are some other things to think about when it comes to building sustainable nutrition habits.
8. AVOID SUGAR AND PROCESSED FOOD
Understanding nutrition can feel complicated, but Carter and our Head Nutritionist Brooke recommend getting down to basics. You don’t have to obsess over calories if you focus on eating as many natural, single-ingredient foods as possible. Eating clean is a huge part of our Freshly mission so we’ve got you covered there, but start to pay attention to nutrition labels on the other things you eat (or only eat things that don’t require nutrition labels)—we believe avoiding refined sugars and processed food can only do your body good!
MINI CHALLENGE: Start tracking your food with an app like MyFitnessPal or Cronometer. It’s a jumpstart to being mindful about what you eat, and once you see exactly what you’re eating, you can set thoughtful goals from there.
9A. TO CHEAT OR NOT TO CHEAT?
The answer to this one is about knowing yourself. Does a cheat day lead to 3 for you? Or do you need to know a cheat meal is on the horizon to stick to your goals? Either way, Carter recommends using planned cheat meals or days as strategic rewards (timing depends on your goals but he recommends once a week). The key is in the planning. When you have something to look forward to and plan for, you enjoy your cheat—you’ve scheduled it in. When you slip up after you told yourself you wouldn’t, you feel out of control and regret the decision. That being said, make sure to also pay attention to how you feel after you cheat—there may be some foods you may decide to cut out altogether, even when cheating, because your body just doesn’t respond well to them.
MINI CHALLENGE: Make a list of your trigger foods. When you’re feeling a new craving, write it down, and tell yourself you’ll eat it on your next cheat day. If you’re still craving it by your cheat day, do it up!
9B. FORGIVE YOURSELF
Even if you slip up, get back on the horse and help the mistake inform your next plan. Carter advises: “Some of us make one small mistake in our plan, feel like a failure, and then scrap the whole thing. If you mess up, don’t stress! The stress is often more damaging to your health than your accidental deviation from your master health plan.” Conclusion: It’s a long game, go easy on yourself!
10. SUB IN SUPPLEMENTS
It’s great to eat plenty of nutrient-rich foods, but if you need to bridge the gap, our nutritionist Brooke suggests incorporating a high-quality, whole-food multivitamin. Unlike existing multivitamins using synthetic forms of vitamins and minerals that the body doesn’t absorb (causing you to urinate out the excess), whole-food multivitamins provide a full range of vitamins and minerals derived from real food, making them more readily absorbed into the body. You’ll see the total amounts of each vitamin are lower because they’re more powerful in their whole-food form.
PRO TIP: Watch out for fillers and bulking agents, like carrageenan, dextrose (sugar), maltodextrin (more sugar), titanium dioxide, and cellulose. And you may want to skip those gummy vitamins—some brands can pack up to 8 grams of added sugar.
11. SWITCH TO SEA SALT
Try trading in your table salt for high-quality mineral sea salt—you can use less and still get great flavor. (We only use sea salt in our Freshly meals, and the average sodium is over 40% lower than in the average American diet.) Himalayan salt is another table salt alternative, but the best bet is Celtic sea salt, having a balance of over 80 different trace minerals.
PRO TIP: Get spicy! Try adding a variety of fresh herbs and spices to your food, like ginger, garlic, turmeric, or cinnamon, for a boost of flavor and health benefits. Win-win.
12. BE READY FOR SNACK ATTACKS
“Always be prepared” isn’t just a motto for boy scouts. Sticking to an eating plan is 90% thinking ahead. Running out of healthier food options, going too long without eating when you’re hungry, or not planning ahead for something like a long car ride all make it so much harder to avoid cravings and make the best choice for yourself. Our nutritionist Brooke suggests packing pre-portioned single-ingredient foods that pack a punch (our faves: macadamia nuts, almonds, apples).
PRO TIP: Another big mistake to avoid is not eating enough when you’re actually hungry, making it easy to eventually cave to cravings. Focus on quality ingredients and aim to feel ⅔ full after you eat snacks and meals.
13. WATER IS LIFE
This isn’t new advice, but it’s as important as getting good sleep (see week 1). Staying hydrated is critical for our cells to function, our heart to pump, and for our bodies to clear out waste. If you’re used to drinking sweet beverages, try making the switch to flavored seltzer. (Try avoiding the artificially sweetened beverages, too.) Just like planning your food, plan to have water nearby at all times so you’re more likely to drink it.
PRO TIP: Invest in a good reusable bottle to keep with you at your desk. If it’s large, you’re likely to keep reaching for it since it’ll be full longer. If it’s small, you’ll get to step away to keep refilling it. Another win-win.
14. FIND SWAPS FOR YOUR FAVES
Planned cheating is one thing, but how you do you survive craving strikes in the meantime? We recommend planning a substitute that satisfies your craving but keeps you within your personal eating guidelines. Carter says, “If you have an ice cream craving, you could try a smoothie swap made with almond butter, coconut milk, a banana, protein powder, and a little dark cocoa powder.” Just like we use almond or cassava flour instead of breadcrumbs and cauliflower mash instead of potatoes in some of our Freshly meals, there are lots of ways to tweak your favorites with a little planning.
MINI CHALLENGE: Review your cheat trigger foods. Write down your food goals. (Cut carbs? Cut calories?) Use your goals to find recipes or tips for adapting your favorites.
15. CONSIDER AN AN ELIMINATION PERIOD
Because our diets are so diverse, it can be hard to pinpoint whether our bodies react negatively to certain types of food or ingredients (or lack thereof!). Our Freshly meals are already gluten-free, but you could try to eliminate one or more of the following: wheat, corn, soy, added sugar, and dairy. Once you cut one or more over a 3-week period, you can reintroduce them one at a time to see how you feel.
MINI CHALLENGE: When you start, you may not feel so hot as your body adjusts—try to push through, that’s normal. Keep a daily log of how you feel so you can look back over a period of time to help understand your body’s reaction.