How to make 2021 your year of health
If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that good health is our most precious possession. It’s even more important than toilet paper. And that’s really saying something. So, while getting fit and losing weight will undoubtedly remain the stock-standard New Year resolutions for many of us, this January, it’s likely more Australians will be making their health a priority by putting more thought into what they put into their bodies.
Whether 2021 is the year you’re finally going to focus on your wellbeing, or you simply want to shed those COVID kilos, plant milk brand Califia Farms has teamed up with nutritionist Jennifer Murrant from Healthy Luxe to help you kick-start your New Year of health, sharing some simple tips and an uber-nutritious recipe, which you’ll find below.
“After the extraordinary year that was 2020, which impacted everyone in so many ways, our hope is that in 2021 there’ll be a new appreciation for the value of health and ways we can optimise our wellbeing, enhancing immunity and increasing vitality,” Murrant says.
“The food we eat is a vital component of good health. Most people don’t eat enough plant-based foods. And the challenge for vegans is ensuring they get sufficient nutrients.”
The power of plants
It’s estimated that around 12 percent of the population has taken up a vegetarian diet. Around 500,000 have gone fully plant-based and are embracing veganism. For those keen to find out how it can benefit their health, Murrant recommends taking part in Veganuary.
“The Veganuary challenge encourages people to go plant-based for the month of January,” she says. “It has become a popular trend to kick-start the new year with healthier, more conscious dietary choices. It’s also a great opportunity to get creative in the kitchen.”
But there are many other benefits of eating more plant-based foods. One of the things COVID has highlighted is the critical importance of maintaining good health. Not only to prevent disease but also to strengthen our immune system to fight infection.
“Plant-based foods contain a wide range of nutrients, including essential antioxidants and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients,” she says. “These play an important role in nourishing the body as well as reducing inflammation, one of the major factors in disease processes. Plant-based foods are also rich in dietary fibre, which promotes gut health.”
Below, Murrant shares some tips for boosting your plant food intake and improving your overall health in the new year. And to help make your fresh start a delicious one as well, she’s also shared a recipe that’s literally bursting with so much good stuff, it might just leap out of the bowl and do a little dance for you.
Make simple swaps
Try replacing dairy milk with plant-based milks in coffee, on cereals and in your favourite sauces and smoothies. Not sure which one out of the many to choose? Check out these articles on the best plant-based milks for health and the planet.
Go fresh and seasonal
This January, Australia will have an abundant supply of colourful, fresh produce brimming with nutrients and natural flavour. Aim for five serves of veg and two serves of fruit each day, and remember: variety is key, as it gives your body a broader range of nutrients.
Go whole over refined
Swap highly refined products for whole foods, for example white rice to brown rice; white bread to wholegrain; whole fruit instead of fruit juice.
Reduce added sugars
Excess consumption of processed sugars has been linked with many chronic illnesses, as well as weight gain. Check products to ensure they have low or no added sugars.
Eat out wisely
It’s easy to get tasty plant-based meals in most eateries now, with many restaurants increasing their vegan choices. Just watch out for anything with too much oil, salt or sugar.
Say no to soft drinks
An important habit to break when committing to a healthier diet is to stop reaching for energy drinks and soft drinks. They might provide an energy hit, but this will be followed soon after by a crash, prompting a craving for more sugar… and so the cycle continues.
Buddha bowl with almond avocado dressing
Recipe by Healthy Luxe
For the base:
1 red onion, chopped
20g ginger, grated
200g gluten-free noodles, cooked
For the miso marinade and eggplant/tofu:
2 tsp miso paste
2 tbsp tamari
20g grated ginger
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 eggplant, sliced
200g organic tofu, cubed
For the salad:
1 carrot, spiralled or grated
¼ red cabbage, shredded
1 zucchini, spiralised or ribboned
1 bunch asparagus, steamed
For the dressing:
½ cup Califia Farms Unsweetened Almond Milk
½ tbsp olive oil
2 tsp horseradish mustard
½ tbsp lime juice
Nigella seeds to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Firstly, prepare the base of your Buddha bowl. Braise onion for five minutes. Add grated ginger, and continue on low heat for a further minute or two.
2. Toss noodles in onion and ginger mix and set aside.
3. To prepare miso marinade, combine miso paste, tamari, ginger and sesame oil in a small bowl, mix well. Coat tofu and eggplant in this mix and set aside.
4. Using a double-sided griddle, grill eggplant for 15 minutes, or until soft. Alternatively, you can bake your eggplant, but this will take longer.
5. Pan fry marinated tofu in a heavy-based pan, about 5 minutes each side. Set aside.
6. To prepare the dressing, mix ingredients in a high-speed blender, blend until smooth.
7. Arrange noodles, vegies, eggplant and tofu in a bowl. Generously drizzle with dressing.