How to be the healthiest you in 2021

31st December 2020 | Eativity editors

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 as 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.”

Try going vegan for the month of January, and see how you feel after 31 days.

It’s estimated that around 12 percent of the population has taken up a vegetarian diet, with around 500,000 going fully plant-based and 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 and has become a popular trend to kick-start the new year with healthier, more conscious dietary choices,” she says. “It’s also a great opportunity to get creative in the kitchen.” 

According to Murrant, there many other benefits of eating more plant-based foods. One of the things COVID-19 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 that play an important role in nourishing the body as well as reducing inflammation, one of the major factors in disease processes,” she says. “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 and wellness 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.

Follow Califia Farms on Instagram for plenty of plant-milk recipe inspiration.

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.

Summer is all about fresh, bright, nutrient-rich Aussie fruit.

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.

Overdosed on sweets this holiday season? Make a fresh start by cutting out processed sugar.

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
Serves 4

You’ll need:

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

1 avocado
½ cup Califia Farms Unsweetened Almond Milk
½ tbsp olive oil
½ tbsp lime juice
2 tsp horseradish mustard
Nigella seeds to taste
Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

1. Firstly, prepare the base of your Buddha bowl. Braise onion for five minutes. Add grated ginger, 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 heavy based pan, approximately 5 minutes each side. Set aside.
6. To prepare the dressing, mix ingredients in a high-speed blender, blend until smooth.
7. Arrange noodles, vegetables, eggplant and tofu in a large bowl. Generously drizzle with dressing and enjoy.