7 Easy + Healthy Hacks to Elevate Your Everyday Eats

Healthy Lifestyle

15 January 2017

Real talk: We’re at day 19 of January here and despite your best intentions, statistically the odds are you’ve already given up on 8 out of 10 of your goals for 2017.

  • So that’s slightly depressing, but first remember this — YOU are a badass — and not following through on your resolutions has nothing to do with who you are and what you can accomplish! Super motivated peeps (myself included) tend to set way too many oversize goals and inevitably fail when we realize we’ve just taken on way too much. In the words of the infamous Ron Swanson “Never half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing.” Yeah, something like that.
  • Or if you’d rather get the Cliff Note’s version on the most CRUCIAL step that leads you to actually achieving your goals and how to apply that to what you eat — so you can look and feel your best — I’ve got you covered below.

Day Designer planner and a cup of coffee

The math goes like this:

Yearly Goals + Monthly Action + Weekly Routines + Daily Steps = CRUSHING IT.

Instead of just setting overly ambitious goals, you need to break them down into realistic, behavior specific actions. Because real change happens on a daily basis in tiny, incremental steps and these steps cement habits. And ultimately your daily habits help you reach your big picture goals (like getting in shape, eating healthy foods or looking and feeling your best)!

Enter in these easy little healthy hacks you can use to optimize what you already eat on a daily basis. So that you’re crowding out “the bad stuff” with more nutrient-dense food, boosting your metabolism, reducing stress and fighting cravings without having to majorly overhaul your diet or take drastic, restrictive steps (that usually always backfire because they’re not sustainable and they just plain suck). We are pleasure-based creatures after all. So have fun exploring these simple, delicious ideas, or come up with some creative concoctions all on your own!

Take Your Coffee To The Next Level: 

Turmeric latte in a white cup

News flash! You don’t have to give up your morning cuppa to “be healthier.” Instead of thinking about all the things you shouldn’t have in your coffee, I encourage you to think of all the amazing things you CAN add in to make your coffee do serious work for your health (think beautifying from within, increasing energy and brain power and reducing stress and inflammation).

Try adding the following: 

Turmeric: For it’s anti-inflammatory properties and to achieve that coveted glow from within. Try this TDF Turmeric Milk Latte recipe.

MCT Oil or Coconut Oil: These healthy fats help slow the absorption of the caffeine into your blood stream (reducing those coffee jitters), taste creamy, rich and amazing, and are attributed to helping with fat loss, weight control, increasing metabolic rate, digestion and moisturizing skin. Try it in this creamy, coconut cashew mocha. 

Collagen: Is the building block for your hair, skin and nails. Adding a daily scoop into your diet naturally improves your skin’s moisture, elasticity, tone and vibrance, ultimately combatting any signs of aging. I prefer 1 scoop of Vital Protein’s marine collagen which is tasteless and adds a nice frothy texture to your coffee.

Bulletproof coffee with coconut butter, maca powder, and cashew nut milk

Medicinal Mushrooms/ Adaptogens: Adaptogens are herbal or mushroom formulas that increase the capacity of the body to resist and adjust to the stresses of life (and bring your body back into balance) and promote everything from healthy, glowing skin to a stronger immune system and better hormonal balance.

I’m currently obsessed with adding FourSigmatic’s Cordyceps in this creamy, bullet-proof coffee recipe.

Lauren picking clementines at a Farmers Market

Add Some Zest To Your Water:

Hydration is key to keep things moving and properly functioning in your body, not to mention there’s a ton of research on how people commonly mistake dehydration for hunger.

But water doesn’t have to be so…. well, boring. My favorite way to jazz up H2O is to drink it warm with half of a squeezed lemon which is extremely alkalizing and helps aid in detoxing the body. You can also try these equally refreshing and health boosting options:

// Cucumber + Lime + Mint // Orange + Cinnamon + Nutmeg // Cayenne + Ginger + Honey // Strawberry + Basil //

Red potatoes and Brussels sprouts at the Farmers Market

Boring Salads Be Gone:

Confession: I have a salad for lunch almost every day and it is ANYTHING but boring. These winter months I’ve been craving heartier salads with roasted root veggies like butternut squash and brussel sprouts, smoked salmon, pomegranate seeds, apple, avocado and marcona almonds. My salads mean business.

My general rule of thumb for salads goes as follows:

Start with some greens: Try spinach, romaine or raddichio in winter and arugula, butter lettuce or baby spring greens in Spring/ Summer. Greens are some of the most nutrient-dense plants and filled with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. You really can’t go wrong with them so eat as much as you like!

Add some protein: My protein of choice has been wild alaskan smoked salmon which has all the heart-healthy omega 3’s and benefits of regular salmon but you don’t need to cook or prepare. So. EASY. Other simple ideas would be grilled or roasted chicken, soft or hard-boiled eggs, canned tuna or salmon and lentils or quinoa (which are wonderful plant-based options).

Toss in some crunchies: These are the real flavor makers and are typically PACKED with nutrients (so a little goes a long way). Try sprinkling in some marcona almonds, pumpkin seeds, pomegranate seeds, hemp seeds, walnuts, pecans, or pistachios.

More veggies, of course: Roasting veggies like butternut squash, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, beets and sweet potatoes adds a ton of bulk, heartiness and warmth to winter salads while fresh cucumber, tomato, grilled corn and asparagus add fiber and flavor to summer salads.

Don’t forget healthy fats: DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT forget this step. Fats will ensure your body properly absorbs all the other nutrients and goodness you’re consuming, plus stabilize blood sugar levels and keep you satiated until your next meal. My favorite fat to add is 1/2 a chopped avocado (obviously) but you can also go for more seeds or nuts, olives, or some quality olive oil dressing. Which leads me to…. Dressing: This is also completely essential as the dressing ties the entire salad together. My favorite CLEAN dressing any season is this simple lemon vinaigrette that pairs well with basically anything.

Cook With Fat + Serious Flavor: 

roasted delicata squash with brown butter hazelnut topping

True Story: Steaming vegetables is BORING. Cooking vegetables (or anything else for that matter) with good quality fats like organic ghee, extra-virgin olive oil, avocado oil and unrefined virgin coconut oil will add so much flavor, texture and depth to your meals you won’t need to supplement with sugary or salt-laden sauces.

Not to mention healthy fat in our diet is critical for effective brain function and actually helps the body burn the types of unhealthy fat that lead to weight gain. But not all fats are created equal so steer clear of overly processed and trans-fat heavy cooking oils like canola oil, vegetable oil and margarine.

Try this maple-roasted delicata squash with hazelnut topping, creamy roasted cauliflower bisque, or this sweet potato breakfast bowl recipe for more ideas on how to incorporate healthy fats.

Add Some Garden-Fresh Vibes:

Grilled fish tacos with sweet corn

There’s a reason while Italians almost exclusively use fresh herbs in all of their cooking as they pack a flavorful punch that dried herbs and spices just can’t emulate. My favorite heavy-duty herbs to add to salads, smoothies, water, tea, soups, tacos etc. are cilantro, which is widely believed to help rid the body of metals and toxins and fresh mint, which lowers inflammation, enhances digestion, and reduces bloating.

Optimize Your Smoothies:

Lauren pouring a green smoothie in a mason jar

Depending on what you put in them, smoothies are generally a healthy concept on their own. But what many don’t realize is making a smoothie is the easiest and tastiest way to sneak in super powerful ingredients without sacrificing any flavor.

My favorite smoothie boosters include:

Spirulina: A blue green algae powder that packs in more protein per gram than a steak. It’s definitely an acquired taste and I find pairs really well with more of a tropical smoothie with coconut milk, avocado, lime and banana. It’d also go well in this superfood green smoothie.

Maca Powder: This herbacious plant helps stabilize your hormones and acts as an adaptogen to help your system deal with stress and adrenal fatigue. I also dig it’s malty, slightly sweet flavor. Try it in this almond butter green smoothie. 

Cinnamon: Another favorite which is actually one of the most delicious and healthiest spices on the planet. A teaspoon of this bad boy a day stabilizes blood sugar levels, increases your metabolism and reduces heart risk disease factors.

Cacao: Chocolate originates from cacao powder, which is a superfood that contains the mood improver, anandamide – known as the bliss molecule, which creates a feeling of euphoria (and I mean who doesn’t want that side-effect?!) It’s TDF in this dreamy, creamy, chocolate avocado milkshake.

Ginger: This strong, aromatic, spicy and slightly sweet spice has been used for centuries for it’s digestive relief, especially with morning sickness in pregnant women. I love adding fresh ginger root to my Minty Green Shamrock Smoothie.

Lauren at the Farmers Market

A TableSpoon of Vinegar A Day Keeps The Doctor Away:

Natural apple cider vinegar is made from fresh, crushed, organically grown apples and allowed to mature in tanks, which boosts its natural fermentation qualities (hellooo good bacteria).

One of apple cider vinegar’s strong suits is balancing pH levels and creating a healthy, alkalized state in your body. It’s also loaded with high levels of potassium that work like a clarifying tonic on the body, helping clear up sinus infections, candida, sore throats, and allergies.

And if you’re STILL not convinced this magical stuff appears to have an anti-obesity effect by increasing satiety and reducing the total amount of food consumed. Some natural-health experts even say ACV’s enzymes and soluble fiber can aid in fat metabolism and one study done on mice showed that acetic acid (main component of the vinegar) slowed fat accumulation.

My favorite way to incorporate ACV is to add it into my salad dressings or make a soothing tonic with warm water, lemon, raw honey, cayenne pepper and ginger. You can also add a tablespoon of ACV to a cup of water and drink before meals to help you digest your food properly!

A wire basket with vegetables
So, are you feeling inspired yet?
I hope you’ve found some simple, easy and delicious ways to optimize your food, ultimately helping you look and feel your best.
Remember whole-body health is a journey, and sometimes the tiniest decisions (like adding ginger to your smoothies or lemon to your water) can have the biggest effects.
Turmeric milk cheers to your healthiest, happiest year yet!
xx //