Nutritionist Jane McClenaghan from Vital Nutrition takes us through 7 easy steps to reinvent your relationship with food.
Reinventing your relationship with food: Transforming habits with flaxseed nutrition
Good nutrition is about so much more than just the sum of the calories on your plate. The food you choose to eat has the power to transform your health from the inside, out. It can help support your physical health, mental wellbeing and can even affect your emotional state.
We often feel guilty about choosing foods that we enjoy but aren’t necessarily the best for our health. What if we changed our attitude to diet and had a healthier, more balanced approach to nutrition?
Instead of focussing on what you are not doing, the ‘bad’ choices you are making, or the foods that you ‘should’ be eating, what if you focus on the healthy habits that you already make?
It is not the quick fixes and fad diets that make the difference. It’s the little, everyday habits, like building flaxseed into your morning routine, or making time for a nutritious lunch, that can work to build our long-term health and well-being. The more we can connect to how food really makes us feel, the more likely we are to make choices that really nourish our bodies and provide optimum nutrition.
It is all a matter of balance and a little rethinking about what your diet means to you.
Here are 7 simple habits to help transform how you think about the food on your plate:
1. Take a mindful moment.
Before you tuck into a plate of food, just take a breath. This will help to switch you out of ‘fight-or-flight’ mode and into ‘rest-and-digest’ mode, which is a much better state to eat in. This switch from the sympathetic to the parasympathetic nervous system will aid digestion and help to slow down your eating so that you get the most from the food on your plate.
2. Connect to the food on your plate.
As you are munching, notice how your food smells, looks, tastes and even how it feels. Tuning into your senses will help to slow things down a little for better digestion.
3. Plan ahead and give your food choices a little more consideration.
Do you eat on the go, grab a quick bite to keep you going, or skip meals because you are too busy? A little bit of planning can go along way. I think planning ahead for 3 or 4 days is a great habit to get into. You are likely to make better choices, spend less on takeaway or quick food, and reduce your food waste.
4. Consider how you might add extra nutrition to your plate.
One of the simplest ways to add extra fibre, omega 3 fats and protein to your daily diet is to get the flaxseed habit. Linwoods milled flaxseed is so easy to incorporate into mealtimes. Stir into yoghurt and fruit, add to smoothies or soups, or sprinkle on top of curry. Try some of the different varieties, like the original milled flaxseed or Linwoods seed mix with flaxseed, sunflower, pumpkin, chia seeds and goji berries. Use it in different ways and see what works for you.
5. Enjoy the process of planning, prep and cooking your own food.
Taking a little time to be more thoughtful about what food will fuel you and what you really want to eat is likely to mean that you choose food that nourishes you, rather than grabbing a quick fix that tends to be void of much nutrition.
6. Choose foods that are unprocessed and as near to their natural state for optimum nutrition.
Adding plenty of plant foods like fresh (or frozen) fruit, vegetables, herbs, spices, pulses, nuts, seeds and (of course!) a daily pop of Linwoods milled seeds into your diet will give your meals a nutritious boost that will benefit your health. Eating an unprocessed, natural diet means you will be improving your intake of dietary fibre, which is essential for regular digestion, but has the added benefit of helping to manage a heathy blood sugar and insulin balance and protecting cardiovascular health.
7. Change your attitude to calories.
When you eat for health, rather than simply counting calories, you will improve the balance of what’s on your plate. Foods that naturally contain high levels of omega 3 fats like flaxseed, chia and oily fish are especially beneficial. These ‘good fats’ will not be stored as fat as they are used by the body for so many different functions – from appetite balance to metabolism, hormone regulation, immune support and neurotransmitter function.
Get in touch with how food really makes you feel. Be a little more mindful of your food choices and I am sure that you will soon notice a difference to your health.
- Cherpak CE. Mindful Eating: A Review Of How The Stress-Digestion-Mindfulness Triad May Modulate And Improve Gastrointestinal And Digestive Function. Integr Med (Encinitas). 2019 Aug;18(4):48-53. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7219460/
- Barber TM, Kabisch S, Pfeiffer AFH, Weickert MO. The Health Benefits of Dietary Fibre. Nutrients. 2020 Oct 21;12(10):3209. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7589116/
Jane McClenaghan is Northern Ireland’s most recognised nutritionist with over 20 year’s experience. Her company Vital Nutrition specialises in developing and delivering group sessions for corporate and community clients both online and in-person as well as running an online membership club and offering one-to-one consultations.
Jane’s knowledge in the subject area of health and wellbeing is unrivalled as indicated by her qualifications, reputation and experience.
Jane’s sessions cover a range of health and wellbeing topics from mental health to stress, female and male health, healthy eating on a budget, heart health, sleep, family wellbeing and much more.
Jane is also the author of two books on nutrition, she writes a weekly column in the Irish News, has a monthly slot on radio U105 and is a regular contributor to the BBC, The Belfast Telegraph and many other media outlets.
You can find out more and get in touch with Vital Nutrition here;