One of the hardest things about maintaining a healthy diet, a raw diet or completing a juice cleanse is fitting it in with your existing social life. Most of us can’t just disappear for a week or two to ensure that we are successful. Living in a city like Manhattan that offers many healthy options, it also offers lots of places to overindulge.
- Start off with a healthy breakfast. This is a sure fire way to end up eating much healthier throughout the day. Fruit salad, raw juice, oatmeal, or organic eggs & veggies… these are all great options in the morning.
- Drink a green juice a day. Leafy greens are the most important food group (yes they are a food group). Kale, spinach, collards, Swiss chard and especially wheat grass provide a high concentration of vitamins and more importantly minerals. Plus, leafy greens are by weight 20-35% protein and when consumed in combination (like in green juices) they make a complete protein. Is green juice the new protein drink? I think so!
- Order vegetables...with everything when dining out. Salads are pretty much offered anywhere. There may be many more appealing items on the menu, but buy sticking to a salad (sans the croutons & cheese) you can be sure you won’t pack on the pounds. Adding avocado, nuts and fruit makes any salad more interesting. Be sure to skip the creamy dressings; a vinaigrette is generally healthier. When ordering dinner, if the meal comes with pasta or potatoes substitute with whatever vegetables the restaurant offers (and skip the butter... olive oil is healthier).
- Ask for substitutions. Most restaurants understand dietary restrictions so speak up! At a sushi dinner last week I asked if they could make the rolls without rice because I was on a 100% raw diet. The restaurant was happy to use daikon (an Asian radish) instead. I hardly noticed there was no rice and was happy I didn't have to turn down the dinner invite altogether.
- Say no to alcohol. Drinking tends to make you feel like garbage the next day, which makes making healthy food choices hard. For someone who once frequented happy hours and partook in Sunday Funday, it can be done. If you have an event or business dinner during the week, have a 1 drink maximum as any sort of moderate to heavy drinking depletes your vitamin and mineral levels. Your body senses the shortage and holds onto the fat. That same night as soon as I get home I drink a ton of water or a hydrating juice.
- Flip your view. Change the way you see your relationship to food and your social life. This has been the most effective tool that helped me stay on the healthy train. I am often the only one at a party who is eating raw or on a juice cleanse, but to resist the temptations I remind myself that I will feel better physically and emotionally if I don’t overindulge. Don't beat yourself up. You can splurge a little every now and then, but you don’t need to eat cheese and crackers or mashed potatoes every day. You will get more satisfaction from being comfortable in your body (and all those expensive clothes that you love to wear) than the blip of pleasure you'll feel when you eat one of your favorite, but not so healthy foods.