Like the Olympics, a Leap Year comes only once every 4. This extra day is like getting a leg up on the year! Give your nutrition the same turbo boost with these every day essential ways to keep you leaping through all 366 days of 2016.
1. Choose the right multivitamin
Can’t remember to take your vitamins? Boost your daily intake with a yummy little gummy, like these from Olly that you’ll actually want to munch. Since they don’t require water, they’re also great on the go. Gummy vitamins are often packed with extra sugar or artificial ingredients, but Olly’s are colored and flavored with 100% plant based fruit/veggie extracts so they're naturally Natty approved. Their brand new Superfoods Multi goes way beyond essential, packing the antioxidant equivalent to a full serving of 10 powerhouse superfoods and into each tiny bite. My other personal fave is the “Go With Your Gut” package, since that’s my personal mantra!
2. GRIND YOUR FLAX SEEDS!
This is another one that's well documented, but still bears repeating: In order for your body to process flax seeds, they need to be ground. You can buy ground seeds, or grind them yourself in a food processor (I use my mini Ninja). For maximum freshness and potency, I buy them whole, but only grind a small portion at a time which I keep in the freezer. The rest I keep in an airtight container on the counter until I need them. Voila, flax on demand! Flax is super high fiber, rich in omega 3, and one of the best sources of magnesium! Try it in smoothies, yogurt, on salads and in dressing.
3. TURBO CHARGE YOUR TURMERIC WITH BLACK PEPPER AND FAT
I’ve shared this tip before, but I’ll continue to share until everyone in the universe knows! Turmeric is the single most potent anti-inflammatory available on earth. But you’ll benefit from only a tiny fraction of its power by consuming it alone. By simply adding black pepper, your body is able to absorb 2000% more of turmeric’s potency! Go one step further by cooking with turmeric. By consuming turmeric with fat, you’ll bypass the liver and absorb the goodness straight into your bloodstream.
4. Out of Fresh Herbs? Try Cooking and Baking with Essential Oils
I wish I had a garden full of live herbs to pull at a moment’s notice, but I live in Manhattan where I can barely keep one little house plant alive. However, I do have a collection of essential oils that I keep on hand, some of which are a great stand-in for the fresh stuff. Just 1 drop of an herbal oil like oregano takes the place of 1 teaspoon of the dried herb, or 1 tablespoon fresh. Citrus works too: 1 teaspoon of lemon extract can be replaced by 16 drops of lemon oil, or 1 tablespoon of lemon zest by 8 drops. Plus if you trust your essential oil brand (I stand by doTERRA), you’re getting a higher quality dose than from a stale, dried herb.
5. Don’t peel your PRODUCE!
By leaving the skin on your fruits and veggies (things like ginger, potatoes, beets, sweet potatoes, apples and even kiwi!) you’ll not only save time, but you’ll also maximize your nutrition. That’s because very often, the majority of the nutrients and fibers in our produce are actually located in the skin! Just make sure to buy organic to avoid exposure to nasty pesticides and chemicals.
6. Don’t toss the seeds!
Much like the skin, the seeds of most fruit and veggies are nutrient powerhouses. Papaya seeds naturally kill parasites and are packed with papain–a powerful digestive enzyme, grape seeds are incredibly anticarcinogenic, watermelon seeds are high in fiber and zinc so chew - don’t spit!
7. Can’t buy organic? This can help.
Once in awhile, it’s impossible to find organic produce. Maybe you need something that’s out of season, or your store doesn’t have a great selection. While the dangers of conventional farming reach far beyond surface level (think: chemicals leaching from the soil directly into your food), a lot of toxins do reside on the skin. That’s where a good DIY fruit and veggie wash comes in handy. Soaking your produce in a simple recipe like this one will help you reduce some of that yucky stuff before you eat it.
Huge thanks to Olly for sponsoring my superfood boosted leap into the year! And for offering my readers a generous 20% off their vitamin subscriptions at Olly.com. (Valid until 3.30.2016 using the code SUPER20) If you prefer to test drive some Olly before subscribing, Target sells the full line!