Aaah new year, new you. An opportunity for a fresh beginning. 2016 the chance to start from scratch. You’ve probably heard it a million times in some form or other over the past month. After the over indulgence of Christmas the gym is suddenly packed with new faces, people dressed in shiny Lycra outfits purchased in guilt at the Boxing Day sales. Diet club subscriptions shoot through the roof, healthy recipe books suddenly swamp the top ten best sellers list, and the supermarket shelves are lined with ‘good for you’ this and ‘low fat’ that.
Nearly one in three of us (29%) will make a vow to lose weight whilst around one in five of us (19%) will resolve to exercise and improve fitness.
Whether we care to admit it or not, we’re a nation of yo-yo dieters. We spend Christmas fortnight stuffing our faces with mince pies, pudding, and chocolates then by the time the twelfth day rolls around most of us have resolutely committed to spend January trying to drop the extra pounds.
It’s a fact, weight loss is consistently the countries most popular New Year’s Resolution.* Nearly one in three of us (29%) will make a vow to lose weight whilst around one in five of us (19%) will resolve to exercise and improve fitness. But is it something we intend to stick to? When asked whether we think we will stay committed to our resolutions, only half of us think we’ll stick to it for 6 months or more and 2% think we’ll last less than a day!
So, what’s the secret to making our commitment to health last? Whether you’re only just beginning to explore the idea of a Paleo lifestyle or already firmly set on the clean eating track, I find experimenting with new foods and recipe ideas the very best way to keep things interesting and in turn stay focused.
We’re so fortunate in this country, we have such an amazing range of foods available to us. Whether you shop at the larger supermarkets or smaller, local markets, there are always new foods to try.
3 New Foods to Try in 2016
I first tried jack fruit in Thailand last year and I fell in love. But it really is one of those love it or hate it fruit. Jack fruit is native to parts of Southeast Asia, and is believed to have originated in the southwestern rain forests of India. It’s part of the mulberry and fig family but tastes absolutely nothing like either, in fact the closest thing I can compare it to is bubblegum! At 50p a bag from the Thai street stalls it fast became my favourite breakfast. The flesh of the jackfruit is starchy and a fantastic source of dietary fibre. In Bangladesh the fruit is consumed on its own or unripe in curry. In Indonesia it’s usually sold separately and consumed on its own or sliced and mixed with shaved ice as a sweet concoction dessert. Whilst the Vietnamese use jackfruit puree as a pastry filling, or as a topping on sticky rice. Whether you fancy trying an exotic Indonesian recipe or simply eating them whole, jack fruit are usually available from your local Asian supermarket at £2.50 for 8 pieces.
Asian supermarkets really are an incredible place to shop. I’m so fortunate living in Manchester to have access to an amazing range of fantastic Indian, Chinese, and Asian ingredients. I often find Asian supermarkets the best place to stock up on bulk staples. High protein chickpea flour, kilogram bags of cashew nuts, and tins of coconut milk at half the price of most major supermarkets. Herbs and spices are also ridiculously cheap. A 500g bag will often cost the same as one of those tiny little glass jars you get in Tesco. It’s very definitely worth buying them to top up your spice rack. The range of fresh fruit and veg in Asian supermarkets is equally incredible. I must admit I’m still learning how to cook most of them! Okra – or ‘ladies fingers’ – is a flowering plant valued for its edible green seed pods. It’s high in fibre, vitamin C, folate, and a good source of calcium and potassium. I love using it simmered in coconut-based curries or tossed with ground mustard seeds.
If you love buying seasonly, this is the veg for you. The British chicory season runs from January to March. Also known as endive, it’s a forced crop, grown in complete darkness which accounts for its blanched white, yellow-tipped leaves. Chicory has a distinctive, cigar-like shape and the crisp leaves have a mild, bitter flavour. Chicory works in salads and raw chicory leaves are excellent eaten fresh, drizzled with a little vinaigrette, or stir-fried and served as a vegetable side dish. Whole heads of chicory can be baked, poached or griddled. I love to slice them in half and lightly sauté them in coconut oil with red onion and maple syrup to create a delicious caramelised side dish.
Have you any favourite foods that you think should make it into a list of top foods for 2016? Why not let us know by leaving a comment below!