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Eat smarter this year, suggest local holistic health pros

"I love our city's traditional foods. ... But now it's even easier to add-in a side of locally grown greens."

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Pledging to eat less is a common New Year's resolution, but you can actually eat more this year — at least of certain foods.

Local holistic health professionals suggest a range of healthy habits, from breathing more deeply and drinking more water to taking "sun breaks" — short stints outside whenever possible. But increasing your intake of some foods, they add, can also have a huge impact.

Jess Pederson, a certified holistic health coach, recommends eating more cauliflower. Like broccoli, cabbage and other cruciferous vegetables, it "is nutrient-dense and full of vitamins, fiber" and other nutrients.

"Just one cup of raw cauliflower contains 80 percent of your daily vitamin C needs" alone, says Pederson — while its anti-oxidant properties may reduce the risk of cancer and other ailments.

Having a hard time fitting cauliflower into your diet? Pederson suggests pulsing it in a food processor, making a powder that can be used in a grain-free pizza-crust recipe.

Tracey Eakin, a plant-based nutrition counselor, recommends ground flax seeds as a daily staple. Adding just one tablespoon per day can prove "incredibly cancer protective," says Eakin. "[Flax] improves insulin sensitivity, cholesterol, blood pressure and hot flashes. It's also an excellent source of omega-3 essential fatty acids. Add it to your morning oatmeal or smoothie."

She also advises sipping hibiscus tea throughout the day: Make your own by placing four hibiscus tea bags in 64 ounces of filtered water and refrigerate overnight.

Kate Porigow, also a certified holistic health coach, will be adding more sprouts into her diet. "They are full of micro-nutrients and enzymes that help our bodies run more efficiently, and they're easy to toss on salads or add to sandwiches. "

Also making the holistic short list: fresh herbs and spices such as cinnamon, cayenne pepper, oregano, mint, dill, turmeric and rosemary, as well as chia seeds, berries, mushrooms, kimchi, fermented beverages and raw cacao.

"I love our city's traditional foods," Pederson admits. "Put a plate of pierogies in front of me and I'm in heaven. ... But now it's even easier to add in a side of locally grown greens to boost the nutrient content of our meals."

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