Now that we’re drinking more water and have the blood flowing through the body smoothly, one of the basics is in place. The next step is to consider the food. Here’s your guide to cooking and eating healthy, balanced and nutritious meals.
Obviously there are a multitude of different diets out there, many of which make some sense and many of which just don’t.
My personal opinion with regards to healthy eating is the same as with most things, life’s too short to be worried about a complicated diet that involves a million rules, counting of any kind (I count enough in my business) or not having wine! I feel it’s best to keep it simple and delicious, again treating your body with love and not punishment.
I also mentioned my food philosophy in a post from last year, which essentially echoes the philosophy of Jamie Oliver.
The philosophy of eating
The main thing is that food shouldn’t be made to be an enemy. The latest research that aimed to determine which was the most evil between carbohydrates and fat may surprise you in its outcome. You can read the article here. What it boils down to (and while I’m at it, don’t boil your veggies) is that neither actually makes much difference!
What does matter is the quantity (amount of calories) and quality of the food you’re eating! You don’t have to go counting every calorie but eat sensible portions and make healthy choices. One thing that must be avoided though, is sugar.
Why avoid sugar?
I always want to know the why’s. Aside from weight loss, here’s a quick list of reasons to avoid sugar from MindBodyGreen.com
- Directly linked to higher levels of anxiety, stress and depression
- causes inflammation which in turn
- negatively impacts the immune system
- increases blood pressure
- adversely affects mental function
- Speeds up ageing and can cause acne
- Blood Sugar spikes and crashes, affecting energy levels
- Increases risk for chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.
How to avoid sugar
Cooking your meals from scratch using fresh ingredients means that you avoid eating processed foods, premade sauces and meals that contain high amounts of sugar (and sodium).
Ditch the sweets for fresh fruits and berries, nuts and look for snack or treat recipes you can make with eg. raw honey, nut butters and dark chocolate. There are soooooo many different options for healthier choices.
Dump the fizzy colddrinks and fruit juices and instead, drink water*, unsweetened rooibos or herbal teas etc.
Don’t choose low fat products as they generally contain added sugar to make up for the taste.
After all this, what are the healthiest food and diet choices?
Firstly, crash diets and fads are so old hat. The only way to lose weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle is with a sustainable eating plan, balance and moderation and yes, some exercise. You don’t need a gym, walking is also great and there are various fantastic workout apps including all different kinds of exercise.
Back to food!
The Mediterranean Diet is my guideline of choice for several reasons. It’s widely known as the world’s healthiest diet mainly because it largely reduces risk of heart disease, strokes and cancer. Let’s be honest, if your heart has stopped working it won’t really matter what your body looks like.
It also wards off chronic disease, promotes brain health, aids weight loss and slows ageing… what more could you possibly want?!
The key aspects of the Mediterranean Diet are:
- plenty of fresh seasonal vegetables and fruits
- fish and white meat, with red meat in moderation
- whole grains along with nuts, beans, lentils and seeds
- olive oil for the win!
- lots of herbs and spices for wonderful flavour without excess salt
- limit dairy to hard cheeses and plain yoghurt
- a glass of red wine daily (again, moderation applies)
Stay away from the cakes, sweets and processed foods. Stick to produce as close as possible to it’s natural form. Choose whole grain over white.
Give yourself a treat now and then! Don’t be mean to yourself for having a block or two of that choccie, it’s not going to crush the scale tomorrow morning… a small treat once a week is fine.
What appeals most to me about the Mediterranean Diet is that it’s the closest to the way we eat as a family in any case, therefore I don’t have to make different meals for different people.
If I don’t feel like having pasta for example, I simply don’t dish the pasta portion and happily have the delicious protein and veggies or salad. It’s uncomplicated, easy to cook, incredibly tasty, GOOD food!
Change your mind – change your life
Food is a friend. You don’t need to make it your enemy. Approach food with positive energy, cook with love, feel the joy of sharing healthy, nutritious meals with your family and caring for your body in the most loving way. You will be surprised at how much this changes your relationship with food as well as your body!
Water is life
This quote by Loren Eiseley is the perfect description for the first subject of my Beautiful Intention healthy living plan, which is water.
Over the course of the past year, water has been a powerful theme of life in South Africa. The ongoing, severe drought in the Western Cape has taken it’s toll on the people, animals and landscape crying out for water. At the same time, other areas of the country suffered violent floods that destroyed homes and took lives.
The fires that devastated Knysna were calmed eventually by water and it’s water that now restores life where there was ashes.
Water is the driving force of all nature and that includes humans. It even helps to make wine! So you see, it really is magic!
Drink plenty of water
It’s a message we hear very often and not without good reason. Taking the most important parts of our bodies into consideration, the brain and heart are made up of 75 percent water, lungs around 85 percent, muscles and kidneys consist of 80 percent water.
In order to have the body function optimally it stands to reason that the water balance must be well maintained.
What are the benefits of drinking more water?
There are a multitude of benefits associated with drinking a good amount of water every day.
- Starting your day with a large glass of water gives your metabolism a wake up call!
- Drinking water is proven to raise your metabolic rate substantially.
- Aids digestion by clearing the colon and improves movement of food through the digestive system, less bloating.
- Keeps skin hydrated and free of toxins.
- Prevents headaches – dehydration is a major cause of headaches and even migraines.
- Boosts brain function and productivity for better focus and clarity.
- Increases muscle function and energy.
- Drink water to control appetite – drinking water an hour to 30 minutes before a meal will help you feel satiated without overeating. Drinking water often throughout the day will keep snack attacks at bay.
- Improved flow of nutrients and distribution of hormones throughout the body, ensuring that you function and therefore feel your best!
How do you find ways to make it easier for yourself to remember to drink more water and actually stick to it?
I have a particular routine that I follow which makes it much easier for me. This includes the following:
As soon as I manage to pry my eyes open and peel myself out of bed (it’s not that I don’t want to rise and shine, I just really love my bed) the first thing on the agenda is a large glass of warm water.
Apple Cider Vinegar
I pour about a quarter glass of hot water, stir in a teaspoon of raw honey and two tablespoons of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar. Top it up with tap water and drink. Then I follow that up with another glass of water.
There are a few reasons why I start with this and not because of it’s celeb status. Growing up, my grandmother did the same thing every day and the smell of ACV reminds me of her in the kitchen every morning. Things we grow up with tend to stick. Lemon and honey in water is another favourite of mine.
It’s not just for nostalgia though. Research is not always 100% conclusive as to all the benefits of apple cider vinegar however it has been used medicinally for centuries.
I will definitely not claim that it’s a magic potion but it has been proven to have various benefits in conjunction with a healthy lifestyle overall. Some benefits are:
- Regulating blood sugar, assisting breakdown of starch
- Enzymes found in the unfiltered ACV aid digestion
- Acetic acid can increase the body’s ability to absorb nutrients and minerals from food
- It’s antibiotic and antimicrobial and especially when combined with honey and water can soothe coughs and alleviate allergy symptoms
- Antioxidants are good for healthy skin
Important to note never to drink apple cider vinegar undiluted. 2 Tablespoons is a maximum daily amount which you can easily also ingest with salads or fish, equally good and much better than 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise!
Further to this it’s also very important to do your own research before starting anything new and consult a doctor if you have any kind of pre-existing condition. A well balanced article I found about apple cider vinegar is here, should you want to start looking through more information.
Getting the 3 litres in
General consensus is that an adult should be drinking about two litres of water each day, however for weight loss you should have at least three.
I find it helps me to keep a 1,5 litre bottle with me, finishing the first one before lunchtime and then refill. I easily have my share of water this way, especially when I have a desk day.
We’re lucky to have the luxury of clean and safe tap water in Jozi and my personal preference is water from the tap or at room temperature. Of course you can chill it, add fresh lemon or berries (not artificially flavoured water) to make it more interesting for the tastebuds.
I also like to have either black rooibos tea or Senna tea, which counts towards water too as well as having their own tea-licious health benefits.
Yes, frequent bathroom trips will be part of the journey at first but the bladder will adjust soon enough. Think of it as a little exercise and a chance to stretch your legs.
One small step for the body… one giant leap to beautiful wellness! If you don’t manage it right away please don’t beat yourself up. Remember to be gentle… tomorrow is another chance to be better.
With that, I think my well of wonderful water wisdom has run dry!
Please let me know if you have any tips for drinking water, or how you prefer to drink your water. Feel free to ask any questions here or via email.
If you’re finding the series valuable, share the message on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Remember to invite your friends and family to follow along and feel their best too!
Money, money, money… must be funny…
It’s that fabulous season during which we reflect on the events of the past year, successes and failures, happiness and sadness. Some people set goals and intentions for the future and some take it that one step too far with this silly list of things called New Years Resolutions. I gave that silly list up a long time ago… I am a mom. My goals are simply to keep the little people alive, brush my hair now and then and try not to burn the house down.
Seriously though, it’s not easy having a business, blogging in between, managing school and activities (I’m that mom who needs several extra reminders). Why am I talking about school already? Let me stop right there… I mean, if you enjoy arguing about lunches at 6am, I cannot recommend parenting highly enough.
My point being, with all this going on we still want to find time for entertainment and save money too. Impossible? No!
Here’s the secret to saving a packet of money on restaurants (first and foremost), leisure and entertainment, beauty, retail and even hotels!
It’s a buy one get one free Christmas miracle and it keeps getting better and better. With The Entertainer there’s always something to smile about and so, we were invited along to the Johannesburg launch of the #Entertainer2018 held at Parker’s Comedy Club and had an absolute blast!
We, being myself and SuperDad and about 100 of Joburg’s coolest food and lifestyle bloggers, were treated to a lineup of hilarious comedians, good food and the freshest news about the new app.
With an established footprint from Hong Kong to the UK, The Entertainer has recently added Bali to the list of locations – my bucket list destination just became a little bit closer to reach! The app also tracks your actual savings and the cost of the (teeny weeny) annual fee will pay for itself several times over even if you only use it once a month.
Sounds like a great deal to me! SuperDad may even be persuaded to go and eat at an outside establishment occasionally…
Thanks to The Entertainer for a fabulously fun evening and for many more to come in 2018! Cheers!
These are the big questions in life…
1. What’s for dinner; and
2. What to do with the kids?
I can happily say that I now have the answers to both of those!
The Adventure Clubs app is honestly one of the best entertainment ideas for kids (and parents) that I have seen in a long time. It would take me days to research and come up with half as many fun, educational and interesting things to do with the kids.
Even if I could manage to make a list of fantastic activities, there would be heaps of admin involved in making the arrangements. It would probably be far more expensive and I wouldn’t have any idea what the quality of the experience would be, whether it’s safe or not and trying to figure out friends’ schedules to go in a group is a nightmare on it’s own…
Adventure Clubs has a huge selection of super adventures for all kids between ages 6 months and 10 years of age. From hip hop dancing and baking classes to helicopter flips, there’s something for everyone and when you’re watching your kids make wonderful memories, you will definitely enjoy sharing those moments with them too!
Every experience is designed by parents, for parents. Well planned and coordinated, the experiences are attended in groups with other parents and children as well as a group coordinator/leader.
Our first experience was at La Cremosa in the Dainfern Square shopping centre, where we got to go behind the scenes inside the gelato “factory”. We were taken through the entire process of making delicious, creamy gelato from pouring the milk all the way through to eating!
My boys really enjoyed every minute of it and got chatting with the friendly staff as well as the other children. Of course their favourite part was the eating!
I could go on and on about the benefits of this concept but it’s really something you just have to go and experience with your family as soon as possible! To give you a push in the right direction, I have one adventure to give away to a lucky reader!
It will be one of your choice, available in Johannesburg, Durban or Cape Town, to the value of R300. All you need to do to enter is to download the Adventure Clubs app easily on either App Store or Google Play, browse the range of experiences and then comment here with your favourite one. Easy as gelato!
Winner will be announced on 5 January 2018. In the meantime, make sure you are following Adventure Clubs on Facebook to see all their great news and of course, follow MammaChef Jozi so that you don’t miss the announcement!
I am so glad that I discovered this before leaving on holiday and we’re definitely making use of it while we are at the coast. When you don’t know the area all that well, it’s not easy to find new and interesting things to do… Adventure Clubs saves the day!
Download and have a look through the Adventure Clubs app and comment on this post (or on the same post on MammaChef Jozi Facebook, Instagram or Twitter). Names will be placed into an online hat and a random winner will be drawn.
Heritage Day – 24 September
The incredible thing about this country and it’s beautiful people, is the huge variety of heritage that we can learn about from eachother. One step further than that, our melting pot has formed such a unique culture that we share as South Africans that I don’t believe exists anywhere else in the world!
This special public holiday is therefore aimed at everyone sharing and celebrating their unique heritage. In the MammaChef household, we truly are not only a modern family, but a multi-heritage family as well!
My father was born in Germany and my grandparents came to South Africa shortly after WW2, when he was a young boy. My mother was born in South Africa, but descended from a mixture of Irish and French backgrounds.
SuperDad’s parents are both from Madeira. Our children therefore have a wonderful, rich mixture of different languages, cultures and food to incorporate into their South African context and share with their friends!
National Museum of Military History
After much discussion, we decided to take a “sho’t left” to the National Museum of Military History in Johannesburg, which is next to the Joburg Zoo. I hadn’t been there since I was very young, in fact I had no memory of what it was like – it was that long ago!
I knew that the boys would enjoy seeing the vehicles etc, but I actually had no idea how much they would love it!
Blake (4) has such a fantastic imagination and can completely immerse himself in little toys and pretend play. He absolutely loved being able to climb on the cannons, see the huge planes, the uniforms and the vehicles. He especially loved playing ship captain on the “deck” of the SAS Tafelberg with it’s huge wooden wheel. For days after this visit, everyone was called “Matey”!
My son Wade, who is 8, really enjoyed the different weapons on display. He asked me to read the descriptions and stories behind certain displays. We noted the distances that the various cannons could shoot at. One item that we found particularly interesting was a small side window from an aeroplane. A bullet hole had gone right through the middle of the glass. It’s displayed in a frame with a black and white photo showing the pilot looking through the little window. He had a huge smile on his face.
We learned that this was a look of pure joy to be alive! The story went that during a battle, a shot went through the window next to his head. His goggles were shot right off his face! He didn’t sustain even a tiny scratch! I’m quite convinced however that he had a new outlook on life from that day onwards!
Not Just Exhibits
After we had taken a walk through all the exhibits, we spent quite a bit of time with the boys on the playground which has an old Jeep and the shell of a helicopter to play on. The adventures took on a life of their own! Mamma and Daddy got to sit peacefully on a bench in the garden and watch the fascinated faces of all the children who were running around having just as much fun.
There is a small coffee shop serving light meals and refreshments. I found that overall, it was very well maintained, clean and safe. All in all a great day out for all of us and something we are definitely planning on taking cousins and friends to in the near future.