Starting from the top, once 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 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.
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. 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!