Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Healthy Mind, Healthy Body, Healthy Appetite.

This blog post has been a long time in the making because it is something I feel so strongly about: diet. Do you know what a diet is? It’s what you eat and drink. It’s not Slimming World, Atkins, Weight Watchers, Slim Fast, Paleo or 5:2 or any other twaddle someone wants to come up with (don’t even speak to me about them, talk of these diets bores me to absolute tears). Being healthy is not about starvation, restriction, food substitutes or replacements nor excessive exercise; it is about nourishing the body and mind.

I love my food, you know I do. And I eat A LOT. But I eat in a balanced way. People often ask when I post another picture of yet another big slab of cake, ‘How do you stay so slim?’. Well first off, wow, thank you, what a lovely compliment! Secondly, balance is your answer. I’m not a naturally lucky person when it comes to size; without eating or exercising in my usual way, I once put on two stone in two months! This blog post hopefully explains my approach to food, but it’s also worth mentioning that you only see a snap-shot of what I eat – the Instagram worthy bits. 
So what don’t I like about those ever-popular ‘diets’?
Diets tend to be packaged up as a way of kick-starting weight loss rather than a healthy way of life. Therefore, people go on a diet, lose weight, go back to their normal way of eating and put the weight back on again. That classic yo-yo dieting is not healthy.  
Cutting out key food groups is a sure way to fail. Guess what? It’s a key food group for a reason – your body needs it! Thanks to these ‘diets’ and a lack of education where nutrition is concerned, too many people now think carbohydrates are bad for you, along with fats and sugars. Do you know how much that grinds my gears?! 
The food industry itself has a lot to answer for. Food labelling and the huge importance we place on calories is so wrong. It’s nutrients we need, calories are neither here nor there, just a hindrance, especially for anyone suffering with an eating disorder! And as for all these low-fat processed foods that are marketed as healthy, well they are not. They are played with, stripped of nutrition and taste and you are far better off buying the full-fat counterpart. Think of low-fat and full-fat foods like margarine and butter – buy the real thing! Please.
So, how can you take a healthy approach to food on a daily basis?
Try to cook from scratch as often as possible. Food cooked from real ingredients instead of jars and packets tastes far better (and therefore you’re more likely to feel satisfied). Knowing what is in your food and the process of making it, is not only good for the body, but good for the mind.
Processed foods are convenient, yes, but they are not all that good for you, so try to eat food that hasn’t been put together in a factory. Eat real food with real ingredients. The more processed your food is, the harder it will be for your body to break down. 
Choose nutritiously dense foods. Swap your normal potatoes for sweet potatoes, eat loads of fruit and vegetables of all different colours, eat grains, pulses, good quality meat, proteins and dairy too. Eat better, not less. Buy the best quality food you can afford on your budget. Don’t wonder why food is so expensive, think instead about why another version might be so cheap!
Buy full-fat everything. 
Know that carbohydrates are not the enemy but instead learn how you can eat better ones. Go for brown rice instead of white and whole wheat versions of pasta and bread. 
Move more.
Drink water like it’s wine.
But most importantly of all, enjoy your food. I never deprive myself of anything I want, I just balance it out with better food at another time and move even more. Guilt should not be something you experience after eating unless it’s because you’ve stolen someone else’s Easter egg!

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