If I got a dollar for everytime I thought I’d made a bad decision eating a certian type of food I’d be rich by now!!
We can obviously debate for hours about what healthy eating means and what we classify as junk foods and healthy foods. For me personally, eating healthy means eating predominantly vegetables and fruit. I regularly eat a combination of the above, I believe this post will apply to anyone following either an omnivore or vegan diet. Because in my eyes whether you eat vegan or animal based, junk food is still junk food. Just because it’s vegan it doesn’t mean it’s healthy (truly not all vegan food is)
Eating healthy has grown on me over the years and my awareness of how it makes me feel, as it makes me feel incredible. Although it doesn’t happen overnight, I strongly believe that anybody can get to the stage where eating healthy 90% of the time (we are all human) is the norm and not the exception.
Here are some tips which I hope you will find helpful and maybe inspiring to get you started on your health journey:
Think baby steps
Eating as healthy as you can doesn’t happen overnight. A gradual but steady transition I believe, allowed me to make long term changes which now feel obtainable to create a more sustainable way of living.
So instead of thinking “ I am going to eat super healthy ALL the time” maybe make the commitment to start having a healthy and nourishing breakfast every day. Or maybe decide that every other day you will plan in a very healthy meal cooked from scratch with lots of veggies, wholegrains or beans. Another example could be to commit to always bring your lunch to work or meal prep in advance for the week ahead, instead of buying that maybe not so healthy sandwich every day. It really doesn’t have to be everything or nothing, especially at the beginning when making drastic changes can just feel a bit too overwhelming.
Out of Sight Out of Mind
It might sound obvious but if you have your cupboards stocked up with lots of junk food you will probably end up eating it. As wasteful as it might seem just get rid of it! It’s definitely more harmful to eat it than to throw it away.
Once the junk is out, stock up on all the good stuff, I am sure you are guessing what I am talking about Start with packing your fridge with whatever fruit and veggies you like (if you hate kale just don’t buy it) When it comes to pantry staples I guess we all have different taste and preferences, these are some of my favourite cupboard staples which I always try to have on hand:
wholegrain like brown rice and quinoa (great to serve with curries, stews, buddha bowls)
oats – for porridge, baking and overnight oats.
Beans & legumes (canned ones are super convenient)
Wholegrain pasta ( spelt, buckwheat, chickpeas and brown rice)
Nut butters and tahini (great for dressings or on top of porridge/ overnight oats or as a snack)
Nuts and seeds (I love to sprinkle them in my salads, soups or with oats)
Tomato passata, tamari, apple cider vinegar and miso paste for dressings and pasta sauces.
Literally fill your kitchen with all the good stuff and leave the junk food for a special occasion, like eating out with friends or that chocolate treat on a Friday afternoon. I am no saint myself so I know that if I buy a satisfying naughty treat I’ll consume it pretty quickly, but I’d rather have my bit of junk food when I go out, when getting the chance to explore all the amazing foods out there at markets and shops you never know unless you try.
Fall in love with cooking your own food
There is no easy way around this, but if you want to eat healthy you’ve got to learn to cook your own food. That’s it, plain and simple. The food that you cook yourself will ALWAYS be healthier than any food you will buy out there (even from health food stores or healthy restaurants) because you are in control of exactly what to put in your meals. I love making my own sweets and slices for example because I can decide exactly how much sweetener (and which kind) to use, I just love to know what goes into my food. Cooking your meals doesn’t have to be complicated or take forever. Most of my meals are super easy and take less than 30-40 minutes.
There are plenty of free resources out there which have inspired me massively over the years. In this day and age (I sound like an old-timer) there is really no big need to buy cookbooks (unless you want to). I find so much inspiration all over social media and through health mags and friends and family.
And again when it comes to cooking don’t feel like you have got to spend hours in the kitchen cooking every single bite you eat. If you are completely new to cooking or not a big fan you might want to start slowly. Maybe schedule a few cooking nights a week and as you become more confident the more you will enjoy and the more you will want to do it.
For me cooking has always been an act of self care it’s about looking after my body’s needs and now the needs of my family. Some people get their nails done, have a bubble bath or slap on a face mask (nothing wrong with that), I cook myself nourishing meals which I know they will feed my body in the best possible way.
Your body is a creature of habit
This is something which I firmly believe in and I could see that very clearly within myself over the last few years. The more you feed your body a type a food the more it will crave it. So the more you eat junk food the more you will end up craving it. And the same goes for healthy food, of course!
I now crave huge vegie stirfrys, big colourful buddha bowls, warming stew, veggie curries or even raw sweet treats and big green smoothies. My body genuinely craves nourishing plant based food 70% of the time. And yes the 30% left is for whatever crazy exciting new food trend I want to follow healthy or not so healthy, balance is key for me and being realistic.
Especially when I have a weekend of being out and busy with a few drinks on a Friday night to relax and that need for a greasy no good bacon and eggs in the morning. After these days all I want to do is redeem myself to start my week off right with something healthy!. I feel so incredibly good and energetic when I eat well then my body remembers that and sends me hints to keep eating that way. I know breaking the habit to eat junk can be hard at the beginning but I truly believe that one step at the time anybody can do it.
Knowledge is power
We all know that fruit and veggies are good for us, but do you know exactly why? I love googling nutrition facts about the food I eat, I find it motivates me even more to eat that particular food as I know exactly why it’s good for me. For example, did you know that flaxseeds have been proven to help prevent breast cancer? I find this mind-blowing and the more I learn about the health befits of plants the more I want to eat them. Call me a geek but it’s exciting to chew on a big mouthful of greens, carrots, beets and brown rice knowing that I am eating vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, protein and so much more.
There are also plenty of books out there that suggest that eating a diet predominantly plant based food is the healthiest diet on the planet.
Have a Plan
You know they say: “ Fail to prepare, prepare to fail” Well, when it comes to eating healthy it cannot be more true. Especially if you are new to cooking your meals from scratch and you have a busy life you definitely need to have a plan of action. I personally do Sunday meal prep some weeks as I am home most days I am a mother of two and a blogger so I literally make food all the time abit of prep can be a life saver. But when it comes to simple healthy eating I believe meal planning is the way to go. By having planned meals not only will you take out of the equation the classic question “What shall I have for dinner tonight?” But you will also save money as you will buy ingredients exactly for those recipes.
I personally love to do my big shop a day or so before the weekend, I know that I am fully stocked up on all the good stuff for the week ahead.
Never EVER strive for perfection
Remember that we are only human, sometimes we overindulge, skip that workout or walk/run for a few days or a week, whatever. Accept the fact from the very beginning that a perfect super healthy juices diet like there is no tomorrow diet doesn’t exist and it’s probably not that healthy either.
I have days when I can easily polish off 2 bars of Caramel chocolate in one sitting, when you overindulge in something, just do it, go for it and OWN IT. Don’t dwell too much on it, it’s done, you had that Pizza last Friday night, I promise you it won’t kill you. Simply move on and make better choices the next day. What you ‘eat once in a blue moon’ won’t compromise your health, it is what you eat everyday, day in day out that really matters.
Pay attention to how you feel
How do you feel after eating a big Mac? Or after that packet of chips? Do you feel vibrant, energetic or do you feel like you could go for nap or start cramping up in the bowels? I personally feel pretty crap after junk food, most of the time it takes me days to digest it, I can feel bloated, and you know that feeling of being greasy on the inside? Yes that’s exactly how I feel and it’s definitely not how I want to feel everyday. If you tend to be very sensitive to what you eat whether its lots of fried, overly salty or loaded with sugar foods, chances are you will probably break out and then again feel terrible, Now I see any of these symptoms as a blessing. I think of them as a way of my body keeping me on track to eat healthy and nourishing foods most of the time to eliminate side effects of unhealthy eating. When I eat a huge tasty buddha bowl or a big smoothie I feel incredible, full of energy and I have that sense of really looking after myself by eating something packed with vitamins, antioxidants and minerals.
Say a big thank you to your body
This is going to sound like such a cliche but you’ve got to love your body enough to honour it with healthy and nourishing food. If your body carries you around everyday, if you can walk and breath then you are tremendously lucky. Say a big fat thank you to you body for supporting you every day. No matter how skinny or overweight you are, no matter if your skin is not clear, your hair is not shining, you aren’t at that ideal shape you would like to be, you’ve got to start loving yourself RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW.
Because when you truly love yourself something magic happens. You start to respect and appreciate your body, you start feeling grateful for your health and you might start saying no to that bowl of fried chips and yes to that plate of nurishing green’s.
I hope you found this blog post even a tiny bit useful, I wish you all the best on your health journey and I hope I’ve helped you along the way.
For some inspiration on healthy food I’ve posted healthy recipes and helpful blogs on health and nutrition make sure to take a look or leave a comment.