So much of the time when it comes to food we’re hearing about the negative side of it.
This can really make you feel like it’s not worth trying to eat well, so I thought I’d try to help change that by sharing my own outlook on food and how I’ve developed what I like to call “positive nutrition”.
1-Look at the basic nutrition
Teach yourself very basic nutrition so that you can view how a food can benefit you. This will help reinforce a better relationship with your food and help you realise the importance of what the food you’re going to eat can do for you. A simple example is to learn that all vitamins except B and C are fat soluble, so eating a little fat with certain foods will help you absorb more nutrients, so it’s more than ok to go ahead and have some hummus with those carrot sticks!
Often in fitness you hear about trainers telling their clients to find their “why?”.
This means, find the reason why you started/wanted to get fitter because this will be what powers you through those last few difficult reps or will be what motivates you to get out of bed in the morning and do a workout even when you don’t want to.
I think this is one of the best pieces of advice I’ve heard and I wanted to turn it to food as well and share my whys with people in the hope that it inspires others to choose a homemade, more nutritious option over the easier, heavily processed version.
Firstly, let me explain that my biggest why is because when I don’t eat well I feel like crap and tend to suffer for it due to digestive and stomach issues. I’d also like to get stronger and put on some muscle which leads most people to believe that as long as I’m getting the calories to do so, that I should just eat whatever I want, however I don’t do this because:
Any food or drink when consumed in excess can lead to detrimental effects but these are a few which I feel can be easily overdone without even realising it, after all, if some is good, then more is better, right?
Not necessarily, so I felt it would be a good post to help explain why you should try to monitor your intake of these foods, meaning you can still enjoy them and their benefits without suffering unwanted effects.
Please don’t let this put you off food or make you feel it’s too hard to be healthy, it is meant to empower you, not discourage you.
Brazil nuts: selenium is a powerful antioxidant and is great for your thyroid and immune system but too much can result in brittle nails/hair, nausea and more severe symptoms.
Brazil nuts are the most dense source of selenium so 1 or 2 a day depending on your weight & gender will provide more than the RDI for selenium so there really is no need to go over board and remember that you can also get selenium from other foods too (meat, seafood, dairy). Therefore if you feel you haven’t consumed enough from your diet over the past few days then popping a brazil into your smoothie or yogurt is great for rectifying this, just don’t go regularly eating a whole bag of chocolate covered brazil nuts!
Seafood: Depending on where it’s from and how it’s sourced certain fish e.g. farmed salmon, most tuna and the big predators such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel etc usually contain high levels of mercury so eating these kinds isn’t recommended. Instead, stick to 1 or 2 portions of fish a week, with at least 1 portion being oily and opt for wild caught Alaskan salmon (or check with the fish monger about their mercury/growing conditions), sardines, hake, cod, small Atlantic mackerel (not king mackerel) and you can occasionally have skipjack tuna.
For good infographics, see here.
There are other choices, so do some research to find ones that are accessible to you and with the lowest levels.
This information is especially important for kids/petite women/those trying to get pregnant.
So it comes to that time of year again when everyone is trying to get that bikini body for their holidays. I still see lots of people, especially women, reaching for all sorts of expensive potions and processed shakes to achieve this, but let’s keep in mind that these are short term fixes (if they even work at all!) and usually involve some sort of laxative effect….fun.
So why not try a real food, nutritious way of starting your day combined with a good exercise plan for the time leading up to your holidays and actually properly care for and nourish your body this year? Go on, your body deserves it.
I designed this smoothie based on foods that have beneficial effects on metabolism and exercise performance (see below for more details) meaning it’s great to have first thing in the morning and best combined with some exercise. Don’t forget to fill the rest of your day with wholesome nutritious meals as well, try my avocado pesto, green omelette, chilli Pb stirfry or rainbow summer squash salad.
I’ve been making a lot of my own milks recently and thought I’d share one of my favourites to show people just how easy making your own actually is. Not to mention how much cheaper it is as well, pretty much everyone will have some desiccated coconut in their cupboard for baking purposes and it’s quite cheap to get these days. When you consider how much that entire bag costs and how much milk you can get out of it, it works out to be soooo much cheaper, so if you often feel a bit ripped off buying pre made milks then I highly recommend giving this a go. It’s also great to have the know how incase you find yourself needing plant based milk but don’t have any in the fridge and can’t get to the shops.
Another benefit of homemade is that it’s free from any emulsifiers/thickeners which some people may be allergic to or can’t have due to dietary lifestyles. There are brands out there that make milks without anything added which you can get if you needed to, one of my favourites is the Oatly organic version which is simply, oats, water and a pinch of salt.
Have you ever been in the position where you’re at a social event or just out with a friend and you guys decide to grab something to eat, but when you go to order you begin to make excuses for what you want to choose?
“Oh, I did a really hard workout this morning so I’ve earned this bit of toast” or “I haven’t really eaten much today/this week so it’s ok for me to have this scone rather than the green juice”.
Well, you’ve just food shamed yourself, feeling like you shouldn’t have that scone even though you really want it because you’re afraid of what the other person might think or say, after all, you are meant to be the healthy one, right?
Or even more annoying is when someone else does it to you, “oh you’re going to eat that are you, I didn’t think you’d ever eat that?!”
I’ve got this a few times and I can’t tell you how frustrating it is to hear.
We all have our good days & bad days
Being an honest healthy eater
I feel this is an important topic to share because if people view healthy eating/wellness as something that never involves the occasional indulgence or means never being able to have a slice of toast again it puts people off ever trying in the first place, or worse, it could encourage a very negative, restrictive relationship with food.
As a person who is passionate about and promotes health and wellness I do try to show people that there is a balance which makes it easier to stick to and to be honest that not all wellness gurus are perfect kale chompers 100% of the time. Furthermore, I feel that for most people it’s nearly impossible to do this, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been at a restaurant where they don’t do a single wholegrain option and I’m not a big meat eater so it’s either choose some white rice risotto or have nothing but a plate of veggies. Likewise when I’m socialising with friends I’ll loosen the reigns and enjoy the get-together by sharing a few slices of pizza with my friend. (more…)