Welcome to my kitchen: 5 steps to start eating healthy and never look back
Do you avoid healthy eating, due to lack of time or information, unwillingness to change, or a ‘cannot be bothered’ attitude?
I know several people who are hooked on sugary and caffeine products, for example, whilst always complaining of chronic fatigue and exhaustion. Someone told me the other day, “Life is already bad enough as it is to eat healthy food”. What’s the matter with healthy eating? Here comes the trick. In my view, there is a popular tendency to think that eating healthy means having a tasteless, boring kind of green diet. Something like what I call “sad salad”; some sparse green romaine lettuce leaves with two cherry tomatoes on top and that is it!!! Healthy eating is not even near to that. It is an exciting journey that allows you to discover how wonderful it tastes and the variety you can have. Here below are my 5 steps I would like to share, to change that mindset and start loving healthy eating. 1 Change one thing at a time Switching your old eating habits completely is not easy. I know that, but along the way I also realised that it was less difficult than I thought, I can guarantee you this. As this saying goes, “Rome was not built in a day”, nor goes healthy eating. Don’t stress about taking everything off your menu. Take your time but act now. Make one change at a time, this will leave you less stressed about your new diet and the change is more likely to stay and have a positive effect on your eating habits. I changed my diet drastically in my twenties as I wanted to be in good health ASAP but my system crashed after twenty days and I had to re-introduce some of the food I left out, like eggs and sugar. So I highly recommend going slow and steady! 2 Do a little research on alternative foods You’ll be surprised at how much you can play with natural food and how exciting the process can become. I like to flip through cookbook pages and change ingredients around to healthy ones, avoiding even the simplest things like a spice if I know it doesn’t agree with my body. Also, I look at some vegan recipes despite not being a vegan, just to find new ideas and to keep my diet varied. Here are some easy ideas to get you excited and help to reawaken your taste buds. Use raw cacao powder instead of processed chocolate, or even better carob -if you have any gastrointestinal problems- nutritional yeast as cheese flakes (if you need to avoid dairy products), chicory or turmeric latte instead of your morning coffee; buckwheat and brown rice pasta, or spiralized courgettes and butternut squash instead of wheat pasta, and so on. The choice is yours. 3 Never go to your local supermarket when you are starving If you still do not know it, going to do your food shopping when your stomach is screaming for fuel is not a great idea as it is likely that you will end up reaching out for comforting food, most probably junk and also buying more than you need. When we are very hungry, we tend to look for a quick fix and comfort and, therefore, we are more attracted to processed food and ready meals. If you are starving and find yourself at a food store, well, remember the logic behind this and keep directing your trolley to the right lanes. Also, you might know that food and drink products are cleverly displayed on shelves and lanes for you to easily grab the less healthy choices, get hooked on them and come back for more. In addition, you might end up buying more than you actually need. When was last time you were waiting to pay at the till point and saw a huge variety of snacks overloaded with saturated fat, salt and sugar right there waiting for you to pick them? Have you ever found healthier versions of cereals or granola, for instance, at your eye level? There are a lot of ways supermarkets trick you into spending more or reaching for processed food, and I will soon write a post about it. In the meantime, write the good old-fashioned food shopping list and make sure you stick to it! 4 Organise your cupboard and stock up on staple foods Stock up on nuts and seeds, beans and pulses, oats, plant-based milk if you are avoiding dairy, your favourite spices for adding flavour (never to be missed in my kitchen cupboard: ginger, turmeric, parsley, coriander and basil). These are only some examples, and try not to forget healthy grains and seeds such as chia seeds, quinoa and brown rice. Additionally, I make sure I have my favourite nut or seed butter, and that plant-based protein and superfood powders are always present and abundant in my cupboard for morning smoothies and a quick fix on the go. 5 Batch cooking Another great thing which helps a lot to remain healthy even when you coming back from work exhausted and cooking is the last thing you fancy doing. Having some cooked food stored in the freezer I just need to warm up helps me a lot. I am always on the go as probably many of you and believe me, I sometimes feel just like putting my feet up and grab something easy, usually not very nutritious. To avoid this, my advice is to organise your food on your day off work and take some time to batch cook your veggie, vegetable roots, and grains, for instance, so they are ready to be mixed and matched into different dishes for the week, or at least a few days. Remember you can freeze healthy foods too as grilled aubergines, cooked beans, pancakes, and even soups, just to mention a few. This is so handy and one of the top advice I would give to keep healthy and avoid getting off the rail. Lastly, read, inform yourself, experiment and if you wish, pass the knowledge on. Read trustworthy books and blogs; go to health, food and beauty events as this will keep you focussed; and share your experience with like-minded individuals. It is very powerful, inspiring, motivating and also comforting. Now, to those who need to dig into their willpower more deeply, I would like to say, if I did it so can you! The outcome you get will be so fulfilling. You will also discover a new strength in yourself that you never thought you’d have. I promise you after you make those changes, your body and mind will thank you and there will be no way back to the junk. It will be you who says, “You know what? My old food does not satisfy me any longer”. Yes, it is finally done and dusted! I hope this helps. Please leave a comment here below, if you wish. I would love to know your tips on making those changes and your experience with healthy eating.