Maintaining a healthy diet can sometimes be a real challenge. There are so many temptations and if you’re anything like me and have a soft spot for icecream, cheeses and cakes then you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. Or is it a glass of wine, chips and creamy sauces that you have a weakness for? Whatever your not-so-healthy penchant is, is beside the point. The real significance is how disciplined you choose or choose not to be.
Everything we eat and drink either strengthens or weakens our health and wellbeing. If you truly do wish to improve your diet and energy levels, nutrition is certainly the place to start.
Of course we all need our treats, as it’s totally impractical to think that you can abide by a strict diet 100% of the time. It’s inevitable that most of us will reach our breaking point, resulting in a whole day’s worth of food being scoffed down in a couple of hours, comprising all the “wrong” things that were forbidden in that so called “miracle diet”.
I think it’s silly to follow blindly what one person says you should or shouldn’t eat as there is no single diet that is perfect for everyone. There are however, general guidelines that apply to us all to ensure that we are giving our bodies the best possible intake of nutrients to allow our body to function optimally.
You know your body better than anyone else does, and if you become more aware of how your body “talks” to you then you’ll be able to find the “right” eating plan for you.
Are there times when your body is telling you to put down the fork, but you keep on eating more food anyway?
Are there certain foods that make you feel bloated but you keep on eating them because they are so yummy?
Are you consuming coffee and/or alcohol out of habit as opposed to listening to what would truly be nurturing for your body?
Is your life so busy that you forget to stop and nourish yourself with a balanced meal, instead eating a number of unhealthy snacks on-the-go?
Over the years I have learnt that the best way to maintain a healthy diet is to follow the 90:10 rule. Be healthy 90% of the time and indulge in treats the other 10%. This way I’m not denying myself any particular food, or overindulging in any one food either. I encourage you to give this a go.
General Guidelines for 90% of your Diet
~ Eat when you are hungry, not when the clock tells you to, and remember to chew your food.
~ Graze rather than overeat. Large meals are harder to digest, place a strain on your organs and can result in indigestion and sleepiness.
~ Eat a balanced, nutritious diet based on organic and biodynamic wholefoods: fruit, vegetables, wholegrains, nuts and seeds.
~ Eat both raw and cooked foods.
~ Choose a wide variety of brightly coloured fruits and vegetables that are in season.
~ Take either a heaped tablespoon of ground flax, pumpkin, sesame and sunflower seeds, or a tablespoon of blended seed oil. My favourite is Udo’s Omega 3:6:9 Oil Blend.
~ Eat probiotic-rich foods to improve your digestive and immune health. Goat’s Milk Kefir is my favourite.
~ Choose natural sea salt.
~ Drink clean filtered tap water and herbal teas.
~ AVOID alcohol, caffeine, smoking, processed foods and take-out food with added chemicals and processed ingredients; AVOID fat free, diet, low or no cholesterol packaged foods.
~ AVOID cage eggs, dairy and meat that is not pasture fed.
~ AVOID refined table salt, sugar and margarine.
~ AVOID soft drinks, cordial, bottled juices and vitamin waters that are full of sugar and artificial additives.
~ AVOID plastic bottled beverages.
The other 10% of the time, please don’t feel guilty about what you’re consuming as I strongly believe that the emotional stress and guilt you feel has a detrimental effect on your physical health and happiness. Indulge and enjoy it. Feel good about the fact you’re feeding your body with highly nutritious foods 90% of the time and that this piece of cake, chocolate, icecream, chips or whatever is simply a treat. Most importantly, listen to your body and do what is “right” for you.
Snacks is one area that it’s easy to get led astray. If we have nothing prepared then it’s easy to reach for that cookie, cake, chocolate come snack-time. Here are a number of healthy and easy to prepare snacks: Take a little jar of raw nuts and seeds if you’re going to have one of those days when you’re on the move. Or an apple or boiled egg – a great mid morning snack that can be thrown in a little container in your handbag. Celery, carrots and hommus is an easy yet healthy snack to have in the fridge. As is Kefir – a small glass in between meals keeps the hunger at bay and blood sugar levels regulated. Or my favourite after-dinner snack – a small bowl of yoghurt with wheatgerm and honey.
What are your favourite healthy snacks?
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