There are so many conflicting points-of-view about what we should or shouldn’t be eating, it’s no wonder some of us are confused and led to feel guilty about our choices. There’s the Low GI, Dr Atkins, South Beach, Blood Type, Low Fat, Vegan, Vegetarian, Raw Food, Acid Alkaline, Calorie Counting, No Carbs, Macrobiotic, Gluten Free, High Protein, Liver Cleanse and I could keep going on and on and on.
My point-of-view with all this “diet stuff” is that no-one knows your body better than you do. If you take the time to listen to your body and the signs that it gives you when you eat certain foods then you’ll instinctively know what it is that is “right” for you.
You may notice that when you eat a particular kind of food you become more hungry, bloated or tired. Or if you’re anything like me, you may notice that the jar of chocolate disappears quicker at certain times of the month.
We are all different. There is no “perfect” diet for everyone. Many factors need to be taken in to consideration such as age, sex, race, weight, how much you exercise, stress levels, whether you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, and any predispositions to certain diseases amongst other things.
Just because others can tolerate a certain food does not mean that you can too. Dairy and me do not see eye-to-eye, however I can eat pasta and not get bloated at all. In fact, it’s pure joy to sit down to a bowl of pasta every once in a while. However, if I was to listen to half the advice out there, pasta would be one of the first things banned from my diet because it’s that “scary” thing called carbs. This makes no sense to me whatsoever. My body loves to eat it. I’m not overweight. I exercise a lot so I clearly need the energy. It doesn’t make me feel sick, quite the opposite, it feels like heaven in my tummy. So why on earth would I stop eating it just because someone’s point-of-view out there is that carbs will make you fat? Or worse still, why would I allow someone else’s point-of-view to affect my wellbeing in the form of me feeling guilty that I ate pasta for dinner? I can’t tell you the number of times that I have been out to dinner and overheard conversations from women saying how they are not “allowed” to eat carbs at dinnertime because they read it in a “diet” book or magazine, or watched women eat a piece of cake and then chastise themselves for hours afterwards. Why do we punish ourselves to the point of being depressed and emotionally paralysed? Many illnesses and diseases start in the mind.
Did you know that this kind of guilt and stress that you inflict upon yourself may have a direct connection to your weight? When you are stressed, your body releases a hormone called cortisol that has been proven to encourage fat storage in the abdominal area.
So the message here is … please don’t feel guilty about what you’re consuming. Indulge and enjoy it. Feel good about the fact that you’re feeding your body with highly nutritious foods the majority of the time and that this piece of cake, chocolate, icecream, chips or whatever is simply a treat.
Personally, I find that the most effective way to cultivate a healthy day’s eating is to start with a healthy breakfast.
Following are three healthy, nutrient-dense, high protein breakfast options:
8-grain porridge – Quinoa, millet, spelt, oats, amaranth, sago, brown rice and barley
Usually on a Sunday afternoon I cook up a batch of 8-grain porridge to last me the entire week, so that each morning I just scoop out a single serving size and slowly heat it up in a pot on the stove with a little extra water (and it only takes 2 minutes). I then add a sprinkle of cinnamon, half a handful of almonds, half an apple or pear and a splash of rice or hemp milk.
Poached eggs Two poached eggs on sprouted grain bread with tahini and avocado. A great breakfast option, especially if I’ve been for a big workout on the beach that morning.
Berries and Kefir
A small bowl of fresh strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and figs with kefir, wheatgerm and manuka honey. My favourite start to a summer’s day. So fresh and tasty, and packed full of antioxidants.
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