Healthy Living Tip #1 Prep your meals
The phrase ‘fail to prepare then prepare to fail’ certainly applies when it comes to staying on track with your healthy eating. If you’re really planning on cleaning up your diet, then preparation is the key to success! There is an abundance of evidence which indicates that dedicating just a little time preparing and cooking your meals at home will significantly increase your chances of staying on track and maintaining better dietary habits in the long run.
Popping out for a pre-packaged sandwich or highly processed, greasy, food court meal certainly isn’t kind to your waistline or your bank account. You are guaranteed to save a lot of money by preparing your meals in advance. Plus, you can control exactly which ingredients are going into them, without compromising on flavour. Prepping will also ensure you stick to reasonable portion sizes!
If you’re stuck for ideas, why not make a batch of my Quinoa Salad (it’s Low FODMAP for those that are following this low fermentation diet) with some protein like salmon or chicken for lunches. Perhaps also try a batch of my delicious Orange Cacao Bars With Coconut for an energising mid-morning or afternoon snack?
Healthy Living Tip #2 Ditch the white stuff
Yup, of course I’m referring to our worst enemy (disguised as our best friend)… sugar! Eliminating sugar (the refined kind) is arguably the most important step when it comes to cleaning up your diet, for so many reasons. It causes weight gain, makes you look older, makes you tired, wears out your organs, and diminishes vital vitamin and mineral stores in the body. These are just a few examples of why this addictive substance is so bad for us. Unfortunately, it does seem to appear everywhere, in fruit juices, white carbohydrates, pre-made sauces, alcohol, low-fat foods and so much more!
So how can we avoid it and give it up for good? Switch to healthier alternatives such as honey, stevia, coconut sugar and fruit (all in moderation of course). Clean out your cupboards (read all your labels and chuck anything containing sugar!). Up your protein intake (this will help reduce sugar cravings). Cook all your meals from scratch and exercise – this can really help take your mind off food!!
See one of my previous blog posts detailing Reasons why sugar ruins your health
Healthy Living Tip #3 Keep Hydrated
An array of research has shown that the majority of the population (of the world!!) are dehydrated, which obviously has a negative impact on their quality of life. Drinking enough water (ideally around 2-4 litres a day!) will work wonders for your body, both inside and out. It will help you to feel energised, keep your skin hydrated, and prevent you from overeating as well as aiding your metabolism (boosting your body’s fat burning ability). There are so many fantastic benefits of consuming enough water.
If you’re not the biggest fan of drinking unflavoured water, why not add a slice of lemon or perhaps some fresh mint for some extra flavour! I’d also recommend using a water filter to remove the chlorine. We want chlorine in the water to kill any bad bacteria in the water pipes etc but we really want to remove the chlorine before we drink it because it can have a negative impact on our good bugs in our gut as well. Keeping a balanced microbiome helps us with our weight, our immune system and our mood, amongst other health benefits, so keeping chlorine out of your gut is a good thing. Use a water filter.
Healthy Living Tip #4 Limit your Alcohol Intake
Tying into the sugar section, your alcohol consumption seriously needs to be considered when trying to clean up your diet.
There is a reason why terms like ‘beer belly’ exist. Alcohol, when consumed in excess, creates a ring of fat right around our middle section. There is no denying that when we have one tipple too many, our body becomes toxic, meaning our liver has to work a lot harder to reduce this toxicity, thus causing that horrible belly budge. It can also make your skin dry and can have a negative impact on your mood the next day. Beer and wine also contribute to bloating and digestive issues for many, not only due to the sugar but they are fermented products so if you have SIBO, candida, histamine intolerance or dysbiosis you’ll suffer more the next day.
Although it may be a little unrealistic to cut it out completely – in moderation, alcohol can be a highly sociable and relaxing aspect of our lives – with little nutritional value. I highly recommend that you restrict your intake to a couple of glasses a week. Think how much better you’d feel and how much more you’d enjoy your Friday night glass of Merlot having held back during the week!
Healthy Living Tip #5 Switch Your Cravings
Sometimes when an intense craving kicks in (yup, this happens to the best of us!), we will stop at nothing to try and satisfy that craving. Luckily there are plenty of clever, healthy alternatives that we can opt for instead. When you’re craving chocolate, for example, it could mean you’re deficient in magnesium. Instead of chewing on a fat-laden mars bar, why not whizz up a delicious smoothie full of leafy greens or seeds which are both full of magnesium. When you’re still dying for chocolate after another 30 mins, then why not treat yourself to one of my yummy Chocolate Chia Puddings or a healthy Chocolate Smoothie? If you’re craving ice-cream, why not try my delicious blended frozen fruit, which mimics the taste and texture of ice cream perfectly (as mentioned in my Healthy Food Upgrades blog article).
When you’re craving something salty, like potato chips, for example, why not try some Kale chips, sprinkled with a pinch of sea salt. This alternative will satisfy your craving whilst providing you with nutrients from the leafy greens and is much kinder to your waistline!