H E A L T H Y    E A T I N G

I’m here to clear the confusion over healthy eating. Eating is something we have been doing for over 200,000 years. Back then we didn’t follow fads, quick fixes or diets and there were less diseases, intolerances and allergies.

It’s time to ditch the ‘diet’, tune in with your body and enjoy a rainbow of nourishing food.

P.S. I welcome all eaters because it’s not about labels, it’s about finding your healthy.

The word ‘diet’ has been tainted and pitched as a quick and often extreme approach to losing weight. But a ‘diet’ is not a restrictive, calorie controlled quick fix. It’s a way of eating FOR LIFE. It has to be sustainable, enjoyable and work for YOU and YOUR BODY. It doesn’t matter what works for celebs, influencers, your friends or family, it matters what works for you and makes you feel good inside and out.

DETOX TEA I’m all for a cup of natural herbal tea but anything that says it will detox your body and make you shed a ton of weight is LIES. Everyday your liver processes and eliminates toxins for you. Some foods and herbs can aid this process (milk thistle, beetroot, burdock) but nothing will magically make you lose weight, certainly not in a healthy way (detox teas often contain laxatives and come with unhealthy ‘tips’ like “eat less veggies they cause bloating” or “drink less water to loose water weight”).

MEAL REPLACEMENT SHAKES please DO NOT REPLACE REAL FOOD with a bottle of liquefied fake food. There’s a reason we have teeth; to chew! Chewing food initiates enzymatic breakdown of the food you’re eating so you’re better able to digest it, and absorb nutrients from it.

READY MEALS small portions full of trans & saturated fats, salt, sugar, preservatives, additives, fake added vitamins and minerals. You’ll be full for about 30 minutes then craving salt/sugar. If you’re short on time, meal or food prep; your body will thank you.

FAT FREE not all fat is bad and your body needs a certain amount of fat to be healthy. Moreover, the fat is usually replaced with MORE SUGAR or thickeners and emulsifiers to stabilise the product and provide the same texture as the fat version.

SUGAR FREE you may have noticed that SUGAR HAS MANY GUISES. A product may say ‘sugar free’ and the word ‘sugar’ might not appear in the ingredients list, but you can bet your bottom dollar that xylitol, sucrose, dextrose, glucose, syrup, fructose, maltose etc will.

‘DIET’ the word diet is a marketing ploy. A diet is the way that you HABITUALLY eat, not the way you eat for a few days or weeks for a ‘beach body’. Whilst a diet product may help you shed a few pounds in the short term, they often contain artificial ingredients, laxatives and sweeteners that give you cramps, cravings and post ‘diet’ weight gain.

EAT WHOLEFOODS swap the processed food from a drive thru, machine, box or packet with an ingredients list longer than Dumbledore’s beard, for REAL FOOD provided by nature; fresh, vibrant, minimal and pure ingredients that you can actually pronounce.

READ THE LABEL It’s a pain but you’d be surprised how many things labelled as ‘healthy’ contain refined sugars, starches and preservatives etc.

FILL YOUR PLATE WITH VEGETABLES you’ll be filling up on goodness; fibre, disease fighting vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. If in doubt reach for leafy greens, plus two other colours.

EAT THE RAINBOW to ensure you consume all the nutrients your body needs to thrive.

EAT SEASONABLY to get the freshest, tastiest, most nutrient dense and sustainable food.

BUY THE BEST YOU CAN AFFORD ideally organic, free range eggs, grass fed meat and wild caught sustainably sourced fish. But you don’t have to buy everything organic, certain foods are higher in pesticides than others ↓

THE DIRTY DOZEN

The EWG (environmental working group) found these fruit and vegetables to be highest in pesticides:

  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach
  3. Kale
  4. Nectarines
  5. Apples
  6. Grapes
  7. Peaches
  8. Cherries
  9. Pears
  10. Tomatoes
  11. Celery
  12. Potatoes

DON’T DENY YOURSELF If I’m craving a brownie, an apple is not going to satisfy me. I truly believe you can make a healthy version of everything! Yep, I eat: pizza, pasta, ice cream, brownies, cookies and chocolate. I just make them with nutritional, wholefood ingredients that agree with my body.

PREP always have healthy snacks and easy minimal effort meals ready for those days when you are ravenous, or really can’t be bothered. I love to have a variety of fruit, nuts, seeds, bliss balls, raw treats and dark chocolate to snack on, and cooked sweet potato, turkey mince patties, boiled eggs, tuna cans and easy salad greens like spinach and rocket prepped for easy meals.

Our society is fast paced. Go! Go! Go! Now! Now! Now! Distractions, multitasking, technology overload, we have lost the simple art of listening to our body. Slowing down and tuning in to your body’s needs can be a GAME CHANGER.

I don’t believe in restricting or denying certain foods, nor do I believe in calorie counting; it’s food, not maths! Intuitive eating is all about LISTENING TO YOUR BODY.

Eating shouldn’t be rushed, stressful or complicated. Eating should be intuitive, enjoyable and sustainable. It’s about being MINDFUL of what you are eating. This means being aware of the food that you’re putting into your body, paying attention to the senses it triggers: tastes, smells, emotional and physical reactions.

With time, you’ll be less bloated, more satisfied by your meals, crave less processed foods, and learn to listen to your body’s cravings and hunger cues.

After years of practicing intuitive eating, I now know that when I feel fatigued, crave dark chocolate and red meat, my iron and magnesium levels are low. When I crave more carbs and chocolate, it’s that time of the month.

DITCH THE DIET, the stress and the complication. Tune into your body. Eat real food that leaves you feeling good; food that protects you from disease, rather food that causes it.

We all struggle with portion control, especially when it comes to our favourite foods (hello raw chocolate).

Honestly, I ignore the ‘suggested serving size’ as in my opinion it’s too small, especially when it comes to fruit and vegetable intake. Moreover, it doesn’t take into account individuality; you and I are different, you may be male/taller/shorter/younger/older/more active/less active and this will impact your portion size. You know when you’re full, the government (or whoever determines portion sizes) doesn’t.

My TOP TIPS to get your portions under control are:

ARE YOU HUNGRY? Or are you thirsty, bored, emotional or eating out of habit. I often find myself snacking out of boredom rather than hunger. Tune into your body and ask yourself, am I actually hungry?

PORTION DISTORTION we all love the look of a full plate, so pick a small plate to fill, rather than a giant platter of a plate.

SLOW DOWN take your time to chew, taste and digest your food. If you still feel peckish after eating, wait 20 minutes before going in for seconds (this is the amount of time it takes your stomach to tell your brain it’s full).

FILL ½ YOUR PLATE WITH VEG opt for low starch vegetables like leafy greens, broccoli, beetroot, and pick three or more colours i.e. purple cabbage, spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes and yellow bell pepper.

FILL ¼* YOUR PLATE WITH UNREFINED CARBS sweet potato, potato, squash, brown rice, quinoa, wholegrain bread, beans and lentils. *if you are trying to lose weight you might want to opt for less carbs and more protein.

FILL ¼ YOUR PLATE WITH LEAN PROTEIN wild caught fish, seafood, chicken, turkey, grass fed beef, tofu, tempeh, lentils and beans.

HEALTHY FAT to keep you fuller for longer, promote plum and glowing skin, lower your risk of heart disease and slow the release of sugars into your blood stream. My favourites are nuts, seeds, nut butter, avocado, coconut yogurt, coconut oil and olive oil.

Macronutrients are PROTEINS, CARBOHYDRATES and FATS. Your body requires large amounts of these (hence ‘macro’) in order to provide your body with calories i.e. energy, to move and function.

All food can be categorised as a protein, carbohydrate or a fat but almost no food is made up of 100% protein, carbohydrate or fat.

Different bodies require different amounts of macronutrients. For example a very active male will need more macros (and calories) than an inactive female.

You can calculate your daily calories and macro split requirement by using your gender, age, height, weight, activity level and fitness goal (weight loss, muscle gain or maintenance) but I don’t think you should bring maths into anything unless absolutely necessary.

I prefer to listen to my body, eat what makes me feel GOOD and gives me the results I am after.

PROTEIN

BENEFITS: building blocks of muscle, tissue, cartilage, bones, skin and blood, reduces hunger and cravings, aids tissue repair after injury, aids weight loss.

LEAN SOURCES: white fish, oily fish, seafood, chicken, turkey, grass fed red meat, eggs.

VEGAN SOURCES: tofu, tempeh, beans, lentils, nuts, seeds.

CARBOHYDRATES

BENEFITS: for energy (approx. 55% of your energy needs come from carbs), fibre for digestive health, weight management.

REFINED: a.k.a simple carbs include white rice, white bread and sugar. They’re lower in nutrients, are broken down quicker by the body, and can spike blood sugar levels.

UNREFINED SOURCES: potato, sweet potato, squash, brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, wholegrain pasta, wholegrain bread, oats, lentils, beans.

FATS

BENEFITS: for energy, hormonal balance, skin health, brain function, satiety and absorbing fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.

THE GOOD: unsaturated fats; polyunsaturated, monounsaturated. Typically, liquid at room temperature. Also include anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acid sources like salmon, flax and walnuts.

THE ‘BAD’: saturated fats are generally associated with high cholesterol, clogged arteries and heart disease but research has found that in small amounts (<5% of your overall diet) they may have benefits. Coconut oil is an example of a saturated fat that I regularly eat because it’s antimicrobial, can aid fat burning and raises good HDL cholesterol (associated with a lower risk of heart disease).

& THE UGLY: trans fat. A by-product of turning healthy oils into solids to prevent rancidity. Trans fat has no nutritional value, no health benefits and raises your risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. Avoid trans fat like the plague!

FAT SOURCES: avocado, ghee, nuts, seeds, nut/seed butters, oily fish, eggs, olive oil, coconut oil, cacao.

Micronutrients are VITAMINS and MINERALS that your body needs for growth, development, energy production, immunity, blood clotting and many other functions. All vitamins and minerals are essential, meaning you MUST attain them from your diet to survive.

Your body need less micronutrients compared to macro nutrients, hence the name ‘micro’.

COMMON MICRONUTRIENTS DEFICIENCIES, especially in vegans/vegetarians, menstruating females and those with compromised gut health are:

* Calcium →found in moringa, leafy greens, seaweeds, tofu, almonds, sesame seeds, sardines
* Iodine →found in seaweeds, shrimp, tuna, eggs, lima beans
* Iron →found in algae like spirulina, spinach, lentils, tofu, cacao, cashews, meat, brown rice
* Magnesium →found in acai, kale, chickpeas, avocado, banana, salmon, brazil nuts, cacao
* Zinc →found in maca, hemp seeds, sesame seeds, legumes, cashews, meat, shellfish
* Vitamin B12 →found in chlorella, fortified plant milks, fortified nutritional yeast, meat, fish, eggs
* Vitamin D →found in shiitake mushrooms, tofu, oily fish, egg yolks, fortified plant milks, sunshine

You know that saying ‘variety is the spice of life’ well it applies to your food too! Eating a wide variety of foods in a rainbow of colours ensures your body receives all the necessary micro and macronutrients it needs to THRIVE, prevents boredom (who wants to eat a plate of beige?) and diversifies your gut flora.

GREEN

  • alkalising the body
  • aiding detoxification
  • iron to reduce fatigue, aid concentration and boost immunity
  • folate prevent birth defects, reduce risk of Alzheimer’s, anxiety and depression
  • vitamin K for healthy blood clotting, regulating bone calcium levels and reducing PMS

YELLOW & ORANGE

  • lower blood pressure
  • vitamin C for immunity and collagen production
  • vitamin A for eye health

RED

  • reduce risk of diabetes
  • phytochemicals including lycopene to reduce risk of certain cancers
  • reduced risk of heart disease
  • antioxidants for skin protection

BLUE & PURPLE

  • best for anti-ageing; antioxidants to fight ageing free radicals
  • phytochemicals to fight cancer
  • reduces inflammation

WHITE

  • cancer fighting compounds
  • boosts immunity
  • fights microbial infections

✨TIP: Always try new foods to keep things fresh and interesting. Best way to do this is to add a wild card to your shopping trolley. I recently discovered loganberries, delicious! Although, I’d pass on the pomelo.

Hippocrates was ahead of his time when he said “all disease begins in the gut”. Depression, anxiety, asthma, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, IBS, IBD and acne have all been linked to gut health.

Having struggled so much with my gut health, I’m OBSSESSED with pre and probiotics.

PREBIOTICS are non digestible fibers or carbohydrates that feed the good bacteria in your gut and help probiotics do their job.

You’ll find them in:

* Garlic
* Onion
* Leeks
* Sweet potatoes
* Jerusalem artichoke
* Apples

* Banana
* Blueberries
* Chicory root
* Dandelion greens
* Oats

PROBIOTICS are live microorganisms a.k.a the good bacteria that maintain a balance between the bacteria and yeast that exists in your body. They promote overall health, fight inflammation and disease.

You’ll find them in:

* Sauerkraut
* Kimchi
* Miso
* Sourdough

* Some yogurts
* Kombucha
* Kefir
* Supplements

PINE-ING FOR MORE? ? CHECK OUT MY OTHER QUICK GUIDES.