SIMPLY We are What We Eat
Have you ever thought how important your health and well being is to you? Have you thought why you want to become healthier? Have you thought about how to do it and what will keep me motivated? What advice information do you need stay on track? What challenges and barriers are there? How do we make healthier choices? How your well being depends on your nutrition. A big part of my work is helping my patients eat healthier. Devising food plans, helping them rid their bad habits. Educating them on what healthy for their gut. On top of weight loss that is.
There are four pillars to health.
1 Sleep. Sleep is vital for our minds and bodies to function properly. It plays a key role in improving memory, alertness, energy and motivation. . Our sleep quality can support or diminish our ability to cope with stress.
- Nutrition. What and when we eat has a big impact on our body and how we feel. It can affect our energy levels, how well our body and brain functions.
- Physical activity will support well being both physically and psychologically. Exercising regularly can help us cope better with stress. Being physically active is one of the most important things we can do to benefit our health.
- Stress. Everyone needs some form of stress in their life to motivate them but too much pressure becomes stress. Mindfullness, mediation, yoga, pilates, learning how to deep breathe, spending time in nature, relaxing at home, reading a book are all useful ways to unwind and build mental resilience.
Here are 10 BASIC TIPS to Eating Well. The trick is to remember that this is a lifestyle not a diet. It took me 5 years of stopping and starting to get the diet I have today. You cant do it all in a few weeks. Aim for one new habit change every 2 weeks.
- Check your portion size
It is useful to eat off a medium sized plate so that you don’t eat too much at any one sitting. You can use the website www.choosemyplate.gov to see what portion sizes look like. You need to be thinking that I’m going to eat more veg than fruit in anyone sitting in order to reduce the sugar load and how much insulin your body produces in response to a meal. You need to look at your plate and it should be at least 50% vegetable the other 50% fats and protein.
- Drink Water to Stay Hydrated
Try and drink as much water as possible about two litres a day. Put a squeeze of lemon and a squeeze of lime in your steel water bottle in the morning. It will make the water tastier to drink try and limit tea and coffee consumption to one or two mugs total per day. Avoid sugary drinks. You could consider putting a capsule of vitamin C or a berocca or revive into a glass of water this is another way to get fluids. Aldi and Lidl do vitamin c effervescent tablets very cheaply. You need to have adequate water intake to stay hydrated and for your skin cells to become nice and plump.
- Plan meals in advance
You need to plan your breakfast, your lunches and your dinners. If you do your food shop on a particular day of the week you need to be planning the day before your food shop what exactly you are going to eat for this next seven days. For all meals. Only buy the foods that you are going to consume in the following week. This is to ensure you have as little waste as possible. My advice is to pin a new shopping list up on your fridge, the day you come home from your food shop, then as you use up your items in your kitchen add them to the shopping list. This way you won’t buy any food items you don’t need. Have plenty of herbs and spices in stock at home to minimize the amount of mayonnaise and red ketchup and brown sauce you are using or processed sauce packets. A simple dressing to have with your salad is extra virgin olive oil, some lemon juice, some balsamic vinegar and you can often add a little drop of Maple syrup and this makes a lovely sweet salad dressing which really helps us eat our green leaves!.
- Cut back on salt
Stay away from any table salt or low salt. Use Sea salt or Himalayan pink salt. If possible this type of salt contains the most minerals and is more nutritious than processed low salt or table salt. Use low salt stock cubes when you are making your meals. Flavor dishes with as many herbs and spices pepper as possible. Choose foods high in potassium cause they lower blood pressure like bananas, sweet potatoes, green veggies, yogurt, orange juice.
- We need to make fat our friend and sugar our enemy
Use healthy oils like extra virgin olive oil on salads or cooked vegetables and use rapeseed oil for cooking, because it has a higher melting point for cooking. Avoid trans fats. Like margerine’s or sunflower or vegetable oils. Fruit smoothies are very filling when you can add a tablespoon of melted coconut oil (lid off jar and place jar in microvwave for 30sec) or peanut butter to a smoothie to fill you up and keep you going for the day. You can often prepare a smoothie the night before. Put the ingredients in the jug, in the fridge then the next day add water and a little bit of almond or oat milk and blitz it up and this is a really nutritious breakfast on the go. I often add 5 fruit and veg as well as flaxseed and nuts or coconut oil and peanut butter and I know then I have a healthy really nutritious day started. Try not to use sugar, a few days without it and you will get used to tea without sugar, coffee without sugar. Choose xylitol or stevia as a sweetener if you have to as this does not increase your blood sugar. It can be bought in Dunnes, Tesco and super value. If your going to eat sugar eat it as a treat in your day. Slow down and mindfully eat it and really enjoy it! I use a simple trick in that I cut my chocolate bar into small little pieces on a wooden board and I savor each mouthful instead of just gobbling up the whole bar fast! Try not to eat sugar first thing in the morning opt for porridge or whole grain bread for breakfast with protein such as eggs or yogurt etc. Switch to unrefined sources of sugar like honey or Brown sugar. Cut out sweetened soft drinks, fizzy drinks etc. Don’t drink fruit juice made from concentrate. Opt for non-concentrate and “with bits”
6) What to Eat Most Of?
Choose wholegrains, fruit, veg, fish, poultry, beans and nuts. Limit red meat and cows cheese. Avoid pork products, bacon, sausages, rashers, ham, chorizo, corn beef and other processed meats like luncheon roll. You need to eat omega-3 6, 9, essential fatty acids from seeds, nuts and oily fish like mackerel. You need to cut back on hydrogenated and saturated fats like those in margerine’s and fake butter containers. You need to choose full fat dairy products. Sheep cheese like feta cheese and goat cheese are better alternatives if you are going to eat dairy.
- Eat More Fibre
Eat bread that is as close as possible to its natural form. When you are looking at labels on the back of your food shop look for food that is up to 20% fiber and then you will have a fantastic source of fiber. Cut down on white flour products like white pasta and white sliced pan. Check that the labels say wholegrain. Always look at the back and if there are too many ingredients you don’t understand then you really shouldn’t be buying that product! And complex carbohydrates such as whole grains rice brown pasta. Beans and lentils are a fantastic source of protein once a week and you need to cut back on sugars, fats, salt, and alcohol. Eat a variety of whole grains like whole grain bread, whole grain pasta and Brown rice, quinoa and buckwheat. Limit refined grains like white rice and white bread. The most unprocessed foods come out of the ocean, off the trees or you pull up out of the ground. Anything that has a long shelf life or a lot of ingredients on the back is full of processed ingredients used to preserve its shelf life or emulsifiers and these do your gut no good. Whole grain cereals like oats for breakfast and whole grain breads are very important as these provide a good source of fiber for your gut. Porridge is the best to start the day. Prep the night before as it would be easier to cook. Stir in pumpkin seeds, walnuts, dress with a few frozen berries stir it all up and add a little bit of almond milk or Greek yogurt. It is a really delicious way to start the day.
8) Let’s talk about vegetables.
Potatoes and French fries don’t count towards your daily dose of vegetables. Try and aim for 10 portions and then you will likely get 7 per day. If you aim for seven portions you likely only get four in one day. You need to think about the rainbow and eating plenty of colors on your place. Veg and fruits of all colors. Sadly vegetables are one of our forgotten food groups in Ireland as more and more people rely on fast convenience foods. Are you eating the rainbow everyday? Buy your colors and buy food in season. If you are going to buy fresh strawberries don’t buy them in December only in Summer! Fresh or next best buy the frozen ones instead, as nutritionally there will be a lot better for you. Frozen fruit and veg are very nutritious. Fresh vegetables are chopped up and cut down and packed immediately after harvesting for freezing so that they retain most of their nutrients. Use vegetables in smoothies. Always maybe add three vegetables and one fruit so you’re not adding more sugar than your bodies blood sigar needs to stay balanced. If you need you can occasionally use canned vegetables if you have to but my preference would be to advise buy fresh from a local organic farmer or buy frozen and grow your own if possible. You can put a little herb garden on your windowsill in a bright place. You can put vegetables into smoothies and soups and blend them up. Make every meal count and if possible when you are making spaghetti bolognese or lasagna or an pasta dishes think about how many veg can I add? can I add 6 veg to this dish?
Do not starve yourself but aim for three meals a day and only snack if you need to. Avoid muffins, pastries, cookies, croissants. If you need to snack during the day think of carrot sticks with hummus, cucumbers and peppers with dips, choose brown scones or oat scones rather than fruit scones. Less sugar and don’t go for jam and don’t take cream. What snacks should I go for? We shouldn’t really snack between meals but if you have to think about the healthy options for example you can buy pots of olives and garlic cloves in the supermarket. Don’t buy much sweet things, biscuits, sweets, chocolates etc in the weekly food shop because if you buy it you will eat it when you are hungry!. Think about chopping up some peppers, cucumber and carrots and bring a pot of hummus with you. Think about adding little pieces of feta cheese with cherry tomatoes in a little lunch box. Think about having some dried fruit raisins, sultanas and nuts like walnuts, hazelnuts, brazil nuts etc in a little lunch box. Remember unsalted popcorn is also a healthy snack. The Kelkin brand uses healthy coconut oil to make its popcorn. Think about whole wheat crackers such as nairns oat cakes. Think about rice cakes. Think about bringing a boiled egg or think about bringing a little bit of porridge and some milk or almond milk to cook in microwave.
10) LUNCH & DINNER
Have a decent lunch box and have a decent flask for soup and hot drinks. Buy a decent blender or nutribullet for yourself. I recommend the two liter prescription nutribullet because it is a really big jug and it comes with separate lids that you can simply take the smoothie or soup with you to work. Buy if possible drink bottles that are lined with steel that are not lined with plastic. Plastics can leach into the water of containers if they get warm and we don’t want any additional plastics in our body! Glass container if you are going to store foods in your fridge try and store them in glass Pyrex small bowls instead of plastic. Avoid using clingfilm and avoid using tin foil to wrap food items in because we don’t want anymore plastics or heavy metals in our bodies that we already have. I recommend doing the heavy metal detox smoothie by the medical medium if you need to try and chelate heavy metals from your body.
Buy your meat off the local butcher. Buy your fish of the local fishmonger usually they’re in your village weekly. Just buy what you need. It’s not complicated to eat healthy you just need to eat simple foods. One very simple dish we do is we simply put salmon with spices in an oven dish at 180 degrees for 30 minutes and then we put in cherry tomatoes, peppers, aubergine and courgettes with a drizzle of rapeseed oil in the oven at 180 degrees celsius for 30mins. This is a really healthy dinner and you can add a lot of veg to this and you are getting your omega fats from the fish. Another really useful dinner is stir fries this is a great way to get veggies in. Dont use only oil to cook, add some water to the wok and very little oil the veggies will cook better this way. Less calories.