What is the best way to eat? With so many different diets and meal plans out there, it can get complicated figuring out what really is the best way! What makes the most sense and where all the research on healthy living and diet points to, is eating ‘real’ food! Unprocessed, unrefined, and free from artificial substances and chemicals, as possible. By eating whole foods you are eating foods as close to their natural state as possible with all the nutrients, minerals, enzymes, fibre, fatty acids and beneficial compounds nature intended. Eating this way provides your body with nutrient rich foods which provide a whole array of health benefits. This can only make you look and feel great!
So eating real foods like vegetables, fruits,, nuts, seeds, legumes (Beans, peas, lentils), meat, fish and unsweetened whole dairy products is the simplest and healthiest way to go! Just food in its natural state!
Meals and snacks can be put together out of simple, unprocessed ingredients. Which doesn’t mean you have to be a gourmet chef or culinary whizz (I know! Cooking has never been my strong point). It is about putting these foods together in a tasty satisfying way – Assembling the different ingredients in a quick and easy manner! You can also include dried fruits, natural flavouring, herbs and spices, and in moderation, natural sweeteners such as honey or pure maple syrup. Check out my recipe page for some simple ideas
Following these guidelines everyday will provide you with all the nutrients and compounds to truly boost health, promote well-being and in turn provide all the energy and vitality to enjoy life! You can even recreate those naughty sweet treats at home. Eating clean like this 80 - 90% of the time allows you to be naughty 10 -20% of the time allowing for a balanced lifestyle.
You can still buy some packaged foods to make life easier it’s just about making an informed decision and choosing wisely. Those best to avoid are the processed foods that have been highly manipulated such as;
These tend to have lots of added salt and sugar, unhealthy fats, artificial additives and chemicals. You want packaged products that are made from whole foods! If you don’t recognise an ingredient probably best to avoid it! However, if you choose wisely you can buy packaged produce while still limiting the damage.
Small summary of where to start
Fruits and vegetables
Its not imperative that you snack between meals, its actually good to let digestion have a bit of a rest and give insulin time to reset. However, if you feel hungry, need an energy boost or struggle with low blood sugar then go ahead! When thinking snacks however, you want to go for something that is low GI, so it doesn't raise blood sugar and contains protein and carbohydrate to fill you up and keep you full till your next meal.
Here's some really easy ideas;
Hummus (Shop bought or home made and veggie sticks (cucumber, celery, pepper, carrot)
Almond butter with oatcakes or apple or banana (My favourite is almond butter or any nut butter, lovely with chopped banana or apple.
Fresh fruit with a handful of nuts. (Too much fruit on its own can cause a spike in blood sugar and therefore insulin release. Having a handful of nuts will slow the absorption of sugar into your blood stream, preventing that dip later, as well as provide a good source of protein to keep you full for longer)
Dark chocolate with nuts (for times when you fancy something sweet)
Plain or Greek yogurt with berries and seeds.
Boiled egg and cherry tomatoes.
Pate made with beans, recipe here, and veggie sticks or crackers.
Avocado - cut it in half and scoop with a spoon. If you wanted you could mash the avocado with a sprinkle of nuts, fruit such as mango or dessicated coconut.
Chicken pieces and fruit ( A great snack when you're out! Just buy some chopped cooked chicken from the chiller in the supermarket and a bit of fruit.)
Coconut flakes, fresh coconut bought from the supermarket or even a slice of creamed coconut.
If you like something crispy, crispy kale is so good. Cover the kale in olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt and pop in the oven on a low/med temperature for about 25mins. Turn over frequently. xx
I don’t know about you but this seems to happen to me quite a lot even though I recommend prior planning at least a couple of days in advance if not for the whole week!!!!
Things change and sometimes you just don’t get time, or feel like cooking what you had planned!
Here’s some of my really quick go to meals that take hardly any time and can be literally whipped up in minutes. (Just how I like it!) You can mix and match most of them depending on what you have in the fridge. They are all really easy! If I can cook them anybody can! xx
~ Pesto (of course!) can be put together really quickly with all sorts of combinations of anything in your fridge. Just team it with pasta or veggie noodles for a really quick easy and healthy dinner. Link to the recipes here.
~ Anything with eggs - frittata made from a mix of veggies in your fridge, and some fish or chicken if you have any, fried in coconut oil. Add whisked eggs with a splash of milk to the pan and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with cheese of your choice.
~ Scrambled eggs with mixed veggies and a side salad or steamed veggies. Super easy!
~ Eggy fried rice. Plenty of finely chopped veggies and mixed egg. The kiddies love it!
~ Salmon steak cooked on the hob with a ginger, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper dressing. Served with raw thinly shredded cabbage, carrot, cucumber, pepper ( You can use a spiralizer if you have one or a vegetable peeler really finely). Add some rice noodles if you have any, all sprinkled with an organic soya sauce.
~ Veggies in a peanut sauce - Thinly sliced veggies (Cabbage, cucumber, courgette, carrot, pepper) mixed with a sauce of peanut butter, squeeze of lemon and soya sauce. Served with pan roasted chicken or salmon or whatever you have in.
~ Honey chicken and rice - Mix diced chicken with honey, soy sauce ( You could pop some ginger and garlic as well) and fry in the pan, add thinly sliced carrot, pepper any veggies you like. ( I like them crunchy but you may want to steam them first) Add cashew nuts for last couple of minutes. Serve with whole grain rice.
~ Pan fried anything seasoned with salt and pepper or spices such as turmeric and paprika with lots of steamed veggies.
~ Really quick lentil casserole - Stir fry a selection of finely chopped veggies (leafy greens, onion, carrot, pepper, fennel) add lentils and stock and simmer until lentils are cooked. Add a cheese of your choice to each portion or sprinkle with oregano or other herb if you want. Serve with grilled tortillas or sliced pitta to dip.
~ Super quick soup - recipe here
Hope this helps please like and share if it does. xx
Gut health and digestion is where it’s all at! If your digestion is compromised then you are not going to get all the benefits from your diet and you’re not going to feel your best! The gut is often called the gateway to health and honestly, how well your digestive system works, the health of your gut, and the health of your intestines is critical to your overall health. Having low stomach acid levels for example can mean you are not breaking down valuable carbohydrates and proteins, therefore you are not absorbing the essential nutrients such as Vit B12 and calcium (Just two of them! There are many more!) The implications of not absorbing vitamin B12 and calcium are massive and really will undermine your attempts to feel good and live your best life, as well as lead to more chronic serious conditions in the future.
Looking a bit lower down in the small intestine…if you’re not absorbing fatty acids from your diet again you really will notice it and feel rubbish!!! You need these fatty acids for hundreds of functions in your body including hormone health, brain health, immunity, metabolism….I could go on!
Looking at the rest of your gut, if this isn’t working properly or is inflamed and damaged, sooner or later you really will know! It will not make you feel good and effects nearly every area of your body! An inflamed gut means an inflamed body. Gut health is associated with poor mental health, depression, anxiety, leaky gut, where the gut lining is compromised, may result in poor immune tolerance (increased risk of allergies) as well as auto immune diseases where the body attacks its own tissues such as in rheumatoid arthritis or Hashimotos (Hypothyroidism). Conditions such as autism, attention deficit disorder, asthma, allergies & sensitivities, poor memory, foggy head, skin problems such as eczema are all influenced by the gut and little microbes that live on the gut surface. It may also influence weight, have a part to play in the development of diabetes and heart disease.
So I think you probably get what I’m saying! If you have any gut issues, IBS, bloating, constipation, if you are stressed ( Stress reduces digestive ability), heart burn or anything digestive related, or not, the first place to look to improve your health would be here!! The best place to start would be to see a nutritional therapist who will really get to grips with your digestion and get it working optimally so you can benefit from all of those nutrients, correct any deficiencies and heal any damage.
Correcting a compromised digestion really will give you a step up in the energy stakes, reduce fatigue and boost your health. Here is a few steps that may help;
1 – Reduce inflammatory foods such as sugar, caffeine and alcohol. If your digestion is really bad and you think you’re suffering from intolerances or are particularly sensitive to certain foods eliminating them from your diet for 3 weeks would be a good start and then introduce them slowly one at a time and note any effects. Foods that tend to be the worst offenders are gluten, wheat, dairy and soy but there are plenty of others.
2- If you have been abroad in the last year and suffered food poisoning or a bout of diarrhoea and vomiting you might want to get tested for parasites.
3- Work on your stress!! Chronic stress reduces stomach acid and slows digestion. Taking apple cider vinegar before a meal in a small amount of water can help with digestion in this case, as well as eating pineapple or bitter leaves dressed in lemon juice. Make sure you sit down to eat your meals in a relaxed environment and chew your food properly. Some say eat your soup and drink your food! Digestion starts in the mouth so give it a helping hand by making sure food is properly broken down before you swallow it!
4 - Look after the little microbes in your gut! You need them happy and functioning properly. You may need to take a probiotic, healthy bacteria strains, to replace the healthy bacteria in your intestine. You can also eat foods such as live yoghurt, fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kefir and miso, asparagus, bananas, onions and garlic to help feed these little bugs.
5 – Eat plenty of fibre, both insoluble and soluble. Fibre is fermented by the microbes and produces lots of important substances for a healthy intestinal wall. It will also help constipation, blood glucose levels and cholesterol. Fibre is in fruit, veggies, oats, pulses (beans, lentils & chickpeas) and wholegrains.
6 – Eating foods that soothe the gut lining will help towards reducing inflammation and heal if necessary. Eat plenty of healthy fats and omega 3s, so oily fish, flaxseeds and walnuts. Lots of colourful fruits and veggies for a good dose of anti-oxidants, plenty of protein, and soothing soups and broths.
7- Drink herbal teas such as camomile or peppermint which help soothe the smooth muscle tissue of the gut and have a calming effect.
Hope this helps! Please like and share and get in touch if you have any questions at all! xx
Leafy greens are absolutely fantastic for your health! They are high in fibre and absolutely loaded with vitamins, minerals and phyto-chemicals. (Chemicals in plants with amazing health benefits).
They are actually a better source of calcium than cow’s milk, as well as being rich in magnesium, B vitamins and potassium to name just a few nutrients. If not eating them already you should definitely start incorporating them into your diet every day. If you are already eating them you could probably eat more! Adding a few to most of your daily meals will really make a big difference.
I always make sure I have at least a couple of different kinds in my fridge. Adding leafy green veggies to your diet is something you can do really easily and cheaply. They don't even have to be cooked!
Some of my favourites; Kale, Spinach, Broccoli, Pak choi, Swiss Chard, lettuce, parsley, basil and coriander. There are loads to choose from!
Eat them raw chopped up in a salad with a dressing of lemon juice, olive oil, and sprinkled nuts, or eat them steamed, and don't forget to add to smoothies! I also always pop a few into soups, stews, casseroles and stir fries. As well as chop them up in the food processor and add to dried pasta, plain rice and sandwiches for the kiddies. xx
note: be cautious if on blood thinning medication and speak to your healthcare provider. Leafy greens are a source of vitamin k which will interfere with your INR.
So... where to start when trying to eat better. I’ve talked about cutting out the rubbish…processed, packaged foods!!! And starting to eat ‘real’ food, unprocessed whole natural foods. The way nature intended and those that really will make you feel your best and increase your energy and vitality. It should be easy shouldnt it? But it really isn’t! Especially when we are bombarded with so many different foods, health claims and buy one get one free deals!
So where to start
I get my fresh fruit and veggies delivered once a week so I don’t really have to think about it, and I have a good supply of fresh stuff in the fridge to keep me going all week. It’s always different depending on what’s in season and what’s growing well at the moment. I also add some of my usual staples such as eggs, butter, lemons, leafy salad veggies and sprouted beans, and then just get the rest from the supermarket. A really easy way to do it!
''The best place to start at the supermarket is around the edge''!
Spend most of your time around the fruit, veg, and fresh meat and fish section. Buy a whole array of salad bits you can just bung together from your fridge, lots of leafy veg, cucumbers, peppers, carrots, tomatoes, get some inspiration from what’s there and in season!
Buy other veggies to eat on their own or to go with the fresh meat and fish. Think roasted veggies, potatoes, sweet potatoes, steamed broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, peas and asparagus. Go for plenty of fruit to add to your salad, to flavour water, eat with yoghurts, have with porridge, add to meals, or eat as a snack.
Choose your meat and fish – go for fresh salmon steaks, mackerel, chicken, turkey, beef, any good fresh bits of meat or fish but stay away from the processed stuff, good quality sausages and ham are ok occasionally.
Next, go for whole dairy products - Cheese, quality cheddar from good farmed producers, goats, cottage, any good quality cheese you like, milk, natural and Greek yoghurts. If you are looking for dairy free alternatives try almond milk, soya or coconut milk.
Don’t forget the nuts and seeds, although I do find it cheaper to buy these in bulk here. That also goes for the nut butters such as peanut butter, almond and cashew which are great to eat as a snack, have on toast or add to smoothies. Also buy some dried fruit, sultanas, dates, apricots, to add to meals.
Don’t forget chickpeas and other tinned beans.
Eggs! Always buy plenty of those!
Plenty of herbs to flavour your meals, dried or fresh. I love fresh parsley and coriander as they are so food for you and can be used in smoothies, salads or added to meals. Cinnamon for porridge and yoghurt, basil, rosemary, thyme, turmeric, cumin, coriander, any you like.
A good quality sea salt or Himalayan sea salt, cheaper here, and pepper.
Butter! A quality organic butter.
Oils – A saturated fat for cooking, I normally go for coconut oil, cheaper here, as well as use butter. Olive oil, Avocado or Macadamia oil to drizzle and make dressings.
Organic apple cider vinegar is also a great addition to your diet (Braggs or Aspalls) as it has so many health benefits. It is great as a salad dressing on its own, or mixed with olive oil. It can also be taken in water.
Bakery – a good fresh wholegrain, seeded, sprouted, rye or sourdough loaf if you are fine with wheat and gluten.
You may need to sneak into the packaged isles for oats, wholegrain pasta and rice or other grains you like.
It can be easy to eat this way, and once you have the staples in your home and know what to buy each week it gets easier to put together really quick, easy and simple meals.
If you found this helpful please like and share, and please get in touch if you have any questions. xx
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A balanced blood sugar is so important. Dysglyceamia (fluctuating blood glucose levels) can cause a myriad of health issues and greatly affect health, well-being and vitality.
When we eat food that raises blood glucose levels such as sugary snacks, baked products such as crisps, starchy foods or refined carbs, the body breaks down the sugar into glucose molecules, and is then absorbed into the blood stream.
In response, insulin is produced causing the cells to take up the glucose for energy. Blood glucose levels then return back to normal. If however, we eat a lot of foods that raise blood glucose levels we experience peaks and troughs where levels are really high, and then drop really low due to high levels of insulin being produced to compensate and a high take-up by the cells.
I’m sure everybody has experienced a low blood sugar when you feel shaky and irritable and just need something to eat now and the sugary and naughty the better!!! Every once in a while this is not a problem, however, if this is constantly happening over the day from eating a refined breakfast, sugary snacks throughout the day and minimal protein at lunch it can become chronic and this can fuel weight gain, anxiety, depression, fatigue and low energy levels, as well as headaches, migraines, hormonal issues, PMT ..…. you get the idea.
''If one hormone is out of whack you can pretty much guarantee the rest are too''.
Worse still, low blood sugar levels stress the body causing it to release stress hormones that then starts a perpetual cycle of high and low blood sugar, and the continuation of symptoms. The dysregulation of hormones in this way affects many areas of the body, if one hormone is out of whack you can pretty much guarantee the rest are too. Regulating blood sugar is something you can do on your own by eating a low Glyceamic Load diet (so eating foods that don’t raise blood sugar and cause insulin spikes,) and really will help reduce a whole array of chronic ailments.
''If you want to lose weight you want to prevent high insulin spikes''
High insulin levels are detrimental to long term health, and can also cause a whole array of health issues such as high blood pressure, elevated triglycerides, ( fats in the blood stream ) as well as hormonal and menstruation related issues. It is also known as the fat storage hormone as insulin signals the body to store fat, so when you are trying to lose weight you want to prevent these insulin spikes.
So what to do about it
If you want to know more please checkout my site or message me with any questions.
Please like and share. xx
Following these tips 90% of the time allows for 10% of guilt free naughtiness, helping you lead a 100% healthy happy life.
‘’you can change your life
at any given moment.
Never forget that’’
Water and fluid intake is so underestimated, but it is the one thing that can make a real difference to your energy levels, fatigue and your weight.
It is so easy to go hours without having a drink and even mild dehydration can reduce energy levels and make you feel tired and lethargic, as well as be a cause of headaches and constipation.
Drinking plenty throughout the day will also help you manage cravings and regulate your appetite reducing your risk of eating too much!
Before we get going, I have to say the most important thing is that you eat plenty of fruit and vegetables, whether they are organic or not. Fruit and vegetables provide fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that are all so important for good health and well-being, and eating any is better than none at all.
However, if you really want to feel your best and be at optimum health, as well as know exactly what goes into your food, organic may be the way to go. If you already eat a good diet with plenty of the right foods and still lack energy and suffer from fatigue it may also be worth swapping to organic.
Organic versus non-organic: A few facts:
- Eating foods produced organically means you are getting a higher percentage of vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants essential for good health and vitality.
- According to the soil association there are up to 80% more antioxidants, which help prevent early ageing as well as prevent many of today's chronic diseases and illness.
- Heavy metals and chemicals found in non-organic foods have been associated with many of our modern day diseases. What you put into your body ultimately effects your overall health!
-Some conventionally grown products are also genetically modified. The long term effects of GMO foods has not been established but studies on animals are not great and certainly make me avoid eating and giving these to my family. GMO crops are banned under organic standards.
Is it expensive to eat organically?
So, I get it! Organic food, when comparing it with conventionally grown products, can seem expensive. However, I find the best way and most cost effective way to go organic is through delivery companies such as Abel & Cole or Riverford. They might initially seem more expensive but if you are just buying good wholesome food and not paying for packaged products it really doesn't cost any more to eat this way . For example, how much is a couple of boxes of cereal a week, or other jarred foods? I get a medium vegetable box and a fruit box delivered weekly, and an organic meat box every few weeks and it doesn't have to cost any more than you usually spend. My shopping bill is certainly no more than the average weekly spend. I also eat very yummy food. There is also the latest news that Aldi will be stocking more organic wholefood products. Fantastic news! I for one will be checking this out!
Best and worst fruits and vegetables
You can also check out PAN, Pesticide Action Network, which lists the best and worst offenders providing a guide on what ideally should be bought organic and what is safe to buy conventionally at the supermarket. I find this is a handy guide and makes it easier when deciding what to buy organic and what not.
I do feel strongly that eating organic is the best way from a health point of view. There is more and more research being published on how organic produce is of a higher nutritional quality, as well as the fact that they have considerably less potentially harmful chemicals such as heavy metals , pesticides and herbicides. Hopefully the above shows that it really doesn't need to be expensive, and eating organic can really help boost your health and well-being . Remember, ultimately you are what you eat!