3 steps to keep you feeling positive while eating the foods you love
- EAT THE WAY THAT MAKES YOU HAPPY
No one likes to be told what they should or shouldn’t eat, or be made to feel guilty in any way about the food choices they’ve made. Food choices and the way we eat are extremely personal and very important things to acknowledge; for many, food is often attached to lots of different emotions and maybe even insecurities. It is important to recognise that everyone is different; different things make different people happy. It is so confusing being fed a bunch of different conflicting theories, diets and labels to know what is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ but for me that isn’t what healthy eating is about. Healthy eating is about eating foods that make YOU happy. From personal experience, my journey with nutrition and health foods has taught me that everyone’s bodies are different. A food that is amazingly nutritious and beneficial to your body, might not necessarily agree with someone else’s. Instead of categorising foods as either ‘good’ or bad’ and pushing these negative views on yourself and others; I think it is better to simply demonstrate and share your personal positive experiences with different foods and delicious recipes to show how amazing they are for you. Maybe they will in tern help someone else.
- LOOK AFTER YOUR GUT HEALTH
Our guts are often said to be our “second brain”. Each of us has a complex set of bacteria living in our guts called microbiome or ‘gut flora’. Our microbiome is a main player in regulating your hormones. If we’re not eating the right foods to keep our gut as healthy as possible, those foods won’t get broken down properly, causing a great deal of stress to our gut flora. Our bodies sense this stress and produce more cortisol; which in turn sends alarm signals to all the other hormones and throws them all off balance. Poor functioning gut flora can lead to various hormonal imbalance illnesses; such as infertility, mental health illnesses such as anxiety and inflammatory diseases such as eczema. Diet is a major influencing factor in controlling the condition and environment of the gut. Foods that are great for your gut health include:
- Probiotics – which are live bacteria and fermented foods found in yoghurt, Sauerkraut, Kimchi, miso, tempeh, kombucha tea and pickled foods.
- Prebiotics – food that are prebiotic contain ingredients, mostly fibre, that gut bacteria feed to product fermentation by-products that benefit health: Almonds, asparagus, bananas, burdock root, cereal grains, garlc, leaks, mushrooms, legumes.
- Fibre rich foods – important for overall digestive health: fruit, vegetables, wholegrains.
- Foods that sooth digestion – ginger, cinnamon, cumin, mint, cardamom, oatmeal.
- KEEP YOUR BLOOD SUGAR LEVELS BALANCED
Sugar is quickly absorbed into your system releasing energy and raising the body’s blood sugar levels. Our body responds to this by secreting large amounts of insulin from the pancreas and producing cortisone from the adrenal glands. This is known as the classic ‘fight or flight’ response – so think large sugar rush followed by a sudden decrease in these sugar levels, often making us feel buzzed for a short period of time then seriously poop after. Over time, these continuous spikes in our insulin levels can cause the body to become resistant to insulin. You can easily avoid this from happening to you on a regular basis by adapting a few things in your diet. For your mid morning snack, instead of reaching for that dairy milk that you’ve probably been dreaming about since breakfast, maybe try out an alternative sugar snack like oat, maple and cinnamon flapjack or maybe something savoury like hummus and crudités. Non-refined sugars like maple syrup and honey are digested differently in the body than your standard white sugar and so you don’t get the same rise and fall in energy levels that you do after having a giant mars bar. If you still want that mars bar regardless, maybe try incorporating some of these other blood sugar stabilising foods into your daily routine; Cinnamon, citrus-fruit, fibre-rich foods, nuts, legumes, leafy greens.