Anxieties of eating healthy… Part 1
As I write this title I feel a panic attack approaching. In my Cosmopolitan-reading days, I would jot down whatever they suggested I should eat to maintain a healthy body, convinced that I would look like those women on the cover… I never realized that editing, eating disorders, drug addiction, and excessive exercise were mostly the solution to these perfect looking women.
Whilst looking at my health notes, I realized that living healthy (according to magazines, websites, and experts) seemed a bit more unrealistic than you would think it is logically. Looking at all the ingredients needed for glowing skin, healthy hair desired bodily function, and prolonging aging physically and mentally I felt another panic attack creeping. Besides it looking like an impossible task to consume all these ingredients, daily, I became paranoid about not having done so by now and seemed I have screwed up(myself) royally. Another thing that causes heart palpitations for me is the term ‘superfoods’. When I hear or see that the only thing that comes to mind is another food trend causing havoc on the farmers and communities that need to suddenly live up to the world’s sudden interest in these foods.
I present to you an example of what my list would look like. Please take a deep breath and remember that living healthy is possible within your means.
Healthy hair and skin:
Omega 3 and 6 that’s found in fatty fish i.e. Salmon
Healthy fats and vitamins required
Nuts, a daily handful should suffice in essential fats, vitamin E and B
Coconut Oil which contains healthy fats and vitamins E and K
Oysters are high in zinc which is important for the growth of skin cells… I guess that’s why the rich love oysters and champagne…
Oats, which contains zinc, potassium, and magnesium
Eat foods that aid collagen: red peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, legumes
The big ‘A’… Antioxidants: Berries, teas and red wine (in moderation), leafy greens, onion family (leeks, garlic, etc ), citrus fruits, seeds
Fermented foods contain healthy bacteria for your gut
Plain Yoghurt, which has probiotics
Sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, etc
Sourdough bread/pizza instead of processed bread
High fibre foods – legumes, berries, whole grains, green vegetables, sweet potato
Polyphenols reduce blood pressure, inflammation, cholesterol, and stress
Dark chocolate, raw cacao
Red wine (again, in moderation!)
Cinnamon, Ceylon cinnamon is the true and better option. What we have easy access to is the cassia which isn’t as good for you and should not be consumed in large quantities
Antifungal and antibacterial properties
Good for the heart by lowering blood sugar levels
Loaded in antioxidants
Cayenne Pepper contains capsaicin which gives it that spiciness
Believed to reduce cancer risk, hunger, and inflammation
Helps to improve metabolism and aid in antioxidant activity
Helps to relieve pain and easing skin issues
Helps to reduce the cause of stomach ulcers
Reduces arthritis pains
It’s fibre content helps for the healthy guts
Keeps skin hydrated and rejuvenated due to its antioxidant properties
Has medicinal properties and can help fight colds, improves cholesterol, and contains antioxidants
Turmeric/Borrie contains curcumin which is beneficial to us in numerous ways
Believed to improve depression and arthritics symptoms
Improves brain function. Studies are being done to see whether curcumin can prevent, or even reverse, the progression of Alzheimer’s disease
Can help prevent cancer
Sage contains a lot of nutrients and is packed with antioxidants
Can help with cognitive health and used in Alzheimer’s treatment
Daily required meals must-haves.
Vegetables – 5-6 servings a day and a variety of vegetables
Fruits – 2 servings a day
Proteins – these are the different sources of proteins a day, not altogether for 1 day
Legumes – about 1 cup a day: lentils, chickpeas
Fish – 100-120g of cooked
Poultry = 80-100g cooked
Red meat – 60-80g cooked
Eggs – 100-120g (about 2 large eggs)
Nuts – 30-40g
Whole wheat bread 1-2 slices
1/2 a cup of oats or porridge that is high in grains
Dairy – 1 cup of milk or plain yogurt a day
Looking at these lists I wondered where anyone would find the time to eat all of these foods daily and still have a life, never mind a budget left. There also seems to be limited room for spontaneity. I also can’t believe that if you eat all of this that you would look slim and fit because you would probably not have any time to exercise between shopping for all these ingredients and preparing and eating them.
The thing no one ever told me is that the numbers on the scale don’t mean anything. Being healthy doesn’t mean that you are skinny, or thin necessarily. Being fit does not mean that you are thin either. The truth is that the only way to lose weight is to eat less. Being healthy is important for your physical and physiological being. So what do I consider to be healthy for me?
I believe that you eat food as close as possible to its natural form ie vegetable with skins on, unprocessed food, vegetables that still have a crunch, not frozen foods etc.
Locally sourced foods! This also means your food traveled less and has not been ripened in the traveling process
Seasonal foods! Eating foods that are in season will mean that it is fresher and most likely not imported food. Seasonal foods tend to be cheaper as well.
Reading the labels! The ingredients are listed from the ingredient that is used most in the product to least in the product. If your first ingredients are sugar that would mean that most of that product is made out of sugar.
Do not neglect your soul! You should enjoy that glass of red wine at the end of the day, you should enjoy it with a piece of dark chocolate as well. If you want that freak-shake with the millions of calories and kilojoules then enjoy it but don’t enjoy it daily, or even weekly because that would defeat the point.
Enjoy healthy food. Healthy doesn’t mean nasty, teach your palate to enjoy healthier food and it would adapt to it.
Avoid cool-drinks, sauces, sugary alcoholic drinks, restaurant vegetables (unless fresh or stir-fried), low-fat products (they tend to have a lot of sugar), and ‘healthy’ foods like granola or muesli or flavored yogurt… read the labels and you’ll know why.
Don’t have food in the cupboard or fridge that you can eat immediately, for example, biscuits, chips, processed white bread, and jam (jam consists of 1:1 sugar and fruit)
Mainly it comes down to trying to eat natural food that you make yourself or knowing what you are eating. The cliché of ‘Living healthy is a lifestyle’ is in fact true. You do not have to change everything in your life all at once, slowly make the transition to a healthier life and soon you would notice that you feel better and eventually you would look better as well.
In my next blog, I will give you a few recipes to inspire a healthy living life, the keyword being easy as well!
Photo: Handmade Sweet Potato Ravioli with Red Pepper Purée and Sage.
Until you read again, treat yourself to good health!
Blog post by Anel du Preez. (https://farcidupreez.wordpress.com/)