I’ve had a few emails recently asking about the basics of healthy eating, how to start, what to eat etc so I thought I’d dedicate a blog post to it to help anyone who’s just getting started! For me there are two fundamental philosophies for healthy eating – firstly, this is absolutely not a diet and you really shouldn’t think of it as one, it’s never about deprivation or starvation but instead it’s about creating a new mindset and a new way of life. It’s about embracing all the delicious foods that you should eat and all the amazing things that you can do with them – I never count calories, you simply don’t need to if you eat this way. My other guideline is to always eat pure, clean, unprocessed, unrefined and plant-based foods. This is really important as this is what enables you to live by my first philosophy – if you only eat food that your body needs and loves then your digestive system works a million times faster and more efficiently, allowing you to easily process and breakdown everything that you put into your body. This is what gives you so much energy as there’s nothing in your body to clog it up and slow it down.
So what do you cut out? This may seem like a long list but trust me the list of all the awesome things that you’re adding in is even longer! To really thrive you should say goodbye to anything refined – white rice, white flour etc, anything with chemicals, additives and ‘flavourings’ – lots of supposedly ‘healthy’ items are full of these, any refined sugars, all meat, dairy, gluten, candy and fizzy drinks. All these things are very acidic to the body, which works best when it’s alkaline, they’re also really hard to digest which means they suck your energy and slow down your digestion.
So what should you eat? All of mother nature’s goodness! Embrace all fruits and veggies; whole grains – quinoa, brown/wild rice; all beans and legumes – chickpeas, lentils; potatoes – sweet and regular; all nuts and seeds; superfoods like cacao, goji berries, hemp, flax & chia; dried fruits etc. Almond milk makes the best dairy alternative, and actually contains more calcium, while quinoa, almond and brown rice flours make the best baking materials. Honey, dates, pure maple syrup, ripe bananas and raw agave syrup make the best replacement for sugar, and are really just as sweet and cacao makes the best chocolate recipes ever while loading you up on superfood nutrition. Dried fruits dipped in nut butter make the best candy replacements and frozen blended bananas make the perfect ice-cream substitute. There are ways of making all your favourite foods healthy, you just have to learn how. But remember with everything I’ve mentioned here that if anything contains weird additives then it’s not going to have the same awesome effect on you and non-dairy milks are a great example of this, they all contain the most bizarre ingredients. So make your own it’s the easiest thing in the world, tastes delicious and gives you more goodness than you can imagine!
Where to start? Start with smoothies, try having a smoothie for breakfast everyday for a week and see how you feel – I can guarantee you’ll feel so awesome! It’s amazing to make such a positively healthy decision first thing in the morning, it energises you and sets you up for a great day. Smoothies are also so unbelievably delicious and the quickest thing to make, they’re also one of the best ways to get lots of nutrition into your diet really quickly. My advice would be to use a ripe banana as the base, then add any fruits you want – strawberries, mango, blueberries, pineapple, pear, apple, raspberries etc, avocado also tastes amazing as it gives such a creamy texture, plus a cup of spinach or kale for green goodness. If I want to sweeten it then add a couple of medjool dates, maybe some almond butter and then a mix of gluten free oats, ground flaxseed, chia seeds and hemp protein, blended with either some water or homemade almond milk – water is much healthier than most store brought non-dairy milks. I sometimes even add things like broccoli florets to my smoothies but I think it takes time to build up to that! It’s really filling and you’ll feel amazing!
Also quinoa – learn to love quinoa! It’s the best base for any meal, so delicious and so healthy. To make it you literally just put a third of a cup of quinoa with about two thirds of a cup of boiling water into a pan to heat for 15-20 minutes with lime/lemon juice and salt, cooking it until it enlarges, softens and begins to taste great! It’s awesome as you don’t have to do anything to it while it cooks, except once or twice check it has enough water – it’s a million times easier than cooking rice. I then keep this in an air tight container in my fridge and use it as the base for meals, adding avocado, tomatoes, roasted squash, pumpkin seeds, homemade pesto etc. Sweet potatoes are an amazing thing to keep in your fridge as they’re so insanely delicious, very filling and super healthy, I often roast a few at a time so that I always have some. To make them you simply cut them into chunks, cover with olive oil, salt and cinnamon and roast at 180C until they’re soft and tender, which depending on their size will take between 30mins and an hour, but again you don’t really have to do anything to them except stir them once or twice. They make a delicious addition to any meal.
Always cook everything with coconut oil, olive oil, rapeseed oil and use things like hemp oil and flaxseed oil for cold dressings – never use things like vegetable oil, vegan butters and sunflower oil – these are nasty and processed and don’t contain any of the good fats!
And learn to snack, I normally eat five times a day – my favourite snacks are gluten free toast with almond butter and sliced banana; dried fruits – apricots, figs & dates with nut butter; avocado mashed with 1 large tomato/a handful of cherry tomatoes, 1/2 a red pepper, 1 lime and salt; and frozen fruit – for some reason fruit tastes best frozen! All of these are so easy and so delicious – you’ll never miss processed food with things like this! This is my favourite healthy bread brand - http://www.goodnessdirect.co.uk/cgi-local/frameset/script/search.html?query=biona+bread&snar=
Oh and always start your morning with hot water and lemon, as this kickstarts your digestion, alkalinises your body and boosts your immune system!
So embrace all of mother nature’s goodness, throw away anything with additives, learn to love food, love snacking and love your body and I can guarantee it will love you back! You won’t believe how fast your body will metabolise foods when you do this and how much energy you’ll have. Just remember that just because something is marketed as healthy or sold in a health food store, doesn’t mean that it’s actually healthy!
If you want daily inspiration of all the awesome things you can eat then come follow me on instagram – my name is Deliciouslyella !