Guest blog by Erica Amari Rushbrook :: Health and Wellness Coach + Realfood Enthusiast
Do you ever feel confused by ‘healthy eating?’ Do all the latest diets send you into a mental spin? Or are you someone who feels completely overwhelmed by all the changes you think you need to make?
Relax, you’re not the only one. I talk with people all day who feel exactly the same way. And understandably, the world of healthy eating can be a little daunting. So today, I am going to share with you a few ideas, to help make the idea of upgrading your diet a little less confusing and whole lot more fun!
Keep it Simple.
First and foremost, avoid overcomplicating the matter.
Buying all the latest superfoods, and creating elaborate gluten free/sugar free/paleo/vegan dishes, is simply not necessary for good health. While these things might be fun, (and I certainly think there can be a place for them if you wish) it is the foundational habits such as eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, and cutting back on fried foods, that are going to give you the greatest long-term return.
The common-sense basics might not be all that glamourous, but they work!
Take Action: Are you eating a well-balanced diet including at least five serves of vegetables everyday? Nail this first, before you get into the fancy stuff.
Keep it Real.
When it comes to putting together a healthy diet, it is critical you get to know, and love RealFood.
RealFood is food that comes directly from a natural source (plant or animal) and/or is processed in a traditional way that enhances the nutritional content of the food.
Here’s an example. Milk is a food direct from a natural source (a cow). Yoghurt is milk, processed in a traditional way (fermentation), that enhances the nutritional content (reduces sugars, introduces pro-biotic).
Both milk and yoghurt are RealFoods.
Both provide quality nourishment to the body.
Take Action: Recall what you ate over the last 24 hours. What percentage of your diet came from a natural source, that is directly from a plant or animal? Just take note.
Keep it Fun.
There are so many RealFoods to enjoy including, vegetables, fruits, dairy, legumes, grains, nuts, seeds, meat, poultry, fish, herbs and spices!! And they are chock-a-block full of valuable proteins, quality fats, vitamins, minerals, fibres, that our bodies need to hum along like a well-tuned Lamborghini. And just look the variety in that list! Truly, you need to feel bored, or constricted by your healthy eating intentions.
Take Action: What RealFoods do you love? Make a list of delicious and satisfying RealFoods to take shopping with you. That way you will always have healthy inspiration at hand to guide your choices.
Keep it Clean.
Processed foods, are the opposite of RealFoods. They come from a non-natural source (factory/chemistry lab) and are produced in a way the reduces the nutritional content of the food. These kind of foods do not provide your body with any of the nutrients it needs for optimal function. But what they do deliver is an abundance of calories, and a number of potentially harmful substances like trans-fats. Seriously not fun.
So keep your diet clean and reduce the processed (un-Real) foods in your life to the absolute minimum.
Take Action: Looking at your diet from Take Action #2, decide on which one or two processed foods you could easily swap out for RealFood alternatives this week.
Keep it kind.
Embarking on any journey you will be faced with challenges and successes. Working towards improving your eating habits is just the same.
You will experience set-backs. That is OK. Expect them.
But, don’t let yourself fall prey to the all-or-nothing-mindset.
One teacher once shared this with me. “If you break down with a flat tyre, do you get out the car and slash the other three tyres”?
Of course not. Same goes with food. One little ‘slip-up’ doesn’t have to turn into a week-long ice-cream binge.
If you fall off that ‘healthy horse’ just take a deep breath, forgive yourself, and as soon as you’re ready get right back on the saddle.
Finally, make sure you remember to acknowledge yourself for all the positive steps you do take. Everything little thing you do to care for your mind and body, is a wonderful act worth celebrating.
Take Action: What have you done this week to look after yourself? A walk, a bath, a phone call, a healthy snack choice? Take a moment to give yourself a pat on the back. Use the positive vibes to keep moving you forward!
Erica Amari Rushbrook
Certified Health and Wellness Coach + Realfood Enthusiast