Updated: May 8, 2020
I promise you that I am not writing this blog post whilst sitting on my high horse. I have succumbed to several treats during this odd period and whilst this isn't something I like to admit, it is what it is. Eating healthy 100% of the time, especially in the midst of a pandemic, is just not realistic (argue with yourself) but the body is precious and if you know better, you tend to do better. A lot of the time.
So here I am, after a terrific few days of stuffing my face with homemade cookies and carbs, letting you know some of the things that I usually do to maintain some level of good health. The House of Discipline is somewhere I frequent but even from there, I socially distance myself sometimes. I always go back, though. Don't worry about me.
This blog post was inspired by a fellow foodie I follow on Instagram - @moniquesfoodforthought. She suggested that I compile some sort of list to give food related tips on how to stay healthy and I thought this was a great time to do so.
1. Pay attention to your body. Self diagnosing is honestly a nightmare. However, during this period, getting the medical opinions you'd normally have ease of access to, may prove impractical to some extent. There are general vitamins that work for many people and you could look into getting those. There are many herbal remedies for ailments that could work for you also, but please be careful. I am not a herbalist (subject to change) nor am I a nutritionist or medical professional. I am just someone who can be resourceful. Look into these things and always remember to not only do your research, but seek expert advice from professionals.
2. Get/create a snack drawer. Preferably one that is not too easy to access. I know many people don't encourage snacking but I didn't say the snacks had to be unhealthy. You won't need to make these a necessary part of your daily food intake, but it is there for you to dip into if you need it. My point is, sometimes separating the snacks from your main food can help. Out of sight, out of mind.
3. Do something else in place of eating. Many of us are blessed to be able to access, cook and eat food when we want. If this is the case, sometimes, we can do too much. Your body will often show you that you may need to slow down on the junk. For example, you may start feeling more sluggish; you mind may feel a bit slower etc. If you feel that you are feeling hungry all of the time, maybe address why this could be. You could just be bored.
4. Change your eating patterns. Many people find intermittent fasting to be beneficial. I don't encourage diets. Some intermittent fasting practices are referred to as diets, so I guess it all depends on perceptions. One thing I will say is that when following this method, it isn't a requirement to significantly alter your calorie intake or the kinds of foods you eat, so feel free to be flexible.
5. Don't overwhelm yourself, but creating space for a new approach to food can be very helpful. I find it helpful to do the following things to prepare myself for a new way of eating:
- Creating shopping lists
- Getting rid of unhealthy foods in the house
- Starting an exercise routine
Sometimes you have to do things in preparation for change to make things easier to transition.
6. Try out new recipes. Make food more exciting. Try and cook something easy and nutritious every week. Here are three things you can try cooking that are simple to cook and good for your body:
Spaghetti bolognese with wholewheat spaghetti or courgetti, with vegetables blended into the sauce mixture.
An English fry-up, but with substitutions: replace the pork sausage with bean fritters or turkey sausage, the fried eggs for an egg white omelette and the potatoes for boiled or baked plantain. Add lots of vegetables.
Seabass with sweet potato medallions and sautéed vegetables. Add a chargrilled slice of lemon on top of the fish if you're feeling cute.
7. Meal prep. Once you've meal prepped, you should have more time to do other things. Some people have the discipline to ensure they cook nutritious food every day, whilst others may struggle and find themselves reaching for the chips and burgers on the days they cannot be asked. No shade; I sometimes do this. Meal prep so that you have three or four days off from cooking.
8. Look for substitutes to use in your baking. So many people have taken up baking now. Great! However, eating bread, cake and cookies made of wheat flour all of the time can wreak havoc upon the body. You can substitute some or all of the ingredients in your baked goods for ingredients like coconut flour, ground almonds, plantain, and the flour milled from ancient grains like quinoa and teff.
9. Eat larger portions in the day and smaller portions in the evening. I live by this (80% of the time).
I hope you found these tips helpful. I wouldn't recommend what I haven't tried.