Nutritional Therapist Amelia Freer explains how to clean up your diet
I truly believe the following is the route to a happier, healthier and much longer life.
1. Food for life
‘Diet’ comes from the Latin ‘diaeta’ which means ‘a way of living’ but the majority of people see ‘diet’ as ‘deprivation’ or as denying themselves what they truly desire.
It’s important to know, really know with every cell of your being, that by eating healthily you’re not denying yourself anything - you’re actually treating yourself every day, giving your body and brain the tremendous gift of health that it will be truly thankful for and give you benefit after benefit for.
2. Learn about the benefits of food
Learn and understand what different foods do to your body…did you know walnuts feed your brain with B12 which could help to prevent Alzheimer’s, that kale is the most nutrient dense green vegetable and helps promote healthy vision and fight cancer and that 1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil can burn fat from your belly?
3. Start cooking from scratch
It’s ALL about cooking. If you buy your own food and cook your own food, you tend to put food that is better for you into your mouth. If you only make that one change to your lifestyle, you’re doing yourself a wonderful favour so try as hard as you can to go back to the kitchen. I know we’re all busy, but it’s possible to make several meals at once and freeze them, to order food online so that there’s always fresh ingredients around. So eat real food. I say it over and over again, but forget the low-fat, low-sugar or diet varieties and ban ready meals from your life (they are full of sugars and nasties that no one needs in their life). Keep eating out (especially grabbing sandwiches etc. on-the-go) to an absolute minimum. However healthy a meal looks (and retailers and restaurants use all sorts of tricks to make their fare seem healthy and attractive) there are often added oils and sugars that can pile on the pounds or, worse, make you unwell.
4. Become mindful of your relationship with food
Almost as important is to get to grips with your personal relationship with food. We may not be anorexic or bulimic but deep within most of us is a complex relationship with food that may be unhealthy. Sit quietly with yourself and work out if you have emotional issues around it. Many of us do. We are brought up in a culture where it’s rude not to finish everything on your plate, or where we are rewarded with food and our social life tends to be created around consumption. We’ve probably overeaten since we were very young. Discovering why you eat in negative cycles could reveal the key to you eating healthily. Work out the difference between real hunger and cravings by keeping a food diary along with a symptom, emotional and energy diary and see if you can spot patterns. If you know that your relationship with food is emotional then get help with this. NLP, CBT, therapy or hypnosis can all help.
5. Drink up
Go liquid. Water is the stuff of life. It staves off hunger pangs and cleanses your system. Carry water with you at all times. Herbal teas are also helpful and come in such a wide variety of flavours. Vegetable juices are also a wonderful way of getting nutrients into your body without gaining weight (so long as there isn’t too much fruit in them!).
6. Ditch the diet sodas (or full fat ones)
There is absolutely NO PLACE whatsoever for sodas be they diet or other. You might as well drink the contents of the bottles under your kitchen sink for the same effect! (But I really don't advise it).
7. Go paleo
If in doubt, look up the word ‘Paleo’ – ask yourself, would our cave-dwelling ancestors have been able to eat or drink what you are about to put in your body – if it’s not a grass-fed animal, bird, seafood, egg, nut, seed or plant then the likelihood is that it’s not doing you any favours.
Exercise is crucial for long-term health and healthy ageing. Along with keeping our bodies in shape, it releases endorphins that make you feel happier and helps manage stress, energy and sleep. It’s also true that if you’re eating well and not losing weight, you’re not moving enough and if you’re moving a lot and not losing weight, you’re not eating well. A balance of the two is crucial to keep you healthy. Follow Freedom2Train's advice and really learn about how to move your body properly.
Eating well is not deprivational, but powerful. And it’s truly graceful and empowering. Healthy food is delicious food, traditional food, real food. There is nothing new here. Eat real food, and — even if you’re a few pounds overweight — you’ll improve the chances of your living a healthy life into what might actually be your golden years.
9. Find a balance
And ok if the odd square of dark chocolate creeps in occasionally or the occasional small glass of red wine – that’s fine. Life is to be enjoyed and celebrated and it’s possible to achieve a balance. I encourage my clients to have a “cheat” meal once a week which is hugely beneficial both for their mindsets, their discipline and actually keeps their metabolism stable. Alternatively, use the famous 80:20 rule - that's 80% good and 20% let yourself off the hook!
I wish you the best of health.
Enjoy Amelia's healthy eating plan? Click here to see more of her tips, recipes and advice.