Why Healthy Eating Isn’t Realistic

healthy living
Photo by ROMAN ODINTSOV on Pexels.com

Hey guys, welcome back to the blog. In today’s post, I want to talk about something that isn’t usually addressed in the “healthy eating” world on social media. If you’ve been on social media at all in the recent years, you’d have seen how healthy eating trends have taken over millions of people, having them smash avocados on toast and bake their oats. While there’s nothing wrong with the trends promoted by fitness and health influencers, I can’t help but point out how their food content is often catered to the few. Which is to be expected as influencers can only show us their way of life.

However, this has created a discourse around what healthy eating is that doesn’t cater to everyone. It gives the impression that there is only way of eating well, a rather Western way. The healthy eating world on social media does not address how different cuisines come into play. For example, the foods in my culture never fit into the category of “healthy eating” because they are mostly carb-heavy and do not look like the foods posted by health influencers. So, where does someone who eats African, Indian or Chinese cuisine fit into the niche of healthy eating. Often times, when I’m at family gatherings, not one thing on the table fits what social media deems healthy. I realised that exposure to “what I eat in a day” content has somewhat influenced my perception on what is healthy food in a way that excludes all of our local dishes.

But, that isn’t how healthy eating is supposed to be. Healthy eating does not mean a Western way of eating with; a yoghurt bowl for breakfast, a kale salad for lunch, and salmon and asparagus for dinner. It can mean rice porridge for breakfast with, veggie noodle soup for lunch, and the same thing for dinner. One thing I found odd is that social media promotes cooking one thing for lunch and cooking another meal for dinner when I grew up eating the same meal for lunch and dinner. Similarly, the “healthy eating” category promoted on social media doesn’t allow for the different ingredients available in different areas of the world. Where I’m from, spicy pickled fruits are often added to our meals, and people use different ingredients such as cassava, breadfruit, a variety of grains, and a ton of chilli.

To put it in a nutshell, don’t let the portrayal of “healthy eating” online restrict your way of eating or your local cuisine. Instead, you can find ways to make your local dishes balanced with whole foods and substitutions. For example, by substituting regular sunflower oil in any local recipes with olive or avocado oil. The point is that there isn’t only one way of eating healthy and you shouldn’t have to abandon foods from your culture to be healthy. So next time you think about eating healthy, step away from the exhausted dishes online and make it your own.

A note from the author

I hope you enjoyed today’s quick post and found something useful from it. If you’d like to support my blog please like and follow for more and feel free to share your opinion on it. Thank you for reading, I appreciate each an every one of you, see you next time, xoxo.

Food Guilt: 5 Ways to Cope with feeling guilty after “Overeating”

healthy living

Hey guys, welcome back to the blog, today we’re talking about food guilt. You’re probably familiar with the term and with the experience of the feeling as well. I would define it as feelings of shame and regret after consuming foods we deem unhealthy or after eating what we think is too much. This is something I’ve experienced far more times than I can count and it has to be one of the worst feelings I’ve experienced. The thing is, the food doesn’t even have to be unhealthy to trigger the guilt, sometimes you can be eating healthy and nutritious meals and still feel guilty if you feel like you overate. However, food guilt is something created by our own minds, it is as real as we make it. Often times I’ve found myself struggling with regret after a full day of eating simply because I thought I had too many calories or wasn’t healthy enough. It takes a while to snap myself out of that dark hole of shame and criticism sometimes, which is why I wanted to share some tips that may help you deal with food guilt. Before we get into it, this is a disclaimer that all of these tips are based off of personal experience and are not a replacement for professional medical advice. If you are struggling with mental health or what you think may be an eating disorder, please seek help or further advice, thank you.

#1. Know Your Triggers

If you feel guilty after eating, it may be helpful to know what foods or eating habits trigger that guilt. For some people it may be eating junk food, processed foods filled with sugar, or foods they just think is unhealthy. It might be binge eating, or eating late at night for you. No matter what it is, it’s important to know what does it for you so you can analyse why you feel guilty.

My food guilt is triggered when I eat foods I do not eat on a normal basis, especially if I’ve done so over the course of a few days. This comes from a fear of overeating, which comes from a fear of weight gain. Even though there is absolutely nothing wrong with gaining weight, we’ve grown up with the idea that weight gain is something negative. It’s only now that this mindset is starting to shift but it is still easier said than done. So triggers are often foods or habits that society has perceived as negative and any guilt resulting from that is also naturalised. But guilt after eating isn’t something that is supposed to be natural. Identifying what triggers your food guilt is the first step to deconstructing the reasoning behind the guilt.

#2. Write & Reflect

One method that always helps is to journal your food guilt, writing down what you did that day and your emotions throughout. Often times you’ll find that writing it down helps you feel more accountable of what or how much you ate, helping you realise it isn’t as bad as your mind is saying it is. However, this isn’t the same as calorie or macro tracking, you would only write down the emotions in that moment, not track every day. Writing down what you regret and then throwing that paper away can help you acknowledge the food guilt and be more mindful so that you can put it past you.

#3. Validate Hunger Cues & Cravings

One of the biggest struggles when it comes to food guilt is knowing when you are hungry. Often times we reprimand ourselves for hunger, but hunger does not always mean boredom, stress, or needing water. A lot of the times you’re hungry because your body needs nourishment and it’s important to acknowledge these cues as well.

We’ve cultivated this idea that cravings are wrong, but rather than suppressing your cravings every time, it might help to give your body what it wants. This doesn’t mean mindlessly eating foods which may not be the most nutritive. Instead, it means having the occasional bowl of ice cream or pizza. If you incorporate balance into your life and listen to your cravings every once in a while, you’ll find it much easier to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

#4. Move Your Body

Moving your body after overeating or when you’re feeling guilty doesn’t mean running on the treadmill for 3 hours as punishment. Often times we feel down or lethargic because we haven’t moved our body that day and that can lead to feelings of guilt. Moving your body can mean anything from 5 minutes of stretching or dancing to a daily walk. If you suffer from food guilt, move your body not to burn calories but to feel in control of your body in that moment.

#5. Do not Punish Yourself

My last and final tip is to never punish yourself for bingeing or overeating. If you feel like you overate, then you can feel content that you enjoyed your food or simply move on from it. If you overate at a family dinner, realize that a big part of these experiences with family are tied to the food you had. If you binge ate everything and everything at 2 am and you don’t even remember what or why, then realize that your body needs fuel and you can always put that to good use layer on.

I hope you found something useful here today. Although I’m not an expert, I’ve had my fair share of food guilt and know that it shouldn’t be naturalized even though it is. Food guilt can be a habit passed down from one person to the other, but it should never limit how you live your life. At the end of the day, when you look back on your life, you won’t even remember the guilt. So ‘if it won’t matter in 5 years, don’t stress about it for more than 5 minutes’ – Dekker. Thank you for reading, xoxo.

What I eat in a Day (Cutting Edition)

healthy living

Hey guys, welcome back! In this post I’m going to be sharing what a normal day of eating during lockdown is for me. Obviously there have been some changes in the way I eat lately because my energy expenditure has decreased and my cravings have changed, nevertheless this is to help give you some inspiration if you’re running out of ideas. I’d like to preface that you do not have to follow how I eat because nutrition is something very personal, which is why I avoid sharing how many calories I eat in a day. However, I thought that a post like this could be fun and give you some ideas. Let’s work on improving our nutrition not restricting it. (If you want more what I eat in a day content, check out my instagram @healthbossblog) So here is what I eat in a day…

overnight oats

I admit my appetite has been hectic during lockdown and I assume I’m not alone in this. Lockdown has probably done a number not only on our physical health but our mental health as well. I personally found that I’m not as hungry in the morning as before, since I don’t can’t to the gym during lockdown, so I have breakfast a little later than usual. I am also currently intermittent fasting, with the 16/8 method which is why I usually break my fast around 11-12am. If you want to know more about how I intermittent fast, let me know down in the comments, but break my fast with some camomile tea with apple cider vinegar and honey. Then a typical breakfast for me right now is protein oats or eggs with gluten free toast.

Contrary to what you might think, I still enjoy certain foods like bread and cookies as long as they meet my caloric needs. My method of cutting isn’t as strict because I plan to take it slow and continue with it for at least a few months. Which is why I take it day by day and I don’t stress about it much. Although I’ve researched about other methods of cutting, I’ve tried to reappropriate certain methods to my own lifestyle and nutrition requirements and I urge you to do the same by starting slow.

Healthy Lunch Ideas

A typical lunch for me looks like this, usually a source of protein like chicken breast or lean beaf (since I can’t have fish), with a source of carbs (quinoa, potato gnocchi, veggie pasta, or sweet potato) and some type of greens. My meals are definitely balanced, and it varies from time to time. I won’t lie there are days where I just want to eat toast, and that’s alright because I listen to my body, I eat intuitively and I don’t stress about it much. Dinner is usually the same, sometimes I have a snack in between but that depends on how filling my lunch is although I do have coffee with unsweetened almond milk throughout the day.

Rice Spring Rolls

Dinner that day was pretty quick, using leftovers from lunch and rice paper wraps, I made gluten free spring rolls with an asian hot sauce. They were surprising low in calories but quite filling and they’re definitely one of my go-to meals. Plus I recently got into eating with chopsticks recently and although my skills are debatable, they are worth the experience when eating spring rolls and rice noodles. Usually I have a black decaf after dinner with some stevia when my fast has already started and that is it for a day.

I hope you enjoyed today’s blog post, please like and follow for more what I eat in a day’s. Thank you for reading and I look forwards to seeing you again, xoxo.

5 Tips on Eating Healthy

healthy living
Healthy Habits

Hey guys, welcome back to the blog! Today’s post focuses more on how to eat healthy and keep yourself accountable. It’s unrealistic to think that establishing a healthy lifestyle is without its ups and downs. Even though it seems like most of us have it handled, it’s easy to lose track of life and our eating habits, especially in lockdown. Although I stuck to eating dairy and gluten free foods, I didn’t feel as good about my nutrition a few weeks ago. I didn’t feel like I was having balanced meals and I found myself binge eating almost every night. I wasn’t eating for fuel or because I was hungry, I was eating out of habit.

A month ago, I gradually started to get back onto my previous eating habits and slowly started seeing changes in my mood and energy levels. Since my goals are different to everyone else’s, these tips aren’t based on any particular goals such as weight loss or fat loss, although they are beneficial for them as well. Rather than that, these tips are useful to implement if you want to start or get back to eating healthy. My advice is to implement the ones you see fit to your lifestyle, so here they are…

#1. Food Substitutes

You don’t have to deprive yourself to eat healthy, you can simply substitute or adapt your favourite foods for healthier options. Substituting doesn’t necessarily mean less calories it means choosing foods you know will fuel you and that are wholesome with less processed ingredients and more nutrients. For example, substituting regular pasta with chickpea or lentil pasta, regular chocolate with a vegan/sugar-free alternative or choosing popcorn or pop chips over regular potato chips. Eating healthy doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy food, in fact after cleaning up my nutrition again, I found that I’ve enjoyed my meals more because they are more mindful. If you want more substitute ideas, check out my post on a sample grocery list.

Food Substitutes

#2. Intermittent Fasting

One habit I’ve gotten back into is intermittent fasting and it’s helped me a lot with binge eating. I opted for 16/8hr fast and it’s been useful for stabilising my nutrition, because between 7pm till 11 am the next day I don’t focus on food and it’s sort of liberating. Of course, if you suffer from critical binge eating then this method may not suit you, however if you need a technique to keep you accountable then this one might be worth giving a try.

There are many videos explaining the different methods of intermittent fasting; 2/5 day method, 14/12 hr method etc. You can find one which suits your lifestyle better and remember to start slow. It’s counterproductive to try out too many habits at once and if you take it to the extreme you might find yourself burning out. Remember to go at your own pace.

Intermittent Fasting

#3. Intuitive Eating

Even in a calorie deficit, I like to eat intuitively and choose the meals I feel like my body needs. Some days I feel like I need more food than other while some days are more carb focused and that’s ok. Eating healthy does not mean forcing yourself to eat broccoli and steamed chicken everyday, instead choose things that will fuel your body and make you feel good. Most of the time I enjoy carbs in every meal and sometimes I have breakfast for dinner, it’s all about listening to your needs. Now if you feel like your body is craving fries, try making them in the oven or air fryer instead of buying regular ones.

The whole point of intuitive eating is also eating when you’re hungry and stopping when you’re full. Don’t feel like you have to eat because it’s a certain time only because you’re hungry. If you feel like your hunger cues are messed up, try drinking water before and asking yourself if you’re actually hungry or if you’re bored or stressing. However, listen to your body and never deprive yourself if you’re hungry.

Intuitive eating

#4. Accountability Partner

I found that finding someone to accompany you in your journey to healthy eating is very beneficial. Not only can you keep each other accountable but you have moral support. When I started intermittent fasting, having someone join in made it much easier, we both would break and start our fast together. Your partner doesn’t even have to be living with you, it can be a friend over the phone or it can be your digital community.

Accountability

#5. A Healthy Eating Mindset

If there’s one thing I want you to take from this, it’s that the key to eating healthy is achieving a healthy eating mindset. This isn’t a 2 week diet or 1 month plan, these are small steps you can take towards a healthier lifestyle. So if the words in your head are ‘restriction, no carbs, and no fat’ then you’ll be doing more harm than good. The last thing you want is to start labelling foods as bad or good because you can have the foods you enjoy, banning them is not necessary.

Also, don’t assume that once a person assumes a healthy lifestyle that they’ll have the perfect diet all the time. It’s normal to lose track every once in a while, don’t be too hard on yourself you’re only human. I want you to have fun with it, this shouldn’t be a punishment, learn to create your own healthy lifestyle.

I hope you enjoyed today’s post and let me know your healthy eating advice/habit down in the comments. Please like and follow for more posts like this one and follow to join the journey to living a healthy lifestyle that’s realistic. Thank you for reading, xoxo!

Healthy Fruit Loaf

recipes

Hey guys, welcome back to the blog, in this post I’m sharing a quick recipe for a gluten free fruit cake or loaf. This was pretty easy to make and should work with many adaptations so feel free to tweak it to your tastes. I am still experimenting with different flavours and ingredient combinations and I will be sharing those as well. If you have any gluten, dairy free recipes you’d like to see, please let me know down in the comments. So let’s get right into it…

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups gf flour
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar/ erythritol sugar substitute
  • 1/4-1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup fruit mix (raisins, dried orange)
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 cup seeds/nuts (optional)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice & zest

STEPS

  1. Combine the flours, sugar and spices in a bowl.
  2. Then whisk the eggs and milk together and combine with the dry ingredients until well combined.
  3. You may need to adjust the flour/milk ratio depending on the type of gluten free you’re using. I used a local blend but you will want a thick cake batter texture.
  4. Fold in the fruit into the batter and pour into your mould, you can also add extra nuts/seeds as toppings toppings, I usually add pumpkin seeds.
  5. Bake at 180ºC for 20-25 mins or until a skewer comes out clean.

You can store this up to two weeks in the fridge, I usually leave the loaf whole and cut it when serving. This recipe and other variations will be available in the ebook where I will share more tips on healthy gluten and dairy free baking. Thank you for reading, I hope you try out this recipe and please like and follow for more quick recipes xoxo.

Check out my recipe for cinnamon muffins!

5 Tips to Stay Healthy During Lockdown

healthy living

Lockdown has been tough on all of us and just when we thought it was over, it came back to slap us in the face again. This is the second lockdown we’ve gone into and I have to admit that it’s harder than the first one. We find ourselves stuck in the house, unable to go to the gym or get our steps in (unless you luckily have an at-home gym) and thus we’re mostly inactive throughout the day. This means that our energy expenditure lowers significantly and you may be worrying about putting on weight or losing your gains, but I want to share a few ways that you can stay healthy during lockdown. However, I’d like to preface that these tips can be helpful even out of lockdown, for example if you don’t have access to a gym. These tips are from personal experience only, so adapt them to your body and your needs.

Let’s get started…

#1. Don’t Stress About the Little Things

We’re already dealing with enough stress during lockdown and we don’t need to add any unnecessary stress onto that. So worrying about losing muscle or putting on weight is not going to help, because there is nothing wrong with either of those things. Most of us, including me, stress too much about things that won’t even alter our lives, however I don’t want to belittle these emotions because they are very real and hard to control. I still want to reassure you that those things don’t matter in the long run.

#2. Do What You Can

It can be hard to stay active during lockdown, but you can find ways to use up your energy through home workouts, yoga, dancing, skipping rope or any way you’d like. Simply find a way to keep your body moving, it will help you feel much better both physically and mentally.

#3. Trust Your Body

Sometimes you need to trust your body to regulate itself, for example when I got into lockdown, my appetite decreased along with my energy expenditure. So if your body is asking for food don’t deny it, restricting yourself will not help, but if you feel like you’re constantly binge eating and things are going out of hand then you might want to try implementing some structure into your day like intermittent fasting.

#4. Mental Health Matters

Do not neglect this aspect of your life in such critical moments, your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Take time to unwind because if you’re working or studying during lockdown, the boundaries between productivity and relaxation are blurred. Do not punish yourself for overeating or not exercising either, the best thing to do is to start back up the next day as you usually would. Punishing yourself only puts unnecessary stress on your mind and body.

#5.Be Mindful of Your Nutrition

Lastly, being more mindful of the things you consume will help you stay healthy during lockdown, while eating something that doesn’t form part of your usual diet isn’t going to harm you, try to have wholesome meals as much as possible, ensuring you’re having carbs, protein, healthy fats and veggies. If you want to binge eat a pack of chips, make sure you’re doing it intentionally as in actively deciding that that’s what you want to do instead of mindlessly eating, but also make sure you have healthier meals throughout the day.

I hope you guys enjoyed this post, please like and follow for more and follow my Instagram @healthboss_blog for more food pics and recipes.

Check out How to eat Healthy on a Budget!

What I Eat in a Day…

healthy living

Hey Everyone, I’ve recently noticed how my relationship with food has changed within the past few months. I know exactly what my body needs and following that instinct has led to making progress in my fitness goals and mental health. This is sometimes referred to as ‘intuitive eating’ but it doesn’t always come naturally. Intuitive eating is personal to every individual; which means that intuitive eating for me is different from what it means for you. Nevertheless, a ‘what I eat in a day’ can give you some inspiration and show you that eating healthy doesn’t mean bland food. This is what I eat on an average day, keeping a balanced dairy and gluten-free diet.

BREAKFAST

This is definitely my favourite meal of the day! (That’s saying a lot cause I love every meal) Before eating I have a glass of water and my coffee with almond milk. I normally eat around 10am and I have a few breakfasts I alternate between, but today I chose my healthy banana pancakes. These never get old, they taste amazing and they usually hold me over until lunch. I love adding protein powder to the mix, especially if I have a weight session that day and my go to protein is the Organifi Vanilla.

LUNCH

This is my second meal of the day and I usually have it between 1-2pm. I like to think of my meals as balanced; carbs, protein, and fats. Today I had stir-fried veggie quinoa with grilled chicken breast. Quinoa is definitely one of my favourite sources of carbs, it’s easy to make and it takes less than 15 mins. I usually stick to lean protein so chicken breast is also a usual.

AFTERNOON SNACK

This is my pre-workout snack that I have between 4-5pm. This time, I had a protein coffee smoothie with banana, cacao nibs, and chia seeds. Gives you a great boost of energy while still being light, plus it’s ideal for my coffee lovers. If you’re tired of your typical green or berry smoothies give this one a try!

DINNER

Gluten Free Pizza! You can’t go wrong with that. The crust is from Schar and it takes about 30 mins to prepare. This is a quick, easy dinner that I indulge in at least once a week. Unfortunately, Schar recently added Soy protein to their recipe so if you know any good gluten, soy, and dairy-free crusts, let me know down below. After dinner I tend to have something sweet; either dark chocolate (I like sweet switch’s 70% Dark), vegan hot chocolate or if I’m hungry, like I was on that night, I have some granola with blueberries and almond milk.

That’s it for the day, as you can see, I don’t restrict my eating or track my calories. Keep in mind I am currently trying to build muscle steadily and I workout 4-5 times a week. One thing to keep in mind is that not everyone should eat the same diet, but this is what works for me and I hope you enjoyed reading this post. Please like and follow for more posts, xoxo.

How I Feel About Diet Plans

healthy living

If you’re like me, you might find it pretty hard to follow meal plans or recipes, which makes eating healthy way more difficult than it actually is. I am currently gluten free, dairy free, soy free, nut free, and seafood free! Not to mention, I avoid high folate foods.  This means I can’t follow just any meal plan, especially with those green smoothies flying around all the time. However, I have come up with a few substitutes to help ease the process and how you should concentrate on what you can eat.

Here are some of my suggestions:

  • Unsweetened Rice Milk (instead of almond or soy milk)
  • Coconut sugar or honey (instead of stevia or maple syrup)
  • Vegan chocolate (instead of milk chocolate)
  • Raw cocoa powder
  • Chia seeds (for fibre)
  • GF corn crackers ( I like Schar Crispbread)
  • Dates (as a sweetener in baking)
  • Unsweetened dries coconut chips (I like Neofoods)
  • Quinoa
  • Cauliflower rice
  • Coconut oil (in baking instead of butter)

These are only a few of the substitutes you can find. Meal plans are great, but they’re not for everyone. What’s important is to design one for yourself, according to your tastes and food limits. Remember to take your daily calorie needs, and protein/carbs/fat ratio into consideration. It all depends on your body type, activity level, age and gender; some people need more protein while others need more fats. I like to follow a 1200 calorie, high protein meal plan, but this won’t suit everyone, so make sure to research about what you need, instead of the latest diet trends.

I hope this was helpful in any way possible and to see you next time. Follow and like for more posts! Xoxo.