Think upgrade with nutrients, not eliminate and restrict.

“Today is a new day!  I will not eat any rubbish.  No cookies, no vending machine stops, no soft drink and definitely no wine when I get home tonight.  I’ve got my salad ready to go! Time to get healthy. I can do this!”
Does that sound familiar?  If yes, do you also find by the end of the day, the week, the month or even the year (sorry avid “Friends” fan here) all willpower is gone and your cravings get the better of you?  Or the weekend comes and you eat everything in your path?  You are unstoppable!
Many of us believe switching our focus to avoiding non-nutritious foods and drinks is the best way to get our health back in order or for some, to lose weight (remember, in order to lose weight, one must first become healthy!).  While this may work for some in the short-term, most of us continue to go around and around in circles coupled with guilt and cravings which are hard to resist – our biochemistry will catch up and win eventually.
While reducing inflammatory foods can do wonders to our overall health, increasing nutritious foods (and working on our own mindset) I believe is more important.  If you are finding yourself struggling to go without, switch your focus to working on ways to upgrade your diet instead, this way you aren’t telling yourself you can’t have something so there is no guilt involved and you become more focused on adding than eliminating.  Switch your focus to:-
  1. Taking time out each week to implement a meal plan for yourself and/or the family.  Look at ways to include more wholesome foods into your diet;
  2. Thinking rainbow when it comes to fruit and vegetables.  Every colour offers a different lot of nutrients the body needs to thrive. Challenge yourself to eat a rainbow a week.
  3. Having a look at some quick, simple and easy recipes which include lots of vegetables or simply add more into some of those family favourites.
  4. Swapping out non-nutritious for more nutritious produce. For example, removing white sugar (that very addictive, bad bacteria loving stuff) for dates, raw honey or coconut sugar.  Yes, they are still sugar but in small amounts these substitutes offer far more nutrients than plain white sugar. 
  5. Planning ahead as convenience always wins.  Look for nutrient dense foods to store in the freezer for weeks where you can’t be bothered cooking or are overwhelmed. These days happen more often than not for many of us.
  6. Switching some midweek meals to vegetarian only.  You’d be surprised how much flavour packed they can be.
  7. Seeing wholesome food as medicine. They are made up with so much more than just carbs, fats and proteins.  They are packaged with so many micro-nutrients our mind and body needs to perform at it’s very best everyday.

When we approach our diet in this way instead of restricting ourselves from “unhealthy” foods (unless these foods are the cause of what is making us ill e.g. high intolerance, allergies) we have less guilt and ultimately, less cravings.  You cannot “fall off that wagon” so to speak and you’re going to have a lot less “well I’ve ruined it now” moments.

The more nutritious foods we put into our bodies the better we feel physically and mentally.  It’s what we do everyday that impacts our health, not what we do occasionally.

Above all, remember, it is not just about food.  Listen to your body, when we understand what it wants and attend to its needs you will realise you don’t really want those non-nutritious foods as much, the cravings will disappear and you will no longer feel like you have to force restriction upon yourself.  Food can be fun again without fear.

Sammy x


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