If you’re not hungry, don’t eat (and if you ARE hungry: EAT)
Basically, what I am saying here is find balance when you eat. This balance means eating until you're comfortable rather than overeating and feeling bloated and sluggish, or starving yourself and missing out on the nutrition you need to survive and thrive.
To be able to eat until we're satisfied we need to eat mindfully and consciously. This means being aware and present when you eat. To start to do this, here are my three tips:
1. When you do go to eat a meal take the time to sit down (somewhere other than your desk, couch or bed) and stop whatever you're doing so you can focus on your meal
2. Get rid of all distractions such as your phone, laptop, assignments, work papers etc. If we are distracted when we eat we will usually finish our food without even being aware of what we've actually eaten. Before we know it we're looking for the next meal because it's almost as if we didn't even eat the last one!
3. Take your time to chew your food, appreciate the taste of every bite and actually look at the food you're eating. This way you give yourself the space to truly enjoy the food you're nourishing your body with.
By using these three practices we gain better awareness of our actions and therefore can gain better control when it comes to how much or how little we eat.
If its not nutritious, don't eat it
If a food is going to hinder your ability to achieve your goals, make you feel bloated, sluggish or guilty and if it's not going to nourish your body, 'taste' is a pretty poor excuse to eat it. (With the exception of mindfully eating a treat food in moderation.)
But what is nutritious food? Nutritious food is:
1. Food that nourishes the body with an abundance of vitamins and minerals
2. Food that have been minimally processed; whole foods like fruits and vegetables, which are as close to their natural source as possible
3. Food that doesn't have a label; or if it does, the ingredients list is short and the foods listed are whole foods that you recognize, rather than numbers/colours/additives etc
4. If it has a mother, if it breathes or if it lives/lived it is an animal, not food. Whilst you can get your required nutrients from animal flesh, breast milk etc you can also get it all from plant foods, meaning that animal foods are a choice, not a necessity. Personally, I don't believe you can be truly healthy if you deny others (animals) their health; imagine the crowded, mass-producing farms where the animal products you buy are from...These farms are interested in profit before anything else, and therefore the health of their animals is almost always substandard. Foods produced from the animals experiencing lives which are only valued for profit are not foods I want to try and nourish my body with.
Make whole fruits and vegetables your main food source
This is the easiest way to make sure you are getting all the right nutrients to allow your body to function optimally!
Always eat breakfast
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day because it provides us with the nutrients we need to fuel our day. Asking someone to function without breakfast is as ridiculous as asking a car to run on an empty fuel tank! Studies show that breakfast can be important in maintaining a healthy body weight because those of us who skip breakfast are more likely to snack on foods that are high in fat and sugar in an attempt to curb the hunger we feel before its appropriate to eat lunch. People who skip breakfast are also unlikely to make up their daily requirement for some vitamins and minerals that a simple breakfast would have provided.
Enjoy your food
Eating healthy doesn't mean eating 'rabbit food' like so many people suggest. Eating healthy should be enjoyable, otherwise its not going to be something you stick to. Take the time to buy good recipe books, find recipes you like and don’t make it boring! Food like amazing stir fry vegetables and noodles, lentil burgers, quinoa tabouli date bliss balls or even raw cheesecakes are all so delicious, and so healthy!
Find some of my favourite food blog and recipe books under my resources page!
Cravings are one of the hardest things to deal with when it comes to eating well. Knowing why we are having a certain craving can give us back our sense of control and help us to make more healthful decisions when it may seem hardest to.
Cravings come from hunger, lack of sleep, boredom, stress, emotional imbalance, or even a need for something else nutritious. Pause and take a moment to ask yourself where you think a craving might be coming from. This allows us to say "its not the sugar I want, its fuel because I haven't eaten in a while" or "I only want a sugary chocolate bar because I'm running low on energy from a lack of sleep".
Once we understand this we can take back control and tell ourselves "no, I don't want ice cream, I want a healthy lunch that has a variety of healthy foods that will provide my body with the nutrition it needs!" Sometimes this doesn't work, but I can tell you 95% of the time it will definitely help!
You might be thinking "but you follow a vegan diet...isn't that just another one of these confusing modern unhealthy diets?” My answer is simple: I don't follow a vegan diet because I want a quick fix weight loss diet, I follow it because I want to live my life in tune with my morals and values of kindness, non-harming and compassion whilst at the same time creating the body of my dreams.
Veganism has grown in popularity over the past few decades because it is a means to consciously avoiding harming others; it is not a 'quick fix' like the diets that are marketed to make money out of. I follow a healthy diet; I just also happen to follow a diet driven by compassion.
Interested in learning more? Shoot me an email with your questions!