Everyone knows that the key to a healthy life is having a healthy diet. In today’s society media shows you one food advertisement after the other. One product claiming to be even tastier or healthier than the other. When you go into the supermarket products are labeled with seals claiming that said product is a healthy choice. Packaging advertises things such as “0% fat” or “no added sugar”. These things can be decent guidelines, but in my experience you shouldn’t take them to heart. Don’t forget these are still companies trying to make a profit. I’ve found that teaching yourself to read the nutrient value’s on the packaging together with the basic knowledge of what kind of effect nutrients have on your body, will make resisting poor food choices and picking healthier food a lot easier.
Based on the knowledge I gathered during my research on nutrients I decided for myself what things I would be looking out for when I’d pick my food. In my experience deciding for myself what things I could have and not have made sticking to my diet a lot easier. I’d like to share with you what decisions I made, but please keep in mind that it doesn’t hurt to read up on things yourself and not just follow every advice on the internet blindly.
The most important thing I started keeping account of in my diet is sugar. This isn’t just about sugar in sweets and cakes but also those in drinks and other products. Especially drinks seem to have a lot of sugar hidden in them. For example fruit juices and even those products that say they’re healthy with their 0 fat, you could say that for all the fat they’ve taken out they replaced it with sugar. Or how about those lemonades you mix with water, surely that can’t be that bad. Truth is all these things still have far too much sugar in them. This has led me to only drinking water and green tea, and I’m perfectly happy with that and don’t miss the sugary drinks one bit. I always pay attention to how many carbs something has in it as well, this isn’t as important to me as sugar but I specifically try to avoid refined carbs like the ones in bread, cereal grains and pasta. I also avoid potatoes as these have a high glycemic index. The reason I avoid these things in specific is because they give you a high insulin spike. A high insulin spike causes you to have more insulin in your bloodstream, a higher blood sugar and thus causes higher stress on your body because of this you get into a state where you’re less likely to burn fat and more likely to store fat. If you’d wish to learn more about why sugar is so bad I would advise you to watch this video called “Sugar the bitter truth” this video has been a real motivation for me as to why I should lower my sugar intake.
The other things I look out for are: preservatives mainly found in things as ready meals and processed packaged food, polyunsaturated fat (vegetable oil is a perfect example of this and is used in a lot of products like crisps and cakes), and last but not least high fructose corn syrup mainly found in cheaper junk food. High fructose corn syrup is just as bad as sugar if not even worse it has addictive qualities and thus actually messes with your brain.
What else is important in deciding on your food is knowing what kind of nutrients and foods are good for you. For example I have a teaspoon of honey in my yoghurt every day. Honey does contain sugar but has a low glycemic index, a lot of good nutrients and great natural antioxidants and these are only a few things that make honey so healthy. Knowing things like these about certain types of food made it not only easier for me and more enjoyable to stick with my healthy lifestyle. It feels great to enjoy some yoghurt with honey knowing there’s nothing bad about it. Some basic things I like to have in my good foods are monounsaturated fats like olive oil and all different kind of nuts. Protein is also important to me as this is a nutrient that makes sure you feel full for a longer period of time and you don’t get that hungry feeling that makes you snack.
Finally to give you a general idea of what kind of food I have on a day, I’ll break my fast with either Greek yoghurt with honey or oats with honey and for tea it usually contains either rice or quinoa, vegetables like broccoli, beans, bell peppers, mushrooms, spinach etc. and lastly some kind of meat or fish. In future blog post I’ll be going more in depth about different lifestyle changes that contributed to my healthier lifestyle like intermittent fasting and only eating 2 meals a day.