How to Make Healthy Eating Positive
Hello guys! So today I really want to hone in on the idea that healthy eating is boring, time consuming, and depriving. I HATE when people immediately think these things about healthy eating. Maybe its because I see it in such a different light, maybe its because I've come to transform my taste buds into craving home cooked meals and veggies rather than processed, packaged junk food. Whatever the reason, I really wish people could change their minds on healthy eating, even if its just step by step! That's not to say we haven't come a long way, considering that smoothie bowls, salad bowls (hey, Sweetgreen ;)), and poke bowls are now all on trend. I LOVE the progress, but what I hope to see is that people begin to love cooking healthy meals for themselves because of the great accomplishment that comes along with nourishing yourself with your own hard work! So, I think that it's important to lay out some reasons why healthy eating isn't boring and depriving! Here we go...
1. Who said spices and herbs weren't healthy? Most people think healthy food is bland or they just hate the taste of vegetables (crazy people!), yet this is so false! If you struggle to find flavor and excitement in your healthy meals, this could DEFINITELY contribute to a negative perspective on healthy eating. A few of my favorite spices I use on the reg to spice up (and up the nutrition) of all meals include cinnamon, turmeric (mixed with other spices for my unreal shawarma spice), and rosemary. They all have completely different taste profiles, yet they are all extremely flavorful and add tons of health benefits to many meals. Cinnamon naturally lowers blood sugar, so when you sprinkle it on your apple or put it into your smoothie, you're going to allow your body to absorb those natural fruit sugars slower which will cause less of a sugar spike which leaves us groggy later. Turmeric is a superfood on its own. Known to reduce inflammation throughout the body, this can help with so many body ailments. The curcumin in turmeric reduces pain and swelling just as well as ibuprofen can, which is amazing coming from just a spice! It also reduces inflammation throughout the body which can help with bloat, skin swelling/puffiness, and inflammation in the skin such as eczema, acne and rosacea. Sounds legit. Put turmeric on any savory dish, like sauteed veggies and chicken, but make sure to sprinkle some black pepper with it for maximum nutrient absorption. Lastly, rosemary is a lovely smelling and tasting spice that you can also add to any savory dish. It is good for digestion, detoxifying the liver, and is an immune system healer, which essentially helps the whole body. These are just three spices/herbs that you can add to your dishes to make your meals extra flavorful and extra nutritious!
2. Don't under eat. Many people believe that in order to have a healthy diet and to lose weight, they need to eat less. While on some level you shouldn't be ingesting exorbitant amounts of foods, its so important to properly fuel and nourish yourself, especially if you're adding in those workouts and yoga classes! You should eat either 3 meals a day (if your a big meal gal a few times a day, like me) or more frequent, smaller meals (if you like to snack or graze throughout the day). The key is to make sure you're eating enough protein and healthy fats to keep your body running on more than just the glucose (sugar) that all carbohydrates eventually break down into. If you under eat, to save a few calories here or there (grr..), you're body isn't receiving enough nutrients or calories to run as the machine it is designed to be. On its own, without moving or exercising, your body will burn anywhere from 1200-2000 (VARIES depending on everyones bodies...I'm no body scientist here). On top of that, you're usually doing more than just laying down all day, even if its just walking to the bathroom! So, you need to eat at least this number to allow your brain to properly function, your muscles to tone up or remain toned, and your fat-burning cells to keep firing away. Without adequate food and nutrition, your muscles will waste away, and your body will store everything that enters it into your fat cells as if it doesn't know when it will see food next. This could (one day!) be a whole blog post on its own, but for the sake of those just transitioning to healthy eating and looking to have a positive perspective on it, just know that you're body needs fuel. Feeding yourself, if its good, clean food, is not punishment, its necessary.
3. Make it a lifestyle, not a diet. There's nothing more disheartening than being on a two week diet just to lose a few pounds before vacation, then coming home and binging only to realize you've gained it all, and more, back on. If you change your mindset from being on a restrictive, timed diet to a lifestyle of better, cleaner eating for a lifetime, you'll be more likely to see results, have a happier mood, and not feel deprived. The reason diets are so depriving is that they're typically just huge calorie-cutting plans. If you go from eating what you normally do to eating 1000 calories a day, yeah you're going to lose weight. But it won't be long lasting fat-loss, and it wont benefit your relationship with food or with your body. Your body will feel lethargic, underfed, weak (muscle atrophy!) and you won't feel happy with what you see simply because your mind is not in tip-top shape where happy hormones are floating around abundantly. In addition, the second your off that diet, your body is going to store allllllll the food (that your body will really really want) and more back into the body because it thought it was starving when you were on that diet. Not good. Sounds like hell, right? Yeah, so next time you think "I need to lose 10 pounds by next month" think about how you can alter your lifestyle rather than not eat and binge later. Cut out processed foods, eat more vegetables, you know the drill....
Here are just a few easy ways to switch your habits and mindset from negative thoughts on healthy eating and the idea that you will constantly feel deprived. Its NOT worth it, but eating healthier ann seeing positive transformations in your body, mind and spirit is totally worth it and totally possible if you can allow yourself to think of it more as a lifestyle where there's always room to grow and learns! It really is important to shift this perspective if you want to live a healthier life and ditch diets for good. You won't be able to see changes in yourself if you don't allow your body the time and chance to soak up the benefits of a healthier lifestyle. So switch that perspective and use healthy eating as a way to explore new foods and flavors!