Hope you’re well.
So, to introduce my blog! Over the next few months I’m going to tackle one of the main reasons why people choose not to eat healthily, even though they know that doing so would be beneficial for them.
That main reason is they don’t know where to start. With so much information out there, and so many experts dishing out (pun unintended) conflicting theories, it’s difficult to know who to listen to and how to start becoming a healthy eater.
I’m not a qualified expert in nutrition, but I want to change the pace at which we’re given information on what to eat. To do so I’m going to strip back healthy eating to it’s bare bones and break down how I became healthy through what I eat into a series of clear, simple, bite-size rules. Every week I’ll post one thing that I’ve introduced to my diet that has made a big difference to the way I feel, my energy levels, my skin health and to my mental state. I’ll then make a simple recommendation that will be really easy to follow through on, which you can play around with to see what suits you best.
Before I do, I want to stress that I was once the guy who trawled the internet looking for the miracle article that was going to tell me how to make those big differences. I want you to switch your mindset when you read this: imagine you’ve never been given any nutritional advice, and that you’re learning about healthy eating for the first time. Going back to basics, and forgetting all I’d read – paleo, 5/2, fasting, etc – really helped me to understand what I needed to do FIRST to become a healthier person.
Ok, so now you’re mind is clear, here’s the first rule that helped me become healthier and more productive through what I eat.
Rule One: No more Bread, no more Pasta, no more gluten!
NB. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and other related grains – people with gluten sensitivity react to the gluten protein in those grains.
I gradually took gluten out of my diet, and now don’t eat it at all.
Gluten intolerance is one of the scourges of the modern world. There’s a 25% chance that you’re gluten intolerant. If you don’t think you are, remember gluten intolerance, including Coeliac disease, can onset as you get older. The risk of developing gluten sensitivity is genetically inherited, so you should be especially alert to the possibility of having a gluten sensitivity if you have a family member who has Coeliac disease. I found that just by removing gluten from my diet, my skin became much clearer, my energy levels improved, and my mood was more consistent.
Taking gluten out of your diet completely all at once is tough – bread, pasta, cakes, soups, beer, flour-based sauces etc normally form the main part of our diet. If you think you can manage to totally cut them out, go for it, if not then start by just trying and not eat foods that contain gluten after 5pm or not before 10am.
Removing gluten from your diet can make a huge difference to your health , but you still need a source of carbohydrates. As a replacement, try using brown rice, butternut squash and sweet potatos in rotation. These complex carbs are nutritionally rich compared to bread and pasta, and the latter two are naturally richer in sugars than normal potatoes so they’re tasty.
This week’s challenge:
Don’t make any drastic adjustments to your diet this week, but just replace the pasta, pizza or other gluten-containing carbohydrate source in your evening meal on a minimum of three evenings.
Here are three recipes to try out:
Butternut squash chips (Recipe: http://www.healthhomehappy.com/2013/07/baked-butternut-squash-fries.html)
Have them with pan-fried salmon (takes 4 mins, cheap if you buy a good quality freezer pack), or baked chicken breasts. You can switch in sweet potato instead of butternut squash if you like. They’re seriously tasty and much better for you than a bowl of pasta. Yes they take 45 minutes to cook, but the prep time is really short and as long as you think ahead that’s not a problem – the same goes for brown rice.
One of my favourite evening meal recipes.
Brown rice is the cheapest of the three. Try the recipe above to make it taste less bland.
So there you have it. Rule number one. I didn’t make things too complicated by changing my diet all at once, and would highly recommend changing one thing at a time. You can then work out exactly which foods make you feel better, which make no real difference, and find those foods that you should definitely avoid.
This week is gluten-free week!