How is everyone today? I was definitely in need of some #selfcare today as the state of my nails, roots and general hirsuteness was getting untenable and so I took a little trip to my local salon. Unfortunately, I am incapable of anything approaching calm, zen-like meditation so while my feet were being sanded I found myself pondering why it is that so many of us seem to struggle with healthy eating. If I had a pound for every time someone said they wanted to be more healthy ‘but it’s too hard’ I’d be at Chiva Som not Nails Inc.!!
I do understand though, healthy eating also eluded me for a large part of my life. In my 20s frankly I just didn’t care, life was busy and I was in OK shape with the odd step class and a supply of supermarket pasta and sauce. In my 30s the kids ruled and I was so tired I just stuffed down anything quick that would give me the energy to get through the day, finishing it off with a glass or two of wine once the kids were squared away in bed (and sometimes before!!). But everything changed in my early 40s when my youngest brother died from Type 1 Diabetes.
It took something that tragic for me to wake-up and realise that what you eat really, really matters. He was young (27) and at a time in his life when he shouldn’t have had to worry about what he was eating and drinking, just like I was able to at his age. Diabetes robbed him of his healthy body, but I was lucky enough not to have this awful disease and so I owed it to him to respect mine.
So that was it, I changed. I resolved that I would get my healthy eating house in order. It took about a year of effort to re-educate myself and change the habits of a lifetime. StealthHealth is the result of everything I’ve learned along the way. But I’m absolutely not a nutrition nazi, far from it, I’m very much an 80/20 person – maybe sometimes a 90/10 and at other times a 70/30 - but my resolve to be healthy overall is always there. And let me tell you this – it’s not hard and it’s not complicated, you just have to want to do it.
If you too have reached that point in your life where you absolutely want to make health your priority you can start my 4 Week Programme at any time. If you read the daily posts, follow all the advice and apply the 8 Key Concepts, at the end of 4 weeks you’ll have all the tools you need to eat well and keep eating well. But no-one can do it for you, it’s not hard but you have to focus on it, make it your priority and make time to plan, shop and prep your meals. There’s no quick fix.
To get you started and to prove it’s not rocket science, if you simply eat plenty of the foods on this list, reduce down processed foods and foods containing added sugars (also called free sugars – so cereals, processed foods, pastries, cakes, biscuits etc.) and don’t drink more than 14 units (about 6 glasses of wine) a week you can’t go too far wrong:
Dark leafy greens (spinach, kale, chard, rocket, watercress, broccoli etc.)
Colourful veg (tomatoes, peppers, beetroot, sweet potato, squash, carrots etc.)
Garlic and red onions
Dark berries (blueberries, blackberries, raspberries)
Beans (all kinds)
Wholegrains (oats, brown rice, quinoa, bulgar)
Seeds (flax, pumpkin, sunflower, chia)
Nuts (cashews, almonds, Brazils, walnuts)
Oily fish (especially unfarmed fish like wild salmon)
The odd glass of wine
A bit of dark chocolate
(The last two are for your mental health 😊!!)
PS Don’t forget that throughout June I’m running a competition to win a free, signed copy of my book The Midlife Kitchen. Please encourage your friends to subscribe to the blog, make sure they put your name in brackets after their own so I know who recommended them. By the way the person in the lead at the moment has 4 friends signed-up so if you can persuade 5 or more friends you are in with a shout (or sign up on their behalf!!).