If you follow me on instagram, you probably know that I am obsessed with healthy eating. I mention it on the blog too, but I should definitely talk about it more often. I get tons of emails asking me about clean eating and weight loss, but the biggest part of changing your lifestyle is understanding why all the bad foods are bad and why we should pay attention to what goes into our body. The "Neal's Yard Remedies Healing Foods" book, is perfect for those who are trying to make a change and eat healthy, or those who already enjoy a clean diet and want to know more about certain foods and get some recipe ideas.
I have to start with the fact, that I've always loved healthy food, I just ate too much of it during my pregnancy (yes - it is possible to gain weight eating healthy food). Add pregnancy cravings to the mix and I ended up huge! It has been nearly 2,5 years since my son was born and I am still overweight, but... the good news is- I managed to lose nearly 3 stone and I am heading in the right direction. Weight loss takes time and requires a lot of will power and dedication, but it can be done!
I don't want to get into too much detail about my weight, because people can be very mean about it, but I still have a lot of weight to lose and I only made one change in my diet to deal with it - I am eating less! I still eat the same good foods, but I pay more attention to hidden sugar and calories and I avoid bad stuff as much as possible. I also exercise regularly.
Remember, that clean eating does not equal weight loss. I eat clean, because I want to be healthy, but I have to limit my calorie intake to shed those pounds! It's all about making it work for you. Here are some of my tips:
1. If you don't have to lose weight, you will be able to indulge in high calorie healthy foods more often. I have to be more careful and watch the amount of avocados, granola, coconut etc in my diet. They are all amazing for your body, but if you are counting calories, you have to eat smaller amounts of them. Instead of eating a full avocado for lunch, I will eat 1/2 and keep the rest for another time or use it in a sandwich for my husband. Instead of eating a 30g portion of Granola for breakfast, I will sprinkle 15g on a yogurt and eat it with fruit. I do have a full 30g portion sometimes, but not regularly. Getting kitchen scales is essential, if you are unsure about the portion sizes. You will be surprised how tiny a 30g portion of cereal is!
|gluten free granola, with blueberries and raspberries - amazing with some natural yogurt, or almond milk|
2. I swapped semi-skimmed milk for Almond Milk about 2-3 years ago and I don't even miss it. Almond Milk is low in calories, full of antioxidant vitamin E , high in Omega 3 fatty acids and minerals. Amazing! Avoid Soy Milk - it can affect your hormones (it is linked to breast cancer) and is usually made with genetically modified soy beans.
3. Instead of eating normal chocolate as a treat, I go for homemade raw chocolate (similar to the one with Goji Berries on the photos below) or make healthy date and nut truffles (yum!). This way, I feel like I am getting my sugar fix, but it is all healthy. You can make the truffles yourself by putting dates and nuts in a food processor with a splash of apple juice, or simply buy them from Whole Foods. I also love dates stuffed with walnuts. They taste amazing! I snack on raw veggies with houmous or nuts as well.
|celery sticks with houmous|
4. I avoid processed carbs in my meals - I simply stopped eating them. I only eat wholemeal bread, rice and pasta, but I prefer eating unprocessed carbs, like sweet potato with my meals. Normal potatoes are fine too, they are rich in potassium, vitamin C and fibre.
|baked potato with tuna, sweetcorn, natural yogurt and a big side salad|
|Yummy smoothies, with added superfoods and fruit salads help me get my 5 a day!|
5. I drink minimum of 2 liters of water a day, small amounts of organic juices (my favourites are carrot and apple) and homemade smoothies. I don't drink a lot of tee and coffee - I have them occasionally - always without added sugar. PS. Please remember that fizzy drinks are REALLY bad for you, especially diet ones, full of aspartame and other artificial sweeteners. ASPARTAME CAUSES CANCER!!! I don't understand why is it even added to food and drink. It is SOOOO BAD! It is also added to 'sugar free' yogurts and other 'sugar free' foods.
|I love snacking on dried white mulberries and raw chocolate covered mulberries. I also add wheat grass powder and chia seeds to smoothies.|
|Organic Bee Pollen, Baobab Powder, Chia Seeds, Dried Mulberries|
6. I add superfoods to my meals to boost my immune system. I actually received some of my favourites in the NYR hamper, including Chia Seeds, Mulberries, Baobab Powder and Organic Bee Pollen. They are all packed with goodness! Again, you can find these easily in Health Food Stores and Whole Foods.
7. I plan most of my my meals in advance! It is very important, if you want to lose weight, stop wasting food and make life easier. It also helps me keep my diet varied and full of nutritious foods.
8. I buy a lot of fruit and veg frozen. It is equally good for you (sometimes even better, as it is frozen as fresh as possible) and much cheaper. Frozen blueberries are great in porridge and other berries are perfect for smoothies. I also buy frozen broccoli, green beans, spinach, chinese stir fry mix, peppers etc.
|Quorn 'ham style' slices, tomato, mozzarella, ryvita, basil and lettuce.|
|Veggie salad with egg, radish, cucumber, sweetcorn, peppers and homemade honey-mustard dressing,|
9. I try to eat a salad based meal once a day (lunch or dinner). Rocket, spinach or watercress are my favourites and I eat them with some tomatoes, cucumber, peppers and a protein rich food, like smoked fish, roasted chicken, egg, quorn pieces). I make dressings myself or use balsamic vinegar or freshly squeezed lemon juice.
10. As an ex-vegetarian, I don't eat a lot of meat and if I do, it is always fish, sometimes chicken. Longs you don't eat bad, fatty, processed red meats, you will be fine.
11. Eating fatty fish like salmon or mackerel is very, very important. If you don't eat them, make sure to take Omega supplements. You can also get essential fatty acids from eating seeds and nuts, like flax seeds and walnuts.
12. I make 90% of my food from scratch. The fresher, the better. After all, nothing beats homemade! ;)
|Low calorie homemade curry. Super easy to make and you can freeze leftovers for the weekend.|
13. Making low calorie curry's and chilli's in big batches and freezing them is a great way to avoid takeaways. Make some time for food prep at the weekend and you will be able to enjoy healthy food all week.
14. I don't really drink alcohol. I have an occasional bottle of Kopparberg or Rekordelig cider, but I usually go for the alcohol free option anyway, because it tastes better.
15. Everything is ok, but in moderation. If I am craving chocolate, I will have some at the weekend. If I want an indian takeaway - I will order it. I usually go for a chicken kebab with salad anyway :) One takeaway a month is not going to ruin my health. Anything greasy really puts me off and I only enjoy healthy foods, so I don't have anything to worry about when ordering in, or eating out.
16. Internet is your friend- you can find anything on the net - clean eating info, recipes, inspiration. All you need to do is type what you are looking for and you will definitely find the answer! It couldn't be easier. Follow people who eat clean on Instagram (mine is theblackpearlbfood) to get your daily dose of inspiration and encouragement. I find instagram sooo inspirational!
|Ryvita with tomatoes, mozzarella, peppers and salad + earl grey tea with almond milk|
Clean eating should feel like an obvious choice for us, but the 'modern Western diet' makes it really hard and confusing. The NYR Healing Foods book explains everything clearly and makes you realise how bad the modern diet is. Full of red meats, sugar, bad fats, artificial sweeteners, salt and processed grains - it is killing us slowly. Once you get past the short, but shocking intro, you will discover a variety of amazing foods and loads of easy to follow recipes. It is amazing to see how certain foods can heal your body, strengthen your immune system etc. It is all about making the right choices and preparing fresh meals. If you have a sweet tooth, like me, you will find a couple of recipes for yummy desserts made from scratch with delicious fruit. There is something for everyone and believe me- healthy eating is NOT boring! It is sooo much more adventurous than eating junk food!
The book is perfect for those who want to find out more about nutritious foods and meals. You can currently buy the 'Healing Foods' book on offer from amazon (LINK) for £11.55 with free delivery.
I tried this delicious 'potato and beetroot salad' recipe from the book and it was amazing!!! OMG!
*I was kindly sent the hamper by NYR. I wasn't asked to review it. I just thought, you might find the book and my thoughts on clean eating interesting and helpful.