Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Clean/Healthy Eating and Weight Loss Update


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.


      

30 comments:

  1. That potato and beetroot salad looks like something my mum makes adapted from my Ukranian Grandma! I think it's called vinaigrette but she puts all kinds in it, like pickled gherkins too!

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    1. I have Ukrainian roots too :) I will try it with pickled gherkins the next time. It will definitely go with the flavours. Yum!

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  2. Clean eating is so important to me, and it's so frustrating to me that so many people can't grasp the concept! My body loves real, unprocessed, nutrient rich foods, and to me it all tastes better anyway. Food is so much fun, and the people who tell me I'm 'boring' couldn't be more wrong.

    The people around me are an endless source of frustration, 'oh I can't believe you eat full fat yogurt, look at me being all good with my diet coke' and I repeatedly tell them THAT IS SO BAD FOR YOU!! I've sent friends and co workers countless articles on the numerous reasons you shouldn't consume aspartame, and still I get ignored.

    So it's always encouraging to see your posts and instagram meals, the more awareness being shared the better! Congrats on your progress so far, you've done amazingly!

    www.gleepface.com

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    1. It's very frustrating to see people ignoring the consequences of consuming aspartame, I can't wait for it to be banned, but it looks like the government doesn't really care about it. Shocking! I remember my mum using aspartame in everything when I was kid... She didn't even know what it was, but assumed that it was ok, because it was available in the shop.

      The Diet Coke thing is just ridiculous, isn't it? I just roll my eyes when I see someone drinking it...

      Thank you lovely :) I can't wait to reach my goal weight :) x

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  3. I'd love to be able to cook my own meals from scratch but at the moment we're having stuff done in our kitchen, so can't wait for it to be done so we can actually cook healthy meals :)

    Also I am 22 years old and have never ever drunk coca cola, dr pepper, Fanta and all those, have never liked the taste of them :)

    http://vikkihale.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. I can't imagine not being able to get access to my kitchen. It must be sooo hard.

      I never liked fizzy drinks either, they always made me feel bloated and horrible,

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  4. I too am obsessed with healthy eating, as well as responsible eating (i.e. no fad diets). Nice one on such a thorough, informative and responsible post x

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    1. Fad diets are always focused on the wrong thing and the yo-yo effect after is terrible. I would rather eat a decent amount of healthy food and add some exercise to lose weight without damaging my body, rather than starving myslelf and eating a poor diet. I was considering the Dukan diet in th past to speed up weight loss, but I just couldn't imagine not eating my favourite, nutritious foods. I wasn't surprised to see everyone on the Dukan diet put all the weight back on in no time. Waste of time and sooo bad for their health,

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  5. I'm always amazed seeing your healthy meals on instagram. I was recently diagnosed with food allergies, gluten, wheat, rye, dairy, eggs, and peanuts and have a hard time figuring out what to eat. Your meals are the direction I should be headed but I am such a picky eater. I really admire how clean you eat and hope I can go in that direction.

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    1. I am sorry to hear about your allergies. It must be hard, especially if you were used to eating all the foods you are not allowed. I am sure clean eating will work for you and if you find it hard, you can always start with small changes :)

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  6. I've just started making changes to my diet to eat healthier!You are my healthy eating inspiration Sandra!!Definitely going to look into buying this book xx

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    1. Thank you lovely and good luck with eating healthy. You will feel so much better :)

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  7. Your meals always look so delicious! x

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    1. Thank you :) I try my best to make them as appetising as possible :)

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  8. Congrats on loosing 3 stones! I agree with everything you said, and it's fantastic you're so in-the-know about what you eat. I actually just tried your couscous recipe from a while back and I'm HOOKED! :D

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    1. Thank you. I am glad you enjoyed the cous cous recipe. I actually included it in my meal plan this week and I am really looking forward to it :) Yum!

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  9. Wow such an amazing post, the food looks so yummy. Congratulations on your weight loss! Megan xxx

    A Scholar Life

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  10. Wow, such inspiration! I've been loving your post lately as I can really relate to your new lifestyle :) Keep going strong, sharing your amazing photos and the weight will come off before you know it! :*

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  11. Such a good post. I'll be very honest and admit I find it difficult to eat clean - I work in retail and never manage to eat on time and what I do eat isn't great for me. Trying to take small steps towards eating this way as I know it will just make me feel so much better. It's funny that convenience food isn't actually good or convenient at all!

    x

    www.erinjaine.blogspot.com

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  12. Love this post, i agree with everything here, you pretty much have my diet. I too had a lot of weight to lose and eating like this has lost me almost 10 stone, ive kept it off and am super healthy now. The only thing i eat more of is protein cos i weight lift now, trying to build muscle and tone up my poor body. Its fab to see clear informative and sensible posts about healthy eating, keep up the good work!!

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  13. This was really interesting to read. I love your instagrams of meals, whenever I'm struggling to decide what to have for lunch I have a nose!
    I am insulin resistant and have seen a nutritionist in the past who made me see just how awful low fat/sugar free food is and how bad it is for your body. Having done weight watchers and slimming world in the past it was so difficult to get over that mindset of reaching for low fat things because I automatically thought of them as being better for me. A few years later and I still have to remind myself not to. I don't eat clean as such but I do make a conscious effort to avoid processed foods and 95% of what I consume is home made.
    I have the Neals Yard book on growing and making beauty products and that is really interesting so I might give that one a go.
    Thank you for sharing this!

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  14. You are an inspiration... I think it's time I paid more attention to what I'm eating. I want to lose a few stones too!!!

    MISSY IN THE MIRROR

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  15. Every single thing you've made looks amazing! I'm trying to eat healthier too buy after buying a few cook books I found that they all asked for quite random things that I couldn't find in my everyday super market :( this all looks like fairly normal ingredients though, so ill definitely check it out xx

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  16. Mmm this all looks so good and I spy lots of yummy avocado in there. I find it's much easier to get motivated when all your food is presented as well as thing, I get more excited about the preparation and cooking process and then more likely to stick to healthy foods. Unfortunately I'm on a real unhealthy kick atm where I just can't seem to stop eating the bad stuff but I'm hoping it's just a little binge I need to get over to be back on the straight and narrow. :s Posts like this really help however, seeing other people doing well makes me want to try harder.

    Raffles Bizarre Blog

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  17. thats look yummy, and thank u for your lovely comment <3

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  18. This looks all so good! I have been putting the NY book in and out of my Amazon basket, I think I really need to finish my order now haha. And I'm so like you: I love eating healthy (and indulging in some sweet things) and just have too big portions of everything. Thanks for your tips, glad to see that I'm already doing some myself x

    9 out of ten | follow me on bloglovin

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  19. This post is so inspiring and I definitely need to follow you on Instagram for more inspiration and encouragement. Everything here just looks delicious which is the opposite of what I expected clean eating to be! I think the point about planning is a great tip as my eternal excuse is "I'd love to but I just don't have time...." but if I actually planned it I would do it. So helpful xx

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  20. This post is so good! Your meals look so appetising it's unbelievable. Well done on your weight loss so far, slow and steady wins the race :) I'm definitely going to have to start planning all my meals, I find I don't have enough time but I'll just have to make time! x

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  21. I always find your instagram foodie pics so inspiring Sandra and reading this is even moreso - thank you!

    Nic x

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  22. Wow, we have this book at home however, clearly we're not putting it to good use as we've never made anything out of it! Your food looks delicious; thanks for the inspiration!

    Sophie @ www.zensiesta.co.uk x

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Love xxx Sandra

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