There are so many toxins that live in our food that are fattening, make us tired, and make us look older. I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t want to look any older! Since hitting my thirties, I’ve noticed that it’s harder to stay on top of your weight. Enjoy a blowout weekend of delicious food and wine, and then BANG – hello, scales. I’ve been eating clean for four weeks running, and I feel more energetic, lean and I crave less sugar. I wanted a break from all processed foods and I feel great. I’ve got my own version of Dry July going on and it is simply to eat clean – I select foods that haven’t changed much from their natural state.
Let’s talk about sugar. Sugar is addictive; you always want more. How delicious does a cute cupcake look or a lovely packaged chocolate bar? You just want to eat it! The body can’t process too much sugar, which is why it ends up getting stored as fat. I reward myself with sugar which I’ve discovered is the main problem. I rationalise it by thinking: “I taught five classes today, so it’s ok – I deserve this treat.” I will come up with a dozen excuses, but the truth is, sugar is a trap. It is one of the reasons obesity and heart disease have soared in the Western world. I’ve discovered excellent organic chocolate alternatives available at health food stores, check out my shopping list below.
Who loves pasta? I do. So does my husband. Paired with a glass of wine – yum. However, through eating clean, I quickly learned how processed carbohydrates make you feel bloated and lethargic; they send your body straight into a food coma. Instead of going through the motions of mustering the energy to get up off the couch and dragging myself to bed, I find myself not being as tired when it’s time to go to sleep. In fact, I need less sleep.
I teach a lot of evenings so I am eating dinner at 9pm, which is more of a reason why my dinners need to be clean – I have less time to burn it off before bed. We are all time-poor these days, which is why we often turn to easy and quick options. Sadly, these options can be pretty unhealthy alternatives.
So if I’m not eating processed foods and refined sugar, what the hell am I eating? Plenty!
I am no health expert but this is what works for me and hopefully it can help you in some way. Here is a shopping list of some food that I swear by that are nourishing, filling and most importantly, tasty.
Fish and Meat
Salmon and Trout are available at all supermarkets, and are so quick and easy to prepare – they only need 12 minutes in the oven.
Lean steak and free-range chicken are a weekly staple at my house. I buy all my meat from the butcher because there are more choices, and it pretty much costs the same as supermarket produce. I have a cast iron grill which cooks meat brilliantly. I highly recommend investing in one – especially when it’s too cold to BBQ. Pair these healthy options with roasted or steamed veggies and you have yourself an easy and nutritious meal.
Fruit & Vegetables
Where do I start? Apart from stating the obvious choices, I have a few fave fruit and veg.
Goodbye potato, hello sweet potato! Sweet potato is delicious and has less carbs and calories than regular potatoes. Need I say more?
The latest ‘in’ vegetable that’s been hailed as a nutritional powerhouse is Kale. Pop it in a smoothie, or try sautéing or boiling it. It is full of so many nutrients and is called the queen of greens for a reason.
Bananas get me through the day. If you’ve been to my classes, you’ll often see me eating a banana during my breaks because it is an excellent source of energy.
I am crazy about berries: strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. They not only taste amazing, but are loaded with antioxidants. Fresh berries are expensive at this time of the year, so a great alternative is Creative Gourmet berries in the frozen section of the supermarket. They have no added sugar or preservatives.
Oats are a quick breakfast option. Pop in the microwave or on the stove, and they are ready within two minutes. Add some fresh berries with chia seeds and honey – and you have a fantastic meal to start the day.
Quinoa is a super grain, and it is high in protein and fibre. I am constantly searching for healthy salads when I’m out and about, and if I find one with Quinoa, I am sold.
Did you know the heavier a loaf of bread is, the healthier it is? I live near Movida Bakery and they have amazing bread options – soy linseed, gluten free, spelt etc – all which are made daily and delicious.
I eat eggs all the time for breakfast or lunch. They are an excellent source of protein so it will keep you full for long and can be quickly poached, scrambled or made into an omelette in less than 4 minutes. Don’t be afraid of omelettes! If they come out a bit dodgy after your first couple of cooking attempts, who cares, they are still super tasty.
Jalna Natural Yoghurt is all natural and a good source of calcium. I use this in my smoothies, natural muesli and have it for dessert every now and then. Team up with some berries and cinnamon – de-lish.
I’m not massive on milk but lately if I need it for cooking, I use goat’s milk as a great alternative.
Organic butter is not as tasty as normal butter but it isn’t as bad for you – it depends what is more important to you.
Other Bits & Pieces
I add Chia seeds to smoothies, natural yoghurts and fruit salads. They are high in antioxidants, fibre and omega-3 and also add a nice texture too. (Just have some floss handy.)
You can have as much Green tea as you want. Green tea increases the metabolism and therefore aids in weight loss = awesome! It is so good for you, rids toxins and tastes pretty damn good too. Get down to T2 and ask for their organic tea range.
Honey . T2 have a delicious organic honey that I use with Chai tea. It is so tasty and all natural. Add this to yoghurt or gluten free bread.
Natural High Bounce – I love these little balls. They sell these at health food stores and at some gyms. They are 100% natural, full of fibre and protein. The coconut and macadamia is my favourite.
Goji berries and dried cranberries. Ahh more berries. These are also great snack options and give you a little natural sugar boost. If you are ever missing flavor and you find that your food tastes bland, it’s time to get creative. Fresh chilli, garlic, ginger, lemongrass are all beautiful flavours that can be added to veggies, meats and fish. Herb options are endless – fresh coriander, rosemary, oregano and mint just to name a few.
To my fellow choc-a-holics out there (you know who you are) craving that chocolate hit? Try Pana Chocolate and Loving Life; great tasting organic chocolate but not one that makes you want to eat a whole block in one sitting. Loving Life Organic Mild Chilli is my fave. Some of these chocolates are low GI, gluten free and vegan and are available at health food stores.
Health Food Stores
When someone mentioned ‘health food store’, I used to think : “I don’t know where a health food store is, it’s all too hard,” and shoot down the idea immediately. Health food stores are now everywhere, you just need to keep your eyes peeled. They are in most shopping centres and Main Street shopping strips. I pick the brains of the sales staff to give me tips, recipes and recommendations.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not an angel! I believe everything in moderation and treating yourself. Everyone that knows me well knows I love a glass of wine, or two, or three! The best thing about eating clean is that when you do decide to indulge in that glass (or glasses) of wine, your body can flush them out successfully. Gin and vodka are the best alcohol alternatives with next-to-no calories.
I am a pretty vigorous exerciser and do something most days to stay active. I weight train once or twice a week, I love a spin class after an indulgent weekend to burn some quick calories and I walk my dog every day. But what I swear by which will be no surprise to you is Pilates.
Joseph Pilates said: “In 10 sessions, you feel better. 20 sessions you look better. 30 sessions you have a completely new body.” I couldn’t agree more! So, think twice about what you’re eating by picking more natural looking foods, and stay active and keep moving. Up the ante on your KX sessions per week with a minimum of two (or three if you can) classes. Remember, after 30 sessions you will have a completely new body. If that’s not an incentive, I’m not sure what is!
Look out for my next blog where I’ll include a few of my favourite speedy recipes.
See you in class.