I guess everyone has their favourite things, happy places and things that get them excited. Everyday my love for fitness, nutrition and living a healthy life is growing. I am forever stalking Instagram pages, reading and buying all the new clean lifestyle and wholefood books hitting the shelf (I will get to my faves and worthwhile buys another time) and researching about what it is that makes our body function at its best.
So… why eat kale and lift kettlebells?
A healthy lifestyle and clean living isn’t about depriving or restricting yourself and eating ‘rabbit food’ or ‘bird seed’ all day long (as dad would say). It has to be something that you love and enjoy otherwise sorry to break it to ya pal – but it just won’t work.
Firstly here are some wise words from my favourite Instagram fit sister-mums Jayne and Katie from sweatandoranges.com.au – check them out!!
“Fads don’t make you healthy
Diets don’t make you healthy
Living a healthy life day in day out, year in year out lifestyle
That’s what makes you healthy and this is what made me happy”
Personally, I have always been ‘healthy’ but let’s just say a ‘healthy person’ with serious lack of knowledge… I was off to a good start growing up thinking that sultanas and dried apricots were lollies (thanks mum) BUT then I got to an age where I was able to select and buy the foods I wanted to eat or thought I was deprived of growing up (choc honeycomb super shakes, apple pies, Arnott’s mint slices and pizza subs on a daily basis….cringe) I had no idea what healthy was or how much to eat and let me tell you canteens back in the early 2000’s surely stocked more naughties than they do now.
No breakfast, coffee, coffee and more coffee… starve myself one day, binge and blow out the next. Or a personal fave – have ½ an apple for breakfast, a lettuce leaf for lunch, and then the entire contents of the refrigerator and then some when I got home! We are all guilty of that I bet… this isn’t a healthy lifestyle.
So what was it that changed my mind and grew my strong love for whole foods and fitness? Back up… I can just hear mums reaction at that sentence so let me clarify – my hate/love for fitness. She has always ‘wanted’ me to exercise and be fit and healthy growing up (like her… the woman is ripped) but I just wasn’t interested. Insert lazy overweight teenager. “Exercise will give you energy” … “you are what you eat”… all these lines just drowned out as background noise after a while and little did I know the damage I was doing to my body.
A whole year has passed since I embarked on this self-committed healthy lifestyle to become a better version of myself. I can proudly say that I have lost over 10kg and am happier and stronger than ever. The more I exercised and ate clean the better I felt. Surprise surprise!!
So what exactly does CLEAN EATING mean? With so many diets and fads out there and the health and fitness social media boom on the rise it is hard to know what to follow or believe… vegan one day, paleo the next?
Just because a cake is gluten-free does this make it healthy?
Does a box of cereal or muesli that says ‘all natural’ make it a good choice?
and bacon is clean? Are you kidding?
According to Clean Eating magazine – “the soul of clean eating is consuming food in its most natural state, or as close to it as possible. It is not a diet; it is a lifestyle approach to food and its preparation, leading to improved life – one meal at a time”
Nutrition is not a diet, it’s not a fad, and it isn’t a temporary or quick fix. Drinking liquid for a week or intense amounts of protein day in day out might give you some drastic physical changes (yeah like massive headaches and fatigue) in the short term but none of these are ‘healthy’ or anything that you can obtain. It is simple. Pure wholefoods and that’s it. Avoiding things like sugar, alcohol, excessive caffeine, packaged and processed refined foods and unhealthy fats.
You don’t have to spend your fortnightly wages on organic produce although if you have access to the farmers markets than by all means DO… I buy organic when I can as I like to support the local farmers (and plus all the taste testers and homemade goodies at the markets are to die for right). Try to eat locally and seasonally where possible and making consumer choices that are humane to animals and beneficial to the environment. When it comes to meat – look out for free range options with no added hormones or antibiotics.
So here are some things about me and my ‘wholesome’ life…
- I am not a doctor or a scientist – I am sharing information that I pull from various sources. Certain things I have picked up along the way and are my opinions or based on my personal experiences.
- I am not a vegetarian – 75% of my meals are plant based and I love grains and pulses although I could never give up a nice rare steak. Ever. There are too many benefits in lean animal proteins and given this up is not something that I am interested in.
- I follow but am not totally sold on the raw food and paleo based diets – what appeals to me is that they are wholesome foods closest to their natural form however I find they restrict things that work for my body – ie peanuts, certain oils, grains, legumes, pulses and full fat dairy products.
- I am (almost) completely gluten free – due to IBS and constant digestive struggles I now follow a gluten free diet, however I do not have coeliac disease. I eat whole rye bread, spelt and oat products and certain wholefoods which contain gluten. Therefore some of the recipes you will find on my page will contain gluten.
- I am human – I eat chocolate (Lindt dark coconut intense …OMG)!! And if I want to eat a burger… I will (Grill’d Zen hen with avocado, beetroot and an egg thanks) I find that depriving yourself of something you want or being too strict will only lead to binges and falling off the scale. I try and eat clean 80% of the time which means I allow for the other 20% to be a bit more ‘free’. Of course you will find yourself in a situation beyond your control. for example at work functions, meetings, eating on the road (in which case I am known for my enormous supply of travel and car snacks) and at special events like weddings, parties, dinners and BIRTHDAYS. Some days are just meant for indulging!
- I love baking sweet desserts both raw and baked – cacao powder, coconut oil, goji berries… you name it the pantry it stocked. And might I say in all lined up perfectly filled containers with every nut, seed, grain and latest super food you can think of. And cinnamon of course!
- I love baking but I am not a chef, I love yoga but I am not a yogi and I love fitness but I am not an athlete. I am an architect on the east coast of Australia – living a healthier leaner and greener life doing what I love.
So now you know a bit about me and my everyday life please continue to follow me on this journey in finding a healthier happier version of yourself!
Now to end my very first blog post (if I still have your eyes to this point) here are my most simple tips and steps to a clean healthy lifestyle:
- Eat plenty of lean protein; I’m talking chicken, turkey, beef, fish, eggs, yoghurt, whole grains, seeds and nuts
- Drink 2 litres of water a day; and don’t scull it at 6pm, try to drink it throughout the day
- Treat yourself with dark chocolate; everything in moderation and dark chocolate has incredible health benefits too. a couple of squares of dark chocolate will sort out those sweet cravings and avoid a binge or blowout
- Eat spicy foods; try adding a little cayenne pepper or chili flakes to your next meal. that will be enough to get your metabolism kicking
- Get enough sleep; 6-8 hours a night. Rest and sleep are so important. Try to switch off electronics and your brain an hour before sleep to ensure a good night’s rest. your body will thank you for it
- Drink green tea; so many healthy antioxidants great for your insides and metabolism (if you can stand that twangy taste)
- Eat breakfast and a big one too; the most important meal of the day. Make it special and exciting and mix it up regularly. I am obsessed with my soaked oats and porridge for breakfast and get so excited about waking up and eating it – not to mention all of the exciting toppings and creations/flavours. recipe will come soon
- Snack regularly and right; high protein, low carbohydrate snacks will give you the energy to get by until your next meal without going straight for the salt and vinegar chips. What to snack on? well I am going to need a whole new post for that one
- Eat yoghurt; containing probiotics to improve your digestive health and reduce stomach bloating. Although not all yoghurt is equal; find one with little to no added sugar and live cultures. full-fat Greek or natural is my recommendation
Try any one or all of these simple tips and tricks this week and see how you feel.
Sleeping better? More energy? Brighter skin? Better digestion? And potentially incidental weight loss?
What have you got to lose?