A HEALTHY OUTLOOK ON EATING

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Forget strict diets. Forget you can’t eat this and you can’t eat that.

The best way to lead a healthy life and to maintain an appropriate body weight is to find your own balance. I’m putting emphasis on ‘your’ because it’s not the same for everyone.

Let’s get right to it. Without a shadow of a doubt and with plenty of scientific evidence to back this up, sugar is the human being’s arch enemy. It excites a couple of the five taste senses – sweet, salty, sour, bitter and umami, but it does us loads and loads of harm. Sugar cannot be cut off by just eliminating soft drinks, sweets and ice creams, as it can also be found in carbohydrates.

If you’re trying to lose weight, you do need to be aware of this, as carbs will keep on accumulating themselves, and if you’re exercising with the objective to shed pounds, you’ll mostly burn carbs and not enough fat. Therefore, avoid bread and reduce the pasta, and opt for healthier grains such as oats and rice. It is advisable to avoid all gluten grains.

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For those whose health is in good shape, there’s absolutely no proven reason to avoid tubers like potatoes and sweet potatoes. It is however always important to have pasta in moderation and go for non-gluten grains when possible.

Most highly processed foods are usually low in nutrients and high in unnatural and unhealthy chemicals. Aim to entirely eliminate these, especially from children’s diets. Most diet and low-fat products tend to be highly processed and loaded with sugar or artificial sweeteners, so you’re better off finding your balance. For example, have half a tub of full fat natural yoghurt instead of consuming anything that’s labelled “reduced fat”.

Several primitive populations around the world are a perfect example of this. They still live as hunter-gatherers, eating natural foods. These people are lean and in excellent health, and the diseases which are killing western populations by the millions are rare or non-existent amongst them.

Try to drink water as much as you can throughout the day, especially during workouts. There’s no need to force yourself to drink a gallon though; thirst is a reliable indicator of your need. Drinking nothing but water helps maintain the balance of body fluids. Whilst it doesn’t have any magical effect on weight loss, substituting higher calorie beverages for water can certainly help. Water is the fountain of youth, so we should keep ourselves hydrated with what’s good for the body and not what the body hates.

At the end of the day though, we are human, and when we get a craving for something slightly sweet, we can opt for dark chocolate with 70% cocoa or more. However, do note that once you go higher than this, it will get very bitter in taste. Dark chocolate is rich in healthy fats and antioxidants, but then again, you could always wait for cheat day, which keeps us sane and motivated.

Healthy eating is all about balance and moderation. It’s also about going for good fats such as avocados and using natural products such as coconut oil to fry ingredients. Daily exercise is also incredibly important for our organs, and do remember that simply shedding weight whilst eliminating all of the above has no nutritional value in the long run.

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Below is a very simple table I’ve compiled to help you stick to a healthy diet if you’re not undergoing training. Remember, your intake will vary according to how many calories you’re burning on a daily basis. Also, check out the snack suggestions at the bottom to help you get through the day in between meals.

Monday

Breakfast: 2 boiled eggs and 1 slice of toasted brown bread
Lunch: Natural yoghurt with blueberries and a handful of almonds
Dinner: Chicken salad

Tuesday

Breakfast: Omelette with vegetables, fried in coconut oil
Lunch: Tuna salad with rice crackers
Dinner: White fish accompanied by some veggies or a salad

Wednesday

Breakfast: Porridge with a tablespoon of natural jam
Lunch: Grilled salmon and brown rice
Dinner: Greek Halloumi salad

Thursday

Breakfast: Omelette with vegetables, fried in coconut oil
Lunch: Smoothie with coconut milk, berries and almonds
Dinner: Grilled red meat with salad

Friday

Breakfast: Poached eggs and smoked salmon
Lunch: Brown or normal pasta with a simple tomato sauce
Dinner: Local pork fillet with greens

Saturday

Breakfast: Natural yoghurt with fresh fruit and honey
Lunch: White fish with salad and veggies
Dinner: Out for dinner!

Sunday is cheat day

Snacks for in-between meals: Full-fat yoghurt, fruits that are not high in fructose, all-natural smoothies, vegetable sticks such as carrots and celery, a handful of nuts, cheese and whole-wheat crackers.

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