Recently I have seen a lot of social media posts basically saying “Skip the diets, just eat Healthy!” whilst this is a mantra I wholeheartedly agree with, it got me thinking what is healthy? With so much outdated and> seemingly conflicting advice around it is extremely complicated and> this basic statement doesn’t really help people. So this blog post is aiming to give you some basic tips to follow to try and> get on the right track with a healthy and> more importantly balanced lifestyle.  I don’t claim to be perfect – I eat cake, I drink wine and> enjoy meals out but I eat a generally healthy diet and> exercise regularly.  This means I am happy with my body (most of the time),  I am a healthy weight, and> am reasonably fit and> strong.

So where to start, firstly don’t follow any fad diets – low fat, low carb, cabbage soup anything like that forget it.  Focus on fresh ingredients, and> real food. What do I mean when I say that, well basically anything that has been grown or raised on a farm.  Meat, fruit, vegetables, grains – forget anything processed or created in a lab, or with ingredients you can’t pronounce, except Quinoa, you should eat Quinoa!

Don’t deprive yourself! People are always surprised by how much I eat, I eat constantly and> am always thinking about food.   Most of the time though it is fresh wholesome food, that provides nutritional benefits and> satisfies me. So for example a usual day of eating for me, starts with a smoothie – home made – with Fruit, spinach, almond milk, nut butter.  A pre workout snack of oats with egg whites and> fruit.  Post workout I do use protein powder which goes a little off the clean eating band>wagon I suppose, so a protein shake and> a banana. Lunch maybe chicken, sweet potato and> vegetables.  An afternoon snack, Greek Yoghurt with almond butter or rice cakes with cottage cheese, and> then dinner is lean meat and> veg. Lots of food but only around 1600 calories.  Compare that to a basic food diary of someone eating lots of processed foods, and> you would definitely feel deprived or find yourself overeating!

Cooking Fresh.  As you may have seen recently I don’t actually do much cooking myself.  It is something I want to do more of but currently by other half does our cooking.  He makes everything from scratch, using real ingredients and> flavoured with herbs, spices.  We don’t tend to buy ready made sauces, or pre-packed meals (I say tend not to, as I have pointed out we are not perfect!) and> he assures me cooking from scratch can be straight forward! As I learn more I will share my experiences with you guys, and> hopefully some recipes on here so any none cooks can learn with me!

Hydration – this is another area to be conscious of, ideally water should be your main drink of choice.  Now I get that this can be pretty boring, but we really should be avoiding processed drinks and> that includes diet drinks! To jazz up your water think about adding fruit to it, I absolutely love cucumber & mint water – add cucumber and> mint to a bottle of water, you don’t even need one of these fancy diffusers and> enjoy!

And finally nothing should be off limits!  Don’t tell yourself you are never going to eat chocolate again, if you are anything like me that is just going to make you want it more. You can indulge in a little chocolate if that’s what you want just not everyday and> possibly not every week – depending on your goals.  I try and> follow the 80/20 rule, so I aim to be good 80% of the time, and> the other 20% I indulge a little more!

I really hope this helps clear up any confusion, healthy eating doesn’t have to be boring there are so many great recipes out there so experiment with different foods, and> flavours and> stop feeling deprived, and> living “on a diet!”