As I’ve said before, I am not a nutritionist. I have no training in this topic. I am simply interested in food and how what we eat can impact on our lives. Since I’ve started eating less sugar, I’ve also started thinking a little more about what me and my very small family eat. With this in mind, these are some simple guidelines I use when setting our menus.
- Eat full fat foods!
I reckon that low-fat or diet foods register in your subconscious as you depriving yourself of something and so somewhere in there, your brain is going “feeeeeed meeeeeee” and you will not feel satisfied. Fat fills you up – or it makes you feel full – so eat that full fat yogurt! Add a bit of avocado to your salad! You will feel fuller for longer.
- Eat full fat foods; part 2.
When manufactures remove the fat, they replace it with sugar (amongst other things). Sugar is fat free, but rich in nutrient-free calories.
- Find ways to cut calories when
you are cooking.
For example, if your recipe calls for 3 tablespoons of oil, use one tablespoon and see how it goes.
- Try new things.
Quinoa? Meh. Wheat germ? Yes! Almond paste? MMMmmmm. Lentils? Yum! I used to think that only tree huggers ate these foods. Now I eat them regularly, and I’m not a hippy. Soon-to-be-tried foods include pomegranate molasses and kale. Although I’m not looking forward to this last one.
- Processed food.
I don’t eat processed food (well, not at home anyway; I (naively) trust that cafes and restaurants prepare or cook the food they serve their paying customers). My main reason is for not eating processed food is that manufacturers tend to use a lot of salt and sugar, as well as additives. And I am a bit of a control freak. I like knowing what goes into my food. If I cook it myself, I have a much better idea of what I’m eating. I’m lucky in that I love cooking, so it’s not a chore to cook after coming home from a hard day in the office. I do the tried-n-tested quick stuff during the week and I leave the experimenting to the weekends. That saying, we get take outs the odd time, and sometimes we go to McD’s, although after every McD, we resolve never to go again.
- Cutting out sugar.
You can read about what I’ve been up to here and here. My main reason for cutting out sugar however is that I don’t want to develop diabetes or heart disease in the future. And unfortunately, the over-consumption of sugar is liked to these.
I’m not a big bread fan, never was and I doubt I ever will be, particularly of the bought stuff. I can’t remember the last time I had a sandwich for lunch. When I do eat it – usually at home – I eat brown bread (or as brown as I can get in Belgium; my success with making brown bread here is limited, and I have to go very much out of my way to get to Jack O’Shea’s butchers for theirs). I eat other types of bread happily and fairly regularly though, but I make them from scratch: pizza, flammkuchen, or these chicken gyros I made this weekend.
- Which leads me on to other carbohydrates.I don’t like pasta. There. I’ve said it. If it’s cooked for me and put in front of me, I’ll eat it, but I don’t cook it at home, and I’d rarely order it if I were eating out (lasagne is the exception). I eat rice, potatoes, couscous, quinoa (although I haven’t replaced the box I used up a few months ago, so I maybe I don’t eat this as regularly as I’m alluding I do), oats and Weetabix. And Wasa crackers.
- Fruit n veg!
Yay! I try to eat two portions of fruit a day, usually at breakfast time, and then veg for the rest of the day, usually in a soup or salad at lunchtime and veggies with dinner. I try to vary the types of vegetables we eat, and try new ways of cooking them, but I don’t get hung up on counting what we eat daily. And I don’t drink fruit juice.
- Meat and dairy.I’m going to quote Domini Kemp, from the Irish Times this weekend: “I love cheese. Along with bacon, it’s the big reason I’m not vegan.”
Weight* a minute! Is that the end of the food rules? Yes, kinda. Have I noticed a difference in myself? Well, my skin is fine, and my hair is healthy, my nails grow like weeds. I been sick once this year; I think I took 3-4 sick days in each of the last two years (2012-13), and I feel good. So that’s all good, right?
Butt*, you’re all reading this far to see if I’ve lost any weight, right? Well, after nearly five weeks off sugar, the short answer is no. The longer answer is still no. I am eating more nuts than I used to, which are quite high in fats – good fats, but still fats nonetheless – so therein probably lies the answer.
* omg! D’y see what I did there??? I’m so funny! Lolz.