Well it’s October, and in January I set a goal, to be as healthy as I could ever be and here I am. “Clean eating” is definitely what’s currently trending and that meant boiling broccoli and cauliflower then go to bed with an empty stomach. I was in a constant weight-loss struggle and I found myself ‘eating clean’ for only 2 days then munch on junk food, I then realized that those methods didn’t work. I hadn’t gained that much weight, but I was unhappy, always tired and I decided to do something to change that and my decision to eat healthy gave birth to Gamu’s Foodbook.
The definition of clean eating differs from one individual to the next but I can tell you that clean eating is not starving yourself, eating only one meal a day and munching on leaves all day. I learnt that instead of buying supplements food on its own could become your medicine, I made the decision to eat healthy and I haven’t looked back since and I am here to share my tops tips in living a healthy and well balanced life.
My top 10 tips to “eating clean” and making better choices as far as Health and Nutrition is concerned.
- Life is not a marathon, take baby steps and build yourself up– When I decided it’s time for a change, I started with green smoothies. I experimented with all smoothie ingredients you can think of and I found my best. I made it a goal to have a green smoothie at least 4 times a week and I included Spinach, Kale; apples, ginger, banana and some seeds. That way, I would have a lot of nutrients and vitamins in one go.
- Try cutting down on refined grains/ ditch the white processed stuff and go for whole grains. White rice is not bad for you, it does not make you gain weight, your body needs energy and carbs, and they are very vital in your everyday diet, to ensure that you have energy throughout the day. Whole grains though, make you feel fuller for long as they take longer to digest, and they still contain the bran and gem which contain fibre, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals, which are not found in White refined grains. Therefore, browns are more nutritious than whites. You could do a combination of both, but if you are aiming to lose weight, then your portion matters since “Calories” determine whether you lose or gain weight. Make sure you eat your carbs honey, those low carb diets are not necessary, just remember “Moderation is key”. The recommended serving of Carbohydrates a day is 3-5 depending on your weight and height, and this is to maintain a healthy weight. (a serving is for example half cup rice, a slice of bread or 2 medium potatoes a day).
- Drink lots of water– I cannot stress this enough, not only will your skin thank you, your digestion will be so much better and your overall health too. Drinking water will also help you lose weight- therefore 2-3 litres a day, will go a long way. If you cannot stand pure water, try infusing your water with different kinds of fruit or mint leaves.
- Breakfast is important- try never to skip breakfast. Eat glitter for breakfast and shine every day. Porridge “ rezviyo” is bae when it comes to nutrients (millet helps in weight loss, muscle degradation, coronary artery disorders etc). I always have so much energy and I concentrate better after eating a good breakfast. If you have a busy day ahead, a healthy junk free breakfast will help you with your nutrient intake and you won’t have to snack on “empty foods” throughout the day. Eat a bowl of oats with different types of seeds, peanut butter or a packed smoothie and you are good to go. A healthy breakfast should include protein, a good fat and fibre. Breakfast with large quantities of sugar and fat, will not only make you feel sluggish, but could lead to weight gain and all the problems associated with it.
- Make “Meal prep” your best friend. Failing to plan is planning to fail. If you want to be on top of your Healthy Eating game, plan your meals. Like I said look for interesting recipes and plan your shopping lists. Make sure you have enough protein, good fats, and good carbs in your basket. To save time you can boil your grains for the whole week, (brown rice, bulgur, quinoa, couscous, and your beans, lentils etc) store them in the fridge and serve them with your chicken, eggs, fish and vegetables or a side salad.
- Avoid drinking your calories, sugars and hidden calories in salad dressings etc. Calories determine whether you lose or gain weight. A glass of orange juice claiming to be healthy could be equivalent to a bowl of a mixed salad with beans, veggies etc (calories), it could also be a quarter of your recommended daily calorie intake. The good thing about “eating clean” though (mostly real food- which is not refined at all, good fats, fish, grains and legumes) Is that you won’t even need to count calories. Drink lots of water, tea like green tea, peppermint tea, hibiscus tea or juice at home as opposed to buying sugar-loaded drinks. Your skin and body will thank you, therefore substitute store bought orange juices, sauces, salad dressings with homemade kombucha for instance, tomato sauce and dressings.
- Pack lunch to work or school and avoid fast food. When you pack your own food, you become the master of what you are consuming. Make sandwiches, salads and enjoy those at school or at work instead of running to a fast food joint to consume a 500-calorie burger that will only satisfy you for 30 minutes and you are hungry again. The thing about real food is that it is filling, rich in vitamins, and on the other hand fast food is high in sugar, fat, salt and a lot of additives. When you cook also consider healthy cooking methods such as baking, poaching, stir fry, grilling, steaming, roasting etc.
- Treat yourself. Healthy eating does not mean starving yourself, its ok to eat chocolate, cake, doughnut etc but like they say, “moderation is key”. With everything, there is, moderation is key. One doughnut is not going to make you gain weight, but 10 doughnuts a week amongst other things will.
- Finally, move, move, move. After you have taken care of your eating habits, exercise 4-5 times a week. You don’t need a gym to exercise, you don’t need thousands of hours a day, believe me or not even 20minutes of movement a day are enough for your body. I can only spare 1 hour a day for any activity be it in the gym, or at home. Go for a jog, dance, run whatever it is but move, you need it.
- Living a healthy life is not only about what we eat, how we exercise, but it is also about what we think and how we live our lives in general. A lot is happening in this world, let us just try to be positive, thankful for all that we have, focus on valuable things as well as live the best we can. Live today like it’s your last and be grateful for tomorrow is not promised. We only have one body, let’s do our very best to take care of it, look good and be happy.
By Gamu Magwenzi
For more on her wellness journey and breakfast inspiration follow her on instagram : @gamus_foodbook .