I’m often asked which is the best way to eat – should I do 5:2, 80:20, eat well all week eat rubbish at weekends…? Should I be paleo, keto, vegan, pagan, raw…or become Gwyneth?
The answer is much more simple than many people would imagine! Eat well every day, most of the time, and chill out!
By this I simply mean, from one meal to the next, just make good choices as far as you can. Nobody has a perfect diet, and anyone who tells you they do is fibbing!
For most of us, the trick is to eat well most of the time, and by that I mean fresh real food (again, most of the time – we all use frozen stuff!) with plenty of veggies, plenty of good fats, and welfare friendly protein sources – you can go off the rails with impunity sometimes! Like tonight: I’ll be going out for Thai. It will involve tofu, and sticky rice! Maybe even a spring roll. I know I’ll feel a bit sluggish tomorrow, but it’s just for one day.
The problem comes if you string a load of Just For One Days together.
It’s important to be realistic! If you know you’ve strayed quite a long way from Mostly Eating Well, then have a think about why.
• Are you stressed?
• Are you a bit blue?
• Are you rushed?
• Have you run out of culinary inspiration?
It’s really important to answer these questions honestly, as that’s how to find the solution, and liberate yourself from the self-destructive tyranny of food guilt!
If you’re stressed, tired or blue, you’ll find yourself reaching for the carbs.
This is the beginning of a vicious circle, but if you nip it in the bud, the circle soon becomes virtuous! Make sure you’re well stocked with quick easy ingredients that actually make you want to eat them! Veg box schemes are available all over the country, and come with luscious recipe ideas.
You can choose low roots options, so you’ll always have plenty of great fresh ingredients to kick off with. Some schemes also have meat and fish, or you can use your local market and see what gets your juices flowing! Keep some basics in the freezer, such as wild salmon, frozen spinach, roasted Mediterranean veg. You’ll always have something tasty within 20 mins.
Making a vague plan for the week also takes the stress out of thinking when you’re frazzled.
You can also use this as the backbone of a shopping list for online delivery! If you dedicate a notebook to this, when you can’t even be bothered to work out a food plan you can take inspiration from previous weeks. There are some ideas on my website and hundreds of blogs online too! I like Nom Nom Paleo and Hemsley & Hemsley.
Charity shops and Oxfam books are great for picking up recipe books. Even if you just look at the pictures and then freestyle! Sub in grated cauli instead of rice, or mixed roots instead of spuds; buckwheat noodles and quinoa instead of the grain based alternative. Veg noodles are widely available in supermarkets if you don’t have time to make your own! Finding your foodie mojo again is simpler than you might imagine, you just have to make that start.
Maybe it’s not as straightforward as just a little out of kilter on the organisational front.
If you know deep down that the problem isn’t food, get some help. There’s some great counsellors out there, check online, or see you GP as a first step.
So once you’re eating well most of the time, you’ll notice you start to feel, look and sleep better. Before you know it you’re not craving the foods that don’t bring anything in the way of nutrition to the party. And once you’re safely in that zone, if you have a pizza and a glass of wine in front of the telly one night, it’s no biggie. Just make sure you enjoy every mouthful!