Something I'm always being asked by friends, family, readers and companies is What is your food philosophy?
First of all, I think the term "food philosophy" is a very.... hmm.... self important term (that's a nicer way of putting it). But it is a widely used term, so let's stick with it so you know what I'm talking about.
I have more of a life philosophy than simply a "food philosophy". In everything you do, I think you should be happy, healthy and humble. Why humble? Because no matter who you are, what you do, or how you live - you should never feel better than anyone else. When have you ever heard someone say "Oh I love so-and-so because she brags all the time" or "Oh man, so-and-so is so great - he just talks about himself all day long" - I certainly don't hear that.
I love this quote: "Work for a cause, not for applause. Life life to express, not to impress. Don't strive to make your presence noticed, just make your absence felt". - Unknown.
No one should have a holier-than-thou attitude when it comes to anything in their life - from their work to their play to their food habits.
For me, food is for nourishment - but it's also something that brings people together and is used in celebrations. Food should be enjoyed but it should benefit your body too.
One thing I always tell Jesse is, I might want him to eat healthily - but he's never going to miss out. Case in point - this burger.
Men like burgers. It's kind of a fact. The more I tell Jesse no, the more he will want something - so we compromise. I was more than happy to make Jesse a fresh, healthy burger for dinner last night - because I knew what was going in it, I knew it wasn't filled with horrible chemicals and preservatives and unpronounceable ingredients - it was made by me with all natural ingredients.
A lean beef patty, lettuce, sauteed onions, tomato and natural cheese - all put inside a wholemeal bun and served with salad on the side. Simple, healthy and a well balanced meal.
Sometimes I hear people say to Jesse "oh you must miss out because Kristy is so healthy" and it drives me crazy. I know full well that Jesse doesn't feel like he misses out - and neither do I. We eat what we want and we eat delicious food - that's a million times better for our bodies - and we feel the difference.
Jesse will brag about my cooking to his friends - and that fills my heart with so much joy because he didn't always feel that way. At first, he didn't want to eat my healthy food because there was no way it could taste as good as what he was used to - and I don't blame him for that one bit. He grew up with convenience foods and fast foods, rarely getting home cooked fresh meals whilst I grew up with a Mum who cooked dinner every night.
Now Jesse sees that "healthy food" doesn't have to taste "healthy" - you can create delicious healthy meals that taste a hundred times better than the versions that are laden with fat and chemicals and unpronounceable ingredients.
We eat chocolate cake and muffins and popcorn when we're watching movies - but they're healthier versions (that might I say taste even better - ask the Flamingo Pink girls what they think of my chocolate cake!) and we also eat things like chocolate or sweets in moderation (because a life without chocolate is no life at all).
So let's break it down, when it comes to food I think it's best to:
- Learn to enjoy healthy living
That means healthy food and being active. Create delicious new recipes - or healthier versions of your old favourites (like this healthy chilli or my favourite healthy brownies). You also need to find healthy physical activities that work for you. For me it's my daily walk that not only gets my heart rate up, but helps me to relax, focus and prepare for my day. If you don't like walking, try swimming, running, soccer, tennis, cycling, weights or even skipping - do what works for you, not what's on trend - you need to be happy.
- Try new things
Variety is the spice of life. Try new to you fruits and veggies, new food combinations, new recipes, new sports or activities, new makeup, new clothes - spice things up and see the difference it makes in your mood.
- Eat less "junk"
I don't like to label food, but there's some things you really don't need in your life - or your tummy. I steer clear of additives, preservatives and artificial sugars wherever possible. Why? they don't agree with my stomach and I don't see why you need them. I like to choose foods where I know exactly where the ingredients come from - not where I have to google search what it actually is.
That said, I do still buy foods that have more ingredients than I'd like (like some gluten free breads I buy for convenience) - but when you have a million and one food intolerances, when you find food you can eat and enjoy - you eat it. Don't be too harsh on yourself or food - I don't see "banning" foods as a healthy habit unless you simply cannot eat them (for allergies or intolerances etc). Food is not the devil.
- Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains
Whole is best - both when it comes to fruit and vegetables - and grains too.
We aim to have at least one fruit/vegetable with every meal. For Jesse, this means a glass of fresh juice with his breakfast but whilst that's not as good as a whole orange or piece of fruit, we at least make sure it's 100% fresh fruit juice with no additives. With lunch we have fruit and carrot sticks/vegetables on the side and dinner always includes at least a couple of veggies. Jesse prefers steamed veggies whilst I'm a salad girl - go with what works for you.
We eat lots of fruit, which some may say is bad, but to that I say - fruit is a better option than junk food and it tastes good, so I say it's good. Fruits are filled with healthy vitamins, minerals and nutrients and there's nothing wrong with that! When I hear people saying fruit is "bad" I want to gauge my eyes out with a spoon! Stop demonising food!
- Drink lots of water
Water is the best drink for you - so drink up! Make sure you stay hydrated, especially when active. Water not only flushes toxins out of your body, but allows your body to function the way it should be.
- Find what works for you
It's all great for these fan-dangled diets to come out claiming they're the best thing in the world - but do you know what? What's best for you is what works for you - not what comes out of a book.
I can't eat cruciferous vegetables because they leave me bloated and with terrible stomach pains. They may be incredibly healthy, but they don't work for me. By the same token, I also can't eat tomatoes or citrus fruits or spicy foods - they may work for you, but they make me incredibly ill. Whilst I love low fat dairy, you may have a dairy intolerance - so it's not healthy for you.
You are the best judge of what works for your body, so find what works for you - and forget what everyone else says.
- Look after your mind and your body
Don't forget - healthy eating isn't the only path to health. Look after your mind and your body - enjoy doing things you love, take time to relax, look after yourself!
You know what, some occasions call for popcorn with friends or an indulgent dessert. Learn to live and don't restrict yourself because you want to be "healthy" - how is restriction healthy? Enjoy life and live your life - one treat isn't going to kill you so relax! Don't become the person who skips out on friends because they're interrupting your "workout schedule" or won't enjoy a slice of cake on their birthday because "it's not healthy" - that's not healthy.
- Balance, balance, balance
Balance is your friend. Know that you can have your slice of cake and your lazy days - because those things don't happen every day. There's no such thing as perfect in this world - it's all about finding the balance that works for you - and that's balancing work, play and relaxation too!
We think healthy living is all about balance - we eat delicious healthy meals with lots of veggies, fruits and whole grains - but we also enjoy a piece of chocolate or some gelato for a special dessert.
And that's about it! The most important thing is to live and in order to live and enjoy living, you need to be happy and healthy. Know that some occasions call for cake with friends (even if it's a scrumptious healthier cake like you see here!) or a froyo date and that's perfectly healthy! Let yourself live and don't be bogged down by rules.
I love my healthy lifestyle and I never feel like I'm missing out. We're healthy, happy and enjoying life every day - complete with a slice of healthy chocolate cake!
But tell me, what do you think "healthy living" is?
Is there something that stands out for you as most important?
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