… is not desserts spelled backwards
(well, it is, but that’s not my point)
We often allow stress to control our lives and are reactive to whatever is going on around us. You can improve the quality of your life and reduce stress moment by moment by living mindfully, taking control of your emotions and having a choice over how you feel and how you react to things. You can then meet your real needs in the best possible ways.
If these are the times you are likely to use food in response to stress, practise taking the time out to calm yourself and ask yourself:
What do I really need?
- To take some space
- Go for walk
- Take some other form of exercise
- Sit somewhere peaceful
- Lie down
- Distract myself
- To talk to someone whom I trust
- Write my feelings down
- Listen to music / put the radio on
- Do a gratitude list
- Get out of the house
Are you on autopilot?
Did you know that 95% of your daily behaviours run on autopilot?
That’s right. 95% of what we do daily we don’t think about.
So stress eating might actually be habitual. In order to break this pattern you have to know it exists. Journaling is a great wake up call to begin realising the extent of your old emotional and impulse eating behaviours.
It kind of reminds me of Pavlov’s dogs a little. For example if TV becomes anchored with eating, then even if you aren’t hungry, just sitting in front of the TV will trigger the thought of eating. Sound familiar?
What should we be eating for health and happiness?
As a nutritional therapist and health coach, I can answer that easily for you right now. Eat in a way that balances your blood sugar at least 80% of the time, focussing on whole foods like fish, meat, lentils and pulses, lots of veg and salad, a little fruit, and small amounts of rice, potatoes and pasta. BUT (and it is a big but) for any healthy lifestyle plan to work in the long term, it has to be sustainable, and that means not only easy to follow but enjoyable. And the truth is, cutting out entire food groups and never having the scope for a glass of wine or a piece of birthday cake is a recipe for disaster.
There is no reason for all the guilt we give ourselves – because many people know what they should be eating (and don’t get me started on ‘should’) – and it’s easy to end up making food decisions based on a crazy long list of rationales.
Just eat the chocolate cake and move on! Choose the cake and then stop the conversation you’re having in your head about it. Eating a slice of cake is not the end of the world. Just do not get all ‘what the heck, I might as well eat the whole damn thing’.
It’s all about balance.
Eat the Seasons – March – Broccoli
Warm winter salad by Jamie Oliver
• 100g quinoa
• 250g purple sprouting broccoli
• 2 oranges
• 1 tbsp tahini
• 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
• 1 tsp runny honey
• extra virgin olive oil
• 200g mixed-colour kale
• 30g blanched hazelnuts
1. Cook the quinoa according to the packet instructions, then drain.
2. Place a large frying pan or griddle pan over a medium heat.
3. Trim the broccoli and cook for 8 to 10 minutes (in batches if you need to), turning occasionally, until slightly charred.
4. To make a dressing, squeeze the juice of 1 orange into a small bowl. Mix in the tahini, red wine vinegar, honey and 2 tbsp oil, then season to taste and set aside.
5. Remove and discard any hard stalks from the kale, placing the leaves in a large bowl. With your hands, massage in a pinch of salt for 1 minute.
6. Once the broccoli has charred, add to the kale and tip over half the dressing. Add the quinoa and toss together.
7. Put the pan you used to cook the broccoli back over a high heat and toast the hazelnuts until golden, then roughly chop.
8. Add a little more dressing to the salad, toss again, then arrange on a large serving platter.
9. Peel the remaining orange, slice into rounds and scatter over the salad. Tip over the chopped toasted hazelnuts and serve straight away, with any remaining dressing on the side.
Where to start?
What’s in season when
The easiest thing to do is print or download a list to check out. There are many good ones available online.
Here are a few I’ve found for the UK:
And for my friends in the US and Australia the Cooksmarts website has infographics available for fruit and veg by month.
Where to buy seasonally
Your usual supermarket… just use one of the lists above
Farmer’s markets and farm shops
Veg box delivery services
“Pick your own”
or – grow your own – if you are so inclined!
Why we should all eat the seasons
A restaurant menu focused on seasonal produce is now super cool, but do you know why it’s important to eat seasonally?
Quite simply, when you eat locally and seasonally you know you are eating the freshest, most abundantly available produce. It is better for everyone – you get the tastiest veg, the local farmer benefits and food miles (the distance our food has to travel from the farm to your fork) decreases so you get to save the environment, too. Another unexp
ected benefit is to reconnect to nature’s seasonal cycle. If you have children, this is especially important as it teaches that food does grow at specific times, a hard concept to grasp when imports from all around the globe ensure that supermarket shelves look the same practically every week of the year.
If you’re wondering when you should start, the answer is: now. A survey in BBC Good Food magazine showed we’re not as good as we think at figuring out what is in season when. Of the 2000 people it asked, 86% claimed it was important to shop seasonally, 78% said they were doing it – and yet only 5% could say when blackberries were at their best.
Tomorrow I’ll give you some ideas on how to know what’s in season.
Shamrock Shake Smoothie Recipe
For St. Patrick’s Day
This healthy smoothie would make a nice breakfast or a healthy snack and you would get a serving each of fruit and veg in as well as having a fun.
The recipe is below or alternatively watch this fun lively how-to video (with music!) from Eating Well:
- 1/2 cup low-fat milk (or milk alternative)
- 1 frozen large banana, sliced
- 1 cup spinach
- 1/2 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt
- 1/3 cup packed fresh mint leaves, plus more for garnish
- 4 ice cubes
- kiwi slices for garnish
How Keep Fruits and Vegetables Fresh
Tips to make your fresh produce last longer
You’ve learned 25 ways to get more fruit and veg into your diet… so I thought it would be a good idea to look at some tips for keeping all that newly purchased fruit and veg fresher longer.
This mainly comes down to storage and handling.
For instance, store potatoes, onions and bananas in a cool dry place but not in the refrigerator, but store foods like berries, stone fruits, and greens in the refrigerator.
Some fruits and veg are best stored separately as some foods produce a gas called ethylene as they ripen. This gas can prematurely ripen foods that are sensitive to it. For instance apples should be stored separately from avocadoes and bananas. (However if you have green bananas and want to help them along to ripen, put them in a paper bag with an apple).
Keep your fruit and veg reasonably dry – washing berries and then putting them in the fridge will encourage mold growth. Instead just store them as is and only wash before eating.
And a safety note… don’t store fruit and veg in the same refrigerator bin as raw meats as this could lead to cross contamination with bacteria.
A longer list of tips can be found here:
If you managed to catch all the tips I’ve posted over the past 25 days on how to eat more fruit and veg then good job!
If not (or if you would just like them all in one fantastic guide) then please click here.
We are constantly hearing that we need to get a minimum of 5 portions of fruit and veg into our diet each day for good health and probably more like 10 portions per day for optimal health. But I know from personal experience this can be difficult and you can run out of ideas. I know the tips you’ll find in this guide will help you on your journey to great health and tip 10 might surprise you!
Yours in health,
PS – If you’re serious about improving your health and you need information, guidance and motivation, I warmly invite you to get in touch with me, by clicking here to book a free 20 minute Skype or phone call with me.