My healthy food journey | Eat to nourish + grow
I have always eaten pretty healthy growing up. In fact, I used to be jealous of my friends who would come to school with packets of chips and other sweet treats while all I had was a ham sandwich and fruit.
Looking back on it now, I can't believe I was craving having that stuff in my body.
As a kid (and even a young adult) I didn't really know too much about food, other than the fact that there was 'good' food and 'bad' food. I thought that my flavoured yoghurts and muesli bars fit in the 'good' food category.
Boy was I wrong!
In year 12 I started thinking about eating more healthy snacks and started packing my lunchbox with more raw foods such as cut up cucumber, carrots, fruit and nuts rather than my previous packaged staples. This notion of raw being healthy continued into University but much to my present horror, I was still pretty ignorant to the nutritional value of foods. Dried fruit was always a staple for lunch or recess, it was only years later that I realised how much sugar it contained.
Which brings me to my first drastic food-related discovery...'I quit sugar' by Sarah Wilson.
Years before, I had seen this clip on 'A Current Affair' about how much sugar people were consuming on a daily basis and how unhealthy this was for us. The program followed a family of four as the attempted to reduce their sugar consumption for a month. At the end they all spoke about how they experienced increased energy and felt much better physically and emotionally.
I was really inspired by this program, but as a teenager who didn't control the groceries, was pretty uneducated on the matter and didn't have a plethora of resources at her disposal (how on EARTH did I do my HSC with dial up internet and get the grade I did?) there wasn't much I could do and that phase died pretty quickly.
Fast forward years later, I was now a working student who had to fend for themselves in the food department. When I spotted 'I quit sugar' in Kmart, I knew I had to give it a read and see if I could apply the 12 week program into my life.
It was hard! Like mega hard!
Essentially you have to reprogram your whole mind and body. It's pretty widely known how addictive sugar is. What made this change to a healthier lifestyle even more challenging was, that my partner at the time was quite happy maintaining the status quo (READ: was happy living off caffeine, insufficient or unhealthy food and little to no exercise). If I was going to change things around, I would have to do it by myself and FOR myself.
I was able to get through the 12 week program by gradually decreasing my sugar intake and then increasing my dosage of healthy fats to satiate my hunger prior to cutting sugar out for the second half of the program. While I didn't manage to stick to a COMPLETELY sugar-free lifestyle after the 12 weeks were done. It did really open my mind to learning more about the benefits of certain foods and be conscious of my consumption of added sugar. T
hanks to those difficult 12 weeks, I have now programmed my brain and body to prefer coffee and weetbix without sugar and try to get my hit of sweetness from fruit instead of packaged rubbish.
Inspired by Sarah Wilson, I started collecting more healthy living books. 'The healthy life' by Jessica Sepel Helped me to have a better understanding of the different macro and micro nutrients and their role and function in or body. From there came 'The Honest Life' by Jessica Alba who talked about the importance of eating locally and organically. This prompted me to start incorporating more organic foods into my weekly shop and looking for Australian brands where possible (particularly when it comes to fresh food).
So what does my food life look like these days?
- I eat breakfast EVERY day. Generally it's gluten-free cereal with lactose-free milk. I switch over to gluten-free after noticing that eating oats every morning was leaving me super bloated by the end of the day.
- I have two coffees MAX per day and if I'm after a warm drink, I will often have organic tea instead.
- For lunch I pack at least one piece of fruit, natural pot set Greek yogurt, organic rice crackers and nuts, protein balls and sometimes leftovers from dinner the night before.
- For dinner we always have salad or veggies as a side to our meat. I try to incorporate more white meat such as chicken and fish as it's better for you.
- I take a fish oil supplement everyday and like to incorporate probiotics into my diet.
- I TRY to drink enough water each day.
- I have given up taking pre and post workout supplements as I felt that they didn't really do much to enhance my muscle gains and were often loaded with sugar.
EDIT: In 2019 I'm attempting a drastic diet overhaul and cutting out gluten and dairy. Gluten for digestive issues and dairy because my adult acne is giving me serious grief and all the research I'm doing is pointing that removing dairy from the equation SHOULD help reduce this issue.
While my diet is not on point 100% of the time, continuing to educate myself and making small changes have really helped. I want to continue to learn about foods that can help balance my hormones as this has been a major issues throughout 2018. If you have any tips, leave them down below.
For more healthy living updates, follow me on social media: YouTube Carly Morton and Instagram @evolveliving_blog.