15 May Health hacks that have changed my health for the better
There is so much conflicting information out there in terms of what we should be eating and how we should be fuelling our bodies for optimum health. It’s flipping confusing!! Should I be cutting out carbs? Which superfoods should I be incorporating into my diet? How do I get my body into ketosis? Should I try intermittent fasting? Yikes! We have access to so much information these days but little time to really sift through the information, challenge it and implement the bits the work for us.
Needless to say, I love the topic of health! Nutrition is something that I could read and write about until the cows came home! To cut through some of the information that I have waded through over the past few years, I have distilled the it into my top 10 health hacks! These are some quick and easy tips that have really made a huge impact on my health and nutrition.
Top 10 health hacks
- Apple cider vinegar. I dilute a tablespoon in a pint of water each morning and drink it as soon as I wake up! ACV has sooooo many acclaimed health benefits but for me I have noticed a real improvement in my digestion and energy levels on the back of my daily dose! I use this Willy’s Apple Cider Vinegar.
- Stable blood sugar. Maintaining our blood sugar levels are the key to minimising cravings. Carbohydrates are converted to sugars and therefore when we eat carbohydrates such as fruit, bread or pasta, we spike our blood sugar levels. These eventually have to come back down and when our blood sugar levels fall, we crave a sugar hit! By consuming fat / protein with carbohydrates it flattens our fluctuating blood sugar and in turn turn stops us reaching for the biscuit tin! My favourite snacks include an apple with halloumi / nut butter. Yummo!
- Dark chocolate. I am, and always have been, a chocoholic! There is nothing more comforting to me than curling up with a cup of tea and a bar of the sweet, creamy stuff! Even though I no longer have cravings for sugar and chocolate, I still have a very strong desire for chocolatey treats…because I flipping love the taste so much! Dark chocolate has been a game changer in this regard. I get to enjoy the chocolatey goodness but without the sugar and the addictive impact it has on me of not being able to eat enough. I eat Green & Blacks 85%.
- Weekly planning. I have divulged a few of my specific food hacks but there is no getting away from the fact that eating healthily requires you to get organised. At some point one a Sunday I sit down, plan out what I will be eating for the week and construct a shopping list and hit the shops so I’m ready to go on Monday morning!
- Making food fun. I love food but I always hated shopping and cooking! Now, I make this a part of my week that I look forward to! I have bought myself some delicious canvas shopping bags and I just adore trotting around the local markets for in season produce and chatting to the suppliers. There are so many ways you can bring joy to your weekly food planning!
- Sourdough. Is there anything better than a delicious piece of fresh bread smothered in butter?! I have previously restricted my intake of bread, believing that bread was not good for me. And rightly so! Commercially produced bread, in order to maintain an acceptable shelf life and be produced for mass consumption, has a whole host of unnatural components added to it including sugar, additives and emulsifiers. All hail sourdough!! Sourdough is made of three ingredients – flour, water and salt – and is therefore an ideal carbohydrate companion to your eggs and avo! You can purchase from most supermarkets but I use it as a great excuse to sample some of the local cafes / bakeries and seek out the best bread going!
- Eat more! Oh yes, I did!!! The best thing my naturopath ever told me was that I was gaining weight because I was not eating enough! By eating enough (of the right things of course!) there are so many benefits. You are training your body to process food more efficiently and you are maintaining a constant blood sugar level.
- Collagen hydrolysate. (See the earlier note about the necessity of protein in balancing blood sugar levels.) Getting enough protein in your diet is not only essential for blood sugar but it also repairs and rebuilds components of our body to make it stronger and healthier. I had always struggled to get enough protein into my diet (especially at breakfast time) and therefore I have started to use unflavoured protein powder in my smoothie. It fills me up for longer in the morning and stops my blood sugar spiking so keeps cravings at bay. Double whammy! I use this collagen hydrolysate. Collagen is better than whey protein as it rebuilds more than just our muscles – it looks after out bones, joints, skin, metabolism, gut digestion. It is a wonder supplement by all accounts!
- Zero deprivation. I was brought up in a world where dieting was the norm. Through no fault of her own, my Mum was always on a diet, as she was thrust into a world of 80s lycra! I therefore believed that deprivation and restriction were the answer to maintaining a slim and healthy body. NOT TRUE!! I have had to unlearn a lot of unhealthy beliefs and habits but I have learned the hard way that restriction leads to a vicious cycle of obsession, struggle, bingeing and guilt. Now, nothing is off limits in my diet and because my diet is balanced and my metabolism functioning well, my body generally chooses the nutritious stuff all by itself. Knowing that I can have chocolate, bread, deserts etc whenever I like means that I am not constantly obsessing about them.
- Awareness. I have left this little fella until last as it is the simplest but most impactful of them all. Through my mindfulness practise I have developed a greater awareness of my body and how it feels when I put different foods inside of it. This increased awareness means that I am more tuned in to when I’m feeling my most alive and full of energy and therefore I consciously want to eat foods that make me feel like this again and again!
Gosh – I have realised that I could do an entire book (never mind blog post) on each of these items! For now though I will leave you with these little snippets and the opportunity to try a few out and see which work for you. I promise to dive a little deeper into some / all of these at some point in the future! Hack away!