A few weeks back I gave you part 1 of the answer to the question I am most commonly asked. In How to be a professional eater and still rock a bikini I let you in on my weekly work out routine. The feedback I got from that blog was an acknowledgement of my absolute commitment to exercise to support my eating habit.
But in the words of the fabulous Michelle Bridges “you can’t out train a bad diet”. It is widely understood that your weight is 80% determined by your diet with the other 20% reliant on exercise and lifestyle. With this in mind I am sharing with you my secret food tips that keep me in shape and give me the foundations to occasionally indulge for my eating and your viewing pleasure. Remember that I am not a nutritionist or dietician so please seek medical advice before adopting any tips from unqualified bloggers.
Food swaps and secrets
- Red meat – On average I eat red meat once a week, I have found that any more than that places an unnecessary burden on my digestive system and make me feel heavy. I get my protein from foods like nuts, eggs, chicken, fish and quinoa.
- Processed food – anything prepackaged is usually full of additives that are difficult for your body to digest and often have many hidden calories with little nutritional value. Fresh wholefoods are my preference.
- Dairy – for sinus and allergy reasons I cut out milk many years ago originally opting for soymilk and in the last year made the healthier switch to almond milk. Recently I have also limited my intake of cheese. I will usually have only a small amount of feta, ricotta or haloumi in a salad or an omelette.
- Gluten – I confess that I am one of those people who prefers not to eat gluten. Don’t hate. My health and energy levels have improved immensely since I reduced my gluten intake. I no longer have bloating and feel much lighter.
- White – white foods like pasta, bread, rice and potatoes are foods I view more as treats than every day foods and as such have them in limited quantities. Instead I choose lentils, chickpeas and sweet potatoes.
- Salt – not adding salt to my food has been another key to reduce bloating and water retention. To get that salty goodness I squeeze in some fresh lemon or lime juice
- Dressings and sauces – ditch those premade condiments and introduce lemon juice and olive oil
- Butter – instead of using butter I cook with olive oil, macadamia oil or coconut oil depending on the type of dish
- Fried foods – I stick with grilled or poached cooking methods to avoid unnecessary calories and heaviness associated with frying
- Snacks – since my 8-week sugar hiatus I now choose vegetables over fruit and have them with some raw almonds and cashews. This has helped me better manage my blood sugar and hunger levels.
I keep it very simple on the fluids front. There is no caffeine, no lemonade, no Coke and very little alcohol.
- Alcohol - I try to avoid alcohol unless it is a special occasion and then I aim to stick to a 2 drink maximum, usually a lovely drop from Dal Zotto. Studies have shown that we look our best after 1 drink but as soon as we have 2 drinks we start to look worse and feel worse than when we started drinking. Not only does most alcohol have lots of empty calories, all alcohol will impair kidney and liver function, slowing metabolism and encouraging us to eat foods we otherwise wouldn’t. If I have more than 2 drinks these days I need to refer to the Ultimate hangover guide.
- Water - I have 3 litres of filtered water a day, I will drink more when it’s hot and when I do any extreme cardio exercise. Drinking plenty of water is so critical to successful health and weight management.
- Peppermint tea – 1 cup after most meals, no sweeteners
- Coconut water on ice – if I’m feeling peckish before dinner, this is a great way to rehydrate and hold hunger at bay for an hour or two
- My very green sugar free vegan smoothie – I have this almost every day for breakfast. If I am out for breakfast, it becomes lunch or sometimes dinner if I’ve had a particularly heavy eating out schedule that day. I am totally addicted to this smoothie.
So despite some drool worthy pictures on my Insta feed you can see that I really do take my nutrition seriously and have earned whatever indulgences may take place. I have always been an aspiring vegan, a mainly vegetarian, a reluctant carnivore and a dessert devotee. I am far from perfect but these are the things that work for me and I hope that sharing them gives you some inspiration to find what works for you.
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