If you’re new to my website or trying to get your head around how to be healthy – then my 10 point golden guide to healthy living will help you on your way.
My food philosophy is all about enlivening the hottest, happiest and healthiest you. It’s about keeping things simple and delicious so you don’t feel bored or deprived. I believe that with every bit of food we eat, we are influencing how we look, feel and think. This is why I think healthy eating should be a way of life, not just a fad or phase.
Here is my 10 point golden guide to healthy living:
I know water isn’t food, but it’s the best thing to hit your lovely lips in the morning. Always hydrate before you caffeinate. Aim to drink two large glasses of warm water with freshly grated ginger upon rising. Then throughout the day, drink 2-3 liters of water. Try to consume clean filtered water to remove unwanted chemicals, bacteria and pathogens.
Some adverts have led us to believe that cereal is the best way to start the day, but really we are pumping our bodies with buckets of sugar and chemicals that leave us groggy and reaching for coffee and cake at 11 a.m. Switching to a protein-powered breakfast will fuel you until lunchtime: no slumps, no snacks. Don’t skip this one, it really works. You can also up ya protein through grass-fed meat, fish, eggs, quinoa, nuts, seeds, beans and legumes.
I believe healthy living isn’t about dieting or depriving yourself it’s a lifestyle. Telling yourself you can’t have something makes you want it more. It’s like being a kid again! It’s time to master your mindset. Start looking at food as something that nourishes your body, that boosts your energy, makes your skin shine bright and is always a pleasure to eat. Focus on crowding in, not cutting out. Fill your plate with lots of delicious veggies, fresh fruits, healthy fats, good-quality meat and fish, legumes, grains and nuts and seeds. You’ll find that you don’t think about food as much, that you can sit back and enjoy your life. Trust me, diets don’t work, so stop depriving yourself and start living.
It’s time to start using our teeth. This may sound strange, but there is a reason why I’ve made this one of my key principles. Most of us don’t chew our food. We wolf it down on the way to a meeting, while checking emails or sat in front of the TV. But doing this means you aren’t digesting your food or absorbing the nutrients efficiently and neither do you register when you’re full. Digestion starts in the mind, so get present while you’re eating - no distractions, no eating and no tweeting. Sit down, breathe and chew your food 10–15 times. Just relax while you eat, don’t rush. Watch your bloated belly disappear, your body will feel calmer and your desire to grab something sweet will diminish.
Ah, the terrible F-word... The thing we don’t want to be and the foods we have long avoided. But fats are so good for you! They will make your hair shine, your nails grow and your skin glow. They are an amazing source of energy, keeping you full all day long. They boost your immune system and contain essential fatty acids that are vital for your body. Healthy fats play a crucial role in maintaining your health. Fatty acids help absorb fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. So up your fats from healthy sources like nuts, seeds, fish, eggs, olive oil, coconut oil and avocados.
People are sometimes surprised that I cook with meat and fish. I'm often asked, "Isn't meat bad for you?". Well, it’s all about quality and I always choose pasture-raised, grass-fed meat. Grass-fed beef is naturally leaner than grain-fed beef as it contains much higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids and is a great source of CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), a fat that reduces the risk of obesity, diabetes and many immune disorders. If you don’t eat meat, no worries! But if you do, try to buy the best quality. It will be slightly more expensive so think buy less, buy better – use the money you would have spent on a few pieces of cheaper meat and just buy one that’s good quality. The taste alone will get you hooked.
I hate washing up, so I cut corners by cooking an extra portion of whatever recipe I’m making in the evening for me to eat the next day. It means I have lunch ready and don’t have to scrub an extra dish. It is a money and time saver, and one of my golden rules that I can’t recommend enough!
Sleep should be sacred and treasured. It is anti-ageing, it allows you to repair your body, reduce stress and control your appetite. But so often we feel restless at night and find it hard to switch off. Try and stick to a regular sleep pattern, such as 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., or 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. Ditch the tech: turn off technology and keep it out of the bedroom. No more late-night instagrammming, internet shopping or email checking. Put your phone away after 9 p.m. – anything on it can wait until the morning. Cut out the coffee after midday and stick to herbal tea so you’re not stimulated by the rush of caffeine. Get some herbal help by drinking some chamomile tea before bed, spray some lavender oil over your pillow and take some magnesium citrate – these will all relax you into a sweet slumber.
Exercise is a great energy booster, so don’t press snooze on that alarm – get up and go to that class! I used to let life get in the way of making time for exercise, but what has helped me is to schedule it in my diary as if it’s an appointment I can’t miss. Still, I know that we are living increasingly busy lives, so if you really can’t make that gym class, start trying to increase your incidental exercise and move your body in other ways. It might be that you walk, cycle or jog to work, or get off a few stops early on your normal commute to work. Take the stairs instead of the lift, or volunteer more often to make the tea round! I find cleaning my apartment is a workout in itself. These little spurts of energy throughout the day really add up, so get going!
Stress is the big bad wolf, and it affects us all. It’s hard to eradicate it completely, but you can learn to manage it. When it all gets too much, I find the best way to de-stress is to have breath breaks, where you step out of the office for some air. Think of it like a fag break, but with clean fresh air instead! Close your eyes and count to 4 as you inhale, then repeat as you exhale. Do this for a minute until you feel calmer, and repeat it as regularly throughout the day as you need to. Don’t feel guilty about taking a time-out; we all need it.
Another stress buster is to connect with nature. When I lived in Australia, my world revolved around the sea. I would dive deep into that ocean and, as I did so, nothing else mattered. Back in London, swimming in the thames isn’t so tempting, so I often take myself for a long walk in one of the glorious parks that we’re lucky to have in the city. Connecting with nature is so calming; whether it’s a local park, river path or if you live in a more rural area, woodlands, fields, or even the beach. Make a weekly appointment with Mother Nature and you will soon reap the rewards.