My personal food and lifestyle philosophy
I believe in a holistic philosophy (taking care of the whole person) and paying close attention to diet and lifestyle, connecting the mind, body and soul. Without lifestyle changes, a 100% clean diet is nothing. The havoc that stress, worry, lack of sleep, over or under eating, no exercise or over exercising can cause to your body is enormous, resulting in your perfect diet going to waste.
I am not a believer in fad diets or calorie counting. I believe in nourishing our bodies with real natural whole foods that are as close to their natural state as possible. Diets rich in whole foods are amazing for improving health and preventing disease, they are packed with essential nutrients to promote good health. No junk or processed foods - they are jam-packed with chemicals, these just end up overloading the body with toxins.
Preparation - your kitchen
If you want to be healthy, you need to make sure you are set up to be healthy. The best place to start is in the kitchen, by throwing out all processed and refined foods which you may turn to when feeling stressed, tired or emotional. Stocking your kitchen with nutritious whole foods and having some basic appliances in your kitchen is a great way to ensure you keep your health in check. You have a choice on what food to buy, I personally chose to only keep food in the house that is going to nourish me and give my body the nutrients it needs to support my daily energy requirements. If I feel like something sweet, I may keep some 70-85% dark chocolate on hand to enjoy once or twice a week (enjoy a coupe squares at a time - balance!!).
Exercise is so important, it gets energy flowing around your body, calms your mind, boosts your metabolism and releases natural endorphins to make you feel amazing. Over the years I've changed my approach to exercise, I used to over-exercise and stress if I didn't get in my 1-hour workout each day. Daily movement/exercise is still really important to me, but now I have a much kinder, gentler approach to exercise and I've learnt to exercise less but smarter. I have always been an active person so living an active lifestyle comes easy to me. I make sure I move my body for 30-45 daily in whatever form my body and mind feels suitable for that day. I like to mix things up and challenge my muscle memory as I feel my body looks and feels it's best when I do this. My favourite ways to exercise is through pilates, weight/resistance training, yoga and walking. I used to be big on high-intensity workouts, they are fantastic for some but not for others. For some people (like myself) constant intense workouts can exhaust your adrenals, which leads to fatigue, hormonal imbalances, stress and more anxious feelings. This is why I now have a gentler approach to exercise and prefer more restorative practice to ground and center myself.
Stress wreaks havoc on the body, and is a causative factor to numerous health issues. Finding ways to deal with stress more effectively is a crucial part of my lifestyle. I try to be mindful and aware of situations that arise so I can expose my body and mind to as little stress as possible. Stress is an inevitable and is a normal part of life, however excessive demands signals hormones to be released which leads to malfunctioning of nervous system, endocrine system and metabolic system. Understanding ways to deal with stress can make a huge difference in how you respond to daily challenges, and in return it brings more vitality, health and wholesome behaviour into your life.
Solitude - I highly believe in this and practice it daily. Putting time aside for ourselves each day is so important. It allows us to slow down and take in the day, which is something we can all benefit from. At the end of my day I spend 10-20 minutes meditating with my legs up a wall and focus on breathing diaphragmatically. I learnt this technique a few years ago when I was suffering from mild adrenal fatigue. It helps to balance your endocrine system, rests your nervous system and is fantastic for improving digestion! It may sound strange but it really works!
A healthy lifestyle balance is something I'm a HUGE advocate for. It took me some time to figure out my personal balance, but once I did and committed to this lifestyle it felt like a breeze. I was able to listen to my body more and give it what it wanted, rather than what I thought it needed. Listening to your body is one of the best ways we can give ourselves what we need, each day is different and your body may require different food and nutrients from one day to the next. Listening to your body is also about allowing yourself to indulge in things every so often and not depriving yourself of anything. For example, ice-cream is my absolute weakness, and when I feel like my body wants a treat and a couple of scoops, I'm all in. Eating this way has allowed me to enjoy the things I like to do on occasion without that dreaded guilt. After all, I'm only human and being flexible makes life a lot simpler and me a lot happier. Knowing that I give my body the love and health it needs on a day to day basis is the most magical feeling and I would love nothing more than to help you with your journey in finding your happy life balance, so you can feel your absolute best every single day.
A quick summary of my personal food and lifestyle philosophy:
- Just eat real food (JERF)
- Cut out/minimise processed and refined foods
- Sort out your kitchen (fridge and pantry) and stock with it up with real wholefoods
- Exercise/move your body daily
- Learn to listen to your body, what it wants and needs (each day is different and your will signal you for different food/activities)
- Daily mindfulness practice - meditation, yoga, walk in nature, journaling
- Breath diagrammatically
- Eat mindfully
- Drink good quality water (filtered if possible)
- Eat local organic produce (when possible)
- Limit alcohol (enjoy a few alcohol free days each week)
- Be kind to yourself (practice forgiveness)
- Think positive - swap negative thoughts with positive thoughts
- Treat yourself (not daily, but a couple times each week, guilt free!)
- Start a morning routine (I haven't gone into depth with this here but this is a personal fav!)