So, I’m going to put something out there that can be practically criminal for a nutritionist to say. Keep food simple.
Yes, nutrition and diet are powerful and magical. But we also REALLY overcomplicate it, at least for the majority of people.
Shows such as Masterchef have made it almost illegal for us to serve up a hearty stew to our friends unless it has crazy-cool presentation or wacky ingredients. Instagram is a constant source of food-guilt. There’s freakshakes, and smoothies, and pretty much nothing in between.
Even nutritionists and naturopaths can over-think nutrition sometimes. They can focus on a person’s complex metabolic differences. But they may overlook the fact that even a small tweak to their breakfast could fix that fatigue they feel mid-morning.
So how can we keep food simple and personalized?
Eat veggies – regularly
Eat them daily. If there are veggies you hate, either find a new way to prepare them or kick them to the curb. You will be much healthier if you eat your spinach and mushrooms daily. No more forcing down kale once a week and eating McDonalds the other 6 days of the week.
Have your go-to meals
You know those meals that are filling, nutritious, and that everyone in the house loves? Always have the ingredients for those on hand. Make each one at least once a week in a double batch so you can have it for lunch the next day. Boom, you have a good chunk of your week filled with good food. My household’s go to is Thai chicken curry with cauliflower rice or spag bol with rice noodles/zoodles.
Prep what you can
I’m lazy as hell in the morning. Sometimes I can’t even bear the thought of getting out of bed, let alone having a nutrient-dense brekkie. When I’m going through a lazy stage, or have an early morning, I pre-prepare a smoothie mix to blend up when I get up in the morning. The recipe can be super simple – some greens, water, chia seeds, yoghurt, and berries. But it means I have a few more minutes in the morning to doze. And THAT I’m less likely to take the easy option of picking up a takeaway coffee instead.
Trust your intuition
I’ve always loved salty foods, but I used to avoid them because salt was ‘bad’. Then I was told by my rheumatologist that I am unable to consume too much salt. I actually need a high salt intake to maintain my blood pressure at a healthy level. We all crave foods for different reasons. Yes, often there is emotional component behind why we like and dislike food. But if you really cannot stand a particular food, or love another, there’s probably a biochemical reason why. Instead of depriving yourself, try limiting your portions or making a healthy twist on your favourite foods.
Remember: food is more than nutrition
Food is sharing, connection, soul, family, life. Food is not merely fuel, or nutrients, or macros. So don’t eat food that makes you violently ill, such as wheat in the case of Coeliac disease. But do eat soul food in moderation and enjoy every bite. Savour a slice of birthday cake at a party. Sip your glass of Moscato in the sunshine with your girlfriends. Indulge in expensive chocolates that melt in your mouth. Trust me, it’s good for your sanity, and your body WILL get over it.