We all know that eating healthily is good for us and that it is essential if you want to have boatloads of energy and be in the best shape of your life. But what IS healthy nutrition?
There is so much information thrown at us all the time, about all the different types of diets or approaches to food. There always seems to be a different ‘fad’ in the media, and it can get pretty confusing, right? Do you do a keto diet? What about intermittent fasting? Should you go gluten free or dairy free? Maybe you need to try vegan? Or FODMAP?
And that’s if we’re just trying to eat healthily. What about if you’re actively trying to recover your health? For example, if you want to recover from fatigue, then how on earth do you know which nutritional approach to choose? Anyone else feel tired just thinking about all the options?!
If you’ve been driving yourself round the twist trying to work out which nutritional approach is right for you, and which one will help you get the kind of health and energy you really want – then read on.
Let’s keep things simple
I’m all about keeping things nice and simple. If you’re the same, you will love these super simple guidelines for eating healthily. This is all about the basics of healthy nutrition, the approaches that actually work. These are the things that, if you do them consistently, it will make a massive impact on your health, your waistline, and your energy levels.
It’s time to get you out of food confusion and into beautifully simple, totally do-able and oh so effective healthy eating.
Firstly, let’s KISS = Keep It Simple Sweetheart
1) Choose one approach and stick to it.
Let’s talk about ‘analysis paralysis’. It’s easy to spend ages researching all the various options and never actually get going, or never go ‘all in’ because you are continually wondering if you should be trying something different! Or the opposite of this, where you end up trying to ‘mash together’ two or three different approaches and tying yourself in knots.
From my experience, you need to be following through on one clear approach for at least three to six weeks to see if it’s really going to work.
2) The best and most healthy diet is the one that you actually DO!!
The best nutritional approach is the one that truly works for you. It has to suit your lifestyle, your level of skill and the amount of time you are prepared to spend on your food. It’s important that your approach is genuinely manageable because let’s face it, if it involves all sorts of complicated recipes, bells and whistles, special gadgets, and hours of time preparing even the simplest of dishes, it’s not going to work. Unless you have a little private chef tucked away somewhere!
3) There isn’t one right approach for all situations.
What is right for you at this point in your life, may not be what is best three or six months down the line. We need to be prepared to change and to be intelligent about this.
For example, if you are actively working on adrenal fatigue recovery, or trying to lose weight, you need a different approach to someone who is trying to exercise more and gain strength. Different approaches are good for different things.
The 6 non-negotiables of healthy nutrition!
In my experience, when it comes to eating healthily, we make things far too complicated (same old story, right?). We think that if something is complex, it will be better, more effective and somehow more powerful. But when it comes to healthy eating, what really moves the needle is doing the simple things incredibly well and ultra-consistently.
I always ask my clients to start with these simple ‘non-negotiables’. So buckle up! I’m going to share with you my six non-negotiables of healthy nutrition!
1) Super hydration
This is the bedrock of any health and energy recovery journey.
Super hydration is basically about making sure that your body can detoxify properly. So that your cells and your tissues don’t get gummed up with the byproducts of cellular metabolism and all the other rubbish that the body can produce.
Being super hydrated is absolutely foundational. If you’re not a water fan, take a look at my blog 10 ways to make water taste more interesting.
2) Ditch the white stuff
Sugar is everywhere, especially in processed foods. So you need to get savvy.
💜 Read labels for sugar contents. Particularly on jars or packets, cereals, milk and juice.
💜 Go easy on fruit – they are healthy but also contain lots of sugar
💜 Remember that natural sugars such as honey, maple syrup still contain sugar.
3) Veggies, veggies, veggies!
You need to be veg-tastic! The more the merrier, especially in energy recovery work. And when I say more, what I mean is you need a greater quantity, AND more colour, AND more variety.
Eating more vegetables is absolutely foundational for energy recovery, work, gut health, and supporting those all important detox pathways.
So how much are we talking about for eating healthily? The basic approach is: two thirds of the food on your plate needs to be vegetables. Here’s a graphic to help you. You can download it and pop it on your fridge.
4) What about caffeine?
The caffeine debate could go on all day and all night! There are pros and cons – some people are massive fans of caffeine, saying it speeds up metabolism, that it’s full of good antioxidants, and that it’s really good for brain function.
Other people say caffeine is a terrible thing and it gets you addicted to a stimulant.
So let’s KISS. My advice is simple: if you are in active fatigue recovery work AVOID it altogether. Otherwise one caffeinated drink before lunch time and no caffeine after that.
Again, let’s KISS! If you are in awesome tip-top shape and enjoy gorgeous health, then a small amount of alcohol is fine. But if you are in active fatigue recovery work, or on any other active health project, alcohol is off the menu.
Alcohol simply impacts too many of your body’s systems for it to be helpful or useful in any way. All it will do is put on the brakes to your recovery.
6) Buy the very best quality food that you can afford.
Here are my five, quick-fire principles for choosing your food.
- Choose wholefood. Buy food as unprocessed (or as little ‘messed about with’) as possible. This basically means choosing food that is as near to its natural form as possible.
- Choose nutrient dense foods.
- Choose ‘clean’ food – buy organic whenever possible.
- Go local and seasonal.
- Take notice and care over where your food comes from.
Is this all sounding like a lot of effort? The truth is, it does mean that creating a meal will involve more than just popping something in the oven or microwave. It may also mean that takeouts become a much more occasional treat, rather than a regular feature on the menu.
BUT think of your health like looking after a high performance formula one race car. If you run it on rubbish ‘bottom of the range’ fuel, you’ll get poor performance. Your body is exactly the same! Beautiful fuel in → gorgeous performance out!
If you can stick to the 6 non-negotiables for eating healthily, keep things super simple and be ultra consistent, then you will be well on your way to creating habits that will stand by you for the rest of your life.
And I promise you, that if you follow these guidelines for the next 30 days, you WILL notice a significant difference in your health and your energy levels.