5 Healthy + Positive Changes I've Made To My Eating Habits This Summer

Sunday, 19 August 2018

I have a love-hate relationship when it comes to food.

I love to eat, and I love to cook. I like experimenting and making something from nothing. I love cooking my meals knowing that I've made this and I'm using what I've made to fuel my body, but I sometimes hate the way it makes me feel. I have a mindset of feeling guilty and regretful for eating something I shouldn't. Or having a bigger portion. I hate having this mentality, and it's something I've been trying to shake off for some time now.

I know from personal experience that going on some fad diet, or completely cutting something out of my diet doesn't work for me. I'm all for gradual changes. I became a vegetarian nine and a half years ago on just one random morning. I didn't slowly cut anything out, it was all in one go. I know this was going to work for me because it was something I was passionate about and had thought about it for some time, so it was easy for me to do. During the summer, I think my food choices is usually at it's best; there's a lot more fresh fruit around, less comfort food and more 'let me cook something quick before I melt in this kitchen' food. I just tend to feel healthier in the summer, which is why it's the best time for me put some changes into place. Small changes with an overall bigger effect.

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DRINK MORE WATER

I love drinking water, so making sure I drink enough daily has never been a real struggle for me. I always make sure I have a large bottle of water at my desk so I have no excuse for feeling thirsty and lazy, and not grabbing a drink. I still don't feel like I'm drinking enough though. There was a time when I used to drink around 2 litres of water a day without really pushing myself or ending up in a liquid coma. I got into a routine of making sure I finished my water before I went to the kitchen so I could refill. I also used to track my intake to make sure I drank enough each day.

This routine abruptly stopped at the end of last year, (yes, I'm blaming Christmas), and I would barely cover a litre a day. Over the past few months, I haven't been as strict with myself in tracking my daily intake, but more making sure I drank enough, and never feeling thirsty. I'm also learning to carry water around with me when I go out. I never used to do that, and I just end up getting headaches and feeling dehydrated.

.@helloaycan is sharing 5 healthier changes she has made to her eating habits.

HEALTHIER ALTERNATIVES

Since getting my snazzy (never using that word again,) food processor my food choices have completely changed. I can't remember the last time I brought something in a jar that I couldn't make myself; pasta sauces, pestos, salad dressings. I like to think if you want to eat something, no matter how unhealthy it may seem, if you make it yourself, it doesn't count. Well, it doesn't seem so bad. I like to see it as you know exactly what's going into your food. I love making my own burgers, falafels, smoothies, I even go as far as making fresh strawberry mousse with any leftover tofu I have. (It's honestly delicious). This summer I've been trying to make as much of what I eat as I can. I've started making make my own granola and cereals, and I've been trying to cut out cheese from my diet, so making my own creamy pasta sauces with cashew nuts and cauliflower have become a regular meal.

There is only so much me and my snazzy food processor can conjure up, so for everything I need to buy, I make sure I check the labels. It's not to calorie count, but just to check what's actually inside. This isn't going to be brand new information to you, but with all the unnecessary amounts of sugars and salts, I try and be as natural as I can. My thought process is, if I don't know what it is, or I can't pronounce it, then it probably shouldn't be in my food. Since turning vegetarian, I've gotten into the habit of checking the labels, so I've learnt what some harmless ingredients are. I always have peanut butter in my smoothies (FYI, I'm a chunky peanut butter kinda gal), and I always opt for 100% peanut butter instead of any added oils and sugars. I think my second biggest intake would be mayonnaise. I've stopped eating eggs so that evidently meant that mayo was off the cards for me. I have tried so many different egg-free options, but Veganaise has to be the best thing ever! And it's not like I have 6 jars in case the shops run out again.

That is definitely not me.

Okay, my point is, it may take a little longer to shop (or you can check online before you go), but double checking labels, and making what you can, has really help me feel good about what I'm eating.

5-A-DAY 10-A-DAY

Vegetables were never my best friends, they were barely acquaintances. Now, I would say we are pretty good friends. I always made sure I had my 5-a-day, but recently, I've been pushing it to get to 10-a-day. I wouldn't say I'm plant-based, but with the food I usually eat, it falls under that heading. It is now a routine to have at least one of my 5-a-day in every meal. At the moment, for breakfast, I have a bowl of watermelon, and then a smoothie, which will always have a spinach and banana base. For lunch, I'm having pita stuffed with chickpeas and spinach, and celery sticks on the side. There is a whole range of things I eat for dinner, but again, I make sure I either have a salad or vegetables to go with it. If I decide to have pasta for dinner, I'll make sure I throw in some vegetables into the dish, or make a slightly smaller serving and have it with salad. I'm still enjoying what I love, but I'm just having a few extras on the side, and to be honest, not all vegetables are bad. Except for broccoli, that is a very bad veg!

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EAT WHEN I'M HUNGRY

This is one habit which has been difficult for me because I feel guilty for eating multiple times throughout the day. I haven't mentioned this on my blog, (I do have my cries for help on social media), but I suffer from acid reflux. I've had it for years now, but I've managed to understand it better by learning my triggers and what best suits my eating habits. One of the side-effects for me is feeling really hungry and sick at the same time. My stomach could be rumbling, I take one bite of food, and then it's like "Nah, no more for you, you can feel sick now," and that would be it for that meal. Over the years, I've learnt to overcome it by trying to predict when I'm hungry and not waiting for it to make me feel sick. I make sure I have a small breakfast and lunch, and for dinner, eat depending on how hungry I am. I also make sure I have a healthy snack in-between lunch and dinner to combat any sickening feelings. I have been doing this for a while now and it seems to be working. Somedays I need to eat more, somedays I can barely finish a meal, but either way, I make sure I listen to how my body is feeling, and not the harsh words of someone else. Every day is completely different, and each morning is a guessing game.

A POSITIVE, HEALTHIER MINDSET

Like I mentioned at the beginning of the post, I have such an unhealthy mindset when it comes to food. Working alongside these points, I'm trying to teach myself that I shouldn't be punished for eating food, whether I choose to make them myself or not. If I feel like eating a pizza, I'll eat pizza. If I want to have a small meal, I'll eat a small meal. If I want to have some bread with my meal, I'm going to eat that bread... or even two if it's really good bread. I have been feeling a little better about what I have been eating over the summer, and I am not doing this to lose weight, but that has been a bonus.

My end goal is, and will always be, to feel happy and positive about what I eat and to throw away those horrible guilty thoughts. Let me know in the comments below if you've made some changes to your eating habits this summer, and what is your favourite summertime meal?