I have said it many times and will say many more: Your health starts from your gut. Both your health now and your future health. So almost anything wrong with you will get better if you take care of your gut. It might not “cure” your condition, but it will almost certainly make you feel better and considerably ease the symptoms.
So what should you do? The first step is to drop sugar in all of its refined forms (including honey and agave syrup) from your diet. This alone is likely to make you feel very different. Do pay attention to the hidden sugars in processed foods. Remember that sugar has many names like dextrose, maltose, glucose and xylitol. Please do not make your way over to the sweeteners as those don’t help. The one thing you can use in moderation if you really, really cannot give up sweetening your drink or food is stevia. It doesn’t cause the same amount of insulin release as sugar and sweeteners do.
Second step is to eat real food. Make it yourself from the raw ingredients. It does not need to be complicated. The key is to sit down and do a bit of planning once a week.
Decide maybe two or three different variations. I for example often eat the same breakfast all the weekday mornings and then have slightly different thing for the weekends. I vary my breakfast according to the season, my current fancies and most importantly my health. At the moment my weekday go-to is a stir fry with eggs! Get rid of the notion that breakfast is cereal or toast.
This can be tricky if you have to take it with you. Plan, plan, plan. Make it ready to grab with you the night before. This could even be leftovers from the dinner, my favourite. I see people with best intents having packed lunches made hastily from ingredients which are not going to keep the hunger away. Result? They buy snacks of unhealthy kind, so you must make sure that you have enough.
Dinners can be made in bulk and frozen in portions for later use. Write your shopping list as you make your menu plan. If you are crafty, you save the plan and the list, so you can re-use them. You might think that you eat a lot of different things, but in reality most of us cycle around four to eight dishes and their variations. Weekends are the time to be creative and try new recipes.
You didn’t plan to work late or stay in town this long. You are getting really hungry and have nothing more to eat with you. What now? Go and get some olives, maybe a tin of tuna or packet of liver pate or hummus, cherry tomatoes, an avocado and some lettuce. Scoop your pate with the lettuce and pop the tomatoes and olives after. Enjoy the avocado. This is by no means the best meal ever, but miles better than grabbing a microwave pizza.
Does this make you healthy? No. We all have different requirements, so I cannot guarantee that this is all that it takes, but you are in much better place to start your journey from. There is much more to consider especially if your health is already faltering. And although your nutrition plays a major role, so does exercise and sleep. I will write more about specific topics in depth later on, but this is a good and practical place to start. Consider your meal planning as the practical way of expressing love for yourself and your family.
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