Does being healthy mean being boring?

Many people struggle to keep to a healthy eating plan and/or exercise- routine; not because they are lazy or not trying hard enough, but because of outside pressure.  Why?  Well; have you ever been out for lunch or went to a dinner, where there is nothing for vegetarians?  Or have you ever been frowned upon when you say you don’t drink alcohol or eat shell fish, for example?

Eating healthy can, at times, be a bit of a struggle, especially if you follow a strict diet.  That is why I, personally, don’t believe in diets per se, but rather eating from all the food groups; just in moderation from some of the groups, like refined sugars and starch. 

Being healthy and living a healthy life should be a lifestyle; it should not be seen as a diet, or a quick fix, or an effort / burden.  Making small changes can, in the long run, bring great results to you and your family.  Swopping eating pizzas / burgers every week, for example, to eating it once a month, will not only save you money, but it will also reduce your waistline!

There are many people that says that fuzzy drinks without the sugars are ok, and there are many others who says that fuzzy drinks, with or without sugars, are bad.  The big difference is that instead of using sugar to sweeten it, they use artificial sweetening, colouring and other chemicals, which is not good for your health – just like too much sugar.  Did you know, for example, that there are 9 teaspoons of sugar in Lipton Ice Tea?  And even more in Coke?  And have you ever wondered why McDonald’s chips are so delicious?  It’s because they add sugar to it! 

From the above examples it is clear that sugar is one of the big culprits when it comes to our health.  The verdict is not yet finalized on fructose (natural sugars found in fruits).  However, I believe natural is the way to go.  However, if you do use sugar (in your coffee or when you cook or bake something), it is ok.  The key is MODERATION!

Whether you like to have a cheat meal once a month or treat yourself to an ice-cream or cappuccino with cream, do it in moderation.  Our society has become laid-back; it is far quicker and easier to walk into a shop, buy your prepacked meal, warm it up and eat it, than it is to make something yourself.  However, even many of the healthier options, have added sugars, salts, preservatives, and so forth, in order to last longer on the shelves.  Not only will it be a good idea to read the labels first, but also to start cooking and preparing your own meals again – at least then you’ll know what goes into it.  This way, you can start reducing the amounts of extra sugars, salts and preservatives in your diet, and start replacing junk food with more healthier options.  The internet and bookshops are full of lovely recipe-books and recipes.  Just open any magazine today and you’re sure to find a quick and easy recipe that is healthy and yummy at the same time. You can also make it a family-activity; get the kids to help you with peeling and/or chopping the veggies, for example. If time is a problem during the week, why not cook in bulk over the weekend and freeze it for the week ahead?

Healthy doesn’t mean boring and it shouldn’t sound and feel like a burden; if your mindset is right, then it is easier to start making these changes. Step-by-step you and your family can become more healthy and have more energy for those busy days. If you don’t eat a certain foodstuff or don’t drink alcohol, for example, then do so and be happy – regardless of what other people think or say.  After all; it is your body and you have to look after you!

Here are a few examples, some I’m sure you already know:

Swop milk chocolate for dark chocolate;

Swop white bread for whole wheat, rye or brown bread;

Swop fizzy drinks for fruit juice, homemade ice tea or natural flavoured water without the fizziness (add strawberries, mint or lemon to your boiled / tap water);

Swop chips / crisps for salads, nuts, dried fruit and vegetables;

Swop a ready-made burger or pizza with a homemade one.

All in all, health is the new wealth…so why not start today and make some changes if you haven’t already?!  Give it a go, keep going, even if it gets tough, and you’ll reap the rewards in no time!  Good luck!

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