Is what I am eating really healthy? You might not be posing this question before starting your every meal.
We all know it is important to look after our health, to care for our bodies and to eat healthy food. It´s common sense. But putting a healthy lifestyle into practise, developing and growing into a routine of being healthy is a whole different thing. However, the decision of what to eat should not give us so much freedom to decide – and here´s why.
If we eat we usually experience instant pleasure. We are excited, our mouths start to water when we think about greasy, cheesy, meaty food that will fill us with a quick and instant pleasure. When we think about a delicious chocolate cake exposing its’ rich flavours in our mouth or ice cream melting down our throat. I guess, I’ve already made you hungry, have I?
Food plays such an important and central role in our life. We eat food every day, three or more times a day. But we forget about what exactly we put into our mouths. We forget if this food is really going to nourish us in the long run. Will it help us to grow or will it eventually get us into an early grave? We tend to forget that we eat to live, not live to eat. Eating should not become the central focus of our life nor should it become neglected. We eat to live. We need nutrients to fuel us, we need oil for our body, to keep the machine going – year after year after year.
But what happens in our hectic lifestyle, when we run to the supermarket in the morning just to by a ham and cheese sandwich for lunch? What happens if we choke down our food without enjoying it, feeling empty soon afterwards and wanting more? What happens to our bodies 40, 50, 60 years from now when we grow older? Will the machine run as well as now? Or will it be rotten and broken by cheap oil and too little exercise?
All these questions – important questions – we need to ask ourselves once we put something into our mouth the next time. Will this keep me fit 60 years from now? Will this food benefit my health or will it provoke disease sooner or later? Our main cause of death heart diseases and stroke – which are proven to result from an unhealthy lifestyle.
We are so caught up in our fast living, hectic, production driven world that we forgot to take time for the little, but important things. And what could be more important than food which is directly connected to your health.
Our valuable health
Our health is the most important thing we have. Nothing can have worse impacts on our quality of life than our physical and mental health. While the second one is a whole other topic, the first one is being dealt with in a very neglected way. Especially when it comes to food we tend to strive for pleasure and for instant satisfaction. It´s natural wanting to feel good and to enjoy something. But we need to use our brain first. We cannot keep living like most people are living now. It´s neither helping the planet, nor our health, but destroying our bodies and our environment.
Healthy in the future?
Just picture yourself 60 years from now. How would you want your condition of health to be? I regularly see people who are 70, 80 years old, overweight, walking with a crouch or driving a wheelchair. While this might seem normal for some people, it should not reflect life of an old person. Who doesn’t want to be able to run around like a 40-year-old while being 80? I guess most of us do. So, we can prevent this to happen to us, we can proactively choose another way of life.
I know for sure that when I am 80 I want to be able to travel, to ride horses, to do anything I want to do. And we can. If we follow the right diet, if we think about our future we will still be happy and healthy once we´re old. If not, we will follow a sad, unhappy and unhealthy lifestyle.
A personal story
I can even tell you a personal story how eating healthy transformed my life for the better. I am a vegan and have been one for 2 and a half years now. So, I already ate healthier than most people probably. However, I do have a sweet tooth. I do like chocolate, cookies, cakes – and I still do. But not so long ago I could not get enough of them. So, once I turned vegan I looked out for the vegan opportunities. I wasn´t so concerned about my health, I wanted good food, sweets. I ate whatever I wanted – and gained quite some weight as I continued to eat more processed food and way more sugar and sweets. I felt like I needed something sweet to fulfil me, to make me happy. And so I kept on eating like this quite a while.
It was only recently that I discovered my love for healthy food again. And I can say that I won´t fall off that wagon any time soon. I´m feeling too good, I have too much energy to reconsider my choices. I love to wake up every morning to eat my smoothie bowl, my oatmeal with a ton of fruits or just a huge slice of watermelon with some grains and soy yoghurt. I could not think about something better to start my day with. But did I get back to this feeling again?
Well, it all started when I wanted to lose weight. I didn´t feel comfortable in my skin anymore, I felt too fat, my body felt blown up like balloon. Objectively speaking I know that this was just a personal feeling, I was in no sense overweight. But you don’t need to be overweight to feel uncomfortable. In fact, a lot of people I know don’t feel comfortable and have an amazing body in my opinion. But, I was like that as well, I didn´t feel comfortable in my skin, I didn´t feel good walking around in a bikini, I didn´t want to show too much of my body. I was not too self- conscious, because I accepted the way I was, but I still had the nagging feeling of not being fully happy with myself and wanted to change something about it. I knew it was possible.
Feeling confortable in my skin
So, when I moved to Barcelona I decided to eat healthy from this day on. I started to cut down the sugar, now I am almost sugar free. I still enjoy sweets, but homemade ones which I sweeten with dried fruits, raisins, dates and so on. There are so many ways to get healthier sugar than the white one you can find in every supermarket. I always cook for myself and rarely go out to eat. I like to take my time to cook because I know what I put into my food and I know what kind of food I need. You should never have an excuse not to cook. Food plays such an important role in our life that we can skip the step of producing it ourselves. Because most of the food you can buy outdoors won´t benefit your health at all. It will just give you the quick instant pleasure we talked about before.
Learn how to cook!
If you don´t know how to cook it´s time to learn – staring now! With a lot of YouTube tutorials and detailed recipes it´s not that hard anymore. Just go for the simple ones – simple can be delicious as well! You just need to give it a try, sooner or later you will figure it out.
I myself started to cook when I was young, and I am glad I enjoy it a lot. But even if I don´t feel like it after a stressful day I would still do it as I value the long-term benefits of my nutrition more than the instant pleasure of a burger.
Of course, I still go out to eat occasionally. But when I do, I pick vegan restaurants who mostly are quite healthy already. If you go out to eat only healthy – go for it! But unfortunately, there are not so many good options out there. That´s why a home cooked meal can lengthen your life significantly. Just think about it the next time you walk into a supermarket; the next time you are tempted to eat something you know will be bad for you. I am not saying you should restrict yourself and only eat salad the whole time. You should be able to thrive in food, to enjoy it and love what you are eating. But this is as possible with healthy vegan options, with sugar free options as with all other foods. Just give it a try for a week. Then compare your energy level, the way you sleep and how you feel in general. If you feel a difference, you might want to stay in there for longer.
To start out, here´s a recipe for a very healthy (and delicious) green smoothie:
- 1 Banana
- ½ green apple
- ½ peach
- 10 raspberries
- 1/3 cucumber
- A big hand full of spinach
- ½ avocado
- Chia seeds
- Hemps seeds
- Flax seeds
- ¼ l Soy milk
This smoothie is packed with greens – but doesn’t taste like it at all! The fruits “cover” the taste of greens for those who are still experimenting with them – this smoothie is a good start as it won´t taste like spinach or cucumber at all! So, let´s give it a try, shall we?
This green smoothie is self- explanatory. Cut all your fruits, vegetables and greens into smaller pieces and put them into a blender. If your blender is not as strong (like mine) you can do it on two times. Pour in the soy milk and last but not least the seeds. I usually take one to two tablespoons of all of them – but you can vary them however you like. Then blend it all up and you´re ready to go! This smoothie is also perfect as a breakfast or after a work out as it leaves you with a lot of important nutrients.
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