Just before I woke up this morning, I was fighting evil together with Harry Potter and Ron Weasly. I had a wand too and for some reason I knew how to use it. We were inside a minivan. Hermione Granger was driving.
I have weird dreams. Sometimes Tim Burton movie like, sometimes weirder. A lot of my dreams I forget but sometimes, my dreams are so intense that they stick with me for the whole day. Sometimes they are so intense, that I have to write them down. I do not believe that dreams are trying to tell me something and if they do, they have a strange way of telling it.
But even though I think that dreams are random, one dream has actually changed a big part of my life. It has changed my attitude towards food. I will spare you the details but a field full of emperor penguins and big stone giants were involved. Luckily they were not the reason for my change. It was a man who spoke to me. He looked human but he was not, he was some kind of guardian. He told me that we humans had to change our attitude towards food because we were going in the wrong direction. We needed to go back to the principles. We needed to realize again what food is, a source of nutrition in the first place.
I woke up and I thought: dream or no dream, that fellow was right. We have lost track for a bit. Our ancestors approached food in a whole different way. They were actively searching for the nutrition their bodies needed to stay healthy. If they needed protein, they hunted animals. If they needed vitamins, they searched for fruit. Nowadays, we often eat because we eat.
At that point in my life I was not busy with the nutritional value of food at all. I was not eating unhealthy but I did not consciously choose for a balanced daily/weekly menu. I was not approaching food as a source of nutrition. I did not think about protein, carbs, minerals and vitamins. I just chose a recipe and cooked it. Unaware of its components.
This has changed. Nowadays I am aware of what I eat. I always make a balanced daily and weekly menu so I get all the nutrition I need. I always choose healthy. But what is a good balanced menu and what is healthy?
Nutritionists are driving me nuts with their advice. Some say this is healthy, some say it is not. You should eat this and this and this but then after a year, it turns out it is actually unhealthy. Companies are lying too with their slogans. I do not know what to believe and I stopped listening to them. I am not a nutritionist but I do have common sense. If our ancestors have survived on their menu for thousands of years, so can I. I have disassociated myself from the madness and I like to keep it simple, pure and diverse, just like nature intended. I feel healthy, happy, strong, vital and satisfied with this approach. To keep myself on the right track, I have set myself a couple of rules. Maybe this works for you too.
Eat what you need
In the first place, you eat to stay alive. Maybe you do not think about it when you shop in the supermarket but do not forget that your body survives on the right nutrition. Your body needs protein, carbohydrates, vitamins minerals etc. to stay healthy, otherwise you get weak, sick and in the worse case, you die. When you make up your daily/weekly menu, think about what you need first, then choose your recipe. Try to make a good balance over the day and over the week. Be aware of the nutritional value of ingredients. Eat enough of everything.
For example, in the morning I eat fruit and fibers so I get my vitamins and I wake up my digestion system. In the afternoon I eat a (slow)carbohydrate based lunch for energy and for dinner I eat fish and vegetables for protein, minerals and more vitamins for body maintenance and to restore muscles.
Power Breakfast: Oatmeal with Banana, Dates and Coconut
Learn about the nutritional value of ingredients
To be able to eat what you need, it is useful to learn a few basics about your body and about food components. What contains what? What contains a lot of what? Investigate a little so you know what to choose.
Eat organic food when you can
It is not a secret, a lot of farmers use pesticides. It is also not a secret that pesticides are not only bad for bugs but also for humans. They can cause diseases or are responsible for developmental disorders. You will not notice it straight away but they do have an effect over the long term. Farmers say they wash the fruit or vegetables but in many cases there are still residues of pesticides left. It is better to avoid this and to choose organic. It may be a bit more expensive but hey, you do live a healthier life!
Shop like your grand-grand-grandmother did
It is simple. A potato is a potato. If your grand- grand-grandmother wanted mashed potatoes she bought potatoes and she mashed them. She did not buy some instant potato powder. When you do groceries, buy ingredients which you can recognize and which you can describe with one single word. Make your own sauce from fresh ingredients instead of buying it premade in a jar. Basically, avoid instant/processed food as much as possible so you know what you eat.
Do not eat things you cannot pronounce
In addition to the previous point. When you read the ingredients on a package out loud and you are struggling with pronouncing the words, put it back and walk away. If it does not sound like food, do not put it in your mouth. This way you make sure you eat clean and pure.
Eat highly nutritious food
Some ingredients are healthier than others. Some ingredients contain much more of the good stuff than others. Broccoli contains a lot more vitamin C than an orange for example. Quinoa contains a lot more protein, fibers, minerals and vitamins than many grain species. When you choose for highly nutritious ingredients it is much easier to get the amount of nutrition you need. Also, they make you feel satisfied much longer so you do not feel like snacking.
Healthy lunch: Quinoa Ceviche.
Eat a diverse diet
Make sure you eat a well balanced menu so you will not eat too much of one thing and too little of another. You do not need to eat meat every day, you can eat fish, or nuts. If you have had bread for breakfast and lunch, do not eat pasta in the evening which is wheat again. Eat beans or a salad. Eat different kinds of fruit and vegetables. Eat rice one day and potatoes the other. You get what I mean.
Eat in moderation
Do not eat all day and do not eat massive portions. You do not need it. Your stomach will grow, your hunger will grow and you will get fat, unhealthy and tired because your body is too busy digesting. Eat to nurture your body and not for other reasons. Also, do not eat too less for whatever reason you have. Your body needs fuel to function.
Eat enough fruit and vegetables
I mean really enough. Pasta with tomato sauce is not eating vegetables. Also not if you add 1 zucchini for four persons. Make sure you eat plenty of fruit and vegetables. If you find it difficult to do this, try blending a smoothie in the morning. It is a fast way to get your vitamins, fibers and minerals.
Do not eat junk food
Seriously, why would you do this to yourself? It is unnatural. Why would you chose to put unnatural inside of you? Your body is natural, it does not match. It is one of the big diseases of nowadays society. Avoid every fast food chain. To show you how ridiculous they are, a fast food milkshake contains over 50 ingredients to get an artificial strawberry flavor. Rather make your own with just strawberries. Fast food is sugary, fatty, it contains chemical ingredients, it is not satisfying and it is the worse of the worse quality. Of course, you already knew this.
But I also consider candy, other sugary snacks, instant meals, chips, soft drinks and fruit juices as junk food. If you want something sweet, take a piece of fruit or if you like, bake your own apple-pie from scratch. If you are thirsty, drink water or tea. Preparing something healthy does not have to take long. You can make a healthy and nutritious dish in a couple of minutes so that is never an excuse.
Develop a passion for cooking
Some people do not like to cook. Personally I do not understand that. I love to make something tasty and beautiful with fresh ingredients. I like to give it my devotion and I see it as a passion. Food is so important because it literally becomes a part of me. Also, cooking gives me an opportunity to spoil myself with delicious things. Why do I think that a passion for cooking contributes to healthy eating. Because with passion comes care. I care about food, I care about good ingredients and I care about what I eat. Because I like to cook, I do it often and practice gave me knowledge. I have an understanding about ingredients and therefore I can eat what I need and still make it tasty.
If you do not like to cook, try to figure out why. Recently I heard a cook say, many people do not have enough knowledge about cooking and therefore they see the kitchen as a scary place. Maybe you just have to practice and maybe when you get better, you start to like it. When you give every meal your full devotion, it has to be good!
Learn from others
You can find so many great inspiration nowadays. So many people are putting their healthy and delicious recipes online or they publish them in books. Healthy and pure food has become a big thing. So use the available knowledge and inspiration to learn and to make cooking more fun. There is nothing wrong with copying good things.
Eat healthy and take good care of yourself. Be conscious about your health. If you do this, you will see that you will have much more energy, much more strength to deal with dissapointment and much more power and drive to persuit your dreams and passions. Be healthy, be happy!
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