Forget #foodporn; the hashtag #eatclean is probably one of the most-used in this day and age, where it’s trendy to work out, do crossfit, lift weights and participate in obstacle challenges. I’m not a health junkie, but I do try to choose healthier options when I eat, especially since I turned 30 not too long ago. I don’t work out as much as I should or want to, but I try to work up a sweat once a week doing exercise videos on YouTube.
But I also I see a lot of people around me gorging themselves on sausage buns topped with cheese, deep-fried snacks, bagfuls of potato chips and carbonated drinks by the bottle. It worries me that society has been conditioned to think that a quick, cheap meal from the nearby fast food joint qualifies as a proper meal. A meal that consists purely of deep-fried phantom chicken parts, and a tiny sliver of wilted lettuce sandwiched between mayo-laden buns.
The truth is, eating cheap isn’t healthy, and eating healthy – well, it just isn’t cheap.
Just recently, I was told that an acquaintance of mine passed away from a heart attack. He was my age. So, this year, I told myself that I would try to eat cleaner, drink less sugary beverages, and take care of my health.
If you’re thinking of taking the first step, try incorporating these ingredients into your diet, and whenever possible, pack your own lunchbox to work. For the same price or even less, you get a nutritious, high-quality meal that’s not only less burdensome on the body, but also beneficial for your skin.
Probably one of today’s most popular health foods, quinoa is eaten as a rice substitute for many reasons: it’s gluten-free, high in protein and contains all nine essential amino acids. The high content of magnesium, B-vitamins, iron, potassium, calcium, vitamin E and antioxidants also mean that it’s great for anti-ageing. Quinoa contains lysine, which is needed for elastin and collagen synthesis. Lysine also helps the body in its recovery process. Riboflavin, on the other hand, provides skin with elasticity and firmness.
Note: Rinse and drain quinoa before cooking to remove the bitter aftertaste. A ratio of 1 part quinoa to 2 parts water works best, and you can add it to salads as a topping, or eat in place of rice.
These tiny seeds have come a long way since their Chia Pet days. Vitamin E, Omega 3, fibre, zinc, magnesium, protein, potassium… the nutritional values of chia seeds are as extensive as some of our friends’ ex-boyfriend lists. Plus, 2 tablespoons of chia seeds have more Omega 3 than salmon! Long-term consumption of chia seeds helps to strengthen hair and nails, increase energy levels, combat inflammation, and keep skin supple.
Note: Chia seeds don’t have a strong taste, and can be added into any type of drinks. Personally I prefer it as a pudding – hit up the internet to see what creative recipes you can find! Pressed for time? Rawsome (link HERE) does the work for you, in awesome flavours like Mutella (Milo+Nutella), Kombucha Jelly, Orange Chocolate and more.
If you’re not eating enough greens, and detest the thought of shoving salad into your mouth, opt for a green juice instead! Kale, spinach, cucumber, celery, green apple… when mixed in the right amount, can make a perfectly tasty drink, whether to start your morning or as a midday pick-me-up. This all-natural cocktail of vitamins and antioxidants cleanses the body of toxins, and helps you get rid of bloating caused by unhealthy eating.
Note: I prefer to buy my juice because I don’t have a juicer, and the experts make better juice, anyway. I tried making my own once, and I hated it because I just couldn’t get the ratio of fruits:veg correct. It tasted horrible. Thank god for La Juiceria (link HERE) because I have never had a bad juice day since – the juice is forever consistent, and the red juices are wonderful as well.
Avoid eating these foods in large quantities:
That means fizzy drinks, candy, biscuits and the like. It’s great to indulge once in a while, but cut your portion in half, or share it with someone. You don’t have to force yourself to finish it just because you spent money on it. Too much sugar makes your skin sallow, and causes lack of firmness and sagging.
I still love me my morning yogurt and the occasional slice of cheese (yum!), but my facialist told me that too much dairy can cause breakouts and clogged pores, so I try to watch my portions. And it’s true – women have given up dairy to see their acne problems clear up. If you suffer from serious acne which isn’t getting any better, skip dairy products and maybe it will work for you like how it has for many others!
Frozen meals, sausages, deli meat, white bread… society’s favourite. So good, but so bad for you. In order to extend the shelf life, a lot of preservatives go into processed or refined food, so a long-term diet of similar ingredients won’t do your health any good. Flavourings, MSG, hydrogenated oil, artificial sweeteners and food dyes cause side effects such as inflammation, lethargy, and weight problems.
(Images: fairwaymarket.com, foodmatters.tv, bostonmagazine.com, drsharma.ca, thecornishfoodboxcompany.co.uk, primalroost.com, foodfabulous.co.uk)