What I Eat and Why: The Type of Food That Makes Me Feel Good
And so here it is! A fitness trainer and yoga teacher’s food diet.
What is it that I eat? The million dollar food question, the question I get asked all the time. And even more: Is it healthy food? How do I know it’s healthy? Is it gluten-free? Why do I bake gluten-free cakes? Am I vegan? Is it better to be a vegetarian? Do I eat dairy? AND…drumroll…do I lose weight because of what I eat? Yes and No. But I’m not going to write here about my Ketogenic diet experience or my Intermittent Fasting success story. I’ll keep that for another time because I think it’s a long subject and I need to break that up. First, the food questions. Next article, the eating habits!
Lately, that I’m immersing myself in the world of yoga studios and personal training sessions I get to talk with many people totally confused with what they need in terms of fitness and nutrition. There’s too much noise, too much information coming from all sides, different people professing health miracles, online programmes, visual references to what a healthy recipe should look like.
This is what I tell my fitness clients/students, “I eat what I want, I eat what I crave. And what I want and crave happens to be also good for me, or at least better than what I used to eat.”
Is what I eat good for you? I honestly don’t know.
And the food advice and nutritional plans I design for my clients are so personalised that I can hardly generalise.
All I say to them at first is, “Don’t jump into anything without first testing it. Take your time. Shield yourself from healthy trends.”
What I Eat
I eat or better I drink many fresh veg smoothies. I don’t juice. I have a powerful blender and I make smoothies. I don’t have anything against juicing so if you love your juices keep doing that. In my case, I don’t eat much of cooked veg and so this is a good chance for me to eat fresh vegetables and get the daily dietary fiber my body needs. Why I don’t eat cooked veg? Because I don’t like them. Most of them. I’m talking about spinach, kale, leafy greens. I love them and find them delicious raw in salads and smoothies. Is cooking vegetables better than eating raw? Some research suggests that eating cooked vegetables is healthier because they retain their nutrients better, like spinach. There’s also research supporting that raw vegetables keep their micronutrients when eating raw and that raw fruit and veg is associated with better mental health. There’s no right way other than how you feel about it. I have clients that they can’t digest raw vegetables and so there they have their answer, no daily vegetable smoothies.
I eat legumes, I love beans and chickpeas BUT I can’t easily digest them. I feel instantly full and I have a hard time waking up the next day. So I either eat them early in the day or not at all. Are they healthy? If you cook them at home and you make say your own hummus without adding processed stuff or sugar or sunflower oil…it’s healthier in my book.
Which brings us to SUGAR! I don’t eat granulated sugar since February 2018. Why? Because I realised after quitting for a week that I had so much more energy, the good type, the productive energy. When I reintroduced it to my diet I instantly felt strange, sloth-y, confused, nervous! I tried having a slice of cake or a chocolate mousse now and then but it’s always the same for me. I tested my sugar levels but what seems to be the reason is that table sugar and starchy food affects my hormones and that’s why it feels so bad. What I eat instead? I replaced table sugar with coconut sugar and stevia chocolates and it works much better! I don’t feel “heavy” after eating a slice of cake and I can bake anything without compromising on flavour. Total win. If there’s a downside to that choice, as my clients see it, is that you won’t get to order a dessert in a restaurant or you won’t eat the cake at a birthday party-unless it’s my birthday, my cake ;) I get it, it’s constricting but it’ll work out if you give it some time. And I was the cookie monster, I was a sugar person. So how did I do that? How can I resist sugar? That’s for another post, for now, I’ll just say that I don’t feel like I’m missing out. What do I order in restaurants? I order a cheese platter or an espresso. Maybe even a G&T. Make it your own!
And then there’s the grains and the seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, quinoa, the whole grain flour, the wholegrain spelt, the wholegrain rice (I’ll eat the occasional white rice for sushi or when in a restaurant), the wholegrain everything. I love my whole grain bread, my GF bread, sometimes I bake it myself most of the times I just buy it ready. I don’t eat more than a couple of slices a day though. And I don’t eat white wheat pasta, not any more. Same story as the sugar story. The minute I eat white wheat pasta I can instantly fall asleep. And the next day I’m still in a zone out mood, no concentration. This coming from a girl that used to eat only big bowls of pasta after partying at 4 am. And this girl lived a full life, studied, went to give exams with no sleep etc. But that was then, the magical pasta years. Maybe it’s just catching up on me, my pasta past.
I love dairy. I don’t drink dairy milk but I can’t resist yoghurt and cheese. I mean I could and I should (for ethical reasons that I totally agree with)but the fact that I can easily digest them makes me postponing the break-up. And I love cheese and dairy yoghurt (no, I don’t like soy yoghurt that much) the same way I loved sugar and white wheat pasta. I also don’t like processed like-cheese, full of sugar and flavouring. And are grains healthy? What about the pesticides they’re sprayed with? So, are dairy products healthy? Definitely not…unless you make your own cheese from your own happy cow or sheep or goat in your own farm. But you got to lose a little. Poisoning yourself with alcohol or with dairy or with sugar, it’s a choice health-wise proportionate. Ethically yes, I don’t even want to think about how I eat dairy from unhappy and often bad-treated sentient beings. That’s something I need to work on.
Eggs the same as dairy. I love eggs and not only I love eating them but I also love how I feel after eating them. Eating eggs for dinner the day before an important event? Yes! That’s my favourite meal when I need to be in total charge of my day.
I could go on and write so much more but I have to stop and make this an easy post to read. Let’s just say you need to test it on yourself and see what makes you feel good when you eat it. It can be physical but also ethical. It can be because things are changing and we are getting older and maybe we need to evaluate the food we eat a bit more often. And don’t do any diets that don’t fit your spirit! Spirit is more important than body image, remember.
I’ll be back with another article on what my clients eat before and after our training. I know this is something many of you are interested in. Talk soon, Sofia