Everyone’s got one. Mine is simple… I eat everything. But I do so consciously, keeping moderation and variety in mind.
What does that mean in the real world…?
I eat vegetarian five nights out of seven, sometimes more. There is cow milk, nut milk and coconut milk on rotation in my fridge. There is always cheese. (Remember Frenchie?). I eat wheat and gluten but I have a big enough variety of grains, seeds and nuts in my pantry that if I want to go gluten free, I can. I buy different coloured vegetables, vary them from week to week and try to keep it seasonal. I predominantly use natural sugars, mostly honey or rapadura. It’s been a long time since I’ve baked a white flour/sugar/butter cake but that doesn’t stop me from indulging when I’m out and about.
Being mindful about what we eat is important. But it is just as, if not more important, to be mindful of how we eat…
I stick to three meals a day – breakfast, lunch, dinner. No snacks in between. Why? Having 5-6 hours between meals gives the gastrointestinal tract time to digest properly, rest and then prepare for the next meal. Try it. You’ll realise what it is to be hungry again, in a good way. You’ll also cut down on a bunch of extra calories that your body doesn’t really need.
Serve smaller portions. As a kid it was drilled in to me to finish what’s on the plate so as not to waste food. The problem with this is that the visual cue of ‘empty plate’ is used as a stop sign instead of the internal cue of ‘I’m full’. The end result – we over eat. Don’t get me wrong, not wasting food is a good sentiment but there are better methods.
Eat slowly. Chew. It takes time for your stomach to tell your brain that it’s full. About 20 mins according to word on the street. If you gulp it all down, you’ll miss the signal to stop and eat more than you need. Chewing also starts the digestive process making it easier on the rest of your gut.
Finish eating 3 hours before bed. That way by the time you’re ready to lie down, your gut has done a good chunk of its work and is a little more chilled out. Ultimately you’ll fall asleep quicker. Apparently its part of good sleep hygiene. (I fail miserably at this one… it’s all a work in progress right?)
Lastly, whenever possible, eat with others. You’ll enjoy food more if you have good company with which to share it. Rarely do I have much motivation to cook if it’s just me, but if other people are involved I’ll happily spend the time prepping in order to enjoy the sharing.
So there are a few thoughts on what and how to eat. Another essay could be written on what and how to source food. Perhaps another day…