Wow. I’ve changed. I used to be cool. I actually just ate an Easter egg, and I honestly didn’t enjoy it. This blog post is all about how my tastes have changed and how my healthy journey began. Don’t roll your eyes. I know there are some people who still believe I’m being a typical Aquarian – someone who jumps from obsession to obsession – and that this healthy phase will pass. Oh, I know I’m a typical Aquarian – Hanson (don’t judge me, I was 13!) gardening (this one didn’t last long!) having a perfectly kept house (I reeeeally hate cleaning), cooking Chinese food, Pintrest, the colour pink (I’m still well and truly on this bandwagon) owls (not by choice!!) But you know what? I’m totally loving my healthy living lifestyle and I’m keen to share with you how it all happened. It started with a post on instagram about a book. It was that simple. From here, I read the book and if I’m perfectly honest, I put most of what was said in my ‘too hard’ basket. But I was still intrigued so I started small. I started cooking clean meals maybe once a week. Testing them out on my poor guinea pig of a husband and he put up with a LOT of fails. Oh the things I made! I remember him saying to me, “Why can’t you make normal stuff? The food you used to make was GOOD!”
From here I read more, followed more people on instagram and experimented with recipes. Slowly the ‘hippy shelf’ in our pantry grew to a hippy cupboard until any ‘normal’ food (ie. highly processed, goodness knows what’s in it, quick and easy commercial foods) were quite hard to find in our home.
Contrary to popular belief, it didn’t happen overnight. This process took over a year – starting with trialling almond milk and swapping white sugar with coconut sugar or rice malt syrup and adapting everyday recipes and swapping out processed ingredients with healthier, more natural alternatives. I can now proudly make a ‘cheesecake’ (ie. no cheese in site) that tastes awesome and gets the tick of approval from others. My chicken nuggets are a hit, peanut butter (also known as Uncle B’s pirate butter by my nephew) is homemade, muesli is in constant demand and I’ve not enjoyed regular milk chocolate for about six months now. I LOVE being able to make naughty foods good and knowing exactly what’s in my food, how it was made and that there are no additives, preservatives or things in there I can’t pronounce makes me very, very happy.
No longer do I count calories. Gone are the days of swapping homemade juice or smoothies for a zero calorie Diet Coke. Yep, LOTS of calories in the first two but have you ever read the ingredients in Coke? Can you tell what they are or even how to pronounce them? No? THIS is why I don’t have it. Except for the occasional rum and coke – hey, I’m a Queenslander!
To begin with, I started with the theory that for packaged food, if it’s got more than four ingredients in it or I couldn’t pronounce an ingredient (except for foods with weird names like quinoa – pronounced keen-waa by the way, not quin-oh-ah like I first thought!) I probably shouldn’t be eating it. Sounds pretty simple right?
So one night I was in my local supermarket with B, and he left me looking at dried dates. Ten minutes later, he called my phone to ask where I was. I was still in the exact same spot, still reading date labels. I find food labels fascinating. Tinned tomatoes, corn, tuna, corn thins, microwave brown rice packets, coconut milk. These are just a few of the things that I have become SO fussy over, because I don’t believe there’s a need for added sugar, salt, preservatives, acidity regulators and goodness knows what else. I now spend most of my time and budget in the fresh fruit and vege section. Buying local, Australian grown (WA preferred for me) healthy foods that fill me up and nourish my body. I flavour my food with herbs and spices and in 90% of cases, I know every single ingredient that’s in my food. It’s quite a good feeling, both inside and out. And yes, I am a food geek.
My next goal was to remove a few things from my ‘too hard’ basket. Things like swapping ‘real’ chocolate with paleo chocolate; making a clean birthday cake and not eating like a pig on special occasions. I used to scoff at clean eaters who would claim a bliss ball was a treat. I’m now that person. Treats for me are now clean and healthy ones, not overly processed foods and this is what I prefer. Don’t get me wrong, it takes time and temptations are out there but over time, my tastebuds have changed and I just don’t seem to crave the unhealthy stuff.
Some of my proudest clean foodie moments have been when:
- B enjoys and compliments a healthy, clean meal.
- B makes a clean recipe himself (although there is still some form of reluctance on his part, he just doesn’t have the ‘normal’ ingredients he wants cause I refuse to have regular sugar/syrups/flour in the house!)
- on my suggestion, Dad now has almond milk on his morning cereal – I still can’t believe this one!
- my sister makes special ‘Dan friendly’ meals when I come over for dinner (this one is SO sweet, I am always so grateful when she does this).
- my Mumzie asks for my healthy recipes she sees on my instagram.
- friends ask for my recipes or advice on how to get started with healthy eating – this one is my favourite!
I never thought I’d get to this point in my life and it’s not always been easy. There are a few haters out there and many people who tell me I’m boring, criticise my eating or try to tempt me with unhealthy foods but 90% of the time, I’m not swayed. I’ve always been a big foodie. I LOVE trying new foods, trying different countries cuisines and sampling new restaurants so the change from eating pretty much everything to how I eat now has come as a bit of a shock to some people (most of all me!) Sure, if wine or cheese is on offer, or a real Italian pizza I might have some but I definitely don’t feel guilty cause I know that most of the time I eat really, really well.
I’m no expert and definitely no saint. I’m also not qualified in any way, shape or form to give anyone health advice – this is simply a blog post about me and how I live my healthy life. If you DO want tips or advice, drop me a line, I’m ALWAYS up for a chat about food/exercise/superfoods/yoga. Until next blog post, stay sparkly! Dan xx