Eat healthy, be healthy!

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Travelling all the time and having a kind of hectic way of life, I have always chosen easy over healthy. I love eating out, I enjoy take-aways and my fridge has been weekly stocked up with ready meals. And how not to fall into temptation when at most supermarkets you can get 3 microwavable ready meals for £6-£8?

No wonder that I started to feel ill… I’ve put weight on, I felt very tired all the time, I couldn’t sleep an entire 8 hours without waking up several times during the night, my stomach started to play up more often (after the ulcer I had when I was 18 I was left with a very sensitive stomach). However, I never thought that the way I was feeling could be caused by the food I was eating.

 

Something had to change!

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In the past I have had a failed attempt to try the elimination diet, which is supposed to make you realise which groups of food make your body react badly. It’s a long process that can take months. The diet pretty much goes back to basics and forces your stomach to adapt again to food. It’s drastic but it’s supposed to work. I gave up after 3 weeks because of my lifestyle. I travel too much and when I stay in hotels I don’t have a kitchen in which I can cook and control the ingredients in my meals.

This summer however, I gave it another go. I didn’t go to the extreme, as last time though. I did eliminate from my diet all the grains, dairy, sugars, all processed foods, cans, jars, and alcohol. So I’ve been left with meat, eggs, fruits and vegetables. That’s all!

 

How do I feel?

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Was it hard? Let’s just say that eliminating sugar from your diet feels like a drug withdrawal. For about two weeks I was anxious, I felt like everything was irritating me, I crave it, but I didn’t give up. Every time I felt a sugar craving I ate a cherry tomato. And let me tell you, there were a lot of cherry tomatoes involved!

I am not a doctor and I can’t do any recommendations on how to get healthier, I am talking only from what I noticed about myself. For years I have been suffering from tiredness. It might not sound like a serious illness, but feeling like going to bed by midday and drinking strong coffee just to keep awake is not normal. I would spend weekends in bed, watching Netflix and taking naps. And I still didn’t feel like I had enough rest. After starting to eat healthy, I felt my energy coming back. I still do feel tired but a 20 minutes nap at around 3PM gives me enough energy to continue a normal life.

I am sleeping so much better, I go to bed at around 11PM and don’t wake up until 7AM. No more being awake and staring at the ceiling in the middle of the night, counting sheep and trying to fall asleep. My skin is much softer.

I didn’t yet feel like I’ve lost any weight, but that involves physical activities and not just a healthy diet. I am planning to restart my dance lessons this autumn. Whilst I do like going to the gym, I prefer group classes over trying to figure out how the machines work. I do hope that soon I will find a gym nearby that has a pool and continue my morning swimming. I moved recently, and I am yet to find a suitable gym. Plenty of cross-fit ones in my new neighbourhood, but that’s not my thing. 😊

Overall, I feel much better inside my skin!

 

What do I eat?

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I don’t want to look at my choice as it’s a diet, I want to look at it as a lifestyle change. I want to be able to still enjoy all foods, but with moderation. This is why I am determined to continue with this extreme for a couple of more months. You know what they say, it takes 21 days to change a habit!

Eliminating most of the food groups out of my diet has been a challenge, especially regarding what I can and can’t eat. Eating healthy is not easy but I did manage to find and adapt recipes so that I can still get all the protein and vitamins my body needs in order to function properly.

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I do love to cook and I am a fan of flavours, so I have been making quite a lot of recipes from Dhruv Baker’s cookbook, Spice. I like how simple but healthy the recipes are, and how he combines spices to create layers of flavour. The Malabar prawn curry has been my favorite, and whilst it does uses canned coconut milk, which is not 100% natural, I have learned to make my own. Do you know how easy it to make your own coconut milk? All you need is shredded coconut and hot water. Also, I make my own tomato sauce, which is as simple as blending them inside a mixer.

I am eating only two times a day, breakfast and dinner, so in between I am either replacing lunch with the XLS Nutrition protein powder (available at all big supermarkets and drugstores) or eat whatever fruit is in season (currently watermelon). The XLS Nutrition is an aid of vitamins, minerals and macronutrients that gives my body the energy I need. I like that it’s gluten free and non-gmo, without any nasty ingredients. Usually you would make the shake with milk, but as I am lactose intolerant, I prefer to make it with almond milk, which gives it a nutty taste.

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For breakfast I usually have one or two eggs with different vegetables. Some of my favourite combinations include poached eggs and avocado, or soft-boiled eggs and asparagus. I rarely fry the eggs.

For dinner, I make curry quite often. Because I don’t eat grains, instead of making rice as a side I prefer adding more vegetables in it. I also love roasted cauliflower. I found an amazing recipe here that simply transforms this underrated vegetable. Among other dishes I often eat I can mention baked fish on a bed of vegetables, Italian caponata, mushroom and zucchini bake, lots of fresh salads, grilled pork, beef steak or chicken curry.

 

Where am I heading to?

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This is actually a very good question! I don’t want to live all my life restricting myself, but I do want a lifestyle change. I want to be and feel healthier! And if that means sacrificing a few months to get to that point, where my body is in perfect shape again, then be it. One of the things I miss most eating is cheese. But looking forward, I know that I will be able to eat it again, but in moderation. I want to be able to enjoy going to a restaurant for a quality dinner and not feel guilty for having an ice cream on a hot summer day. My point is that when you have a healthy lifestyle, as long as you introduce moderation in your diet and life, you will be able to enjoy it better! Thinking back, those years of eating unhealthy ready meals have taken away precious moments that I will never get back! As life is meant to be lived, not slept!

What do you think?

 

Disclaimer: I have written this post in collaboration with XLS Nutrition.

Some of the links one this website are “affiliate links.” This means that if you click on the link and do a purchase, I will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost for you. This helps me keep my website running and continue to share my traveling knowledge with you. I thank you for booking your flights or hotels using the links on my website. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.

Traveler. Dreamer. Cat lover. Wondering around the world with my backpack and my camera. Contributing to make the world a better place.

53 Comments

  1. One of the toughest decisions I’ve made within the last few months is changing my food intake.

    I used to be a lover of Junks (basically it’s them as meal). But due to medical advice and it’s effect on my well-being, I had to put them to stop.

    Now I’m on a more healthier side plus a massive change physically.

  2. I’m a vegetarian but never taught my kids to be one. i wanted them to eat what they really want but I always make sure they have a proper diet.

  3. After my surgery, even i had to make many lifestyle changes, and food intake was one of the main ones. I understand the value of proper food input, and nourishments, more than anyone. I sufferred becuase of bad food behavior.

  4. For me going vegan has extremely helped with my health. Even when I wasn’t vegan, I found that clean eating was the way to go at all times. I am so happy to see that you are finding combinations of foods that work for you.

  5. I definitely feel better after reading this post! I commend you for making healthier choices, it’s really not easy when temptation is all around us! I love caponata a lot, and eat plenty when we’re back in Sicily. I wish you well on your healthy eating journey!

  6. It’s all about finding that balance, which I’m still working on. This summer I went on the Keto diet which was extremely effect. I felt great overall cutting all carbs from my diet and it was a great ‘reset’. Unfortunately, I found it just wasn’t maintainable. It helped overall get me on the right track though and give me new insight on the foods I eat. I’m overall more conscious of what I put into my body than ever before even if I am gradually re-introducing some carbs back into my diet. I think this is a great approach and I am so happy to hear it’s working for you. The meals look delicious and satisfying.

  7. I tried cutting sugar out of my diet and lasted only a few days! I felt all of the same symptoms you mentioned but couldn’t handle it! I now want to try again with all of your new tips!

  8. When you take a healthier lifestyle. it can be more helpful to your body. removing sugar from my diet is not an easy process I’ve been through on that. because I love chocolates but being discipline person motivates to achieve my healthy lifestyle. Kudos for you.!

  9. I’m trying to eat more healthy too and cutting off sugar was the hardest thing. So far I have stopping using it in my tea and coffee, but still have time to time chocolate and candy x

  10. Elimination diets are incredibly challenging! I’ve had to do one a few times due to food allergies and an autoimmune disorder. They definitely take forever to figure things out but luckily I had the help of my doctor to get through everything. Cutting out sugar and junk have helped tremendously.

  11. I’m so glad that you’re feeling better! I’ve found eating things with white flour and sugar make me super tired and groggy. I’ve been trying to stick to mostly fruits, vegetables, and beans. It’s really hard – I hear you on the sugar withdrawal. But as I start feeling better and better, it gets easier to stick to.

  12. I went vegan a few years ago and the first month I felt amazing – only eating fruits and vegetables. Then I discovered vegan snack foods and started eating those. Big mistake. Good on you for eating healthier!

  13. Good luck with your change, I hope you will manage to keep this new lifestyle choice going for a long time! Sometimes good support from your family and friends can make the difference.

  14. I’m glad you feel better! I’ve tried the elimination diet and it was difficult but it helped me so much. I learned that I am severely allergic to gluten and sugar and dairy aggravate my stomach. I stopped eating these and I don’t have the stomach pain and joint pain anymore.

  15. Wow, great job on your lifestyle change! I can only imagine how difficult the elimination diet, big kudos to staying on track. On a recent trip to Senegal for a few weeks I realized how my gut felt a lot better without so much dairy in my diet, so since being back I’ve limited it. It’s made a huge difference in life. I agree with enjoying things in moderation. I’d really like to try to give up/majorly cut sugar from my diet someday, I just can’t seem to muster up the motivation and stamina to really put my all into that challenge.

  16. This period of getting back on track is probably just what you need. I know I would benefit from a period of being really strict and then easing myself into a new healthier lifestyle. I need to look for those shakes.

  17. The sooner we adopt this mantra – eat healthy to stay healthy – better for all of us. I too have given up on sugar and feel lot better. Along with this good amount of exercise too helps.

  18. So many good tips. I am in the place where I want to change up my diet a lot as well. Diet is so important to see and make a change! All great tips and I will be coming back for recipes!

  19. I’ve heard of this through some who have had children with allergies and they are breastfeeding. I can’t imagine how difficult it is.

  20. Congrats on making this change towards a healthier diet! When I started being more mindful about what I eat, I saw improvements in every single area of my life, not to mention how my body changed.

  21. I am a physician and do not have the most healthy diet. I dislike diets but have worked hard to eliminate many of the things you listed. Rare dairy and no canned foods. But processed foods are still a problem.

  22. Wow! I envy you. I can totally relate about the withdrawal. It seems I can handle the no carb diet, but the no sugar. Oh my gosh…I will get really crazy. And then I pity the kids because I can be a monster mom. But I would really like to be healthier. I dunno if I can do it though.

  23. I definitely think the biggest struggle for me would be giving up sugar as I have such a sweet tooth but great to hear that you are looking after your body and that you are feeling a positive impact from this

  24. It’s so important for each person to find what works best for him or her. Congrats to you for figuring out what you needed to do to get healthier. I absolutely agree that eating right has to be a lifestyle change, not just another diet.

  25. This post totally resonates with me. I am in the same phase, trying to eat healthy but not restrict myself completely from my cravings. I am also trying to make a lifestyle change

  26. I am actually eating better for my body and thats why I have went pescatarian. It has changed my life for the last 5 plus months and like you, I used to get so sleepy and I think it was due to eating so much meat. Now I have more energy not so lethargic every time I eat a meal.

  27. I didn’t know it takes 21 days to change a habit! That’s a new one for me! I don’t know whether I could do this kind of doet/lifestyle change, but I do think I should try it x

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