I’ve been following a low-carb eating style for around 5 years now. I refer to my diet as an eating style because I don’t think that diets are really that effective when it comes to losing weight or actually getting and staying healthy.
I actually believe diets are not a good idea. I realise that statement is a little hypocritical given that this site has the word diet in its name. More on this in a little bit.
Recently, I’ve been trying to figure out how best to write content for an ever growing, low-carb, health focused audience. This site has exceeded all of my wildest dreams in terms of creating a vibrant, buzzing community around healthy lifestyle. Each article has been carefully researched (admittedly, some better than others) to try to help you navigate the overpopulated, muddied-to-hell waters of the seemingly infinite “Diet Ocean”.
In those waters, you’ve probably found lots of articles claiming the latest and greatest extract from previously unknown to man flowers magically reverses ageing. You’ve also heard, seen and maybe even spoken to people claiming to know all the answers about health.
I’m with you, so have I. I’ve also believed some things I probably shouldn’t have.
At least without researching them before I passed that information onto readers of this site.
I’d like to give to you some of the best tips I’ve got after following a low-carb, Paleo style diet for over 5 years consistently.
- TAKE IT EASY
Of all the tips I’ve got for you, this one is the biggest and probably most important. Try and enjoy the process of taking charge of your health through diet. There is little more satisfying then knowing that you’ve done your best in preparing healthy meals. There is little sense in being hard on yourself or on others trying to “fix” their diet. Remember that all you can do is the best possible job right now. Plan for tomorrow’s meals, but don’t obsess about what is and isn’t in your fridge. You will naturally figure out exactly where and on what you need to focus on. Your body will tell you how it really feels in time.
- HANDLE THE BASICS FIRST
I, and many other health advisers (yes, that’s all I really am) focus on driving this home. Getting excited about changing your diet to one that promotes a longer, happier, easier life is magnificent, but in today’s world it does not make sense setting fire to the expensive foods you’ve already got in your home. Start slow. Try to stop buying the bad stuff and begin buying the good stuff. By adding good foods into your diet first and removing bad foods from your diet second you are setting yourself up for success.
- ENJOY YOUR FOOD
This nugget of wisdom isn’t that obvious to some. You are a sense-based being. You have access to some of the most incredible experiences thanks to modern chef’s inventing mouth-watering foods. The range of ingredients you can buy at any local grocery store is absolutely astounding. Use these conveniences to expand your palate. What’s that I hear you say? You don’t like peri-peri chicken livers? How about some Brussells sprouts?
Are you certain?. Unless you have an objection to eating meat (which I totally understand and respect), you really must try organ meats. They are nutritionally superior to any other food you could place inside your body and are often so cheap you wonder if they have been miss-priced. Trust me on this; explore the wonderful world of food. There is little else I have experienced that provides me with as much joy, happiness and feeling of well-being than the development of my ability to prepare delicious meals.
- HAVE TOLERANCE
You will come across people who flat out reject the dietary choices you will make. This is okay. It does not mean you are wrong, or that you are right. All that it means is that you are trying to be healthier.
Some times people won’t want to eat the same food you do. That’s fine, cook them something else. Some people love bread. That’s fine, it’s their choice. Tolerate the decisions others make, no matter how bad they may appear to you. Lead by example, be the change you’d like to see.
- CHEAT, OCCASIONALLY
I have a confession. I absolutely cannot say no to chocolate cake. Particularly if it’s at a birthday, a wedding, or if it has been made with any sort of pride and skill. There is a reason cheat food tastes so good. Just like bright colours, fresh roses and beautiful music appease your eyes, ears and nose, cake does the same thing to your tongue.
Life is too short to limit your “that’s naughty” experiences to nill. Enjoy, but enjoy responsibly.
- APPRECIATE THE ART OF FOOD
This is related to the previous point in that it is about enjoying the art that is cuisine. If you’re out on the town and are afforded the opportunity to order something you would never make for yourself, do it. You have my permission (if that counts for anything). There are few art forms as elaborate, selfless and utterly enjoyable as the art of making fine food. Indulge.
Just like you add good foods to your diet and remove bad foods, think about testing the waters of old every now and again.
Recently, I’ve begun eating polenta on occasion. If you’ve never had a meal with a side of polenta before you are absolutely missing out on a simple, delicious, incredibly inexpensive food. Hardcore followers will hang me for saying this, I’m sure, but I absolutely love the stuff. Mix in some salt flakes and some high quality butter and you’ve got yourself a special experience.
I’ve also tested the waters with some gluten-free, steel cut oats recently too as an attempt to measure how a healthy digestive system reacts to grains after extended periods of grain-abstinence. Some interesting findings were to be had, but I’ll reveal these in a separate article soon.
- LEARN TO COOK WELL
Learning how to cook might seem like a hill too steep to climb, but I have to disagree that it is a difficult skill to master. Simply cook every day. It could be learning how to boil the perfect egg. Make the perfect roast sweet-potatoes or even how to chop more efficiently with your knife. These are skills that you will use your entire life and could afford you some of the most wonderful experiences you could give to yourself, and others.
Since I’ve been able to reliably cook delicious meals I have discovered the sheer joy of being able to put a smile on other’s faces through the language of food. I have no doubt become an absolute, unadulterated foodie and I love it.
- DON’T GO OVERBOARD
Just how I promote learning how to cook well, I also recommend learning how to practice restraint. I went through a period where I was preparing gourmet, multiple ingredient dinners every night, all week long. Not only was it absolutely bank account crushing, it was also a massive time suck. Everything in moderation, even cooking because you love it. Try and eat simple, healthy meals every week. There is nothing wrong with not breaking out your new knives to see how they will do. The weekend is always just around the corner, and there is always something spectacular to cook for you and your loved ones.
I’ve learnt that you can get away with small, intimate meals that require nothing more than one vegetable and a simple cut of meat. Even though I’ve said above that I am an absolute foodie and that learning how to cook well should be a priority of yours, the simple meals will probably always be your favourites. In this I trust.
- ALWAYS GO FULL-FAT
If there is one bit of concrete advice I can give you is that you should always order the top-of the line when it comes to fat percentages. Don’t skimp on the good stuff, right?
If you’re getting meat, try get the best quality fat you can afford and find. If you’re going to drink milk, shoot for full cream and if you’re going to indulge in the mouth-watering world of cheese don’t hold back. Certainly don’t get that imitation stuff. Order the bone marrow if it’s available. Eat the pork belly whenever you can find it.
Hopefully I’ve managed to let you in on some of the ways I’ve managed to maintain a healthy, easy to follow diet in this somewhat long-winded post. I’d like to get to a place where I’m writing more frequently about more relevant topics when it comes to health. I believe that if I’m totally open and honest about my experiences and learnings had through my somewhat relentless persuit of the ultimate balanced diet you will benefit that much more.
Thank you for reading, and thank you for being part of this wonderful adventure!