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Your practical guide to healthy eating: Have you got what it takes? 

Diets, fasts, juicing, raw, vegan, vegetarian, paleo, sugar free, gluten free…..there are so many different ways we can choose to eat. Eat to be slim, juice to glow, gluten free to reduce the bloat. So many reasons to amend diets, and yet, it is sooo confusing!

When thinking about what to eat, we should remember that we have different nutritional requirements depending on our age, sex, levels of activity, lifestyle and medical conditions. Infants through to adolescence will require increased calcium for healthy bone growth, as well as essential omegas for brain development; athletes will require more protein to ensure muscle health; and getting into middle age means an increased need for vitamins B6, B12, folate, vitamin D and calcium. Food itself can also be used to treat and aid a whole array of ailments. If you think that the major killers today are primarily caused by the foods and toxins associated with these foods, as well as the cooking processes, it is hardly surprising that choosing the right foods can also alleviate these diseases and their related symptoms.

The next time you go food shopping, take a good look at what is in your shopping trolley. How many items are actually processed? Fried? Refined – white bread, white sugar, white rice? How much of it contains sugar? Read the label – there are more than 60 different names for artificial sweeteners, so do you really know what you are eating? The ideal situation is that your trolley should not have any of these items! They are food products that are not ´normal´ for human bodies to genetically identify with. How many items are fresh – fruits, vegetables, fish, meat? How about whole foods – seeds, nuts? These are the foods that should make up the large percentage of your shopping list should you choose to have a nutritious and healthy diet.

The intention of this article is not to provide you with an individualised diet sheet, that would be impossible and irresponsible. Every person is a world of their own, and in order to advise on any particular dietary change would require a lengthy consultation. However, as someone who spent most of her early years dieting and battling the bulge, I can say that dietary and lifestyle changes only come with mind setting changes. This requires a lot of deleting old thoughts we have been conditioned with, and re-programming with 100% acceptance to a healthier way of living. Diet and lifestyle changes require several steps, here they are:

1. Thinking about the changes you want to make: you are aware that you need and want to make changes in your lifestyle and diet for a reason specific to you. Remember that the short term goal may be getting into that dress, or reducing cholesterol or inflammation, but the long term goal is staying that size in a healthy way, maintaining the cholesterol down and reducing inflammation.

Start by thinking through the short, medium and long term goals. Be realistic about it.

2. Prepare for making the change: This is when you inform yourself about the changes you need to make, and put pen to paper. Make as realistic a plan as possible – plan shopping, logistics, storage etc.

3. Initiate change: Now go for it! Be positive, get rid of all the products you no longer want in your life from your home, car, work place. Write down some affirmations – ´I can put this plan into action´, ´I am healthy and energetic´. The biggest battle is how you think – a treat is not pumping your body with refined sugar, fats and chemicals. A treat is a delicious chia porridge with coconut and blueberrys. When you see food items for what they truly are – fresh, vibrant and alive vs. packaged, dull and chemical ridden, you will find the rest easy.

4. Keep it going! Once you have incorporated these changes, embraced your new life, share the news with friends and family, get a support group that will empathise and also benefit from changes in their eating habits. Inspire!

Remember that you can always get help from a professional for advice on making any changes, as well as find lots of information on the web and in books. Just remember that web pages cannot replace advice from someone with experience. If your body is screaming change, if you are frustrated, this is the time to go for it!

For more information and information on my cookingand nutrition workshops, you can go to Kaos Factory Project in facebook, or email me at kaosfactoryproject@gmail.com

Author: Gemma Ortiz Genovese, BSc (Hons), MSc