One big game changer in terms of my mental health, was when I started looking after my body. I was always slim as a child but when I was 15 I was put on the pill due to severe acne, and I put on a lot of weight. It was put down to just ‘becoming a woman’ (as the pill doesn’t actually make you gain weight…yeh ok), but already suffering with anxiety at this point, it wasn’t hard to turn my anger and hatred on to my body when it started changing. It didn’t look like these images in the magazines, so that to me it was just something else that didn’t make me ‘normal’. My weight didn’t regulate until I came off the pill when I was 21 (funny that!) but before that I literally tried everything to lose the weight I’d gained, even resorting to throwing up after I ate for a couple of years.
As I approached my late-20s I started to become more interested in being healthy, rather than being thin. I became fascinated with healthy eating and did a lot of Googling on what was being put in our food, and the truth about what we should eat, especially the myth that fat makes you fat. I even became a nutritional coach for a time and really enjoyed it, but it wasn’t where my heart lay. It did however teach me a lot about what I should and shouldn’t be putting into my body.
My fiancé and I have a pretty healthy diet, although we aren’t strict. We love red wine and naughty food at the weekends. If we go out for dinner I’ll pick pizza over salad (I feel salad is a false economy and a waste of money – I can eat salad at home thank you very much). But even though we felt like we were eating ‘clean’ most of the time (we try not to buy anything pre-packed or processed) we’re not fabulously wealthy, and we were finding that getting our 5-a-day was really difficult. We also wanted to get our vegetable quota in on days when we were being naughty (food wise – I know what you were thinking!)
So, we decided to invest in a smoothie maker. With me not ‘working’ for money at the moment, we immediately dismissed the intensely popular and ‘blender of the moment’ Nutribullet, but we were careful to select a blender instead of a juicer as the latter removes all that good fiber stuff. We decided on the Breville Blend Active for £20 from Amazon! And it is literally the best thing we have bought kitchen gadget wise, especially because you can blend straight into the bottle! It’s super exciting lol.
Now this blog is not going to showcase recipe after recipe of healthy meals and smoothies; I’ll leave that to the thousands of bloggers who do a much better job than I ever could, but I thought it was important to talk a little bit about nutrition as I truly believe that you cannot achieve the best version of yourself without looking after your mind and body in equal measure. I look up a lot of recipes online…and then do my own thing (much to the annoyance of my fiancé who has to follow a recipe word for word or he has a meltdown).
One thing I will say about those healthy living blogs; I cannot afford organic!! (although I do think that in America it is more important to eat organic due to the chemicals they use on their non-organic foods. Something we don’t have to worry about too much in the UK). So all my ingredients listed below has come from my local Aldi. I also never stick to measurements. Yeh yeh I know, I’m so out of control! Anyway I digress. Here’s my smoothie:
- As much Kale as you can fit in (I alternate between kale and spinach)
- 1 stick of Celery
- 1 Banana
- Some frozen mixed berries (never use more than 2 pieces of fruit per smoothie – too much sugar)
- 2 thick pieces of cucumber cut into quarters
- Top off with flax-seed (can use nuts or linseed – all good stuff :))
- Filled over half way with filtered water (add or takeaway depending on how runny you like it!)
Sometimes I like to add some natural yoghurt for a morning smoothie.
As you can see there’s some room left at the top. I tend to add some more green veg, in this case Kale, and re-blitz. Have fun with it. There is no wrong or right way, but just be aware of not adding too much fruit due to sugar content. The general rule is not to have more than 2 pieces of fruit per day, and really one of those should be berries as they have the most nutritional value. Also, I initially gagged at the thought of putting fruit and veg together but it actually works surprisingly well! Balances the flavours out nicely.
N.B. I would also say that one big difference to my anxiety was finding out what vitamin deficiencies I had. Turns out I had a magnesium deficiency, so together with a good multi-vitamin from my local health shop, I take magnesium-calcium supplement (I don’t do much dairy). I get this from Amazon now as it was cheaper than the health shop, but just make sure you always read the back of the label. One-a-day doesn’t always give you 100% of the RDA and is usually a marketing ploy, meaning you’ll end up having to take more than one. The cheaper option might not end up cheaper at all!