How To Eat Healthy and Feel Happy
For those of you who are new to my blog, here is a short background about myself before I start giving tips. I am a final year university student, in my early 20s and my height and weight are 5 foot 4 and in the 50s. My BMI is thankfully normal and healthy. I recently had a blood test last year and when the results came out the doctor went through it thoroughly. When he started discussing cholesterols, he said 'bad cholesterols' within the healthy range, 'Good cholesterol' .... interesting. It is well above the healthy range. He also commented that this is one of the rare cases where he sees the 'good' cholesterol at this level and asked me about my diet and what I eat. My iron level is low however and that is clearly reflected in my lack of fondness of iron-rich food like peas, seafood, dry fruits, red meat and internal organs. I do not eat these much. So I now know where I need to focus. I started buying iron supplements for that. It is highly recommendable for all of us to do a blood test and a health check up from time to time. Aim for once a year, if not then once two years. Put a reminder on your phone for this.
About the good cholesterol, it seems like a few things contributed to this. I like eating salmon which is common in the UK. I always remove the fatty parts of meat and most of the time even the chicken skin. I like eating chicken breast because it is easy to eat (no bones) and has no skin. I really like whole grain bread. I started putting olive oil in my salad and use vegetable oil or sunflower oil before frying food. When I fry something I soak out most of the oil using loads of kitchen paper and only eat it when most of the oil is gone. I love love orange and grapefruit which apparently are high fibre fruits and good to lower bad cholesterol levels. I eat chocolate with hazelnut & dates with pecans. Two of my ultimate favourite combinations. I started eating avocado out of curiosity because it is so common here in the UK and its green. I like anything green usually. I like spinach and basically all those green veggie like broccoli, salad, celery, cucumber, lettuce, anything green you can think of except for courgette (I do not like soft veggie too much so I started buying less avocado, I like the crunchy ones better). Salad for dinner or with lunch happens at least 4 times out of the 7 days a week. In a way, some of the things I like are healthy by chance. I have been eating salad for instance since the age of 3 or 4. It was very common at home as my dad had a garden and planted so many veg and fruits and I loved it. Maybe that is where my love for veg and fruits started. My boyfriend says that I literally am half vegetarian because most of the time, 2 of the 3 main meals I eat a day are all vegetarian -friendly. But no, I am not vegetarian. The meat I eat is only chicken, beef or lamb. I like these especially during lunch or chicken cubes in my salad.
So what do I eat in the day?
Breakfast: The first thing I consume in the morning is a quarter glass of lemon juice for detoxifying purposes. I just cut a small slice of lemon and add hot water or some people add it with sugar but I am fine with just lemon and water as I like sour things. I used to enjoy eating cereal with milk. I like this pecan and maple. I absolutely love this! However, this year I seem to be fond of eating bread for breakfast because I tend to get hungry early if I just eat cereal. As I am speaking, I literally have been surviving on cereal for breakfast for 3 years and only this year I started eating more peanut butter and Nutella sandwiches or baked beans with toast or tuna sandwiches which I would prepare quickly in the morning before starting my day. A cup of black tea is a must. I am a big fan of tea.
Lunch: This is the main meal for me in the day. I eat a really big lunch. I would cook my lunch on the weekends or eat at the university cafeteria on the weekdays. I would normally eat rice with chicken or salmon and a veggie/salad side. Sometimes I would have pasta with chicken or beef. Once in a while, I would have a shawarma wrap. Whatever it is, it must be anything heavy. I can rarely survive on sandwiches or just baguettes for lunch. I remember during my field trips I used to get hungry because I would only eat light lunches. Whenever I do not have a chance to eat a heavy lunch (which happens rarely) I would get so hungry by 5 pm and would need to eat a heavy dinner earlier than usual. If I eat a heavy lunch, I can have a light dinner. It's easier for me because then I do not have to cook in the weekdays.
Dinner: Salad is the norm. If I am hungry I would add chicken cubes that I stir fry with mixed herbs and turmeric and salt. If I do not have the patience to cook chicken, I would just make eggs and toast and sometimes with broccoli. If I am feeling too hungry, I would just buy chicken wings at a shop opposite my house. I am lucky that there are so many halal options in London, even at university. Sometimes when I am not hungry like last night, I just had grapefruit for dinner with a cup of hot milk and plain biscuits. That is something about me. I like many things plain. I do not like too much flavour. People have commented on this a couple of times. I could just eat white rice as it is because it is so yummy to me and quite sweet. I could also just eat a French baguette or toasted bread just like that. I like the original taste of food without anything mixed with it.
So, if I make sure I have these 3 meals in a day, I would less likely eat tidbits and junk food. However, I do drink a lot of tea. Like today, morning black tea, afternoon milk tea and night (recently) decaffeinated earls grey tea. To me, it helps with digestion and that is what I aim for so I won't eat too much. Also, I try to eat a lot in the day when I have more time to digest it compared to at night when I just have a few hours before sleeping. I eat a lot of fruits as snacks. Pickles are also my all-time favourite finger food.
I am one of those people who believe life is too short to put too many restrictions on yourself. Eat well and enjoy what I eat is what I aim for when planning my diet. I love hazelnut coffee cake, blueberry muffins, lemon and poppyseed muffins, ice cream (I just had one today, I treated myself as soon as I came out of the library), potato chips and chocolates. Do I restrict myself? Well, not really. I still allow myself to eat these but I choose one a day. I do not go eating all of this in a day. So I choose one or two if I feel like it. If I do not feel like it I do not make it a must to eat one of these every day. Also, try eating sweet things and these in the middle of the day and when you are busy so that you can burn the calories sooner. It is important to eat what you crave for. Otherwise, you might end up eating a lot. You eat everything and still not feel full. So my tactic to ensure I do not eat too much is to ensure that I do fulfil the cravings from time to time. When you eat what you like you also feel happy. So this also helps with feeling happy.
The thought of eating healthy food makes me feel happy about myself and my body. Also, do not worry too much about gaining any extra weight. Remember to balance it with exercise at least 3 times a week. And for women, adding some weight would be helpful to enhance the curves (speaking from experience ;) There are is so many exercises even on youtube and there should be no excuse to spend at least 15 minutes every time you exercise.
Listen to your likes and dislikes and try to balance the two. Eat healthy food yet still eat the food you enjoy, I do not like garlic but I swallow some small garlic pieces from time to time to keep me healthy. Read up on the benefits of garlic. Hope some of these tips helped and all the best with eating healthy and staying happy! :)