Thinking about healthy ways to make yourself look ten years younger, it dawned on me that I have been in the business of nutrition for over ten years now and I decided to start making a list of what I have learnt in those years. Apparently looking back on what you’ve learnt is a really positive thing to do every once in a while. Here’s my list so far, why not have a go at making yours?
What I have learnt…
1) I have learnt that it’s easy to eat healthily if you plan ahead and pretty difficult if you don’t. And that a good lunch bag, a range of little tupperware boxes, a water bottle and food flask are a more useful investment in your health than a snazzy portable coffee mug and a costa loyalty card.
2) Broccoli is one of the best foods you can eat as a woman, in fact so is pretty much anything that’s leafy and green. Oh and an apple a day may actually help to keep the doctor away.
3) It’s worth paying a bit extra for the peace of mind that comes with organic fruit and vegetables. Jeff Bland, an inspirational nutrition leader from the US once explained beautifully that it’s not just the lack of pesticide residue that makes these foods better for you, it’s the added benefit that they’ve had to develop their own ways of fighting pests which makes them much stronger, more nutritious plants. One of those real lightbulb moments.
4) A consultation is about so much more than just finding the root cause of a problem and devising a strategy to move forward. Ten years has taught me to never underestimate the importance of support. And that a problem is often better solved with a series of small steps rather than one big one. In the early days I tried to reinvent the wheel and wave a magic wand at each consultation but I quickly learnt that health problems that have been around for many years may need a good bit of time and lots of little steps to recover from. Of course, I still keep my magic wand in my desk drawer just in case.
5) People are generally deficient in water, omega 3s, vitamin D and magnesium and it’s absolutely vital for the health of our population that we get the word out so people can choose to do something about it if they wish.
6) One of my favourite quotes of all time is from Anita Roddick, who famously said, “If you really didn’t ever want to get wrinkles you should have stopped smiling years ago”. I’ve since learnt that a smile can make you feel better even if you’re feeling a bit glum on the inside. I use this one with my children all the time, I’m sure it’s a bit annoying being told to smile when you just want a good sulk, but it does seem to work!
7) Many people forget to look after their liver, yet it’s actually one of the most important bits of the body. And it’s even more important to give it a bit of a break occasionally. It loves water, organic food, brightly coloured fruit and veg, especially broccoli and good quality protein such as pulses, lentils, eggs, chicken and fish. It hates pesticides, artificial chemicals, alcohol and caffeine.
I have learnt time and time again that it is possible to surprise guests with a delicious meal that is actually super healthy too. And that it doesn’t actually take that long before someone looks at nuts and seeds and sees a tasty little snack rather than something that belongs on a bird table.
9) Being super healthy is as much about what goes on in your head and how you deal with stress as what you choose to put into your body. Common sense and research now tells us that health and happiness go hand in hand and they really thrive off each other. I’m reading ‘The Happiness Project’ by New York author Gretchen Rubin at the moment and loving it.
10) There’s no such thing as the perfect diet or the perfect shape. We are all perfectly imperfect and should celebrate that more often.