There are many diets. Provided that you stick to the dietary guidelines, it is possible to implement them and achieve successes. Being over 30, I wish to have control over my weight and look after my health with the help of healthy nutrition. Nevertheless, I have often considered how it might be possible to maintain a healthy diet while also enjoying the odd culinary delight from time to time.
An everyday nutritional plan should be simple and should span a period of approximately a week. In this vein, the basic plan (excluding keto or low-carb phases) contains the following:
- Different combinations of vegetables, often prepared in a steamer. Gratinating these with different kinds of vegan cheese can add some nice variety. Sauces are another good addition.
- Diverse varieties of hummus. Hummus should be eaten with vegetables as often as possible and should be accompanied by baked goods, at most, ten percent of the time.
- Salads with seeds, nuts and different types of tofu, creatively seasoned and, if possible, served with fresh herbs. From time to time, vegan fried foods can also be enjoyed as part of a so-called “fitness plate”
- Vegan protein shakes
- Pulses three times a week.
- Rice, in moderation, can be eaten from time to time as a side to satisfy any remaining hunger.
- Oat milk, muesli and vegan yoghurt can be enjoyed in moderation. However, if these small indulgences become too addictive, they will be removed from the plan for a few weeks or even months.
- As a principle, fruits are allowed. Berries, pomegranates, kiwis etc. should predominately be eaten along with main meals when insulin levels are already raised.
- Vitamin B and Omega 3 taken daily in the form of a tablet. Spirulina can be enjoyed in all of its forms.
- When time is short, pulse pasta is allowed.
- In rare cases, when hunger pangs persist after 8pm and do not go away after having drank something, it is recommendable to eat a small meal containing carbohydrates. Carbohydrates stimulate the production of serotonin, leading to a better sleep. It is not recommended to consume foods high in protein three hours before going to sleep.
If someone had advised me 5 years ago to try out such a way of eating, I would have refused. “That won’t taste good – there’s no chance that I’ll stick to that!” For me, health now comes before enjoyment. The best part is that one’s perception of what is enjoyable can change and with time healthy nutrition can be perceived as just that. The desire for stimulants which release happiness hormones is steadily diminishing. In a relatively small amount of time you learn to appreciate those food stuffs which are beneficial for your body and spirit. Among other things, immune strengthening food stuffs increase energy levels. In order to achieve more balance and neutrality in your diet, it is recommendable to avoid strong seasoning now and again. Neutral food stuffs increase energy levels and provide a greater equilibrium. It may well make sense to forgo foods such as onions, garlic, ginger and pepperoncini for a while, although being sparing with these foods is not currently part of the plan. Several Asian dietary forms concern themselves with the changes in our energy systems. These also contain many vegan, alkaline options.
Even on the two “days of indulgence” per week I eat vegan. Baked goods and ice cream are allowed from time to time. As is a vegan burger with chips. A balance cannot be achieved until you regularly adapt your goals while keeping in mind your daily dietary regime. In my case, taking the time to reflect with a nutritionist continually highlighted the importance of not taking on too much too soon. To reach your goals, it is best to rely on measures which can be easily implemented and keep trying new things. That does not mean that you will take any quantum leaps. Yet it is worthwhile to allow yourself to dream a little and consider how you might manage to take a big leap forwards in a short period of time. Practice promotes flexibility. It becomes possible to prepare more complex, healthy and, not least, delicious meals in less time. It is worthwhile being creative and trying out many different things. That way, food, and the process of preparing it, can become a joy.
Of course, we all have favourite meals. On a so-called “day of indulgence” I might attempt to follow an unusual, if elaborate, recipe from a blog. I like to find inspiration on YouTube. It is also worth buying a cookbook, even if the decision is made harder by the fact that one is spoilt for choice. Another good idea is to take a few notes from time to time which might form your own personal cookbook and a source of continual inspiration. When preparing food it is particularly worthwhile to test your own ideas. After all, “thinking is like googling – just more inspiring!”