One of the things I have always loved about food is its ability to transform a mood. Usually, the foods we associate with happiness are those that we also deem as “naughty”.
How do we establish that perfect equilibrium? How do we decide when the occasion supersedes the ‘’regime’’?
Is that portion of sweet dessert, or that second glass of wine after a plate of pasta ‘’worth the hit’’ on our current goals?
For me, its all about balance, just like life. A healthy relationship with our food, a lifestyle choice instead of the latest fad diet.
Diets do not tend to last, the word diet suggests that there is an expiry date, a destination, a set period you must deny yourself of foods you enjoy.
Banning the food that we love, is not likely to be sustainable. Instead, we can learn about the different food groups and the energy they provide us. Understanding energy balance and portion control has been so important in my personal journey since taking over at IFF.
As growing kids, we are taught the opposite of portion control. I grew up thinking that I was not full until I reached that bursting point and was encouraged not to get down from the table until every crumb of food had been devoured.
I was always told not to touch my drink until after my meal, to ensure maximum capacity for food.
When are we told to switch strategies?
When I first started working with IFF, Josh (complete self-taught fitness guru and master of blue steel pose) introduced me to a key concept – one that I have since based every recipe on, and that’s macros.
Josh, incidentally, also tells me to finish a whole glass of water BEFORE eating a meal now, the opposite of what I was told as a kid.
Preparing the digestion system to receive food, and of course helping to feel fuller quicker, with less food. Understanding how many calories of energy your body typically burns through a day provides you much more flexibility on the food you can enjoy.
We remove the so called ‘’guilt’’ often attached to certain food groups.
That is your reward for monitoring and controlling how you spend your available calories each day.
You can have the foods you love without beating yourself up over it, marrying up the perfect combinations of the whole foods that also provide more bang for their buck, on a nutritional level.
Yes, you can have that fantastically, fragrant, satay sauce or a rich, layered, lasagne and avoid that lethargic ‘’food coma’’ we can often experience after a takeaway or ready meal.
Cooking smarter, not stricter.
Baking instead of frying for example, which can even alter the glycaemic index of an ingredient.
Swapping the heaps of sugar from your favourite teriyaki sauce for a controlled amount of natural honey.
It is all about balance.
Something a classically trained chef is not usually mindful of when designing their menu, but something that is so exciting to be able to do.
Connecting the food that we love with our health and happiness.
Calculating new ways to maximise the pleasure of each meal whilst keeping the total calories in line with our goals.
There is so much conflicting information out there about what we should or should not be eating, simplify it, create sustainable eating habits that keep you in line with what you are trying to achieve.
Eat whole foods where possible, focus on the stuff you love, retain self-discipline and stay in tune with what makes you and your body happy and it will change everything.