Simple meals or lots of ingredients in a meal?

A question I recently got asked was, “is it better to keep meals simple with just a few foods or to add lots of different foods i.e like my different mixes/lunches”.

And the answer is, one isn’t necessarily better than the other… it is about what works best for you.

Sure, the more variety and types of foods you eat the more different vitamins and minerals you get in each meal and in total. However, you can still eat a variety of foods in a single day even if your meals are very simple.

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I wouldn’t recommend monomeals i.e just eating one type of food, because generally eating carbs, fat and protein in one meal will leave you more satisfied and full, as well as the different components together work together for absorption.

However, if you are suffering with a lot of intolerances or digestive issues, it could be a way to give your stomach a break while still getting lots of energy. I.e you could try just eating bananas for breakfast, just avocados for lunch and maybe just beans or just tofu or just oats for dinner. However, it would get boring and tasteless and not the best nutritionally for a long period of time. But it could help calm down your stomach if you are suffering with a lot of digestive issues.

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I know a lot of people don’t like a lot of different foods and textures and tastes in the same meal. They prefer to keep it simple with 3-4 ingredients in their meal, and that works as well.

Example you could choose to just eat potatoes, tofu and broccoli (maybe a little bit of oil) as well and that is a nutritious and complete meal.

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Many peoples stomachs can’t handle lots of fiber or a lot of food at once, so making a huge salad with 101 different ingredients and 4 different types of beans as well as quinoa and nuts and seeds could be too much too handle. Also if you are suffering with different food intolerances it can be hard to know what is causing the problem (If it is due to food and not other things like hormones, stress, mental health etc) if you are eating lots of different foods for each meal.

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So my answer is… do whatever works for you. As long as you eat varied throughout the day and throughout the week you will most likely get all the vitamins and minerals you need.

However, if you are a vegan and don’t eat a lot of calories, or you are really focusing on building muscle then you may need to think a little more about protein combining or about getting all the nutrients you need in the food you eat.

I like eating meals with lots of different foods, but time to time I like just eating potatoes and avocado or keeping it simple with potatoes, tofu and avocado. But in general, the more tastes and textures the better!

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What is your preferred way of eating? Simple or with lots of different foods in your meal?

Nobody has a perfect relationship with food

So many people looking for the perfect relationship with food…. how to eat, what to eat, when to eat? So many questions and no real answers.

My best advice is always to listen to your body, HOWEVER now a days that is not so simple. We are bombarded with diet messages, with people telling us how to eat, what to eat, when to eat, what we shouldn’t eat, what we should eat…. it leaves us feeling confused and unable to trust our body.

High fat or low fat diet? Raw food or cooked food? Paleo, atkins, vegetarian, raw? intermittent fasting, 6 meals a day or 3 meals a day? How are we suppposed to trust our bodies when we are constantly told that the way we eat is wrong or that we should eat differently?

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Hunger is controlled by hormones – and lots of them. The more i read about the mechanisms behind hunger and fullness the more i realise how complicated it is and how amazing the body is. The body has all these mechanisms to keep us healthy, to keep us at a healthy weight but most people now a days have lost touch with their body.

Diet messages making us scared to listen to our body. Extreme cravings making people eat foods they might not even like or make them eat past their fullness. Stress making people lose their appetite or eat far more than they want or need.

Telling people to listen to their body doesn’t always work. Especially not when their hormones aren’t working as they should and they don’t feel hunger or fullness or they are depressed, suffer from anxiety or are chronically stressed or fatigued… all of those things can make your hunger and fullness mess up.

For example if you have no appetite and someone tells you to just listen to your body, then maybe you will never eat. Or if you are chronically stressed and you never feel full and someone tells you to listen to your body then maybe you won’t stop eating and you won’t find that golden balance because you never really take a break from eating.

I wish i could tell you all the perfect way to eat… i wish i could tell you all how to find balance with eating, but it is so individual. In the future i can atleast… in the future i hope to help people on an individual bases to help them find balance with food and eating.

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The important thing is to not just copy what others are doing. We are all so individual… if i were to try to eat like someone else then maybe i wouldn’t be healty or have balance with food. Maybe i would eat too little or too much. If i were to listen to all the diet messages then i might end up eating too little for what i actually need.

Just because a certain way of eating suits one person doesn’t mean it will work for everyone.

Also realise that most people have times they overeat or times they undereat. Food is delicious and it’s not strange if at times you eat a little more than you need just because the food is delicious or times when you are stressed or just forget to eat. Stop looking for a perfect way to eat and instead find a balance and way that works for you.

A general recommendation is to try to eat regular meals, this is so that your blood sugar doesn’t go up and down, but also that it usually prevents overeating and/or binges if you eat regularly. Also trying to eat enough fiber and fruit and veggies and of course drink water are helpful in a healthy and balanced diet. For example if you just eat white bread and white pasta, which aren’t so filling or nutritious it is not strange that you will feel hungry short afterwards. However if you combine the white bread or white pasta with some fiber and something more filling it will leave you feeling full for longer.

But also remember that how and what you eat can change over time. For example if you are sick or stressed you may eat differently than when you are more relaxed or not sick. Sometimes 3 meals a day works best for you and your life and other times 6 meals a day works best for you. Your diet can change over the years as well as food preferences.

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Stop looking for perfect and look towards finding YOUR balance. What foods do you like? What foods fill you up? Don’t skip meals, try to limit the amount of processed and junk food, even if that of course can be part of your diet, but when you focus more on “whole foods” and unprocessed foods it is better for your gut bacteria, for your energy and mood and can help you feel more full and also more balanced with eating.

But don’t forget that enough sleep, not stressing, doing things that make you feel happy and drinking enough water are ALL part of a healthy diet and lifestyle. If you arent sleeping enough, not drinking enough water and stressing too much those can affect your hunger hormones and leave you feeling unsure what your body signals are.

Stop looking at diet messages. Stop thinking about what you should or shouldn’t eat and instead take care of your body. TRY to listen to your body. It is hard and it takes time and it is easy for the balance to be turned upside down.

Nobody has a perfect diet. Even my “normal friends” who i think must have a healthy relationship with food have weird different habits and routines which  you wouldn’t expect.

I would say i have a pretty balanced and healthy relationship with food, but as mentioned…nobody is perfect or has a perfect way of eating or listening to their body.

Maybe babies do…. babies that scream when they are hungry – they are the only real ones who have a healthy relationship with food, but after that even kids are bombarded with what to eat and not to eat and they get affected by the way their parents eat.

All we can do is try our best to listen to our body and treat our body right, but at times you can’t listen to your body and then just following a meal plan works best.

In the future i hope i can help those who need it to find health and balance ❤

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^Êven if that is seen as “normal” eating it doesn’t that it works for everyone.

 

5 products you may have thought were vegan, but actually aren’t.

Since i made the previous post which pointed out 5 products you may have thought were vegan but actually aren’t, as well as some products that are accidentally vegan!Items you wouldn’t think are not vegan

These posts are not meant to scare you or make a vegan lifestyle seem hard, infact it is to help and inform you. Because if you don’t know about these things you can’t make the choice to not use/consume them and for most people they wouldn’t even think about these things. But when you have the information, then you can make an active choice. You learn over time and it gets easier the more information you have 🙂 And if you are new to veganism then you can just make these steps over time, and with information it makes choices easier!

So first off, Carmine or so called e120 or sometimes called cochineal extract which comes from crushed up red beetles, meaning it is not vegan. (Read more HERE) E120 colours products red and is often found in red food products (drinks, candy, syrups, icing, yoghurts, jams, some ketchups, chewing gum etc) as well as in cosmetics such as blush and lipsticks, red clothing, food colouring (hence why often pink marzipan isn’t vegan because of the e120), paint etc I unfortunately couldn’t find any specific food or brands to share, but just remember e120 as NOT vegan. And it is usually in red food products 🙂

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Alcohol. if you have been vegan long enough you will have come to the sad realization that not all alcohol is vegan. unfortunately it is not easy to find out which alcohol types ARE vegan as the ingredients are not stated on the alcohol package. But also the animal products are made during the process of the alcohol making and so don’t need to be stated. The only real way is to email the company and hope that the person who answers is honest, because unfortunatly there have been cases where different people have emailed the same company and gotten different answers, one being told the alcohol is vegan and the other pbeing told it isn’t vegan or can”t be guaranteed that no animals products have  been used in the process. So what makes alcohol not vegan?

According to Vegetarian society: Animal derived products used in the production of alcohol include; Albumin – derived from egg whites (may be caged eggs); Casein – Protein derived from milk; Chitin – derived from the shells of crabs, lobsters, etc; Gelatine – from bones and connective tissues of cows or pigs; Isinglass – obtained from fish swim bladders. These are used in the clearing or processing of the alcohol.

My best advice is to join vegan alcohol facebook groups as then you can usually find out which brands are vegan but also use the website Barnivore which you can search for the alcohol type and see if it is vegan.

Usually when i drink i buy the vegan marked black tower wine or go for vodka as most hard liquours are vegan unless they contain honey. When it comes to wines and beers, there are more alcohol brands which have a vegan marking, but otherise use Barnivore to search and realise that you may have to give up your favourite wine or beer type, but there are still plenty of vegan alternatives out there and you might find a new favourite 🙂 If you are out drinking or go to a bar, it does get more difficult and unfortunatly i haven’t always checked if the wine i drank was vegan or not beforehand, but i am getting better at actually doing it if i get something that is different and i am uncertain of. You live you learn.

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Arts and crafts/painting toolsI dont do alot of arts and crafts or paints, so i had never reflected over what might be in these products… and when i did some googling i realised there may be alot of hidden animal products in them. I.e Shellac and Cochineal which comes from insects, natural hair in the paint brushes, Gelatin which comes from bones, tendons and ligaments of cows or pigs, Glue can contain animal products such as animal skin, honey or beeswax. Basically a jungle of animal products, however THIS site lists brands have products that are both cruelty free and vegan, so if you are interested in arts and crafts maybe check to see if the brands you use are vegan and CF!

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Make up brushes: Certain make up brushes use actual animal hair…. not exactly what you want to use on your face? Now a days it is more common with synthetic make up brushes though! According to Vegan. com : “Synthetic brushes are typically made of taklon fibers or nylon, and are hypoallergenic. They also hold powders better and are easier to clean and maintain than non-vegan brushes.”  The best thing is to Google the brand you are interested in and see what type of make up brushes they have. You can also see some vegan make up brushes HERE.

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Glue: It’s been a long time since i used or bought glue so this one threw me off, but shouldnt have been surprising. Many glues are infact made by using animal connective tissue, horses, rabbits and fish bones, tendons, skin and tissue may have been used. (Source) This is also why buying shoes can be a little more difficult than thought as some shoes use glue that is not vegan, and that means emailing the company to find out. HOWEVER i know certain vegans who don’t go that far when buying shoes. Glue can be in many products which you aren’t even aware of, but how precise you want to be with this is up to you…. Not all products using glue have glue that is made from animal products, the only way to find out is to email the company.

Items you wouldn’t think aren’t vegan

The longer you are vegan, the more you learn how many items have animal products in them. When you first go vegan its hard enough with the food part and just trying to avoid the hidden honey and milk powder in certain food items. You don’t have energy or time to start thinking about all the other items you may be buying that aren’t vegan. But DON’T fret about those, you will learn.

Also remember for most of these items you wouldn’t expect they’re not vegan and unless you do your research you would think they’re fine. I read a comment a few days ago that said “just expect that everything has animal products so you do your research and can be happily surprised when it is vegan” and I feel like that is the case.

However there are many items which are vegan which you would expect to have animal products in them, so it goes both ways!

Also my best suggestion, join vegan Facebook groups. By sharing information with each other you learn so much more and can help each other 🙂

Matches. I’ve heard that matches can contain gelatin or “animal glue”, HOWEVER when i am googling i really can’t find anything that proves this apart from forums so whether this was just in the past i don’t know and i guess the best thing is to email the company directly to ask or just buy lighters!

Tampons and pads. Many mainstream companies test on animals and i think something with the bleaching of the pads is tested on animals/not vegan. Crazy in my opinion…. i mean why do these types of products need to be tested on animals? But you can read more about curelty free menstruation products HERE and HERE  (Most tampons are made from cotton which is bleached with chlorine, and chlorine is tested on animals From THIS post.)

Stearin lights. They can contain beeswax or animal derived stearic acid. Go for soya lights instead. PETA has a page with some companies that sell vegan stearin lights.  PAGE

Razor blades. Some companies test on animals and the “smoothing gel”/patch may have glycerine. Read more HERE

Chewing gum: Ive made the mistake of buying non vegan chewing gum before as i just presumed it was all vegan, apart from maybe the flavoured strawberry ones. But turns out some gums have glycerin, stearic acid or even lanolin or beeswax. Though i think all Extra chewing gum is vegan 🙂

 

Do you want me to make more posts like this? Not to make veganism hard or scary or make you doubt every purcahse and have to double check everything you buy, but to make it easier for you. Because if you don’t know then you won’t think of these things, but by mentioning them then you are aware of them and i can link to websites with companies that are vegan so you atleast know which companies are safe? 🙂

DO you know any other “everyday” items that you would think are vegan but arent? 🙂

 

When you feel bad about your body – bad body image days 

No matter how body positive you may be i believe everyone has bad body image days. Often these days and feelings aren’t even about your body, instead maybe you feel tired, stressed, anxious, nervous or just feel more bloated than normal and not “like yourself”.

So the problem usually isn’t your body but that you have certain feelings or emotions.

How to cope on those days? 

First off remember that you are more than your body.  And your body is just a way for you to live life and do the things you want. The important thing is that your body is healthy and functions the way it should. And how it looks really doesn’t matter so much in comparison.

On bad body image days it’s important to take care of your body and treat it properly, not resort to destructive behaviours.  It’s even more important to feed yourself nourishing food, drink enough water, rest and be kind to yourself.

Try to think positive thoughts about yourself. Even if you may feel strange in your body or not how you look at this moment in time, try to think back to when you did feel good in your body and remember that these feelings and days will pass. And if you are bloated or retaining water that will also pass! Try to say kind  and positive things about yourself and your body! Thinking negative thoughts won’t help at all!
Also try to say kind things about YOU. What are you good at, What are your talents and positive things about yourself as a person. Because you are so much more than your body and taking focus a way from your body and appearance can be very helpful to remind you that you are more than the way you look!

Try to wear comfortable clothes and make yourself feel good. Take a long shower, moisturize, wash your hair, wear comfy clothes whether that means dressing up and doing your hair and putting on lipstick to “fake it till you make it” or whether that means wearing loose clothes and a hair in a bun, do what makes you feel best! I personally dress up and do the “fake it till you make it” when I have bad body image days. And surprisingly, just straightening my hair and putting on lipstick can make a huge difference to how I feel!

Get some fresh air and exercise.  Just moving your body whether it’s walking, yoga, going to the gym, running, stretching etc it can make you feel thankful for your body and what it can do rather than focusing on appearance and how your body looks. But also getting some fresh air and getting out into nature, doing something other than thinking about your body will help you get your mind on other things and hopefully feel better. Also your be surprised at how much a walk can help you think differently and more positively! So put on some good music or a podcast and go for a walk!

Also take some time to be thankful for your body. I hate doing the whole “people have jt worse so you should be happy/cant feel sad” thing. But think about people the people who are in wheel chairs or who cant move their body or are missing limbs or are sick and in hospital…. they’d do anything to have a functioning body with scars and cellulite and bloating, anything to have a body that works/is healthy. So be thankful for your body and try to forget your appearance for a while.

For some, looking in the mirror and thinking positive thoughts is helpful, for others they avoid mirrors and reflective items until they feel better, So do what works best for you. I personally avoid mirrors and turn my back to the mirrors when I’m at the gym on these days!

And lastly, try figure out why you feel this way. Is it stress? Anxiety? Tiredness? Need to eat more? Nervousness? Figuring out why you feel the way you do can help to limit these bad body image days!

These feelings will pass. Be kind to yourself, Take care of your body and don’t resort to destructive behaviours!