As a nutritionist for Avoca I regularly get asked in store what I personally eat and it often surprises people to hear that it's not as strict as you might imagine. For me it's all about balance, I try to eat similar food groups at similar times of the day every day. Doing this keeps my body in sync and my metabolism happy. I usually start each day with a smoothie of some sort, I try to have fresh fruit that's in season when possible, mix in a bit of natural yoghurt and either orange juice or coconut water and then to that I'll add in whatever supplements I feel I should have that day.
Along with the smoothie I'll also have a bowl of porridge or some eggs on rye or spelt toast. Including a low-GI carb at each meal is important to me. Eating low-GI foods leads to a steady rise in the level of glucose in the blood, which in turn leads to a slower release of insulin from the pancreas. Smaller increases in insulin keep you feeling full and energised for hours after eating and also encourage the body to burn fat. Foods that have a high-GI are generally refined, processed, white and sugary, that's what I try to avoid and limit!
I will generally have my lunch early enough, between 12 and 1pm so I don't usually snack between the two meals. Lunches I mix up everyday. One day I could have a salad with grilled chicken, another day it could be soup and a wrap-I'm obsessed with the turkey superfood wraps from Avoca! Often for lunch I go vegetarian as I'm not a huge meat eater. Beetroot Falafel are my favourite thing to have warm with some hummus and roasted veg, they are incredibly filling but light at the same time! I've also started drinking Synerchi live Kombucha. Kombucha is an ancient Chinese brew made by fermenting organic teas with a live culture of yeast and bacteria producing a naturally carbonated drink. Live cultures support the natural balance of organisms in the intestines, helping improve digestion and immune function. A great alternative to fizzy drinks laden with sugar.
I'll usually snack in between lunch and dinner. I am big into nut butters, I sometimes make my own at home or else I like the Keen ones, they're an Irish brand which is another bonus. I'll have some almond butter on apple slices or buckwheat crackers. If I'm craving something sweet I love the range of raw bars we have at Avoca, the raw carrot cake is my favourite! They're free from gluten, dairy, wheat and refined sugar and taste incredible!
Dinners are varied, my other half eats like a horse so I'm constantly trying to cook meals that are filling for him but still healthy. Instead of mounds of pasta and rice I'll generally do a meat or fish dish accompanied by low GI, high protein grains like quinoa or bulgur wheat. We eat a lot of stir frys as I love Asian foods and their intense flavours. Adding spices and fresh herbs like lemon grass or fresh chilli gives a kick to meat and veg that may otherwise become mundane. If I want noodles with my stir fry that's not a problem, I'll just use whole grain or buckwheat noodles. If I want rice I'll just use brown instead of white! For me it's all about simple swaps that make the difference.
Supplement wise I try to keep it natural, I believe in trying to get your nutrients from food where possible. I do oil pull with organic coconut oil in the mornings when I remember to! Oil pulling is when you swirl a good quality raw oil in your mouth for up to 20 minutes swishing it between your teeth. It's best done in the morning on an empty stomach and is great for detoxing the body and whitening teeth naturally. I've also started taking apple cider vinegar, 1tsp diluted in some warm water. It's fantastic for the lymphatic system, for joint health and is naturally antibacterial, great for the skin. Also for my skin and hair I sometimes will take flax oil tablets, packed full of omegas 3, 6 and 9 and great for reducing inflammation and aiding weight loss. Finally if I'm ever feeling a little run down or lethargic I'll pop a teaspoon of Maca powder into my morning smoothie. It's a root from South America that has fantastic mood enhancing properties while providing sustained energy and also supporting the immune system.
Finally I try to drink as much water as I can, I honestly notice a huge difference when I'm staying hydrated in both my general feeling of wellbeing and also in my skin! Add fruit, mint or cucumber to big jugs of water to give it a little flavour if you get bored of it on its own.
It's important we remember that food is something that should be enjoyable and never a chore. If you feel like a take away every now and then have one, I know I do. If I'm really craving something I'll have it and I won't punish myself after, everything in moderation is the key to success.