by Nicky Duffell
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of food? Cake?! Taste? Calories? Fat?
If any of those things popped into your head then don’t worry, you’re not alone. Our relationship with food is often a complex one. We build up habits and beliefs about food over many years, usually developed from a young age and from our parents, and not forgetting the influence the media plays as well.
Let me ask you another question: Do you ever think about food as a way of lovingly-nourishing your body?
What if you changed the way you think about food and the way you eat? Instead of worrying about calories and fat, what if you thought of food as a loving way to nourish yourself? Because it really is, or at least it can be.
Eating well can give you a zest for life. It can impact how you feel about yourself, how much energy you have, your mental health and your overall wellbeing, all of which are important at any age but especially after 40.
It really is about self-care and having respect for yourself, and your body.
So, what does eating well mean?
It’s important to remember that we’re all very different, so what works for me won’t necessarily work for you, or the next person. It’s about finding what works best for YOU.
1. Every time you eat is an opportunity to give yourself some nourishment. First of all choose food that really does nourish you, that means loads of veggies, some fruit, some of those good fats (avocado, olive oil, nuts and seeds) and some protein. Ditch the processed foods that don’t offer our bodies any goodness.
2. Food should absolutely be enjoyed. It’s about enjoying and savouring every mouthful, and being really conscious when you eat. Make an event of it like the Italians! Eating mindfully is so important too - it helps us digest our food properly and absorb the nutrients we need, so slow down and take your time.
3. Life is too short to live without chocolate. It’s all about balance, so it’s about eating well most of the time and having a little bit of what you fancy too.
4. Never, ever diet. Diet implies short-term restriction, and like I said, food should be enjoyed. Have you ever enjoyed being on a diet? Diets generally don’t teach you how to eat well either, so look to change habits longer term.
5. And remember, it’s not all about food. Food is so important to our wellbeing, but it’s only one piece of the jigsaw. Looking after yourself, resting when you need to, sleeping well and learning how to manage stress are all equally as important.
Remember, you owe it to yourself, and your body, to eat well.
Here’s a healthy Chocolate Brownie recipe to get your tastebuds going! I was trying to find a recipe to make something chocolate-y for my son's birthday, but even the healthy ones had a ton of sugar in them - top tip: even if it's natural sugar, it's still sugar and should be kept to a minimum! So, I headed to the kitchen and came up with my own recipe for Chocolate Brownies, and the kids LOVED them! They're made with just half-a-cup of maple syrup and uses protein flours and fat to help balance blood sugar, meaning energy levels are kept steady (always good at a kids party!) Balancing blood sugar can also help prevent weight gain and mood swings (good for the rest of us) and the added bonus of some delicious raspberries means these Brownies are also packed full of antioxidants!
Chocolate & Raspberry Brownies
1 cup quinoa flour
1 cup almond flour
1 cup raw cacao
1 tsp Xanthan gum
1.5 tsp baking powder
A pinch of sea salt
1/2 cup of maple syrup
2 tsps vanilla powder
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup almond milk
2 cups of raspberries (you can use frozen)
Preheat fan oven to 180C
Line a baking tray with baking paper
Sieve flours, cacao powder, xanthan gum and baking powder into a bowl and add a pinch of sea salt.
Combine all of the wet ingredients.
Slowly combine the wet ingredients and dry ingredients, and the raspberries. Don't overwork it, it'll become a bit too gloopy if you do.
Pop into the baking tray and bake in the oven for around 20-25 minutes. Keep an eye on it as you want it to be nice and moist in the middle still - that way it'll be nice and sticky.
Nicky is a nutritional therapist and coach who teaches busy Mums how to really look after themselves so they have more energy, feel less stressed and can regain control of their busy lives and their health. She's passionate about women looking after themselves first so they can give back to everything else, whether it’s family, work or friends.