Monday, August 6, 2012

Small Changes make for Healthy Eating

pears, cinnamon, betty bake, blog, wooden cutting board

Sometimes healthy eating is just a change in how you look at food...

In the past when I ate takeaways and tubs of ice cream and I needed to be more healthy and "diet" I would think "öh great now I have to cut out all this yummy stuff I love!" 
I would begrudge myself and the food I ate. Instead of looking for delicious alternatives I would pout and sulk and be miserable. Years later and many mind shifts later - I see food in a totally different way. I still love a good pizza! but how I want to treat myself and my body has changed in my thinking.

Its a slight change over weeks and months and even years:
After slowly changing bit by bit - by doing the little things like cutting down on sugar and swopping fizzy cool drinks like Coke! (which is now a swear word in our house) to fruit juice and water.

Simply buy sparkling spring water and 100% real fruit juice with no additives and mix them together.
So when I felt like a coke I would reach for my "new" sparkling friend - juice and sparkling water and feel like i wasn't depriving myself.

You see its the little things!
I no longer see food as a happiness pile of stuff to eat what I want. I see food as a source of health and yumminess! I want to treat my body right. Once you cut out bad items like coke and soft drinks filled with sugar  and stop eating sweets and candy bars and you feel great - after the initial  detox (headaches and flu symptoms)
I was so ALIVE and happy and well that when I went back to eating a piece of candy it made me feel yuk! It wasn't that that sugar wasn't nice in my mouth but the after effects just weren't worth it.

After cutting out MSG and other additives and preservatives out of our diet for some time (months and months) we went to a braai and the food was taking long. The husband and I were getting hungry and there were bowls of flavoured crisps around so we started snacking. After eating several handfuls the food was finally ready and we ate. Now I didn't have any alcohol of any kind but the next morning I woke up with hangover type symptoms - sore head and felt terrible. Just yukky and wanted to sleep! I realised after a while of waking up and trying to figure out what I ate and drank why I would feel this way and the only thing different were the MSG laden crisps (which we don't eat! only plain salted allowed in our house)!! and that when it hit me - my disgusting hang over symptoms were from them - now I will never go back to eating crisps because I could feel what they were doing to my body!

I find that changing things bit by bit over long periods of time that I am able to change my habits. If I try change everything at once I feel like I am punishing myself and then I would go back to my bad ways but if I picked one or two things then it was a small change and I would keep doing it. Then after a long time of doing that one little thing it would have become part of my lifestyle (like no more soft drinks) I don't even go to that aisle in the supermarket any more. Actually I rarely shop at a supermarket - but thats another story for another day. I don't even consider it in my head. If someone asks me to bring drinks to a braai (BBQ) I simply buy sparkling water and organic fruit juice. Simple as pie. Really its not even a battle for me any more.

So focus on something small like:

  • Stopping sugar in your tea and coffee
  • Swopping soda for fruit juice and water
  • Buying hormone free meat and eggs
  • Not eating candy - buy nuts and dark chocolate (70% cocoa and higher)

chocolate and vanilla cake, betty bake, espresso cups, vintage, dark and light cake, two tone cake
"Eat cake if you bake it yourself and can limit the sugar and additives"
See if you can change that one little thing for 2 months and then consider swopping another thing and another thing. Eventually in a year or twos time you will be a healthy, whole food, happy person who doesn't even crave the bad stuff and is happier for it!
Just try it
We still eat really dark chocolate and nuts and i bake cake-but I use gluten -free flour and only a tiny bit of sugar. See what I did swopped out  unhealthy for healthy) 

What changes have you made in your lifestyle to be healthier?


  1. The best "change" for me was activating my Vitality on Discovery and seeing the $$$ come back to me at the end of the month when I buy healthy food.
    So now I just buy Fat Free milk instead of 2% and whole wheat pasta instead of normal pasta, etc. Tastes the same, I'm healthier and I get money back!
    This also justifies for me buying a healthier version of a product that might be more expensive, because I get money back and that cancels out the extra cost.
    So it's win-win for me all the way.

    I'll definitely try your sparkling-water-and-fruit-juice combo. I bought TAB's and 7up Zero for quite some time (it's also very filling, so it easily replaces that second plate of food!), but stopped purely because it costs a lot of money. I'll still order only TAB or Coke Zero in a restaurant, but next time we're having a braai, I'll try your mix! (Guess one can also make your own "fruit juice" buy blending berries or other fruit and just adding the sparkling water!)

  2. Just what I needed to read - Thank You!! We are doing a 30 day juice fast at the moment (on day 21) and want to start cooking healthier and choosing better options. There's so much information out there when you start researching, and I agree - you don't have to go without - just make it a different way using ingredients that won't make you feel crap!
    I know it'll take a little adjusting, but I'm positive we'll get there after a little practice!
    thank you for sharing your knowledge!! xx

  3. Your post was very inspiring! We are moving from South Africa to Istanbul and the way of eating is so healthy here. Can't wait to improve on my and my families health. Your juice idea is a great tip. Please let us know about the other small changes you made.
    Please also read my Foodblog.

  4. You are totally onto something with the small changes. I have been trying this over the past few years and have cut down sugar to just a sprinkle on my weetbix, no fizzy drinks except appletizer (must try your suggestion) and no crisps although I allow nacho type chips for a special treat! Don't think I'll ever give up chocolates tho ;)

  5. I so get where you're coming from. In the beginning making the transition can be tough, but the further you get away from the "treats" you used to love the less you actually want them.

    Love the ideas for making small changes!

    You should try this recipe for healthy chocolate:


your thoughts?