Whilst preparing to interview Elizabeth Peyton Jones on The Morning Show recently about her book, Eat Yourself Young, I started to think about what I was eating, what my bad habits were and what I could be doing better. After all, I'm not getting any younger, but there's no reason why I should start to feel, or indeed look, old before my time either.
I realised reading her book that if my body, like a plant, grows from the nutrients it is feeding off, then there is every likelihood that eventually I am going to grow into a horrible mix of sugary breakfast cereals, Belgian chocolate and baked beans – a look that not even the greatest of supermodels could pull off!
I tried for one day to question the nutritional value of everything I put in my mouth before I actually put it in there, my worry was that if I had spent the day living off the glue I could lick of the back of a postage stamp, it may have been more nutritious than my daily diet! I needn't have worried so much, but I did realise that I was making some food choices that weren't so much choices as they were habit!
What I realised was that, like many of us, I don't always think about my food – when I'm busy I just pick up things that are convenient. I started to accept that on those days when I am feeling tired, sluggish or stressed that maybe it is because my body doesn't have the right fuel to keep it going, and if it doesn't then that's down to me and the choices I am making. I decided though that the best thing to do was not to beat myself up about my diet but rather to try and make some small changes.
But where to start? Well I had invested in a Jack Lalanne juicer last year, which I had used daily when it first arrived, then weekly after a while, until eventually, not at all! A disgrace really. Now, however, it has been revitalised, and actually so have I as a result. I have taken to juicing with a mission. I am juicing lots of veg as there is a lot of sugars in fruit, and sugar is my personal toxin. I now have regular excursions to my local supermarket just so that I can weight train all the way home with the huge bags of fresh fruit and veg I am buying. So good diet and exercise really do work together!!
I really do feel the difference. I have more energy and I am sure that I am looking a bit better – I know there are many who would disagree! I don't mean that suddenly I could get a contract as a Ford model, but what I mean is that my skin feels clearer, less congested, my eyes are brighter and I have even more energy than usual.
So having got the juicing sorted, my next step was to tackle breakfast, which wasn't as bad as I thought. I eat oats most mornings anyway, but sometimes I do like to have sweet treats like maple and pecan clusters, or rye bread with piles of jam on top. (There it is again that sugar craving – I have heard it said that if sugar where a drug it would be more addictive than heroin! Scary thought).
So out with the refined and processed sugars and in with something more natural. Instead I added dried apricots or Goji berries and a handful of nuts and mixed it all together with some sunflower seeds and linseeds. I also used rice milk rather than the regular dairy kind. It was very tasty, but I still can't help thinking that it would be just that little bit nicer with some honey!
I have yet to work my way towards lunch, dinner, snacks and treats but I am getting there. The interesting thing for me is that many people would consider my existing diet to have been a healthy one as I don't eat meat and I eat very little wheat or dairy, however, I still have bad habits, like my sugar craving and sometimes, to be honest, I'm just lazy. The key for me is to try and make small changes, one at a time and then once a bad habit has been changed to a good habit move on to trying to change the next thing.
I'm not perfect by any means and I have been having loads of slip-ups but I am really trying to give it a go and change some of those engrained habits. If this exercise has taught me anything though it's that it really is true what they say, that you get out what you put in, and nowhere is that more true or more evident than with our own bodies. So come on, try and change that one bad eating habit today – what will yours be?