When we think of healthy foods, we don't exactly conjure up images of sensuous, delicious and comforting meals. Rather, we think of sacrificing the pleasures of dining for the sake of our health, or looking good. The good news is that this absolutely need not be the case. When I start cooking for a new client, I spend time discussing their favorite foods and looking at areas of their lives and health they would like to improve. I then set about designing a diet that will support them in achieving their goals, with the main focus always being on the pleasure and enjoyment of the food.
When starting out, I always focus on adding new and healthier foods, rather than cutting them out. You will find that as you become accustomed to new healthier habits, the old ones automatically fall away. Nobody likes to feel deprived, so it's good to start with some simple dietary changes. And once you start to experience the health benefits, you will be more motivated to continue. You will be amazed at how quickly some simple dietary adjustments can result in improved health, beauty and vitality.

Here are some guidelines for healthy eating and living which you may find useful:

  • I recommend starting slowly and gradually introducing new healthier options. Instead of that morning cup of coffee to get your engine started, try a nice tea like jasmine, green tea or yerba mate that still has a little caffeine but also has other health benefits. (More on one of my favorite topics, tea, in a future blog post.)
  • Even though I always encourage creativity and experimentation in the kitchen, it's often a good idea to begin with a recipe that inspires you. Start out following the recipe, then see if you can add your own twist or create a healthier version of one of your favorite recipes.
  • Most areas these days have a farmers' market where you can find a lovely range of fruits and vegetables, often organically grown. They're usually less expensive than they would be at a grocery store because the overhead costs are lower. Stock up with a nice variety of fruits and vegetables so you have range of ingredients available when you're ready to let your culinary artist out to play. For optimum health, make fruits and veggies the core foods in your diet.
  • Take a deep breath. Deep breathing helps alleviate stress and anxiety by bringing in oxygen, which alkalizes the body and nourishes the cells, and detoxifies the body by stimulating the lymphatic system. And doesn't it feel great to let out a big sigh once in a while?

    More of Aine's ideas for healthier living


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