Anyone with an instagram account will know that #cleaneating has taken the world by storm and just like anything that becomes viral, hysteria ensues. Those posts about ‘I made these easy peasy protein balls out of cacao nibs and angel’s breath’ do come across as a little smug sometimes, I know. Also, there are hipster connotations to this new kind of approach to food which makes people feel a little intimidated to enter the world of whole foods. It’s a similar feeling you get from those wank fest boutiques where the sale assistants are paid to intimidate rather than inspire. The photos we see are usually highly stylised and therefore it looks unachievable. All these powders and potions and scare tactics of what everyday food does to you is isolating the masses and I think it’s a shame because these clean living fanatics are actually onto something.
As we as a species progress it is inevitable that we will discover new foods and all the benefits that go along with it. The human life expectancy has increased and this has loads to do with how much more conscious we are becoming in regards to nutrition, health and hygiene. Take Kale for example, that new salad leaf everyone is banging on about. Remember the days when iceberg lettuce was the standard in our green salad? If you were lucky you were given a bit of feta cheese and a few olives and tomato to go with it. Then we discovered baby spinach leaves and rocket. And now we’ve got a new leaf to fuck with. Don’t be scared! And don’t be put off just because a bunch of yuppies are acting like they have discovered the meaning of life because they caught onto the phenomena before the rest of us did. All that being said, Kale and protein powders aren’t gonna stop us from being hit by a truck or being stabbed by a junkie so watch where you’re going when you’re sipping on that smoothie.
You do not need to go into your pantry and clear it out and start spending hundreds of clams on strange things. Just because the media is screaming at you to GIVE UP SUGAR OR ELSE!!! doesn’t mean you have to start panicking. The media is just doing what they do best and that is to cause fear and anxiety in order for you to tune into their manufactured frequency so that you end up funding the man who controls it all. Mainstream media does not have your best interests at heart but neither does McDonalds or KFC. But that doesn’t mean to say you can’t wolf down that cheeseburger at 3am after a bender. Don’t feel guilty. Enjoy that shit masquerading as nourishment for what it is, an indulgent. Just try to be mindful 90% of the time.
I lost a bunch of weight over the last year and it had a lot to do with me changing my relationship with food. For one, I stopped relying on that wheel of camembert to make me feel joyful when I realised I could find that joy from within. I know I know, nobody wants to hear that hippy shit when they’re trying to lose the lard but I wish I could tell you there was something more to it. I found that minor changes to my daily diet and making better choices helped me achieve massive improvements in regards to weight management, overall health and other superficial benefits like a glowing complexion and sparkling eyes. It’s not really about eating less it’s about eating more and replacing certain things with something else.
These are the things I did more of…
Water. Yes, a no brainer. I drink tons of the stuff. I always have it on me and I always have a bottle on my desk. I think the first blog post I ever did on O.Owl I said that H20 was the key to perfect skin and I stand by that claim. You can use supermarket brands of skincare and drink 2 litres of nature’s juice a day and you will look like you have been fucking with Chanel. I live alone, so sometimes when I travel for work and am gone for a week or so, my plants take a hammering. I come home and the poor little bastards are literally hanging on for dear life. Their leaves hanging like droopy shoulders and I can practically hear them whispering, ‘FML’. All I have to do is take them out onto the balcony and drench them with water. Within an hour they are singing from the rooftops and their leaves are reaching for the lasers! Hydration does the same for you.
Eggs. Look, I would love to be a vegetarian and I can see the benefits of it. I cannot stand how we are simply just taking whatever we want from the planet like it owes us a fucking favour. This is why I find eating competitions involving chicken wings or burgers really tacky and retarded. Something had to die for you to be a greedy guts. I do eat meat and fish and I try to keep it organic and go to farmer’s markets etc but you gotta be practical. I can’t always afford organic and I don’t have time to hit the markets so I try to keep my protein intake consistent by eating these wonderments. I eat eggs everyday and I love them with all my heart. They say eggs are natures multivitamin capsule because they are packed with a squillion things that are good for you. I know some people don’t like them and I get it but I have to beg you to get over it. You’re missing out.
When I found out that coconut oil was better for you than olive oil it felt too good to be true. How can something that tastes so decadent be healthy? Well, it’s true. And get this: It helps with sugar cravings, boosts your metabolism, helps control weight and slows fine lines. Ummmmmmm where have you been all my life?! That does not mean go out and eat 10 Bountys. It means to start cooking with coconut oil, using coconut sugar instead of normal sugar and hydrating with coconut water! The masses are jumping on the coconut bandwagon faster than you can say ‘I’ve got a lover-ly bunch’ so coconut products are becoming more readily available. I find iherb.com have a fantastic range if online shopping is your ‘ting.
Organic, unprocessed, natural peanut butter is also a winner. I know, right? Lucky us! That doesn’t mean eating one jar in a whole sitting fatty. It means having a teaspoon full when you’re feeling a little peckish before dinner or using it as a dip for your apple slices or having it on some sour dough in the morning with your coffee (yes I drink coffee and red wine and Malibu..it’s coconut after all). There is that Sanitarium brand you get at Woolies which is the bomb but I love this brand that I also found on iHerb. There is one that is blended with dark chocolate and I die.
Still on that nut trip, let’s talk almonds. Listen, I used to hate them because I hated how waxy they were on my pallet. Yuck! But then I discovered that you can get them oven roasted and it makes them a lot crunchier and now I am so down. Look, it’s probably ideal to have them raw but you know what? It’s better than not having them at all, you know? And anyway, I have only felt better since eating more of them, roasted or not. I have a big glass jar in my kitchen that I keep filled and I grab a handful when I’m waiting for the kettle to boil, I add them to Greek yogurt in the morning with some LSA (I’ll get to that in a minute) and dried figs, I add them to salads (amazing with beetroot and basil) and I serve them as snacks when I have guests! Albeit, it is accompanied with wine but fuck it. Even Jesus loved wine. He turned water into wine when they woulda been just fine with water! They were in a perpetual state of being hungover in the New Testament. Love you almonds <3 (and wine).
I love me a fig in general because God damn, it is a sexy fruit! But dried figs are just delicious. Cut them up and have them with almonds and it’s like eating sweets! You know what else they go well with? A good strong vintage cheddar. Yes, I still eat cheese albeit sparingly and when I do, I make a mean cheese bort and I enjoy every single second of it because you know what else makes you beautiful? Being happy. And you know what makes me happy? Cheese.
Chocolate baby. Get in in ya! But here’s the catch…dark chocolate it has to be. I have a sweet tooth and I love me some Nigella Lawson, Domestic Goddess action. But again, now and then and here and there. I make over ridiculous creations for friend’s birthdays and events when the need to indulge is one that needs to be fulfilled but I also keep a slab of dark choc in the cupboard and have a couple of squares now and again. Combine them with the almonds and cut up dried figs and it will be like Christmas in your mouth. 70% cocoa content and up is ideal and try and get passed the bitterness. Let it slowly melt in your mouth and force that pallet out of it’s juvenile phase and into some sophistication. It’s sexier.
Avocado aka Nature’s butter. Sometimes just half an avo cut up with a boiled egg and some rock salt is all I need for dinner. Followed by some dark choc and dried figs for dessert. Yum! And oh so good for you. They’re not cheap though are they! I know. So treat them well. Have half at a time and smear it on some toast or use it in a salad with almonds, organic chicken, tomatoes, goats cheese and what not. Just throw in what you fancy really! Anyway, I know I’m preaching to the choir because very few people don’t like this guy. So let us have a moment of silence in gratitude for this wonderful fruit. Sure it’s high in calories because it’s rich in good fats but that doesn’t mean you have to eliminate if you are dieting. Just treat it as the hero and not the side dish because all those calories are beneficial and not empty.
Us South Africans are brought up on Rooibos or Red bush tea like you Aussies are raised on Vegimite, so I drink this like it ain’t no thang. And while over here you can only find it in the health food section and amongst the exotic teas, back home it sits right alongside good ‘ol English breakfast and coffee. You can have it cold or warm with lemon. You can even add milk and sugar if you so desire. The benefits are crazy, it has no caffeine but contains a million antioxidants. It fights cancer which is always nice and it aids in restful sleep amongst other ‘tings. Read all about it.
The easiest, cheapest and healthiest way to flavour food is with herbs. I grow some on my kitchen window sill and add them to almost everything. I can eat just basil leaves on their own all day every day and I sometimes do. They are super easy to grow and if I could smoke them, I would. Dill is good with fish and potatoes, basil is good with anything tomato based or anything with an Italian feel as is oregano, Rosemary is wonderful with meat and sweet potato, coriander is essential with anything that has an Asian flavour but hey, you make up your own mind when it comes to utilising the ‘erb.
LSA is a ground mixture of linseeds, sunflower seeds and almonds. Eating ground seeds is far more easier for your body to digest that eating them whole. It is also easier for you to eat this way because you can just sprinkle it over salads, add it to your muesli or porridge, swirl in your yogurt or add a spoonful if you are baking something. The benefits of eating this is that it cleanses and detoxes in the liver. Great news if you like a drink! Your liver needs looking after in a big way, I know mine does. Mine has taken an absolute hammering over the years and to say sorry I cop the $7 for a packet of this stuff and try to incorporate it into my diet everyday. Trust me, Google LSA right now and you will see that it can only be a good thing.
Ah bread, the poor bugger. No one wants a bar of it anymore ever since gluten free hit the airwaves of consciousness and everyone thought they would die if they ate it. We are just coming out of a time where feeding needed to be done quickly and cheaply. Hence that horrible processed plastic bread and stuff masquerading as meat made in far away factories that we were brought up on when industrialism was the world order. Now, as we become a little more mindful about what we put into our mouths we can start being more discerning about the types of food we choose to fuck with. A low carb diet is necessary if you need to shed some pounds and as far as carbs are concerned, bread is queen. I still eat it, although not very often. Wholegrain, rye and sourdough options are your best bet. A little sourdough smeared with avocado and a sprinkle of goats cheese in the morning is pretty damn good for you to be real.
Don’t be scared of goats cheese. Get to know it, play with it, try it. Have it with fresh figs and parma ham and try to acquire a taste for it. It’s good for your brain, high in protein and low in fat. It is delicious and nutritious and sheep have reigned for long enough! It’s time to see what little Billy has to offer. Get involved.
Look guys, it really is about making small changes. I for one am not gonna soak my nuts before I eat them anytime soon. Nor am I going to make my own almond milk or fuck around with fermenting shit and all that jazz. If you want to do that then all the power to you but I just don’t have the time.
The real change comes from your attitude towards food. For years I used to see it as a reward. Like eating cake after having a bad day. Eating cake after having a good day. Eating cake because I was sad. Eating cake because I was happy. Eating cake because I couldn’t afford cocaine that month. You know…that sort of attitude. Want you want to try and do is see food as something that fuels you and treat it (and yourself) with the respect that it deserves. I’m not never going to make pancakes for breakfast using full fat butter and I’m probably going to order a pizza this Friday and get blind drunk with my girlfriends and I partake in a whole bunch of things that would make the clean living bloggers wince. I will probably always be a tiny bit fat because I just can’t give up mayo.
I only find that I fail at things when I try to bite off more than I can chew. If I decide to make an overall change by being all ‘out with the old and in with the new!’ it usually ends in tears because then when I fuck up I am filled with self loathing and all I want to do is drive thru KFC. Easy does it and little by little and before you know it, it will just be second nature.
Keep it natural because Mother Nature is a MILF.