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Healthy Eating - A Beginners Guide

The healthy food movement has become an unstoppable trend, in large, due to education and cultural awareness of nutrition which has led to the Food Industry going through somewhat of a revolution in recent years.  Gone are the popular sugary drinks and snacks as the most popular and profitable items.  Consumers are demanding ‘healthier products’ and the Food Industry has responded by using marketing buzz words like ‘free-from’ and ‘no-added’ on the food packaging to convince us to buy.  However, is this just another marketing ploy to get us to buy their products?  Are any of these products actually healthy and nutritious?

With the influx of mixed messages now hitting our inbox, social media accounts and the supermarket aisles, it is harder than ever to wade through the marketing blurb – dairy or no dairy; fat free or full fat; carbs or no carbs.  Are we a nation struggling to understand healthy eating or do we choose to pick a ‘sugar-free’ option to make us feel better about what we are consuming?

Why should you eat healthy?

A good diet can improve all aspects of life, from brain function to physical performance.  In fact food affects all your cells and organs.  Improved diet quality can also improve your mental health and well-being and can drastically reduce your chances of developing heart disease and cancer, the world’s leading killers.

We’ve taken a look at our favourite super foods which you can add to you daily diet in a number of different ways to give you a kick start on your journey to healthy eating.

We’ve also delved a bit deeper on the bad foods which fill our supermarket aisles with their fancy packaging to try and tempt us and why we should be saying no to those foods most of the time!

FOODS TO AVOID

By reducing your intake of unhealthy foods on a daily basis, you will not only feel better, have more energy, improve your skin and hair, you will also reduce your risk of disease and lose fat.

The foods listed below should not not feature in your daily diet at all as this is where the problem starts especially if you are what we deem a yo yo dieter – someone who excludes everything for 3 weeks then binge eats on all the bad stuff. Yoyo dieting can increase your body fat percentage at the expense of muscle mass and strength, and can cause fatty liver, high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease.

These foods should only be consumed on special occasions.

These include:

Sugar-based products

Foods high in sugar, especially sugary drinks are linked to obesity and type 2 diabetes.  Sugary drinks can also be addictive.  In fact Coca-Cola addiction is quite common.  If you are thinking of swapping your full fat coke out for diet coke then think again.  It is not a healthy way to withdraw from a cola addiction.  Diet coke is deprived of sugar but it is not deprived of the artificial sweetener aspartame which can also lead to addiction.

Trans Fats

When produced artificially, this nasty fat is hidden in foods we may think are okay like some Crackers, microwave popcorn and cake frosting.  Trans fats have been linked to heart disease so it is important that you limit your intake.

Refined Carbs

White bread, sugary breakfast cereals, pastries, white rice, sweets are some of the most popular refined foods we consume.  Linked to overeating, obesity and metabolic disease these refined carbs are starting to be identified as bad foods by adults through education.  However, we still seem to feed our children these processed foods on a daily basis, setting our nation up for the next wave of obesity.

Processed Low Fat Products

The packaging may be trying to convince us it is healthy.  However, in reality ‘fat free’ alternatives are not always the healthy choice.  Read the label, these products are often packed full of sugar or, even worse, aspartame to make them taste better.  Buy the real full fat options like full fat yogurt and remember to always consume in moderation.

SUPER FOODS

Whether you are overhauling your whole eating regime or simply changing up your meals, it’s easy to add a number of super foods to your everyday routine.  Many of these foods not only add flavour to a recipe; they are great for snacking and may even aid weight loss.

There are plenty of  super foods which are delicious from fresh berries and vegetables to lean meats, fresh fish, nuts and seeds.  The theme here though is that they are all natural ingredients with minimum interference from man.

Fresh food can be quick and easy to prepare into super recipes for you and your family.  If you want to reduce your food waste, you can prepare ahead and freeze or head to the frozen aisle where you will find a great range of fruit, vegetables, fish and healthy lean meats.

We’ve picked our favourite super foods here:

Chai Seeds

Among the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet!  30g of this super food packs a huge 11g of fibre plus magnesium, calcium and various other nutrients.  Add to your smoothies and sauces or even use to make a delicious crunchy topping with a variety of nuts to fish or chicken!

Almonds

A perfect evening snack loaded with vitamin E and studies show almonds can even help you lose weight and improve your metabolic health.  Again, remember to eat in moderation.

Asparagus

Low in both carbs and calories but loaded with vitamin K and a great addition to any meal even breakfast!  Use asparagus to replace your ‘processed carb’ soldiers and dip into your delicious soft boiled eggs.

Why not try our Six Pack Revolution Boiled Egg and Soldiers Recipe. This fabulous recipe was created by our founder, Scott Harrison, to enjoy with his family on a Sunday.  By adding the power of Asparagus, this recipe literally kicks arse!  Packed with antioxidants, Asparagus is a cancer-fighting, nutrient building super herbaceous plant which is low in calories and extremely delicious.

Eggs

A whole egg contains pretty much a little bit of almost every nutrient you need.  With large amounts of vitamin A, B12 and B5 and good amounts of vitamin D, E, K, B6 the list goes on!

Avocado

Full of healthy fats instead of carbs.  Avocados are great on their own, as part of a delicious meal or to use to make a sauce.

Dark Chocolate

A perfect treat which is loaded with magnesium and serves as one of the planet’s most powerful sources of antioxidants.  Remember to consume in moderation and buy organic if you can!

Serve with fresh raspberries or melt over strawberries to create the ultimate pudding for hungry guests at your dinner party!

Chicken

Chicken breast is low in fat and calories but extremely high in protein. It’s a great source of many nutrients.  Chicken is also very versatile and can replace most red meat for any recipe if you want to only eat lean meat.

For vegetarians, Tofu makes an excellent substitute for chicken because it’s a good source of high-quality, complete protein and can be flavoured to taste like chicken.

SUSTAINING A HEALTHY EATING PLAN

Here is a fantastic rule and one which we should all live by.  Find an eating plan that offers a long term balance rather than an extreme diet which you will never be able to maintain.

Basing 90% of your eating habits on unprocessed whole foods and eating smaller portions will allow you to enjoy treats occasionally and still achieve excellent health.  It’s all about cutting down on the amount of food you put on your plate and try and make every meal contain a higher portion of whole foods than processed rubbish!

If you want to fill your plate at every meal, get a smaller plate – simple but effective and rewires your brain to eat less!

Remember, your body is a working machine and needs the right fuel to work effectively every day of your life.  By eliminating certain foods, you will only improve the way your body functions for both your long-term health and your ongoing happiness.

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The Six Pack Revolution is a 90 day transformation programme, where we coach you on fitness, mind-set and nutrition.

Founded by Scott Harrison, the programme includes everything you need to get you into the best shape of your life. You’ll learn how to cook delicious recipes, and complete daily and weekly fitness challenges within a group of like-minded people, all looking to achieve the same outcome as YOU!

All our Six Pack Revolution coaches have been through the programme. They started where you are today and are proof that the programme works, and proof that anyone can do it too!

One of the best things about The Six Pack Revolution is the support network. You’ll get to know your new fitness family through a private Facebook Group. This is ‘The Hub’ where others in the group share their experiences, results and tips on overcoming obstacles.

We believe in you, and can’t wait to welcome you to the revolution!