There are times when life can feel like a race against the clock, with a seemingly endless list of responsibilities to fulfill. While the prospect of making changes to your diet may seem overwhelming, if you don’t have time to eat well, you could waste even more time feeling unwell. The good news is that there are a few simple habits you can adopt to make cooking and eating for optimal wellbeing an easily ritualised part of your day and life. Here are some of our favourites…
DRINK WATER IN A NEW WAY
Follow the simple rule of not drinking water (or anything, for that matter) 90 minutes before and after each meal. This habit will fuel your digestive fire, hydrate you properly and assist your body in optimal nutrient absorption by not diluting your digestive juices. Just make sure you’re drinking enough water outside of these times.
LOAD UP ON LEGUMES
If you’re looking for ways to incorporate more plant-based foods into your diet, reserve one Sunday afternoon each month for cooking a large batch of beans and lentils. Start by soaking them in filtered water on the Saturday, and then draining well, rinsing once more and cooking in well-salted brine the following day. Once cooked, drain well again and allow to cool completely before transferring to freezer-friendly containers, ready to pop straight into the pot for a fibre-rich addition to soups, curries and stews.
KEEP WELL OILED
Olive oil is a great source of healthy fat, but shouldn’t be used in cooking as it becomes toxic when heated beyond its smoke point. To increase your intake of the tasty anti-inflammatory oil (in addition to drizzling it over salads, of course), add it to ready-to-eat soups and use it in homemade pestos, dipping sauces and guacamole. Always choose a cold-pressed olive oil for optimal health benefits.
FILL UP ON FIBRE
Feeding the microbes in your gastrointestinal tract difficult-to-digest fibre is a great way to improve your gut health. An easy and delicious way to add this to your diet is by making baked sweet potato wedges with the skin left on. Simply scrub them well, and then slice and chop them for the baking tray. In fact, all vegetable peels that can be eaten (butternut, tomatoes, eggplant and white/red potatoes, for example) are fantastic food for your beneficial bacteria. In addition to feeding the good guys, you’ll also be ingesting some of the microbes that have clung to the veggies from the soil. There’s a reason capsules filled with soil are becoming a new health trend!
CALL ON COLLAGEN
Gelatin is a great way to provide your body with more collagen, and it’s more affordable than hydrolyzed collagen. I make various sugar-free desserts with gelatin, and my family loves them. You can also add it to soups and stews to thicken them and add some extra nutritional benefit for healthy skin and hair, as well as to assist in healing a leaky gut.
Eating an abundance and variety of vegetables is fundamental to good health. An easy way to add more vegetables to your daily diet is to use frozen veggies. This will save you peeling and chopping time, but also ensure high nutritional value as vegetables headed for the frozen market are harvested when they are perfectly ripe, as opposed to the ‘almost-ready’ veggies available in the fresh market. I love making soups with frozen vegetables, and adding frozen bone broth and sundried onions (another timesaver) for extra flavour and nutrition.
SPICE THINGS UP
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Marlien Wright is a yoga teacher, nutritional therapy coach and author of the recipe books The Yoga Kitchen and The Mandala Kitchen. Visit www.yogakitchen.co.za for info on her upcoming workshops and retreats.