Food, the great Aussie conundrum

Nutrition, mental health and misconception!

I was diagnosed at forty years old, Bipolar and what a seismic disturbance! Being fifty now and in far better health I have some great tips and, possibly, my nutritional journey and experience might just assist you. True, I am no dietician or nutritionist, however, I am in good health, when considering, PTSD, and L4 & L5 Degenerative discs. The PTSD would be classed as recovering and due to core strength and healthy weight I can do most normal daily activities with dodgy discs. Realistically, standing on hard surface or sitting for long periods will never be achievable. Walking and strength training are my two favourite exercises and because I have done plenty of Yoga I use it all the same for all my stretching. The secret is nutrition, I believe as high as ninety percent in achieving total health. Plenty of sensationalist or money make scoundrel will tell you you have to train like a Navy Seal, consequently, the loyalty of a competitive athlete to lose weight. Seriously, I watch so many heavy people running on my walking track along the beach. They appear like they are trying to give birth, their faces have an agonising persona. I have never lived through this type of pain, except when I did not manage my discs well, they are inflicting unnecessary suffering. I was over a 106 kilogram twelve months ago and now 90 kilograms. For American readers, that’s about a 35 pound loss. Have I caused any discomfort or withdrawals? No. Have I been persistent and disciplined? Yes. Am I on a diet? No.

I became a Vegan 2014 and this did not cause any weight loss. You can eat unhealthy as Vegan just like anyone other staple source. People claim, Vegan,  Paleolithic diet,  Paleo dietcaveman diet, or stone-age diet etc. are effective ways to manage your weight. This can be true, all the same, you still need to eat the right food regardless of your preference. The red meat eaters need to weigh the quantity and quality if they are gong to achieve good health. Vegans must have vitamin B12, “The only reliable vegan sources of B12 are foods fortified with B12 (including some plant milks, some soya products and some breakfast cereals) and B12 supplements. Vitamin B12, whether in supplements, fortified foods, or animal products, comes from micro-organisms.. Seriously, if you are considering a plant based diet, please do not brush over this advice.” Source Vegan Society. Please, if you are considering, or along a plant based diet, take this seriously, especially transitioning, or Vegan. Some crazy rapid diets could cause this as easily.

Can we eat well all the time? Yes, even then, it takes a couple years to achieve this and patience. You are better working on a 80/20 plan. I.e Eat well 80% of the time, if you reduce things rapidly like sugar and processed foods you will experience unpleasant feeling physically and emotionally that you may cause many to give up the new lifestyles. Remember, no diet, simply work on better choices and lifestyles gradually. I am not failing to talk about alcohol or cigarettes because common sense should reign here. I am a non drinker and smoker, no judgement on anyone from me. I understand some of you may have extremely active social lives and this adds to your challenge. Still, friends and family soon adjust to your new choice and life styles. Admittedly, mine is generally radical for people to get on board at first. Vegan, non drinker, meditation and very little media or news in general. Even with my choices, my family accepts them and respect them. My sister calls me her weirdo brother, as a term of endearment. When you build these changes be gentle on yourself and do your best to stick to 80% better, make a day when you eat something special that’s not so healthy. Do not get on an eating frenzy, once a week, or in your 20%, just eat some stuff that’s not your staple and do it all in moderation. Choice is the secret and reducing quantity size. Consuming large meals at night time or late snacks are counter productive from my experience. Eat a good big breakfast and lunch and reduce the night time eating to a minimum, i.e. three to four hundred calories. Do not eat large calories after lunch you will struggle to gain any progress. I suggest walking and drink water, consider your caffeine intake, I like herbal teas they are a great means to hydrate. In terms of getting sick of water and reducing coffee. I only like dark coffee, unless I go out, then I indulge in a brewed soy latte, only during the day or morning because it affect my quality of sleep. Sleep is important to, this is different for everyone, however, make certain you get enough and get some routine around this vital area.

Things to eventually do away with

  • Processed foods
  • Excessive sugar: i.e. soft drinks etc.
  • Large meals
  • Night time snacking
  • White flour.

I produce my own Buckwheat bread and its delicious, I don’t eat commercially made breads unless I am out and then I keep it it a minimal. Too much bread for me is unhelpful, even my homemade variety, same as too much rice. I mostly only eat brown rice, however, if I am out I eat small amounts of any. We have to compromise when we are invited to dinner or go away. I haven’t comprised being on a Plant based diet and everyone realizes that. Yet, nothing worse that going out with a person who cannot eat anything and carries on about food all night. Be a person who can adjust and discover a nice balance in all situations. We don’t have to be obsessed with food to manage our weight, consequently, the obsession will only contribute to frustration over time and regression. You need to think about what goes in your body and consider the quality and amount. You do not need to nag about it to others or complain about food quality that people cook with love or good intentions. You do not have to lose out on great tasting food, you may have to learn how to cook and prepare healthy meals. I am a huge lover of black beans and beans in general. That’s me and if people are interested I have some great, easy meals and especially soups that I enjoy for dinner. I also cook large quantities and put it in meal size containers to freeze. This actually helps to avoid the lazy, tired cannot bothered cooking day and grabbing some processed take away.

This is another important tip, your tasted buds lie to you. Yes, they are horrible liars. As well, I understand Cultural norms are important to many. You can be respectful and even participate at times. Let’s say your cultural norm is to eat a large cooked meal followed by a huge desert and drinks by a chocolate after nine pm. Easily, you can serve up a smaller meal and smaller desert, also know this is pencilled in your diary, you can adjust your eating day accordingly, and can pass on chocolate and ask for a tea. You will be surprised how people are so caught up in the eating they will not even acknowledge. Some, may say you did not eat a lot, however, you can say I loved the meal, but I am full and appreciate all your efforts, thanks! Taste buds change and cultural norms are not always helpful, but like your emotions, think about the food you like as a child and don’t like now and consider all the food you disliked as a child and love now. After a month or two you can modify anything you want. ( I am not referring to eating disorders or any other mental illness) You simply need to understand that emotions and taste are often conditional, and not set in concrete. Often we eat emotionally and, people live to eat and not eat for life. It’s an old saying that is nevertheless worth a mention. Psychological or physiological, some other way of looking at your choices. We are extremely evolved and complex, this is a scientific fact. This provides us the intelligence and science, and experiences to simplify things. You don’t necessitate to be a special person or gifted to lose weight, you just need a little common sense and patience. Body image, sex and power are what the world thrives on. You can define your own realistic goals, not based on the illusions. Be yourself and enjoy who you are, except that Rome was not made in a day and ultimately life is for living and food is to be enjoyed but not abused.

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