I have heard many people say healthy eating is expensive. I have also heard people complain cooking for one is no fun.
Well, I beg to disagree.
Recently, needs-must situation, I was found pre-diabetic and given a few months to sort it out via my diet (and exercise), coupled with the fact that I care about myself these days and want to lose weight, I have embarked on a bit of a lifestyle change.
I realised that the only way to be healthier and keep healthy is by changing your diet full stop and for ever. Mind you, all this sounds a bit immaterial since I am still a smoker but…all in due course.
So I have introduced different types of food in my diet and changed a few habits.
I always eat from a small plate now: it’s amazing how much you can still fit in (without going over the top of course) and how nicely filled you feel at the end. I will admit on occasions, I will sigh as I pick up the small plate and realise I won’t be stuffing my face, but it passes!
I try to eat mostly standing up at the kitchen bar. Purely because I try not to make eating food an “occasion” but rather a necessity (for survival type of thing) and so I don’t want to be sitting down all comfortable all the time.
When I eat, all I do is eat: no listening to music, browsing the internet or the local paper, nothing. This helps you concentrate on your food rather than let your mind wander elsewhere so you are more aware you are eating – this helps not eat so much too. A great added benefit: I am starting to enjoy and appreciate many mouthful. Sometimes a taste or flavour hits just the right spot and gives me pure bliss for a few seconds 🙂 I still have to work on that though as, even without external stimuli, the mind still finds ways to wander!
I don’t stock anything bad in the house. I had realised before that this was a good idea – such an easy way to remove temptation – but I found some hidden “bad” food had still filtered through, eg cereals, and were an easy target if/when I got the munchies.
I think that is it with the new eating habits.
Now for the healthy food – the expensive bit (apparently).
Earlier this week as I was doing a grocery shop, I realised that the cost of my shopping had considerably reduced, yet I am now eating “healthy”. I pondered why people say it is expensive…
My regular shops would typically include some of the following – each very low prices:
- A big bag of carrots (love grated carrots at the mo)
- Some fruits – either bananas, pears or tangerine, avocado.
- Pork and/or chicken thighs
- Mixture of red peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, courgettes, aubergine, spinach, mushrooms
- Tomatoes (on the vine)
- Celery (I used to hate it, now love a little taste of it)
- Fish – usually fresh cod.
- Some fresh herbs – basil or coriander
- A couple of 2 minutes rice bags
I buy the occasional healthy treat too, such as a bag of the cheapest frozen prawns (so expensive but such good food for you), and I also have cheap longer term meals, like rolled oatmeal, which costs nothing for a big bag, can of tomatoes etc.
Add to this some standard “essentials”, such as onions, eggs, garlic, balsamic vinegar, pepper, piri piri seasoning (or whatever takes your fancy), a few spices of your choice, the taste of all this can get interesting, I even marinate meat myself and the flavours are just amazing.
That covers all my meals, breakfast, lunch and dinner, throughout the week, and put some dishes in the freezer too. Hardly expensive.
Another added bonus about eating better food is you start to eat less naturally (as you get healthier) and therefore you need to buy less so it gets even cheaper.
So I really got wondering why people say healthy eat is expensive. And I think I get it: they are not buying and preparing the food, they will buy ready made fancy salads, they will buy meat all pre-marinaded and chicken in fancy sauces, they will buy carrots á la baton, all ready to eat, all sorts of short cuts “healthy food”. People are apparently now too lazy to cook their own meals then blame it on it being too expensive.
And here comes the second part of my pondering: how people say cooking for one is not fun.
Since I started to want to sort out my diet once and for all, it hasn’t escaped me that all this is much easier to do when you don’t have someone else to cook for or who cooks for you.
Cooking for yourself only, you get to choose exactly what you want to eat, how you want to it – the sense of empowerment this can give you shouldn’t be underestimated: you are in complete control of what you put in your mouth. No excuses, no being led astray, no opening that bottle of wine to have a glass that turns into a bottle when one has company (I have quit drinking alcohol during the week now): empowering AND liberating.
I’ve also realised recently that I can actually cook! I always used to think or say I couldn’t cook or I didn’t enjoy it, all because someone else was offering to do the cooking (so I never needed to).
Now I do my own, it’s a whole different story.
The sense of satisfaction that comes from being able to produce a nice meal was unexpected to me, and I don’t feel the need to share it with someone else, my appreciation of the meal is all I care about really – how selfish of me 😉
And when you refer back to one of the changes I have made – eating my meal in silence which enables me to be more mindful, and appreciative, of what I am eating – you can’t really do that if you have company. Yes you might enjoy the odd mouthful but mainly you will be distracted by the other person.
I also don’t see what is boring about being able/free to please your own self cooking.
And lastly, if you cook for one, that usually means you live alone, and if you leave alone, what better things have you got to do than actually take proper care of yourself? :-p
[I am now officially a medicated diabetic, apparently it is genetic. My cholesterol has reduced though 🙂 Weight loss is work in (slow) progress]