Happy Belly Happy Heart

A blog dedicated to nutrition, wellbeing and happiness. I believe the key to a good life begins with what you choose to put into your body. A happy belly = a happy mind = a happy heart.

10 Ways to a Happy Belly

on February 11, 2013

ImageHello and welcome to my first blog post!

I thought I’d start by sharing why I decided  to set up HappyBellyHappyHeart.

I’ve always struggled to find things I’m passionate about but over the years, and particularly very recently, I’ve realised that one of those things is nutrition. I’m passionate about eating healthily. But there’s more to it than that; I’m passionate about living healthily with minimum impact on the environment.

When I was younger I ate whatever I wanted and didn’t give much concern to its nutritional value. It didn’t seem to matter, though, as I had the kind of teenage body that didn’t seem to put on weight. But as I hurtled through my twenties I realised things were changing and I’d have to pay a bit more attention. I became a vegetarian at the age of 19, as I never really enjoyed or agreed with eating meat and believed being veggie would help me eat more healthily. I was right.

I now realise a fascinating thing: I still eat whatever I want. It’s just the things I want to eat have changed. I never eat anything I don’t want to eat. I never force myself to eat something because it’s ‘good’ for me or deny myself something because it’s ‘bad’ for me. So I pondered further on this and discovered there’s a set of principles I live by, which haven’t been forced upon me; they’ve just evolved organically and are now intrinsic to my daily life.

So I thought I’d share them with you. You never know, you might even be inspired to follow one or two of them yourself…

  1. Love your food! Savour and enjoy every mouthful and feel nourished by its goodness.
  2. Everything in moderation. Binge eating is never helpful. But if you eat a healthy, balanced diet, you won’t need to follow any fads or deprive yourself of any food.
  3. Don’t feel guilty! As long as it’s in moderation you can eat that cake/biscuit/chocolate; the important thing to remember is to enjoy and savour it! Don’t feel guilty or attach negative emotions to it; sweet food can be nourishing too.
  4. Eat little and often. Personally, I’ve found this is the best way to keep my metabolism and blood sugar levels steady, rather than eating 3 larger meals a day.
  5. Never skip breakfast. It’s the most important meal of the day and sets your metabolism going at the right speed. A mix of fresh fruit, cereals, nuts/seeds and milk or yoghurt (or dairy-free alternatives) is my staple. Oats are a great source of slow-release energy.
  6. Drink plenty of water. Apart from 40 mins either side of mealtimes, water should be sipped throughout the day (too much liquid whilst eating can flood the digestive system, making the digestive process more difficult and preventing us absorbing all the nutrients from our food.) Avoid fizzy or sugary drinks and too much caffeine or alcohol. One cup of caffeinated tea per day works fine for me.
  7. Avoid processed foods. Wherever possible eat wholegrain, nutrient-rich food in its most natural, unprocessed form.
  8. Avoid diet foods. I believe it’s better to eat natural, full-fat foods in moderation, rather than low-fat, low-sugar or low-calorie foods which nearly always have additional sugar, sugar substitutes, additives or other nasties to compensate for the lack of flavour.
  9. No counting. I don’t believe in counting calories, weight of food, bodyweight or waist size. Instead I try to listen to my body, eat what I need when I need it and stop eating before I’m completely full.
  10. Exercise! Last but by no means least. To me a healthy balanced diet includes exercise. You can’t expect to lose weight or feel happy in your body without it. Regular exercise strengthens muscles, enhances physical fitness, boosts the immune system, helps prevent disease, improves mental health and makes you feel great! And it doesn’t have to mean slogging away at the gym for hours on end or battling the elements whilst jogging. I have a daily Ashtanga yoga practice which keeps me physically fit, improves my strength and flexibility and is also very meditative. But you could try swimming, dancing, hula hooping, hill walking, rock climbing… the list is endless!

9 responses to “10 Ways to a Happy Belly

  1. Mumukshu says:

    Thanks for that clear and inspiring message, looking forward to the next.

  2. Jemima says:

    Blog looks beautiful, love the happy sunny feel of it. Awesome!

  3. Carolyn says:

    Great blog, looks good and very informative!

  4. granny says:

    As you know….I am not really into blogs etc . at my ripe old age,but that is really good and should inspire a few people to think about what they eat more seriously…and enjoy!

  5. […] I was particularly struck by his ’8 Keys to Healthy Living’ which are very much in line with my 10 Ways to a Happy Belly: […]

  6. […] And then a strange thing happened. I began to read the yamas in a way I’d never done before. And I began to understand them. I think up until now yoga philosophy for me has mostly been this intangible, distant subject from some forgotten age which I never thought I could relate to. But, as it turns out, the five yamas – a set of principles by which yogis should live their lives – is actually very relevant to all of us, right now. Not only that, but I believe they can be applied to many different situations and aspects of life. And I could instantly see how similar they are to my own set of principles for healthy eating: […]

  7. […] Now, I’m definitely not one to shy away from a hearty Full English (veggie of course), a delicate Eggs Florentine or a delectable stack of pancakes smothered in maple syrup, bananas and blueberries. But here comes that familiar motto again…. altogether now: Everything in moderation! […]

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