Our 6 weeks 6 diets challenge is well underway now and the volunteers are doing a great job of adapting to their new regimens.
An interesting challenge which has faced some of them this week is the pit-falls of self-talk. The way we rationalise our behaviours and then apply judgement. Our internal dialogue is powerful, but most of us aren’t even aware that Is going on.
Take a moment and have a think about who your biggest critic has been throughout your life…
One of your parents? Your boss? Maybe your best friend?
I’m willing to bet that for most of you, whether you know it or not, your biggest critic is yourself.
“It’s my fault that things have gone wrong this month”
“I can’t do anything right”
“I should be thinner”
“I should, I should, I should…”
Now I’m not saying that we should never question our actions or thoughts. being critical can allow us to grow and achieve our goals, but it can also keep us paralyzed if we don’t apply it constructively. Two common but negative thought patterns which can be applied to all avenues of life and specifically the areas of diet and weight loss are:
- Catastrophising: Viewing a situation as worse than it is AND/OR applying one situation to every situation.
- Should: Any phrase which starts “I should…” is based on a comparison with another person or situation and generally implies that you feel inferior in comparison.
These thought patterns lock us into a negative spiral so making long term positive changes can be difficult.
Most of us are motivated to make a change to our diet because we compare ourselves to somebody else or a perceived ideal. Social media is full of un-attainable images and messages which lead us to believe we should be better, so we are rarely satisfied. This mixed with the deprivation of a diet, is not a sustainable place to put ourselves!
Tips to change your mindset
-Turn your ‘should’ into ‘could’. The word should implies that you feel obliged to do something. Could implies a choice. When your self-talk contains ‘should’, re-run the sentence but replace it with ‘could’.
-Practice mindfulness. Mindfulness involves being present in a situation without being judgemental. This allows you to see a situation for what it really is, and recognise that thoughts are transient, they come and go.
-Be compassionate. Next time you are being negative to yourself, ask, would I talk to my friend that way? If not, it’s time for a change. The following sentence from one of our participants is a perfect alternative.
"Listen, you're doing okay, you have a fair few things on your plate, you're doing the best you can, and anyway whose keeping score?"
Health improvement and nutrition is more than just the food, it’s a whole mindset issue. Before you can make long term change your mindset has to be right, and your intentions must be good.
If you want help breaking out of this negative mindset then at Courtyard we have plenty of services which can help, including hypnotherapy and relaxation (www.courtyardclinic.com). If you think that you would benefit from addressing your thoughts and motivations around food and diet then send an email to email@example.com to see how we can work together to achieve your goals.
Protein is one of our essential macronutrients and its benefits include preventing frailty, improving sports performance, boosting the immune system and aiding fat loss!
Most people in the UK get plenty of protein to meet the recommended intake (0.8g/Kg body weight/day), but this is probably due to our relatively high meat consumption. Of course we can get enough protein from a plant based diet to meet our needs, you just have to eat a lot more food. Also, those with increased needs such as athletes and those recovering from injuries may struggle to get all they need from a plant based diet.
Now I have nothing against including a moderate amount of high quality, welfare meat and fish in the diet, but most people would benefit from including more plant foods in the diet and decreasing their meat intake. Step up, vegan protein powders, a perfect way to increase the nutrient quantity of a meal without affecting taste or texture. Pea protein in particular is high in branched chain amino acids which may have benefits for those involved in lots of exercise/activity.
Some of you may be familiar with the PULSIN brand of snack bars and brownies, but they also do protein powders which can be added to a variety of foods. They are based in Gloucestershire just up the road from me, and I can really get behind their ethos and mission .
15 minute falafel burgers and extras
2 tins of chickpeas
2 tins of green lentils (steamed)
1 cooked parsnip
1/3 cup of sesame seeds
2 big spoons of pea protein
Method: Throw it all in a bowl, season, then mash together either with a fork, potato masher or electric mixer. Pan fry or grill for 5-6 minutes on each side.
To serve: What ever extras you feel like. In this meal we used balsamic red onion, humous, guacamole, sweet potato wedges and carrot and beetroot salad.
This is the perfect sharing meal, quick to rustle up, can be made in advance and can be adapted to suit people's tastes.
High in protein
High in fibre
High in micronutrients
This meal has so much going for it and there is also the added benefit of being meat free. whether it is for your health or for ethical, sustainability reasons, try going meat free for a couple of days each week and see what new foods you can try out.
From tree to plate in under two hours! It's a great feeling when you get to serve up something which you have grown yourself and the British summer is full of wonderful produce.
In the last couple of months we have seen rhubarb, raspberries, gooseberries, plums and greengages to name just a few. The benefits of fresh, seasonal fruit include:
-Less environmental impact
When you get a glut of fruit in such a short period of time it's hard to manage to eat it all and this is where preserving methods such as jams and chutneys come into play.
I decided to go down the baking route this time:
Plum and ginger cake (adapted from BBC goodfood)
Butter for greasing
2 tbsp of demerara sugar
175g dark muscovado sugar
140g golden syrup
2 chia seed eggs (https://detoxinista.com/how-to-make-flax-eggs-or-chia-eggs/) (only because I ran out of normal eggs!)
300g self raising flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate soda
1 tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp mixed spice
1) Heat the oven to 180 oC. Line and grease a 23cm square cake tin. Halve the plums and line the tin/
2) Melt the butter, muscovado and syrup together on a low heat, stir until smooth. Cool for 10 minutes and add the egg and milk. Sift in the remaining dry ingredients.
3) Pour the batter into the tin and bake for 45-55 minutes. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack.
Now, this might not be classed as a super healthy cake by most, it's not "free from", paleo, low sugar or anything, it's just wholesome, tasty, seasonal goodness! That being said, of course it has some health benefits;
Plums - High in vitamins and minerals, high fibre content, good amount of antioxidants
Ginger - Anti-inflammatory, reduces nausea, helps with digestion
Chia seeds - High in omega 3, fibre, iron and calcium
Food doesn't have to be boring, expensive or exotic to be good for you. Unless you have a specific medical reason for avoiding a food or ingredient then they can all be enjoyed in the appropriate quantities.
Get out there and take advantage of all our local, homegrown produce whilst it is still available!