How to maintain a healthy lifestyle at PumpjackPiddlewick

I’ve been thinking on healthy lifestyle choices. I personally am not a great proponent of ‘diets’. I am a firm believer that if you choose to deprive yourself of something, particularly a yummy something, you will inevitably go back to it. Possibly more so. So although a diet may give a quick fix, I think it is not sustainable.

And by ‘diet’ I mean something you do for a bit, hopefully reach your goal, and then stop. Or give up in most cases. Now a healthy balanced lifestyle that is far more sustainable sounding to my ears.

I am a great believer in real food, fresh, local and seasonal. Whether you grow it yourself, or buy from a market. Or supermarket. You owe it to yourself to provide your body with the best you can afford.

There are two things I have come to discover over time. Predominantly, ‘you are (definitely) what you eat’. And, to a lesser yet yummy sense, ‘enjoy a treat’.

I was reading this blog post Stop Blaming Gluten and I get it. I really do. Gluten gets a bad wrap these days, and is blamed for so much. Honestly, I think it has less to do with gluten specifically and more about processed foods. Well gluten of some form is essentially in all processed foods, hence the correlation. But if you think about it, processed food is designed to keep for a long time. How is your system supposed to break down and extract nutrients from something that the natural elements can’t?

Pumpjack and I took a lifestyle choice a number of years ago to take gluten out of our day to day lives. Most of the time. What this essentially meant was we stopped buying processed foods and make all our food from scratch. And yes, we very definitely feel better for it. It’s a healthy lifestyle choice that is easy to maintain.

And now I am hearing you scream ‘but I don’t have time to make all my food from scratch!’ And my answer is ‘bollocks / bull / horse shite’. I can put together or cook healthy food as fast as a microwave can heat a ready meal. What it takes is shifting a little out of your comfort zone to start, a little planning (though not much) and discovering a few new recipes. Oh, and not having a microwave certainly helps.

Three simple tips

Keep it simple, less ingredients is fine. I personally love recipes that have headlines like ‘Only 3, 4 or 5 ingredients’. For example – steak, green beans and mushrooms. Three ingredients, saute up in a pan and you have a healthy balanced tasty meal in minutes.

Repeat

There is nothing that says you have to eat a different meal every meal time. Feel free to make a large crock pot stew or lentil casserole. Freeze some for those times you don’t feel like cooking. (Yes, I will get on to how to re-heat without a microwave in just a moment.) Eat the rest over a couple meals during the week. You can always vary it up a little if you must, by adding a different side veg.

Reheat

I have said it before and I will say it again. I love Leftover Night. You never quite know what you are going to get. And as you liked it before, sometimes it is even better the second time around. Reheating leftovers, whether from fridge or defrosted from freezer, is easy. It’s all about steam.

If you have a slow cooker / crock pot. Stick it in there on low for about 30 minutes. If their isn’t much or any liquid in it add a tablespoon or two of water,stock or wine to help the steam heat the food. Ditto in an oven, on low around 150 C / 300 F degrees. Or in a saucepan. With a saucepan the wider the better and a lid is a necessity to trap the steam in. Put it on your stovetop on low heat. Stir and check the temperature now and then until you have it as hot as you like.

In taking gluten out of our day to day, we have noticed a difference in our health. Less aches in the joints, definitely more alert, more energy, less beer belly (what do you think beer is made from?) and certainly less farting.

Wheat, or if you prefer, gluten is an opioid. Yup. It is addictive. You will find if you decide to take it out or limit it from your meals that you will crave it. I’ve generally found that it takes 3 weeks for the very real cravings to go away. And by cravings, I mean craving anything that might have gluten in it. Cakes or cookies of course, but also sausages, sandwich meats, really anything from the deli counter or in a tin or packet.

However Mr P and I are not totally gluten free. Just selective in our choices. Pumpjack makes *The*Best*Pizza*Ever*! And, we live in France. Home to the baguette. Our Boulangerie (bakery) is simply amazing. Their bread is so delicious it truly is a treat. As is the law here in France, the baguette only has 4 ingredients; flour, salt, yeast and water. There are no preservatives. This is why a new loaf (or half a loaf) is bought whenever wanted. So always fresh.

As for other foods, by eliminating processed foods and focusing on fresh we not only feel better, we can eat all we want. And don’t gain weight. (Actually, cut out gluten altogether and you will lose weight.) I’ll add to this, we have become more aware of what foods fill us, what are empty calories and which foods don’t agree with us. But most importantly, which foods give us more energy. Kind of a nice thing to know when you are getting older.

By undertaking a healthy lifestyle mindset we are less affected by those foods that wreak a little havoc on our bodies and energy levels. And bonus, we are able to really enjoy the treats because they are actually treats.

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