THE AGE-OLD SECRET TO HEALTHY EATING

by: ALEKSIJA VUJICIC

Want to eat healthy? Think like a neanderthal. Yes, you read that correctly.

In a previous article here, we talked about what it even means to be healthy. Basically, the answer we gave is that it’s DEF not a “one size fits all” solution, and it all becomes even crazier when you start talking about healthy eating. The chaos begins as soon as you search “health” on Google- some people claim you have to be vegan, some say low-carb diets are the ultimate solution, some people argue that juice cleanses are a cure-all… and then there’s always someone arguing the opposite.

What’s a girl to do?! Well at Zenzy, we like to focus onlifestyle, instead of trends. Our general opinion on what it means to be healthy can pretty much be summed up in the following way:

Since the beginning of time (think Neanderthals people), humans have had some pretty basic patterns (from what science can tell us). In the last 150 years or so, since the Industrial Revolution, the world has suddenly been flipped topsy-turvy and now there’s 50 billion new ideas on how everyone should act, eat, speak, exercise, think, socialize and way more. Then the internet is created and now you have everyone and their mother telling you what the “ONLY” way to be healthy is.

Trends come and go, but there are certain basic patterns that have stayed the same since the dawn of time. So the advice we’re going to offer is mainly stuff that humans have already been doing for centuries and centuries (and obviously we made it here right?), mixed in with some fun new-age stuff that we think is totally awesome and helpful.

We know there’s no right answer for everyone—so if you feel passionately about being a vegan (or vegetarian), that’s awesome! We have tips and ideas for you. If you absolutely love meat and put chicken on every salad (guilty as charged), that’s amazing and we have advice and suggestions for you as well. Furthermore, if you read an article on how you HAVE to be low-carb, don’t suddenly throw all your bread in the garbage out of pure terror, read thisarticle on what the Keto diet is, what it means to be low-carb, and what the pros and cons are so you can make the decision for YOURSELF.

YOU know YOU best!!! Not even your mom knows you better than you do (even though she might think she does. It’s up to you to take your health and wellness under control, and do what you feel (and know) is right!

Now, all that being said, we’ve looked to our ancestors for some easy, general tips that we think will help you be your healthiest & happiest you. Read, review, and decide what you think is best!

Listen to Your Body

Your body knows how it is feeling, and it will scream at you until you pay attention! Does your head hurt and you feel sluggish? You’re most likely actually dehydrated. DRINK! Are you exhausted an unable to focus on your homework? Take a break and NAP! Is your stomach growling? Don’t ignore it because you think you should be eating less, EAT! Which leads us to our next point…

Eat When You’re Hungry

Some of you may be thinking, well, duh… But you’d be surprised how many people will ignore their stomachs because they “just ate and shouldn’t be hungry still” or they “need to eat less to lose weight”… ERROR. If you feel hungry, it’s because your body is not getting the nutrients that it needs. You are better off responding to your body and feeding it something healthy now, for a couple of reasons. First, eating small amounts of healthy foods actually kick-starts your metabolism, which helps you burn the food you’re eating and process the macro and micro nutrients, which keeps you fit and healthy! Second, if you don’t eat when you’re hungry, your body enters “starvation mode” and it actually starts storing fat in your body because it’s unsure when its going to get nutrients next, which is basically doing the exact opposite of what you want!! So just listen up and don’t make your body tell you twice.

  1. Drink Water

How many times do we have to say it. Drink Water. Drink Water. Drink Water. Ok, that’s good enough (for now). Water helps clear up your skin, give you energy (especially in the morning!), help you regulate your eating schedule so you stop feeling hungry at ALL times of the day, promotes mental clarity, clear your body of toxins, make you less cranky, get rid of headaches… we could literally go on for days. But we don’t have to, click hereif you want more reasons water is amazing. As if we haven’t convinced you already?! So yeah, drink water.

  1. How You Eat is as Important as When You Eat

You should eat regularly, and at scheduled times throughout the day. This will help your body establish a routine (and your body loves that) so it knows exactly when food is coming, and it can pace itself in between. This way, you will stop feeling hungry at random (and inconvenient) times during the day, because you’ll know when your body next snack or meal is coming, and then you’ll start feeling hungry right on schedule! This can help with the “eat when you’re hungry” thing we mentioned above. BUT the “how” is important as well. When you eat, you should focus on your food. You will find that you will actually feel more satisfied and full after a meal if you focus on what you’re eating, rather than inhaling your food while you do homework or watch Netflix.

  1. Bring Food From Home To Avoid Processed Foods (And To Save Money!!)

If you’re going to school, try to make it a habit to pack your lunch the night before so that you don’t have to worry about it when you’re rushing out the door in the morning, and you can grab it quickly as you head out! This will also prevent you from grabbing some gross, processed food at the cafeteria or a nearby store, which not only probably isn’t good for you, but isn’t good for your wallet either! We work hard for that allowance.

  1. EAT YO’ GREENS

It’s so stereotypical that every teen hates Brussel sprouts and broccoli, and it’s equally as stereotypical that your mom forces them on you cause they’re good for you. But they are. So pretend we’re your mom for a sec and listen up. Veggies are v important (and they’re obviously not all green- think carrots obv) and an awesome snack at any time throughout the day! Cut up some carrots, cucumber and broccoli and throw them in your lunch for a healthy snack. If you absolutely can’t bear the idea of just eating plain old broccoli, try putting a small little container of Ranchin your lunch and use it for dipping. A little Ranch never killed nobody, but never eating a single veggie probably did (just sayin’).

  1. If Your Food is White Don’t Take a Bite!

Think about it for a second. What food on this earth that is actually natural (aka comes from the ground or a tree or an animal) is PURELY white??? By purely white, we mean like the colour of this website. No, cauliflower does not count ( that’s cream) and neither do eggs because they have yellow in them. You thought you caught us there huh. Then, let’s talk about foods that ARE white—white bread, white sugar, white potato chips, the white cream inside of Oreos and Twinkies (sorry)… What do all of them have in common? High amounts of sugar, trans fats, and yucky chemicals that made them white in the first place. Moral of the story: If it’s white, don’t’ take a bite.

Focus on Whole Foods from the Earth

Your best bet, and the easiest way to tell what foods are going to be most beneficial for you and your body, is to determine whether they come from the Earth. Did they grow on the ground? Did they grow on a tree or off a plant? Did it come from an animal? Are you eating it in its whole form? These are the questions you should ask yourself when trying to determine if a food is very good for you. The Earth and humans live in alignment. Here at Zenzy, we like to think that the Earth produces foods in their best form for humans and animals to consume. That’s why every part of the food is important—apples should be eaten with the skin (and not peeled) because the skin is an important form of fiber. Pomegranate’s need to be eaten with the seeds (and not just the juice!) because of their fiber and Vitamin C content. Mother Earth knows best!

Eat LOCALLY Not Globally

Yes, we know we live in a global world, where grocery stores don’t know seasons and you can have any food, any time you want it, because the reality is it’s probably coming from some far-off country anyways. This is not the ultimate way to be healthy. Think about our earlier point- what were Neanderthals eating? They were eating what was grown around them, and it only grew when it was in season. This is how the earth is supposed to work! When you eat fruit that is not in season, and was instead grown in a tropical island and then shipped thousands of miles to your grocery store, the odds are that it is genetically modified and full of pesticides, which is definitely not what you want. Instead, support your local farmer! Buy apples in the fall, and strawberries in the summer. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much better everything tastes.

Everything in Moderation

Don’t think that if you do something we’ve suggested you don’t do (like eat an Oreo or grab a sandwich from the store for lunch) that suddenly it all goes down the drain and you aren’t healthy anymore. That’s NOT true. In fact, someone who is healthy realizes that it’s fantastic that they drink water, eat their veggies, focus on eating foods that come from the earth and everything else, but that BALANCE is the key to health, and treating yourself to an Oreo or some ice cream once in a while is not going to hurt you, and actually might even make it easier for you to stay on the “healthy” path the rest of your time. It’s all about moderation. Don’t eat cookies as a bedtime snack every night, but also don’t walk by a bakery with tears in your eyes cause you’re afraid you’ll never have a taste of yummy baked goods again.

 

 

COVER IMAGE: @meganmcneer and @kateberryberry

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