Holidays are here to stay for a couple of weeks. And they bring lots and lots of goodies.
Who can resist that box of delicious chocolates? Not me.
But then the little voice in my brain is whispering: it’s not healthy to eat sugary things.
You’ll put on, there’s diabetes somewhere lurking a.s.o.
Better have a small nice juicy red apple, ye Snow White.
That little voice isn’t quite mine. It found a place a long time ago among my tired neurons while I’ve been trying desperately and not so successfully to lose some pounds.
I guess by now I’ve read too much media and scientific items so that I simply can’t enjoy a piece of chocolate without feeling guilty.
They say cocoa is so healthy, has antioxidants and other goodies but without sugar, it’s horribly bitter, not quite edible. And sugar is nowadays the number one enemy, isn’t it?
Mmmm, maybe the whole picture is blurred?
Let’s focus on reality, at least my reality. For the last five year I’ve been avoiding sugar as hell. After five years I can tell you some interesting facts.
I’ve stopped putting on after I limited sugar, fat and starch treats aka rich cakes.
I “taste” them only on holidays and special occasions.
However, 100 kcal of certain sweets a day, like three small pieces of dark chocolate, 1 tbsp of homemade jam, 1 tbsp of honey or two small cereal cookies, haven’t harmed me. Didn’t even had any impact on whatever diet I followed.
Three small tablets of chocolate a day are good for my morale but not essential.
There are other ways to deal with stress but when stress is overwhelming, even a bit of chocolate makes the difference between getting nuts and keeping some sanity.
Especially if you’re on a diet.
Problems start when you can’t stop after three small tablets and eat every day lots and lots of sweets. Then, as with alcohol, there’s only one way to go.
No treats, no sugar, no starches, none, for at least three weeks, the necessary time to make your brain and body change habits.
And do stop for good adding sugar in everything you swallow and it’s not desert, salads, soups, coffee. Don’t buy any, stay away of it. It’s difficult to do this but it works.
Keep in mind, though. If you don’t indulge in sugary foods and you’re still getting fat, other foods might be your enemy. Like more than enough fat, saturated or not or too many starches. Or maybe, just too much food, healthy or not, and too little exercise.
Like it or not, we still have to count calories.
My diet best friend is the Mediterranean lifestyle.
Definitely, not what most Spanish, Italian, Greeks eat nowadays. Not so sure about Turkish people or Israeli or North of Africa people.
It’s what the peasants and fishermen around Mediterranean Sea and farther North, in the Balkans, used to eat long time ago.
So, wanna be a Mediterranean?
Eat plenty of veggies and pulses, a handful of nuts and a few fruits every day.
Eat some fish, seafood, poultry, cheese, eggs.
Have yogurt, kefir or cottage cheese.
Cook with vegetable oil.
Have several times a week sofrito (that delicious tomato sauce cooked with plenty of olive oil and onions or garlic).
Have some pasta, polenta, couscous, rice or whole grain bread but not too much.
Eat fresh food, straight from the Peasant market.
Have a treat from time to time, on Sundays or Holidays, but make sure it’s a good one, not junk.
Don’t forget, it’s a lifestyle, not a diet. You need to exercise also but not to torture yourself. You should meet with friends, drink a glass of wine, red or white, tell stories.
Relax, take a stroll in fresh air, play with the children and pets of your tribe.
Quite difficult to follow such a lifestyle nowadays, almost impossible but it’s worth trying. Even if you follow it partially, it’s a win.
Whatever you do, don’t be too much on the left side or right side.
Moderation is the keyword.
Don’t exclude foods you like just because they’re not “Mediterranean” and some people say they’re not healthy. In winter, I follow the traditions in my country and eat some pork or beef, fresh or cured. It helps one dealing with the harsh cold outside and the winter viruses.
And I also eat potatoes, baked, fried or boiled. They’re so healthy and tasty if properly cooked, provided of course you don’t eat too much.
Holidays are coming and there are so many goodies ….
And you know what, I’m going to enjoy my cake and chocolate and some of the traditional Winter meals while eating my salads, fruits, yogurt, sofrito, fish, soups a.s.o.
Not to mention that nice glass of good wine. Cheers! Happy Holidays!