food
Jenna Brown

Jenna Brown

The great food mystery.

Keep an eye out for an amazing free tool further down the page. It’ll change your life!

There are approximately one bazillion ideas about the food we humans should eat. Food that is “in” and food that is “out” you may also hear it referred to as “good” or “bad”, “real” or “fake”. On social media, we are bombarded with words like low carb, high protein, keto, paleo, raw food, gluten-free, dairy-free, pegan (yes this is different to vegan), vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, soy-free, dairy-free etc…

Messaging is always changing, we have been told that eggs are bad, then eggs are good, fat is bad, then fat is good, red meat is out and white meat is in, carbs are good, then carbs are bad… you get the idea. It’s no wonder we regular folk end up wondering WTF should I eat?

Our brains are filled with information and misinformation. Some foods are pushed so well by an industry that they have even managed to get their unhealthy products into national nutrition guides, rolled out at a government level. When you start looking deeper into where studies come from and where the money comes from to fund these studies it all gets very very murky. I like to keep things simple and I don’t like to be bullshitted by profiteers. So, I like to eat whole foods and buy local.

The foods I eat to keep my body healthy and strong

My diet is based on reading hundred(s) of books, talking with nutritionists, sports trainers, trained health experts, and regular humans with a stomach who have experimented over the years based on different allergies, issues or body shape and fitness goals. I will not go into the science in this blog, but I will add a few book resources that I have found really helpful at the bottom of this post, should you wish to research further. I have taken the knowledge gained from various resources over a decade or so and put them together to create something that works for me and my body. Maybe it could work for you and yours?

My goal with food is to fuel my body with good energy for good physical and mental health. I like to maintain a healthy weight, eat local organic produce and support growers in my community. I eat 3 meals a day, usually at 7 am, 12 pm & 6 pm.
Other than my few chocolate squares, I don’t eat after dinner, and if I snack during the day, I will do this at 10 am & 3 pm and will try make it high fibre or high protein to satiate me.

Caffeine

I have 1 black coffee per day, in the morning; usually, around 7 am. I will NEVER have coffee after lunchtime as this would totally mess with my sleep. I drink instant coffee at home. I went for coffee with a friend the other day and had a full-strength long black, and I nearly sprinted home. I really could feel a sudden burst of energy.

I would suggest every woman read about how caffeine affects our bodies, particularly hormones, in one of Dr Libby’s books, here is an article she wrote on the topic for a quick insight. Not only does it affect our hormones, but it can also cause anxiety, something I suffer from and something that is certainly triggered by too much caffeine. Really, we should avoid caffeine entirely, but here I am, being imperfect.

Vegetables

The Richie McCaw of your diet. Vegetables are your best friend, and thankfully, there are so many to chose from. I try as hard as possible to eat a rainbow at every dinner. Not all veggies are created equal, though; you can see the nutrient charts above, which explain more about the benefits of individual foods. I will not get into the science of every one of them (this information is found on the internet easily enough).

Breakfast

Sandwich sliced Vogels (toasted) x 2 with Pics peanut butter or vegemite (if I feel it) + coffee. Boring, I know, but I don’t have to ever think about it in the morning. I eat and get on with my day.
On weekends I get crazy and swap out the peanut butter for avo and tomato or scrambled egg.

Supplements

Currently, I am taking BePure supplements: BePure One, Two & Three which are a daily multi, Probiotic & Fish Oil. They have spectacularly changed my digestion, increased my energy and boosted my mood. I was always a firm believer that you could get all of your nutrients from good food but after a wellness conference and a few months of taking these supplements, I am totally converted. They have changed my existence.

Lunch

Prep prep prep! I use containers and make a week worth at once, so it doesn’t a) suck having to make something every day, and b) you don’t have to think about it every day. Whip up a batch of something on a Sunday arvo, invest in some Sistemas and Bob’s your uncle.
Portion control – tick, avoid sneaky takeaways – tick, hanger? Nope.

So, what about meal prep? I make different flavoured homemade soups over winter. Salads, stir fry, burrito bowls, wraps or pasta in summer. Also, if you don’t want to eat the same thing all week, you can make a little extra dinner the night before and take leftovers.

Dinner (there is a gold nugget in here for you)

Here is a copy of my meal planner; you can download it, create your own, and have your entire life changed for the better. Mine is stuck on the fridge, and it takes away the problem of deciding what to make each night, helps with weekly shopping ordering and shares the load of cooking. Yeeha! So easy. Do you know what else is great, NEVER being asked “what’s for dinner, Mum?” because it is literally on the fridge! You Are Welcome.

Dessert

4 squares of 72% Dark Ghana Chocolate after dinner, I like Whittakers.

Snack Time

My favourite options are carrot sticks with hummus, mixed raw nuts, sliced apple with a little cheese or Tahini, seaweed rice crackers, avocado & tomato on crackers or a can of Tuna. I also have a favourite new healthy-ish biscuit recipe from Michelle Yandle (Oatmeal & Choc chip) which I am loving – you can check it out here.

Fruit

My favourites are Banana, Passionfruit, Feijoa, Tamarillo … actually all fruit. I love all fruit and berries. I don’t cap any of this. Why would you? These little gems are jam-packed with vitamins and minerals. I like to think of them as natures lollies.

Dairy

I love cheese, all cheese in every form, I have to try my best to be sensible about my intake but sometimes that’s easier said than done. I have never eaten cream as it disagrees with me, and so does milk, so I avoid these 99% of the time. I also think it’s bizarre drinking another species’ breast milk as a human adult, but that’s another story.

Probiotics

I drink organic Kombucha for good gut health and take Be Pure supplements. If you haven’t yet researched the important role that your Micro-biome plays in your body, please do. A simple Google search will see you right.

Processed Foods

As little as humanly possible, if I were to go to a supermarket, I would definitely avoid the centre aisles and stick to the perimeter, that should keep you focused and away from the bulk of the worst types of “food” of course, there are some items you will need in those centre aisles, but they should represent the smallest amount of our grocery shop. There are 3 groups at play in the store: Unprocessed foods (closest to nature), Processed foods such as dairy, bread and cereal + Ultra-processed foods such as confectionery, fizzy drink and chips. You can usually identify an ultra-processed food by the more than 3 ingredients on the label and some weird colour.

Takeaways

We like to eat Singaporean, Turkish, Subway or Japanese. These are our “go-to” places when we eat out.

Water

2+ litres a day is ideal for me; this is the goal but not always where I land. When you first start with the big amounts of water, you can feel like you may drown and also need to pee every 5 minutes, but your body does seem to regulate itself eventually. When I am adequately hydrated I feel more energetic and positive, it also helps me to avoid digestive issues.

My conclusion

Eating “healthily” is different for every person and this changed throughout different points in life. We need different things from season to season. It is impossible to maintain a “perfect” diet at all times. I struggle on and off trying to maintain what I perceive as an ideal weight for me. I do the best I can and try not to beat myself up or feel guilty when I do stray from the plan. I like to think that getting off course isn’t permanent, it is a blip that I can come back from and that helps to avoid negative emotions around food.

I hope you enjoyed reading and to the people who requested the food blog late last year; sorry it took so long!

Recommended reads

Dr Libby – Women’s Wellness Wisdom
Dr Mark Hyman – WTF should I eat

I would love to hear any comments you have about your diet and what works for you to maintain health.
Let me know in the comments.

J



Disclaimer: The J Word NZ and its media content are created based on my own experiences and opinions, as well as those individuals who share their stories with me. I do not have any formal medical or mental health qualifications. If you are experiencing any issues with mental health, please consult your doctor or a medical health professional for advice.

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