It’s hard to go back to eating like I used to. Think: Baker’s Delight white chocolate chip and blueberry scones for breakfast, a kebab for lunch and several rows of Lindt chocolate as a snack. (I know right, what was I thinking?!) You can read more on my transition to becoming healthy here.
While simply eating for my tastebuds, instead of my health, was years ago now (and when my metabolism was much faster), I don’t feel deprived because I’ve discovered so many of nature’s foods that are just as oh-so delicious and satisfying.
So here’s my list of happy and healthy foods that I love to use in my recipes or have on their own:
Nature’s caramel: Medjool dates
Sticky, sweet and caramel-like, Medjool dates are my go-to food when I really need a sugar fix. While they’re still energy-dense and high in fructose, they’re a good source of fibre and potassium (a mineral that is needed to maintain intracellular fluid balance, hormone secretion, muscle contraction and nerve cell function).
Nature’s chocolate: Raw cacao
Raw cacao powder is ground up raw, unprocessed cacao beans and is what gives chocolate its flavour. Apart from being pure deliciousness in smoothies, desserts and homemade hot chocolate, they contain health-promoting phytochemicals called flavonols, which may have beneficial cardiovascular effects on health – they keep arteries elastic, lower blood pressure and prevent cholesterol from becoming oxidised, which can decrease the risk of a heart attack or stroke.
Nature’s butter: Avocado
High in good fats, creamy and versatile, avocados are an amazing satiating food. I use them in green smoothies, salads, as an alternative to butter in desserts and as a side with some greens with a breakfast omelette. They’re also a good source of vitamin C and vitamin E, which help promote healthy, glowing skin!
Nature’s orange foods: Papaya, mango, peaches, pumpkin, sweet potatoes (the list could go on)
Health-promoting compounds called carotenoids give this group their vibrant colour. A well-known carotenoid, beta-carotene, is found in these nutrient-rich orange foods and is converted to vitamin A, which helps maintain healthy mucous membranes and healthy eyes. I especially enjoy pumpkin and sweet potatoes when they’re roasted and put into salads. Yum!
Nature’s most versatile fruit: Coconut
I love coconut water and flesh more than anything. I love how in Thailand or the Philippines you can just buy one off the street for less that what you get for a bottle of water here.