What a healthy life means to me
Updated: Jun 9
As I turn 30 I started to be more careful with my habits and to be more aware of my everyday choices because I know that I will feel better now and I will be grateful to myself in the long term. - Workout 3 times a week and actually do my stretching:It's not just for aesthetic reason, it's important to improve your strength and to be more agile. Regular exercise helps with your posture and gut health. I love the quote that says: " exercise is the most potent and under-utilised anti depressant". It is crucial for your mental and psychological health as it really improve relaxation.It doesn't really matter how long or what I am doing: what matters is consistency. Even a simple walk in the park can be ok, the most important thing is to move your body and do it regularly. The Latin people were very wise and they used to say: "Mens sans in corpore sano" that basically means "healthy mind in a healthy body".
-Home made food:I know for experience that living in London can be stressful and it is hard to find the time to always cook your meals instead of buying pre-made food but I swear: it is totally worth it. Cooking has not always been a passion of mine. In my 20s I absolutely hated it. I saw it as something the society wanted girls to do in order to be confined in the kitchen and not pursuing their career dreams. After I started to live on my own, I quickly realised that not only it saves money (much more than you think at the end of the month) but also it tastes better and it helps you to relax your mind after a tiring day. I learned to like it as a nice and productive activity to do with my boyfriend on our days off.I started with basics recipes that I learned at home, I consulted a few websites with tutorials and easy cookbooks and when I gained more confidence and manual experience, I developed my own versions. I am now able to create my own recipes and I love to be adventurous and try new ingredients from different cultures and dishes from other countries. I achieved a fusion food culture with what I have been learning and tasting here in London and from having a partner that enriches me with his Romanian typical way of cooking. What I usually do to make sure I am eating proper food as often as possible is coming home after work and I cooking dinner, preparing a big portion of food (for 4 people instead that just for 2) so that me and my boyfriend can bring to work the leftovers the next day. When I can' to do it, I just prepare a quick salad with fresh ingredients.Of course, I still enjoy a dinner out with my boyfriend or the occasional junk food like a McDonald's, but it is not an habit.
-Eat healthy and buy mainly organic:It is not just fashion: organic food taste much better.Maybe for me it is easier to taste the difference because I grow up in a farm where I have always had the chance to eat fresh organic fruit, vegetables and meat produced from my grandma and my parents. When I first came in London I was shocked about the poor quality of the food sold in the supermarkets. I remember an anecdote of my first week in Balham. I made a salad for lunch with cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, bell peppers and while I was eating I closed my eyes I could not find any difference in the taste or consistence: it all tasted like cold water. It has been difficult to find what I call "proper food" here in London, but it is possible. The best way is to explore your local markets and small stores. I don't shop anymore in Tesco or the big chains as they are pricey and the quality of the food is terrible. I recently found a rare pearl next to where I live: it is Bill Hall fruiterer and greengrocer near to Victoria Park (Hackney, East London). He sells locally sourced veggies and fruits and the fresh organic tomatoes I have been buying the whole summer from him were amazing and they were just 3.99 per kilo! They were almost as good as my grandma ones!Another very good place to shop if you don't have time is place an online order to Riverford organic farmers ( www.riverford.co.uk ). You can choose between a wide range of organic products and built your own box that will be delivered at your address or where you work when it's more convenient for you. The prices here are a more expensive but I truly believe that what is going to fuel your body should be the best possible quality. While browsing online, I found that every year, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) publishes a list of the "Dirty Dozen," or the fruits and vegetables the nonprofit claims have the highest amount of pesticides when grown conventionally versus organically. Basically is a very clever list of items to know what's worth buying organic or not:
I also prefer to buy seasonal as of course it cost less, it is more eco-friendly for the environment and it tastes much better. I am not vegan or vegetarian, but I am making efforts to reduce my meat and dairy intake and when I feel like having some, I am buying from my local organic butcher and I have substituted whole cow milk with oat or coconut milk. The main reason is that unfortunately in my family there are many cases of cancer, and according to the doctors the best way to avoid it is to eat less meat and dairy and all processed/canned and refined food.I am not a saint and I don't want to sacrifice all the pleasures of life. I still enjoy cake or steak if I want to, but I am now aware that food can be poison or medicine and moderation is key. I have always been a sweet tooth: still, I am really trying to restrain myself from high sugary snacks and sweets. Keeping my body well hydrated is my mission: I forget to drink during the day when I am busy at work and I often experience symptoms of dehydration such as headache and dry skin.For that reason, I bought a reusable metal bottle and I try to drink at least 8 glasses of water per day.Fizzy drinks are not tempting for me, as I prefer herbal teas or coffee ( no more than 2 per day tough, otherwise it will affect my sleep). I only drink alcohol occasionally and always when I am having a full meal. I don't drink more than one, maximum two glasses if it is a special occasion, and I avoid liquors. Here in London I heard form friends and colleagues awful stories that were supposed to be "funny" about drinking a whole bottle of vodka on its own or having a record of 12 pints of beer per evening when partying in the weekend and I just avoid to comment on it when I am with them because I don't want to seem petty or rude but I think it is just really sad that people have to drink that much that to have fun. This is not going to be good for you body and mind at all.
-Tidy and clean environment: Being an adult means also that you should be able to keep your body and your house clean. Sometimes it is a real struggle, but it feels so satisfying when you can achieve a routine when you can actually enjoy yourself and been in a nice environment.As a general rule, I try to keep clean everyday in order to avoid to spend a whole day of tidying up. I feel anxious around clutter/dirt and when my flat is not as I would like it to be I feel very uncomfortable and I just can't relax.To make my home a cosy place and improve the quality of the air in my flat I also like to have plants and to invest in a good essential oil diffuser. I still own a few scented candles as i really like the atmosphere they create, especially this time of the year but since the smoke they are doing when burning is not healthy, I tend to use the essential oil diffuser more.
-Spare time and productive hobbies:Free time is gold when you have a full time job in London. My days off seem to fly away in seconds. That's way I am trying to do healthy choices with my time too. Last year in September me and my boyfriend decided to start a challenge: to read every evening before sleeping. The reason was that I was spending too much time on social media and he was playing video games and we suspected that this was affecting our ability to relax and recover after work and ultimately, the quality of our sleep. We decided we could spend from 30 to 45 minutes per evening on social media or video games but after that our devices had to be turned off. Same with Netflix. It is ok to watch a movie per week or an short episode of a series per evening but after that it's time to read. It has been a big change but so far we have always been loyal to our books. We ended up reading more than a book per month, only reading a few pages before sleeping. It also helped us to reduce snaking after dinner, which was one of our not so healthy but favourite pastimes. I have to admit that I am always looking forward to our bedtime reading together now, as it is such a nice and relaxing activity that brings us closer as a couple and that often leads to interesting conversations and eventually to cuddles which is much more healthy than eating crap in front of the TV!