Answering the question “Why switch to a healthy diet?” is apparently easy. We all know unhealthy food is bad for us. It’s simply a matter of fact.But, even though we are firmly committed to not letting nasty foods in our belly… we can’t help but craving tiramisu… and gelato… and pastries… and the list goes on and on!
I get it. A life lived missing out on dessert loses a lot of its sweetness. But what if we could eat like we were cheating, while nourishing and taking care of our body?
When I switched to a healthy and allergy free diet a few years ago, I experienced some unexpected effects I would have never thought were possible.
Here are the 5 things I wish I knew about eating healthy and why to switch to a healthy diet:
I wish I knew...
1. … That ‘healthy, sugar & gluten free’ didn’t mean never eating my Italian favorites again.
Because you can recreate them all of them in healthier, more nutritious way! Seriously. Even the most incredible lasagna or tiramisu can be turned into a healthy dish.
For example, I had this thing about my mom’s pastafrolla, which is the most delicious shortbread crust you can ever imagine. I grew up with it and craved it all the time. My first attempts to recreate a gluten free version were pretty delusional. You know those hard crusts that squeak under your teeth? Well, I baked a lot of those. But the day I figured out the perfect plant based ‘pastafrolla’, a friable delicious and melt-in-your-mouth crust, I was in heaven. And the list goes on… from gnocchi, to lemon custard (yes the yolky, milky one that my mom used to serve piping hot on rainy winter days) to gelato!!!
2. … That I wouldn’t have wanted to go back.
I began my transition to a dairy and gluten free diet when I was living in the toughest place possible: the South of France. Everyday I was exposed to the temptations of its countless bakery windows, overflowing with eclairs and baguettes, macaroons and pastries of all kinds. Ignoring them was tough. I felt deprived, overwhelmed.
Man, quitting sugar paid off! I didn’t know how bad I was feeling until I started feeling GOOD. Only because we experience it all the time, we assume it’s normal to feel a bit bloated, a little heavy, irritable or low in energy… Soon enough I realized that we are just supposed to feel fabulous!! Always. And going back to my old habits seemed nothing but miserable.
3. … That, by cleaning my diet, I would have been able to eat cookies and pastries more than I allowed myself before!!!
I’ve always been extremely fond of desserts. Pies, biscotti, cakes… I had a real sweet-tooth issue. And when I would meet those people (rare, but they exist) who say they don’t like sweets, I was always so jealous. “Wouldn’t it be great to have the same gift and never crave dessert? I would never feel bad, be healthier and look skinnier.”
If I only found out sooner that, by living a sugar free life, I would have been able to enjoy food even more than before!!! By eliminating refined sugar from my diet, I was able to indulge and feel good. When I know that my dessert is made with the same healthy ingredients I put in a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast… Well, then I can have it everyday!
4. … That I would have enjoyed the pleasure to bake way more often than I used to.
I wasn’t even going to elementary school when my dad carved a mini rolling pin for me so I could roll my own little shortbread crust to make crostata! Preparing scrumptious treats has always been great passions of mine, but I tried to avoid it to prevent the temptation of eating something unhealthy.
Now, I can finally enjoy doing what I love without worrying! I can truly relish the process of selecting the ingredients, thinking how to match them together and create something exquisite that’s clean and nourishing at the same time.
5. … That I could have stopped worrying about calories.
I have never believed in counting calories. It’s monotonous, restrictive, and it takes away all the spontaneity of a pleasurable activity like eating, turning it into a dull, mechanized task.
Even though I was never following a strict diet, I was often concerned about my daily calorie intake and I tried to look out for this and that.
I could have not imagined that by cutting out refined sugar and processed food, I would have still been able to indulge.
By replacing store bought cookies with home made treats made with superfoods or with a date stuffed with almond butter and some 100% dark chocolate, you can keep up the pleasure of eating and leave regrets out the door.
Ever since I have started my health food journey, I have found a way to indulge on a daily basis, and staying in good shape has never been easier!
Of course, it took many attempts, tons of questions and lots of new ingredients in my kitchen… but after I figured out what replacements to use and what techniques perform the best, I discovered the tricks to recreating the flavors I loved and those textures that would make my mouth water.
In my free guide “Spice It Up” you can get your hands on my best tricks on how to add flavor naturally and in a healthy way.
And if you want to have access to all the recipes I developed in the attempt to reinterpret traditional desserts and turn them into healthy treats with no gluten, dairy and sugar, check out my EBook “Simple Italian Desserts Made Healthy”.
I hope you enjoyed this post and I can’t wait to hear from you! What were your fears before you decided to switch to a healthy diet? What are the unexpected positive consequences you experienced?
Let me know leaving a comment below and I will catch you next time!
Hi Ambra. Wow, it’s nice to know by reading your tips that switching to a healthy diet doesn’t have to be ‘tasteless’. One thing I agree is that when we eat and are used to so much sugar and processed foods, our tongues become desensitized. We lose the ability to fully taste the taste of food. But once I began eating healthy and reducing sugar and other processed foods, my tongue began to be able to better taste foods! Combined with your ‘replacement’ recipes, it sounds like a good combination.
Marissa, thanks so much for reading and commenting !! I am glad you agree and I hope you can find my recipes useful!!
Best of luck on your health food journey!!
My main problem is not being able to eat enough. I have a gastric disorder and I can’t eat normal amount of food. Therefore, when I eat healthy, I start to lose weight, because healthy food is full of fiber and not easy to digest. The only way to keep my weight is to eat awful food like crackers, pretzels, toast, sodas and similar – they are easy on stomach and full of calories.
I tried three times to banish unhealthy food and each time I lost weight and was very exausted and without energy.
Do you have some advice for me? Is there a way to eat healthy, but eat easily digestible food and not in large amounts? And maintain your weight?
Emma, I am so sorry to hear you are dealing with this issue!
Have you tried focusing on foods that are calorie dense and healthy at the same time? Lean protein (grass fed beef, free range chicken, fish) whole grain, unrefined carbs (switch mass produced crackers for brown rice for example) and healthy fats like nuts, olive oil and avocado?
Healthy foods is not just fruit and veggies! Hope this helped!!
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