"We are what we eat." Ah that ol' chestnut...

You are what you eat, right? That's what we get told a lot. You only need to go on to the documentaries category on Netflix to see the copious amounts of food doco's, telling you to go vegan, to stop eating meat, to stop eating sugar, to cut down on dairy. Then you go online and you have conflicting articles thrown in your face of why being vegan is "bad" or why we need to up our meat and dairy intake. At the end of it, you're sat thinking, "what on earth do I eat to make sure I am the healthiest I can be?!" Because that's it really isn't it. Yes we want to look good, but at the centre of it, we want to feel good and really be at the top of our A game health. But how do we get there?

Now, I feel like I need to state the obvious here. I am not a nutritionist, I am not a personal trainer and I am certainly not telling you what you should and shouldn't eat or how to live your life.  I'll leave that to the experts. And ultimately, you. As you decide what goes in to your body and of course, how you live your life. 

So, let's continue. Cutting out sugar seems like an obvious one. We all know that. Processed sugars are everywhere. Naughty little buggers that sneak their way into everything. But these are the ones we really need to avoid. Like avoiding that person you see across the mall who you haven't seen in ages and you know the conversation will be, "we really need to catch up sometime, I'll message you. Are you still on the same number?" And you both walk away knowing full well this catch up is never going to happen. So why is the white stuff so hard to cut out? In a nutshell, it's addictive. And it's in most canned, jarred, pre-made, packaged food items that grace our supermarket shelves. I watched one of the food documentaries on Netflix and it told me that if you took away all of the products from a supermarket that contained refined sugar, you'd be left with the tiniest amount of groceries, most of those being fruit, veg, meat and dairy. Nearly all the products in the centre aisles contain sugar. This scary bit of knowledge, then led to the obsessive reading of every products and ingredients list and if it contains refined sugar, than nope. You're not good enough to go in our trolley mister. Back to the shelf you go along with all your sugar laden counterparts. 

Then there is the tricky trio. Meat, gluten and dairy. You can read one article that will persuade you to cut them all out. That we don't need them. That they are actually, bad for our health. Then you can read another article saying how, in fact, we do need to eat meat and dairy. That we need them for our iron and protein levels. I have gone through every food lifestyle/diet/fad and it really is exhausting. One minute I will be vegan and decide that meat and dairy is unnecessary. That we don't need it and it is the dairy and meat industry telling us that they are fundamental to our health and that how else will we get our iron and protein? Then the next minute, I will decide that I actually need to eat meat and dairy as my iron and protein levels might get too low and that people have been eating meat and dairy for decades. I am so fickle and easily persuaded that all you have to do is plop a health "expert" or nutritionist down in front of me, telling me to eat a certain diet and I will follow it to a T. 

I went Paleo for about a year, and yes it made me loose a lot of weight when I didn't really want to loose weight, but it also made me super bloated and super obsessed with what I'm eating. To the point where it was unhealthy. I would analyse everything on the menu if we went out for dinner. I would obsess over each meal, until one day I thought "enough". I realised that there is no one rule for all when it comes to food. What may work really well for one person, may not work quite so well for the other. Some people really thrive of the Paleo way of eating, but for my body, it was too much meat and too many nut based foods. Some people really thrive of being vegan whereas other people need meat and dairy. We are all so wonderfully different that we are naive to think that one way of eating should be for everyone. 

I think the basis of a healthy attitude to food should be everything in moderation. A lot of fruit and veg, wholegrains, legumes and beans and if you want to eat meat and dairy, knock your socks off. Because a healthy mental relationship to food is the most important. If you dread meal times, and get stressed that you've over indulged, or depressed that you can't have that cookie, then what's the point? I'm going to say the cliche of "life is for living". You need to be happy and love what you do. That is the same for food. You need to love your food, be grateful and blessed that we live in the society where we can choose what we eat, that we even have food on the table. Because some people aren't as lucky. 

So lets look after our bodies. Lets put our health on the forefront here. Lets be smart and make the right food choices, but if every once in a while you want to indulge in that block of chocolate or that mighty fine looking cake, then do it. And the next day you can jump back on to the health train and fuel your body with the right things. 

We want to live our lives being the best version of ourselves, the healthiest we can be. Not just for us but for our kids. We want our babies to grow up with a healthy relationship to food and the healthiest bodies, disease free and thriving. 

So yes, we are what we eat. But that doesn't mean if you eat a big juicy steak, you'll turn into  cow. It means that if we fuel our body with healthy foods, we are amazing, we shine. We have boundless energy, we look and feel good, our minds are sharp and we are unstoppable. If we put tonnes of refined sugar, unhealthy food and drink into our bodies, then we reflect that through our tiredness, lack of energy, dull skin and zero shine. 

My message and the point of this blog, is to love ourselves, be kind to our bodies, and to enjoy life. And of course, love the skin you're in.

Mary Tapsell

Creative Director of Reti + Rose

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