When venturing on a health buzz, we tend to think about lots and lots of leafy green vegetables (especially the cruciferous ones), juicing (do you remember when Andrea mutated into Grumpy Cat), high protein meals and what have you. We'd be right too - all of the aforementioned would make for a fantastic addition to almost anyone's diet.
Where people fall down, however, is when they try to remove all baddies from their diet, almost instantaneously, leaving them battling cravings, and generally feeling pee'd off as they stare, unenthused into a bowl of boring broccoli. Is there really no room at all for cocktails (but watch who is watching your drink), fry ups and chocolate when embarking on a healthier lifestyle change? Not quite, provided you keep everything in moderation.
In our attempt to make ourselves feel better about the Wispa we scarfed before lunch and to acknowledge the fact that it's Friday and there may be some badness lying ahead over the weekend, here we take a look at some of the intriguingly positive aspects to certain dietary baddies. How very bold of us.
- Tequila, it makes me happy (in moderation, natch)
With the sun beaming almost every day at this rate (here's hoping I haven't just jinxed us right into Irish monsoon season) it's very hard to turn down the offer of a nice, summery cocktail. It's rare enough we get to enjoy a beer garden, and I don't care what anyone says, they're just not as fun if you're sipping lukewarm tap water.
If you're being mindful of your diet, however, here's a fine idea - swap out something like a strawberry daquiri for a tequila based beverage. Why? Interestingly, researchers have found that the natural sugars found in tequila - agavins - actually help to lower your blood glucose, aiding your quest to slim down. Who knew! The hormone produced by said sweetener also helps to keep you feeling fuller for longer. Great news for diabetics too - it's said to be in production as an alternative sweetener, removed from the tequila itself.
Trying to cut out chocolate for good is like trying not to think of a pink elephant blowing a horn when I tell you to think of anything other than a pink elephant blowing a horn. Pretty damn hard, you'll agree.
Now, if you're trying to reduce your sugar intake, that's a very good thing, but you don't need to live a life devoid of chocolate entirely; it has some reassuring benefits. First of all, it's said to possess some cholesterol lowering compounds - always good - it's a great antioxidant and a few squares of dark chocolate in particular can satisfy your sweet tooth, quelling your desire for other baddies such as salty crisps.
And not only will a few squares of choccy make you feel a little better if you're feeling blue, it is also said to help reduce cortisol levels too. Cortisol is not a nice hormone to be dealing with, and if you're producing it in excess, it can lead towards increased anxiety.
- The humble spud
Another food that people wrongly assume they have to live without is the good ole Irish spud.
Yes, if you're consuming more carbohydrate than is necessary for energy production, you could probably leave one roast potato on the plate.
Poor potatoes get a bad reputation, when in reality they've got tons of positive attributes. Don't forget, potatoes are complex carbohydrates, which are far better for you than simple carbs such as biscuits and cakes.
See, spuds are not as calorific as you may think. On their own, without being fried to bejaysus or lathered in butter and cream, the humble potato contains roughly 70 calories per 100 grams. They're not just starchy and filling, they provide you with a decent amount of Vitamin C and Vitamin B. They're a reliable source of potassium, magnesium and iron too.
And if that wasn't enough of a ringing endorsement for a bag of chips (we joke, boiled is always better if you're weight watching), potatoes also keep stress levels down and moods level, thanks in large part to their Vitamin B6, the vitamin that helps us produce serotonin and dopamine - two of the nicer hormones (versus cortisol mentioned above!).
Ahh, we feel better now. Don't you? And no, we're not recommending you go on a weekend rampage of tequila, chocolate and potatoes, but maybe they're not *quite* as bad as you thought.
What is your diet like? Do you think some foods get a bad reputation but they're good guys on in the inside (literally)?