These are usually centred on improvements that most people talk about, a few examples being sorting out my sleep routine, working out regularly, making sure I put a full skincare/beauty routine into practice, learning a new language, reading more and most important of all, eating healthily.
Growing up in a Turkish Cypriot household my diet was one that consisted of home-cooked and fairly healthy Mediterranean cuisine. A lot of people have an impression of Turkish food as being meat heavy. However, we actually have a significant amount of delicious vegetarian dishes that make up most of our daily meals. In a family culture that stems from ‘island life’, eating from the land and in season isn’t just a trend it’s a way of life.
My London lifestyle is however, completely different to my grandparents. Getting through long commutes, busy work days and sometimes a bit of a social life, I have a limited amount of time at home and even more limitations when it comes to making time to shop for food. Sometimes the best of intentions are just not enough.
So what are the obstacles I come up against apart from failing to actually stick to a plan? When I look at all of changes I’m trying to make and the sources I’m looking to for help, the healthy eating guides, the authors, blogs and the Instagrammers, the information is out there is vast and oftentimes conflicting.
The rules are strict, the rules are lax. What is right and what is wrong? Who really knows? One person’s ideas will be celebrated and another report will bash those ideas citing a different medical report to suit their own opinion. Don’t even get me started on newspapers and their shock headline tactics!
I’ve got books that expound the benefits of smoothies and juicing and then others that tell me to cut out all sugars, including fruit. I’ve read articles written by nutritionists that champion full fat milk and its nutrients followed by others that are anti-dairy in all its shapes and forms.
What I do know is that the few changes that I have succeeded in making are the ones that only required relatively small steps. Changes such sugarless tea and eventually (years later) switching over to black tea only, were ones that I thought would be impossible before I went ahead and made them happen. Now I couldn’t imagine the appeal of tasting sugar in my tea and the smell of a milky cup of tea is downright off-putting.
So have I wasted my money on these clean and lean diet books? No! They still contain delicious recipes I can take inspiration from. I choose to look at things positively by picking elements of advice from all of my conflicting books and making them work for me taking small steps for improvements where possible.
I know that strict rules don’t work for me in any part of life, let alone when it comes to eating. I love my food, both healthy and unhealthy. I can’t imagine a life devoid of berries or some fudge cake, cheese and bread bring me a ridiculous amount of joy and hey, I would seriously struggle in my Turkish family if I had to stand my distance while my family grills yummy smelling kebap!
Ultimately a healthy balance to making change is the best fit for me!