You know how it goes. It’s a new year, a ‘new you’ and with the idealism of becoming your best self often comes the consideration or spoken promise of said ‘best self’ having something to do with being healthier.
Now as anyone who has actually ever conquered the mountain of health and has made changes to allow themselves the unofficial name tag of ‘the healthy one’ can tell you – it isn’t exactly a slice of cake. At least not for everyone.
We often talk a lot about the end goal of the destinations that are our affirmations (of course, this is kind of the point of them – believing that we are that person who eats well already, spends less already, or is kinder to themselves already) but we can all be guilty of stopping there. The real work comes not in bold statements on Facebook deciding who we wish to be, but the very important steps, the groundwork and the nitty-gritty movements we make to get there. The things we don’t talk about on Facebook.
However, one user dedicated a post on Cape Town Reddit (the exact place for the real, the nitty and all the gritty) and posed an important question that uncovered some truths about healthy eating in general that anyone boarding the healthy eating train as an affirmation might want to take a look at.
“Hey everyone, solution producer here, what are your challenges when it comes to eating healthy? Is it time, price, effort, taste of healthy food or something else?
If you are eating healthy, how do you do it?” wrote Calm-Principle-6685.
For those curious, a ‘solution producer’ as Calm-Principle-6685 expresses it is ” just a joke, in case you were wondering. Kinda like how someone calls the person who is currently braaing, the braai master, even if they aren’t really a master.”
And people were ready to dish out their answers in terms of their honest challenges to the solution’s master.
“Wastage / the need to shop more often – you can’t buy a variety of fresh veg and keep it in the cupboard.” -BestBeforeDead_za
A lot of people commented on this point. Some agreed,while others said that when it comes to fresh produce, it also very much depends on where you’re getting the goods.
2.Time & Effort
“Time and effort I think. I try eat mostly vegan / whole foods but remembering to soak and cook beans is sometimes a bit frustrating. Even more frustrating than forgetting to take the chicken out the freezer!
I try to eat as little processed foods as possible, and if I eat something like pasta then I look out for ones made from legumes (Woolworths brand is gross though). Staying away from more processed foods (breads, meat replacements, even “meat” like ham or polony), and foods packed with unnecessary amounts of sugar (yoghurts, premade sauces) was honestly quite an adjustment at first but you do get used to it.
It is just a lot of time and effort to make things from scratch so you can keep an eye on what you’re putting in your body.”
3. On going vegan – Taste
“I try to eat vegan 99% of the time. I only eat meat when visiting friends/family.
For me, the biggest challenge is TASTE. It’s very difficult to make vegan food that tastes anywhere near as good as my previous omni diet.”
Since veganism has found a promising place in the world, a lot of restaurants have accommodated for those who want to go vegan but still enjoy familiar tastes. A personal favourite of mine is Infinite Café.
“For me it’s time, effort and space. I know that the most efficient way to eat healthily in the week would be to meal prep because I am often too tired after work. But I don’t have a big fridge to store the food in and I’m often at work over the weekends as well which makes it difficult to find time.”
“Honestly, budget. I think if you’re in an income bracket where PnP/Woolworths are your norm, then switching to healthier alternatives is a bit easier. But Shoprite/Checkers/FLM shoppers don’t have that leeway. Very difficult to find something as versatile and filling as a loaf of bread that costs R15 or less. With the exception of cabbage and carrots, veggies are as expensive as meat now, so even going vegetarian hasn’t helped make better quality produce more accessible to me.
It’s massively frustrating to find convenient healthy options that are as affordable as the carbs.”
“Checkers is amazing for healthy food. Their Simple Truth range is great. I love their Simple Truth plant powered mince. Cheap, delicious and covers dinner for a week. They have nice fresh produce. FLM also sells really nice tofu. One brick is equivalent to 3 meals and its cheap. Especially the smoked tofu. It has a very meaty taste. Makes for a great tofu scramble. Don’t even get me started on the affordability and variety of beans and legumes FLM has… These shops are certainly not lesser than PnP.”
Another user added their experience in that it doesn’t have to be that expensive:
“No sir, vegetables are not as expensive as meat. You can buy 1kg of beans/lentils/soya for under R50. Onions, potatoes, carrots, celery, tomatoes are all dirt cheap too.”
It’s about smart budgeting, planning and depends on where you’re shopping!
“I’m vegan for 4 years. I buy bulk dry lentils, chick peas, beans and occasionally soy chunks (around R20 per KG). I buy bulk tomato tins.
Everything else I buy fresh (onions, celery, potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, fruit). My food bill is currently around R500 a month (not including the occasional takeaway / restaurant), and I’m sure I could get it lower,” loopinkk added in expressing that healthy eating doesn’t have to burn a hole in your pocket.
A very important solution:
Buy in bulk and meal prep
“I have no challenges eating healthy. I did several years ago when I decided to start eating better. I buy bulk groceries once a month and top up mainly breakfast foods, as needed. I’m lucky to have a double door fridge and lots of storage space for food.
I prefer home cooked, fresh food and can’t stand anything canned. I meal plan and meal prep regularly. My biggest meal is cooked on Sundays and I store it in containers, in the freezer for 4 or 5 days worth of dinner. It’s 2 or 3 different meals, so could be beans, beef stew and chicken curry (all cooked on the Sunday). That way I have some variety during the week and don’t have to worry about what to eat on the day.
For snacks I eat fruits. It was hard to give up sweets, cakes and chocolates but I have no craving for those anymore.”