She says, after a blurry few hours’ sleep…
Yes, I had awoken once more at the unearthly hour of 5:30am. Unable to get back to sleep and switch off my over-active mind after stumbling downstairs to the loo (nearly sending myself flying over the perfected line of slippers I was obsessively fretting over at the bottom of the stairs in true ocd fashion last night) and subsequently now finding myself intermittently flicking over my mother’s old copies of Good Housekeeping whilst continuously pushing my earplugs in further in order to muffle out the monotonous drone of commuters already on their way to work…poor souls…I fear it is going to be another sleepless night.
Anyway, back to the topic at hand. I don’t know whether you have noticed (apparently I do at this absurd hour of the morning) but it seems increasingly more apparent that our newsfeeds, television screens, and magazines are becoming progressively inundated with diet-schemes, food blogs, advice from self-proclaimed ‘foodies’, as well as too much of the likes of Jamie Oliver and Gino Di Campo (who according to my dad’s experience cheffing with him, “doesn’t even know the difference between a broth and a stock”). In short, it seems that despite our society seemingly growing more obese by the minute (something that frequent strolls past the likes of Addlestone’s Charcoal Grill and Mr. Wimpy on my way to my Tesco repeatedly reminds me) society has paradoxically developed a general obsession over what has been coined, ‘clean eating.’
In fact it never ceases to amaze me how despite all this so-called ‘healthy living’, not only students, but our population as a whole seems unable to give in to the temptations and apparent delights of those grease-ridden late-night takeaways, or heart-attack inducing Domino pizzas (I have always claimed that Warwick’s student population could probably keep Dominos in business singlehandedly) before drinking their daily calorie intake (after a day of starving themselves in an effort to lose weight) in one evening through copious glasses of wine.
Therefore as somewhat of a ‘health food junky’ myself – word is that that’s what they’re now being called on the street- I thought I would join the band wagon. Not however to rabbit on about the importance of avoiding the likes of Prince’s hot dogs, which you may be interested to know, contain 55% mechanically recovered chicken…*retch*, but to share a few of my personal dietary regimes I adhere to whilst at university and which I have lived and sworn by for years. Yes, ditch the weight-watchers manuals, costly personal trainer sessions, and those take-away pizza menus. I am going to banish those student dietary stereotypes baked beans and all. In face, might i just add that baked beans are actually really good for you, so could everyone please stop directing so much negativity towards these innocent tins and kitchen cupboard essentials?
1. Breakfast. Aka. the best meal of the day.
For years they have always said breakfast is the most important meal of the day. So why does everyone skip it? I fail to understand how getting up ten minutes earlier to have a quick breakfast can really be that detrimental to everyone’s beauty sleep… even in the case of those pesky 9ams. In fact, even after a four hour sleep, I would never snooze my alarm at the expense of breakfast. It just doesn’t happen. What’s more, aren’t you absolutely starving after a whole night of no eating?
When it comes to breakfast, I am a self-confessed Weetabix girl through and through. This was admittedly substituted by porridge whilst living in Chile after searching far and wide for my beloved rounded rectangles of whole grain wheat but with no such luck. With the ability to add nuts, berries, and even yoghurt galore, apart from porridge, there’s no denying it is probably the quickest and healthiest fuel to keep you going and free from snacking throughout your morning.
MULTIVITAMINS: They are what they are. If in doubt, a multi-vitamin will never go a miss and will replenish you with anything you may be lacking. Your body will just flush out anything it doesn’t need.
MAGNESIUM: Unfortunately for my whole life I have been a terrible migraine and chronic daily headache sufferer. This is largely exasperated by stress and tension- something not easily avoided when at university. However, magnesium is a natural vitamin scientifically proven to help reduce headaches and migraines. Green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains, are all good natural sources of the stuff along with tap, mineral, and bottled water. Oh water, how you are just so wonderful in every way…So if you find yourself dosing up on different combinations of Paracetamol, Ibroprophen and codeine on a daily basis as I was for years, before turning to the likes of Immigram, Migard, Nortriptyline, Amitriptyline and even Diazepam (yes, if you need a pill I am definitely your girl…I even have a whole section of my handbag dedicated to them) try taking a couple of magnesium tablets a day instead.
GINGER: Naturally migraines and stress are commonly accompanied by nausea which I have been battling against more than ever this year. Ginger has a long history of use for relieving digestive problems such as nausea, loss of appetite, motion sickness and pain. I prefer buying the root itself, slicing a few pieces off at a time, and adding them to some hot water for a delicious ginger tea….
Not a day goes by without it
Tip: If you find it a little strong at first, try adding a small spoonful of honey. The health benefits of ginger are endless and it is something I would highly recommend to anyone, particularly when detecting the beginnings of a cold or a dizzy spell.
However, if you want a quick and more practical option for on the go, ginger tablets are widely available to buy.
FISH OIL: As fellow long time contact wearers will understand, prolonged wearing of contact lenses can lead to itchy, tired and more importantly, dry eyes. If you are not careful, these symptoms can quickly develop into more serious problems, so ensuring a regular intake of fish or flaxseed oils is essential. Fish Oil capsules contain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids also found in oils from certain types of fish (particularly oily fish like mackerel), vegetables, and other plant sources. It is not only beneficial for looking after your eyes, but also for a glowing complexion and silky hair. See? everyone’s a winner.
IRON: Feeling constantly shattered, drained and like every muscle in your body is slowly going on strike? You could be lacking in iron. A common problem particularly for girls. Therefore I try and take at least one iron tablet a day.
Naturally all washed down by…
3. An authentic Cappuccino
Living without my mother’s wonderful Bialetti Mukka Coffee pots when at university -yes plural, over the years we have accumulated a fair few from Italy- is certainly a tough ordeal and a first world problem if ever I came across one. But when at home, Ann’s infamous cappuccino is very much a breakfast staple. What’s more, tasting even better than the overly-milky and tepid likes of Costas, Nero, or even worse, Starbucks, making your own won’t even make a dent in your bank balance.
Bialetti I don’t understand how people live without you
An outdated term nobody has ever heard of? Rubbish. I know I have become a grandma this year, but elevenses are a must. Don’t get me wrong, this never actually happens at eleven o’clock for me. Seeing as after my morning workout regime breakfast normally takes place around 11 instead. Rather this ‘mid-morning’ pause normally occurs around 1:30pm, and will always consist of a banana or apple to keep me ticking over until lunch.
APPLES: Well an apple a day keeps the doctor away right? Need I say more.
BANANAS: I could go on and on about the benefits of bananas. Always downing one before an exam too under the belief that they are going to suddenly fill me with worldly intelligence, they are not only amazing for the brain, but keep your bowels healthy, provide nutrients that regulate heart rhythm, and have vitamin compounds for eye health. I know right?!
[Continued here: Eat right, sleep tight: PART 2]